Often, vocal performances using musical equipment can cause unwanted noise. They can be created, for example, by amplifiers. To suppress these unpleasant sounds, we use special devices – noise gates. However, most often, these devices are called simply gates. So what are they, and how do they work?
What is a gate?
A gate, or threshold squelch, is an electronic device that allows you to control the level of an audio signal. It has a threshold control. Depending on the set value, the gate either passes the signal or, conversely, the gate closes and muffles it. Simply put, he knows how to distinguish between sound and interference that are generated by amplifiers. That makes it an effective assistant in the struggle for the purity of musical performance.
However, it should be borne in mind that today there are more modern models of threshold noise suppressors, which work a little differently. Usually, advanced gates have a dedicated filter in front of the comparator. It can monitor individual frequency bands of the audio or noise spectrum.
This allows for a finer change of the gate operation and makes it functionally more flexible. Here, you can specify the number of decibels by which the noise level will be reduced when the closing signal of the comparator is applied instead of completely closing the gate.
Scope of threshold noise gates
For music playback, the gate reduces persistent noises such as hum, hiss, amplifier, or power system noise. Here, the “useful signal” is slightly affected. Because of the specifics of this pedal, it must be placed immediately after the guitar.
With the help of special filters, music and speech are divided into many frequency bands. This allows you to significantly reduce the level of extraneous noise because only the frequencies of the noise spectrum are removed.