Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Learning noise gate basics

From: Audio Mixing Bootcamp

Video: Learning noise gate basics

A gate is sort of a reverse compressor that can be used to eliminate leakage noises and buzzes and coughs and any other low-level noises that were recorded on a track. Sometimes it's called a noise gate or an expander, but it's all the same thing. In this video I am going to show you all about the various parameters of a typical gate. So a gate works backwards from a normal compressor in that the sound level is at its loudest until it reaches the threshold, and that's when it becomes decreased, or even muted completely. Like a de-esser, a gate can sometimes consist of just a few controls, principally the threshold, the range, and sometimes even hold, attack, and release controls.

Learning noise gate basics

A gate is sort of a reverse compressor that can be used to eliminate leakage noises and buzzes and coughs and any other low-level noises that were recorded on a track. Sometimes it's called a noise gate or an expander, but it's all the same thing. In this video I am going to show you all about the various parameters of a typical gate. So a gate works backwards from a normal compressor in that the sound level is at its loudest until it reaches the threshold, and that's when it becomes decreased, or even muted completely. Like a de-esser, a gate can sometimes consist of just a few controls, principally the threshold, the range, and sometimes even hold, attack, and release controls.

Also just like a compressor, threshold selects the level where the gate begins to work. First of all, let's listen to the floor tom with the gate bypassed. (music playing) So you can hear the leakage from the other track. And now let's take the bypass off and have a listen what happens. (music playing) And you can here how it attenuates everything else except for the loudest section.

We can tweak that. Actually, before we even do that, let's put the threshold all the way up and have a listen to what that does. (music playing) And as you can hear, you never did hear the floor tom, the reason why is the threshold set so high that it can never be triggered. And if we put it all the way to left at -60.0 dB listen to what happens. (music playing) The threshold is set so low that once the gate opens up, it doesn't close again, because there's enough level to keep it open.

So now what we'll do is we'll tweak that, we'll put it somewhere in the middle, and have a listen, and tweak as it goes along. (music playing) And let's back that up even a little more. (music playing) Now in order to make it sound realistic, we don't want the gain reduction at max. What we'd rather have is the audio attenuated rather than completely cut off.

So what we are going to do is going to take the Range control and we are going to back that off, somewhere in here between -12 and -18 or so. (music playing) And that's even a little too much. We'll back it off more, around there. (music playing) And that sounds a lot more natural. Now the other thing we'd want to do, if we decided that we are going to put a Gain Reduction at max here, then our Attack and Release controls become very important.

These are the same as on a compressor. We are going to affect the front end of the signal envelope with the Attack control and the back end with the Release control. Let's listen to what happens as we manipulate the Attack control. (music playing) That's with it at 10 milliseconds. Let's put it all the way up to 300 milliseconds and have a listen. (music playing) It actually sounded pretty good. Let's put it where it's really fast.

This is 10 microseconds. (music playing) And what's happening is it's so fast that the leakage is actually triggering it. So that's way too fast, and what we want to do is back that off until the leakage didn't trigger the gate. (music playing) Now that last snare hit we may not be able get rid of. That's one of the fallacies about a gate, that you can eliminate everything, and you really can't.

You can attenuate things and you can get rid of most of them, but sometimes on fills, for instance, and especially on a drum kit, you just can't get rid of everything, so you have to keep that in mind. (music playing) That's pretty good. Now if we take the Release control and let's put that all the way fast and have a listen to what it does. (music playing) When it's fast, it controls the envelope of the signal, and it shuts it down completely really, really quickly, and let's put it the opposite way where it's a really long release, have a listen.

(music playing) And you can hear it fade out because the envelope is kept open by the release control, and then it gradually fades in from there. Now it's more in the middle like this, have a listen. (music playing) The other control that's important is the Hold control, and this holds open the gate before the release control kicks in. And we can set this at 5 milliseconds and listen to what happens. (music playing) We can put it all the way, so it's a 4 seconds and listen what happens.

(music playing) It's holding the gate open so much that it never gets a chance to close, so obviously that's not going to work either, and it's somewhere in the middle here. And again, you have to experiment with it. There's no formula for it. You just have to experiment until you get it right. Gates are very touchy things, and they do require experimentation. (music playing) So that's pretty good there.

But it would sound even better if we back off on the Range. Somewhere near is about where we'd like it. (music playing) See, we don't want to get rid of the leak completely; what we'd rather do is attenuate it, and it sounds a lot more natural,. And it's one of the fallacies of the gate that you want to get rid of everything completely, and you really don't. You just want to move it back in the mix enough that you really don't hear and it's not prominent. Now one of the cool things about gates is the sidechain.

Not all gates have a sidechain, but when you have it, it can be very powerful. And what this does is tune in the band of frequencies where the gate actually activates. And the other thing you can do is actually control this from another channel for instance, or from another output device, but really it's the high and low frequencies that you can balance out here, so we can affect that band of frequencies that opens the gate. So now what we're going to do with low frequency is we're going to back that off, and basically we're cutting everything off under 16 kHz. Have a listen.

(music playing) So you can hear, just about everything was attenuated which isn't what we wanted, so I'll back that off, somewhere in here. (music playing) Still, you heard a lot of the frequencies attenuated, which isn't what we want. That's better. Now we'll go to the high frequencies, and we'll just to zero in on a particular band. (music playing) This usually works better on something that has a lot of high-frequency content, like a snare drum, rather than a tom, but you get the idea.

(music playing) That was pretty good. Now a way to help you tune this is a little Listen button up here. Now all we are going to do is we are going to listen to the bandwidth that the gate is reacting to. (music playing) Now watch what happens. (music playing) What we are hearing there is just the frequencies that the gate is going to react to.

So if we take this off, have a listen. (music playing) And the reason why it doesn't sound so good is it is just listening to the attack of the sound, and really what we want is the body and everything. So I am going to back that off, so we can hear more of the drum, have a listen. (music playing) And you can hear how it even cuts off the snare drum at the end as a result, and what we'd do is we'd use that sidechain listen in order to tweak everything and fine-tune the opening of the gate. And this is especially effective on a snare drum, for instance, where we can really tune it just so that those high frequencies open up the gate. It works really, really well.

The last thing is the Look Ahead button, and what that is it's a function that you only find in modern digital gates. It looks ahead at the signal so it can react only to the peaks. And this is a brilliant function that you don't find on hardware gates, and the reason why is hardware gates are analog and usually they're a little slow at working because they don't have this Look Ahead function. The Look Ahead function really does look at the signal a few milliseconds ahead of time and allows the gates to have enough time to react, and this makes it very, very precise.

So those are the parameters of a gate, which is an audio component used to eliminate or decrease noise or leakage in the track. But like compression, remember that a little goes a long way.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Audio Mixing Bootcamp
Audio Mixing Bootcamp

103 video lessons · 18978 viewers

Bobby Owsinski
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Audio Mixing Bootcamp.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.