best noise gate pedal

This intro it is very important as many guitar players only focus and think about making noise and being louder, and they think that pedals are only made to help achieve this.

This is not only not true, but it is a mistake.

When you have a signal chain (The note the pick will get from your guitar until it is heard on the amp) you basically have something similar to water running through a pipe, if you start making that water bigger, deeper, higher, etc, but you don’t worry about the pipes then you will have two inevitable outcomes.

  • First, you will start having dripping areas as there is more water running than the pipe supports.
  • Second and very dangerous the pipe may break causing a huge mess.

In music instead of plumbing what happens is that if you start boosting your signal, you will get unwanted sounds and extra dirtiness that it is awful to be heard to the human ear, and if this is extreme it can either break the amp (burn out) or even worst the audience ears.

That is why there is one pedal that has the opposite porpoise in life; this is the noise gate pedal.

It may have different names such as noise gate, noise suppressor, noise pedal, etc. but they are all the same, what they do is simple, they cut the unwanted sound out of your signal chain to provide with a cleaner final sound out of the amp.

When I say cleaner, I do not mean without distortion or overdrive, I mean without ugly sounds that are not wanted.

Using a noise gate pedal is not just turning the pedal on or off, actually in most performances the noise gate is always on and the musicians just play around with the knobs to get the sound they need on a particular song.

Sometimes when you get to the solo, you may turn the noise gate off although you have to be very careful when doing this as it may unleash too much power.

red green white pedals

Continuing the water example, the noise gate pedal has two features that they control, one is the threshold, and the other one is the release or decay.

If it was water that you are trying to control, the first feature would be if you put a barrier to prevent the water from running, if you put it very low then the water will create a hard to control flow, however if you put if very high (Think of a river dam) you will prevent any water from going through.

On guitar this would be, if the threshold is too low you will still have unwanted sounds that are awful, but if you put it too high you may cut sounds that you actually want or even worst cut the sound completely, so you have to take your time in order to see which level of threshold is perfect for you.

Then finally the release is how quickly you want the sound to be released from the pedal, this means how hard the signal needs to be, so it is not affected by the pedal.

If this was water again, it is like having an automatic valve that will open at a certain pressure.

If the release is too slow then you will cut the first part of the notes as the noise gate will still be working, if it is too fast then the minimum movement will release the noise gate, and the ugly sounds will start.

This is why every musician should take its time to set properly not only the noise gate pedal but the threshold and release feature as well.

QUICK RUNDOWN

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Donner Noise Killer Guitar Noise Gate Suppressor Effect Pedal

Donner Noise Killer Guitar Noise Gate Suppressor Effect Pedal

4.5 / 5

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal

4.5 / 5

ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

4.7 / 5

TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal

Fender Mustang II V2 40-Watt 1x12-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier

4.6 / 5

Best Guitar Noise Gate Pedals

When buying a noise gate pedal it is very personal regarding mostly the amount of gain and effects you will have on your sound chain.

If you are not the type of musicians who pumps all the knobs up, then you will be fine with any noise gate pedal.

However if you like to pump the numbers up a little bit, try to look for a quality noise gate with at least two knobs, threshold and release.


1. Donner Noise Killer Guitar Noise Gate Suppressor Effect Pedal

Donner Noise Killer Guitar Noise Gate Suppressor Effect Pedal

The Donner Noise Gate is a good pedal "at least to have a noise suppressor" on my effect chain, of course, this will not be my final choice.

Even though it has a true bypass feature stated on the stomp-box, I have some doubts that this happen, have in mind that proving or checking that a pedal has true bypass is extremely difficult unless the sound chain is affected terribly and inarguably.

This Noise Gate is a pretty straightforward pedal; you have the main threshold knob on top that goes from -70 to +10 Db, the LED indicator light for on/off and the button to turn the pedal or on off.

Take some extra time on the threshold knob as you may need to know where to set it to achieve the sound you want.

The rule is simple, the higher the threshold, the more sound you are going to get but also the more noise and of course the lower the threshold you will start cutting the signal, but you will avoid the ugly noises.

This pedal, lastly features two modes

Hard and Soft - for a quick turnaround on how strong you want the noise gate to be, this can come very in handy as you may set the threshold on for example -10 Db and soft and then on some really distortion sounds you can just bend over for a second and just turn the stick too hard and you will get a boost noise gate with a lot of power that will cut all of the ugly sounds out without the need of turning the knob to a place (which would also need fast precision).

things we liked

  • It is a nice option to “just have a noise suppressor” on your signal chain
  • Very easy to use and understand

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • I would be skeptical to the "true bypass" feature

2. Boss Audio NS-2 Noise Suppressor

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal

If you have been reading my reviews, you know that I am a big fan of Boss’s pedals, they are high quality, affordable and played by the best musicians in the world. So, whenever I get a Boss pedal into my review blog, I am happy and about to say good things.

The Noise Suppressor from Boss is the NS-2, it is a classic in music history and has been around for decades.

You would think that this pedal only cuts the unwanted sounds when you are not playing, but even though this is true, is not the whole side of the story.

This pedal also has a smart integrated circuit that helps reduce unwanted noises even when you are playing with high distortion and overdrive sounds. This is a magnificent pedal.

On the top of the pedal you will find lots of different features, let's go through them to see what they are.

  • Threshold knob: It allows you to control when the noise gate kicks in and how much noise reduction you want to get out of the pedal
  • Decay: The decay knob basically allows you to set when the sound is cut off completely when you have stopped playing, basically when you hit a note and let it ring first you will get the main sound that will fade away into a sustain, the decay level will set when to cut this sustain, If you want a lot of sustain kick the knob to the right position, if you want to cut the sustain set it to the left
  • Mute/ Reduction mode: The mute/ reduction mode works as a booster like having a soft/ hard mode, when playing regular sound chains you want to set the knob to reduction as you want the noise gate just to help you out with unwanted sounds, when you need an extremely powerful noise reduction you want to set the knob to mute to get the sound completely out.
  • Led indicators: Something interesting about the LED indicators on this pedal is that it has two, one on the left that will be on when the reduction mode is on, and another one on the top that will be on when the mute mode is on. This is very important as most of the live shows happen at nights when it is not that easy to see the pedal while playing the guitar, with this extra led you not only know when the pedal is on, but you also know which mode is on.

On the input/ output section of this pedal, you have four to be found two on each side of the stompbox. Always on the right side are the ins and on the left side the outs.

On the upper part you will find the regular input and output 1/4" jacks to enter and continue your sound chain, but this amazing pedal also includes and the extra combo of send and return jacks that allows you to include this noise gate into another sound signal.

things we liked

  • It is BOSS pedal which is synonym of quality
  • Great and wide parameter of features
  • Great quality
  • Input/ output and send/ return ¼” jacks

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • No cons

3. ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

This pedal not only has an incredible name, "the decimator II" but it is those kinds of pedals that are very simple without any fancy stuff but still does a lot.

The materials of this stomp-box are of superior quality, so it will last forever on your rack, have into consideration that the noise gate pedal is probably one of the most “stepped on” pedal as lots of times, especially on the solos you want it off to get that extra fuzzy and distortion sound out of your amp.

The front of the pedal is very simple, on the top you will see the LED indicator light whether the noise gate is on or off, then you have just one main threshold knob that goes from -70 to +10 Db and then the main button to turn the noise gate or on off.

On the sides, you will find the classic 1/4" input and output jacks, but this pedal includes two extra LINK IN and LINK OUT 1/8 inch allowing two pedals to be linked to it.

Like I said, in this pedal, you do not go for the looks but the performance and believe me, you are not wrong to want it.

The good thing about "simple pedals" is that they are manufacture to be extremely efficient when doing just one thing, this is very good as most of the other pedals out there try to have so many features than in the end they don’t do anything right at all.

Using the Decimator II is a great choice but try to take a moment after you have bought it and think exactly where on the sound chain you may wanted, since it is a reliable pedal it may be smart to try is somewhere outside the usual place right after the distortion / overdrive and before the modulation and delays.

things we liked

  • This is a high-quality pedal

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Maybe it could have some extra knob for some narrower sound

4. TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal

TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal

Probably the most complete and high-quality pedal that we are reviewing this time.
The TC Noise gate has so many features that we should go one by one to explain them all.

From top to bottom:

  • Threshold knob: As all the pedals you can let the pedal knob when you want the noise gate to start working, the higher the setting, the quicker it will start cutting the sound
  • Decay: The decay is the opposite from the threshold, it sets once you have played a note depending on how high the decay is the noise gate will stop working, so it does not cut sounds that you want especially when you are playing very sensitive and responsive parts of your song
  • Damp knob: This knob (Only on this pedal) is a very interesting knob, the damp allows you to set how hard you want the noise gate to hit every time, for example, if you are playing something very smooth you will want a low damp, if you are playing hardcore heavy metal you may want a higher damp to control your uncontrol sound.
  • Gate tone print hiss: like on some other pedals this is basically a booster in which you make the same settings to get higher just by one turn of the stick instead of turning up all the knobs which you may not have time to do in a live performance.
  • LED indicator light: It will tell you if the pedal is on or off (simple)
  • True bypass: Although not an “on/off feature” this statement allows us to know that when you turn the noise gate off the signal chain will not be affected by the stomp-box. And trust me, this high-quality pedal has a true bypass, not a “wannabe”.

Finally, on the sides, this amazing pedal also includes (Like the BOSS) an input/output jack plus the send/return 1/4" jacks for multiple porpoise sound chains.

things we liked

  • Great quality
  • True bypass that is true
  • Detailed sound with more than three knobs, one stick, etc.

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • No arguably cons

Guitar Noise Gate Pedals - Buyer’s Guide

Question / Pedal

Donner Noise Killer Guitar Noise Gate Suppressor Effect Pedal

Boss Audio NS-2 Noise Suppressor

ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal

Ideal for:

Having a first noise gate pedal on your sound

This pedal is great and will be on your rack forever, the quality and craftsmanship are also awesome

It is an incredible and high-quality pedal. However, if you are playing "multi- covers" (Basically playing from a lot of different bands), you may want a pedal with some extra knobs to get different sounds out of it

Everything, with this pedal you will get all the features you may want and need on a noise suppressor pedal plus an extra send / return 1/4" jack

Things to have in mind:

Be a little bit skeptical when believing about the true bypass feature, It is not easy to prove, but I have some doubts

Nothing, in particular, it is a great pedal that will deliver

Following the first point, you may be going a lot to your knees if you need different threshold and decay depending on the song

You will be extremely happy and may lose interesting in other things in life; this is an awesome pedal

Getting the most out of it:

We always like to include a pedal that is great to start with but will not be with you forever; this is the pedal. Musicians only care about pedals that makes noise, well you also need pedals that reduce noise, this is one, learn what it does and play around with it

Be very smart on where to put the noise reduction on your signal. This pedal is incredible but try to put it after the distortions and before the delay and reverb

The biggest advantage:

Having a minimum noise reduction pedal is a must on ever signal chain, buy this one and start then move on when you can to a more professional noise reduction pedal

Everything, you have a high- quality pedal with so many features that you will love it. Learn what all of the knobs do so you can get different kinds of noise reductions depending on your song

The high quality of this pedal. This pedal is great if you are the kind of musician that has one maybe two sounds and that is enough. Then you need this pedal as it will always deliver

Besides being an incredible high-quality pedal, it gives you lots of extra features will all the knobs and sticks that you can find on the top part, plus it has the send/ return extra jack

Any cons?

It is not the best noise reduction pedal out there, so if you have a very complex sound it may not deliver

No cons

It could have some extra features to allow the player to have some more options

No cons for sure here

When to move on to the next noise reduction pedal?

Once you have understood how this pedal works and you are going to play a lot with different sounds, you may want to think it is time for a new noise reduction pedal, one of the good things is that to sell this pedal it is very easy

I do not think you will need to move to a new reduction pedal ever

Maybe you do not want to upgrade your pedal to a new one, but you can add another noise reduction pedal so you can have different settings and then depending on the song you can turn the one you want on or off

Never

Conclusion

This review was a very interesting one to do for a simple reason; there were no bad noise gate pedals, I just had to review four great choices. Giving a conclusion may be a little bit redundant.

The only thing I can conclude that it is not a waste of your time is that the Donner pedal should be your choice if you are not sure what to buy, you are on a budget, or you just want to see how a noise reduction pedal may affect your sound chain.

If this is not your case, then you can go to any of the other three pedals, go for either the BOSS or the TC electronics noise reduction if you have a lot of different sounds as you will need all the different features depending on the kind of song you are playing.

If you have basically a one “raw style”, classic tune, some distortion/ overdrive, a little reverb and nothing more in between you and your amp then the ISP noise gate pedal will be great for you to control that extra amount of unwanted gain and noise that all the musicians in the world have to fight.

Remember it is not only about buying pedals that make noise, you need one that cuts of the unwanted signals (Sounds), trust me you need a noise gate on your signal chain.

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