If the coronavirus pandemic has given you plenty of free time to create music, then you’re not alone. While some musicians have struggled to create, others have made good use of the time given to them. An essential piece of equipment for guitarists is a noise gate guitar pedal and it can feel overwhelming looking at all that’s on offer to you. The good news is that we have done all of the research for you, as in this article we are going to take a look at the top 10 noise gate pedals that are currently on the market.
So, what actually is a noise gate pedal? Put simply, it’s a piece of equipment that cuts off the guitar signal whenever the input on it is put under a particular threshold and this causes complete silence. By complete silence, we mean that it will remove any unwanted noise, like an irritating hum or buzz in-between any of your riffs and chord stabs. If the music you are playing is louder than the humming of your rig, your noise gate pedal can be set to the same threshold level as the humming. It’s a very simple tool to use that can make such a big difference to your sound.
This may have you thinking: do I actually need one? Will it enhance my music? Well, it depends on if the hum or buzz in the background bothers you or not. For some musicians, they just regard it as part of their sound, and they can be pretty old school in their attitude. However, for others, it’s an unbelievable nuisance and they can’t unhear it. Noise gate pedals are pretty popular among rock and metal musicians, as unwanted noise can be particularly obvious during their loud sets.
Another factor to consider is whether or not your clients are bothered by it. If you are creating music for a company, you need to take their wishes into consideration or you might not get paid for your work!
So, do you need a noise gate pedal? It comes down to personal preference, but in our opinion we’d like our music to be as clean and listener friendly as possible!
So, where should you place your noise gate pedal? Put simply, you should place it where the noise is coming from, for example your fuzz pedal. A common place to put it as at the end of the pedal chain and before ambient pedals. If you still feel unsure, a good tip is to have a listen to the signal at differing points in the chain. This way, you’ll be able to discover where and at what times the noise is arguably at its worst.
Now that we’ve covered what noise gate pedals are and how they can be of use to you, let’s check out the top 10 noise gate pedals.
The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal holds the firm number one spot in our eyes. It’s also a particular favourite of many musicians, as the product has countless positive feedback and reviews from users. Let’s start with the look of the product. It’s sturdy and compact, which is exactly what you want from a noise gate pedal. Plus, the rubber covering over the stomp box means that you can be confident in hitting it as hard as you like.
The product is easy to use, and the Threshold and Decay knobs allow for tone shaping and elimination, and it doesn’t feel at all limited in any way. If you use it as a board set up, you’ll really be maximising the use of this product. It boasts a built-in loop, which is ideal as it means there’s no distraction from time-based effects.
So, what else do you need to know about this noise gate pedal? Well, it comes with a five-year warranty which is always good to know, and it runs on one 9V battery or an AC adapter power supply. In terms of price, you can purchase the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal from Amazon for £74.99. This is an extremely fair price for such a reliable and versatile product.
Some musicians swear by this noise gate pedal and refuse to use anything but the MXR M-135 Smart Gate Noise Gate Pedal! One of the stand out factors of this product is the three differing kinds of section cancellation. There’s full, mid and hiss and you control them through the cut switch, which is easy to use. It also has a super quick opening time, and there’s no sign of any additional distortion from the product.
The product is sleek and slightly smaller than most other noise gate pedals on the market. This could be a plus to some of you, as it’s an extremely portable piece of kit. Don’t let this fool you though, it’s very durable and sturdy.
The product comes with four free cable leads and this is a nice touch. It means that this could be a viable purchase for you newer musicians out there as it will help add to your setup.
The street price for this product is £125 and for some of you this will be too steep. However, the quality and the free cables help to justify the cost in our opinion.
This is a popular noise gate pedal for artists for a number of reasons. Firstly, the design is memorable and fashionable, as the product is green and there’s their skull branding on the front. Like the previous product, the size of the Donner Noise Killer is smaller than most noise gate pedals and it’s actually the smallest on our list. This is great for ease of use and carrying it around.
One thing to note is how successful this noise gate pedal is at cancelling the unwanted buzz from your music. The Threshold knob allows you to adjust the levels between -70 to +10 DB. The product can be used in either Soft or Hard mode, and this is ideal for those of you that play different styles of music, as this product will give you the confidence to be free.
We would recommend this product to those of you that value distortion free music in the range of styles that you play. We appreciate the fact that the Donner Noise Killer will accommodate a range of musicians.
For just £25, you really can’t go wrong with this versatile and portable product!
You would be forgiven if you haven’t heard or used any products from this brand before, as they aren’t a mainstream one. However, they have made our list of top 10 noise gate pedals, so they must be doing something right!
This product has been designed specifically for the use of the guitar in mind. The design may be different to what you’re used to, so if you opt for this product, we recommend spending some time experimenting with it before use. For example, you need to control the Soft and Hard suppression through the threshold.
A huge plus is the True Bypass pedal, which ensures high quality sound tone even when the pedal is off. Another plus is the price, as this product could be yours for just £34.99. One con is the design, as it’s not as strong or robust as the others on this list.
The look of this product is sleek and a bit retro. The size is in keeping with the others on the market and the sturdy feel will give you confidence.
There are three control knobs and they are Thresh, Release and Reduction. This allows you to fine tune to ensure you end up with your desired sound. One huge drawing point is the Silencer as you can utilise it as an inline noise gate.
The pedal will support a send, return, input and output Jacks, and it can be powered with just one 9V battery or an EHX 9.6 DC/200 AC adapter. The price for this product is slightly higher at £55, but we think this is justifiable.
You’re likely to have heard of the Behringer brand, in fact you’re likely to already use some of their equipment! Fun fact: they are the 14th largest musical product manufacturer in the whole world!
This product has glowing reviews from users for a number of reasons, and it’s particularly popular with guitarists who are seeking noise suppression that is created from single coil pickups.
The product has a Mute and Reduction mode. The latter will shape the tone of your sound and allows you to control the suppression, while the Mute option is a handy on/off button. This is one of the easiest to use gate pedals on our list, and it boasts a similar design to our number one product. This means that you can be certain that nothing will destroy it!
The value for money is fantastic as this product can be yours for just £22. We view this as the best cheap noise gate pedal on the market.
This noise gate pedal is popular with guitarists for its True Bypass pedal, as this will accommodate larger scale set ups nicely. It has a Hard and Soft mode, and this will please musicians that play a range of music.
The look and feel of the product are pleasing, as it’s kept simple and strong. It’s a small gate pedal, and this is great as it makes it easily portable and it won’t take up much of your precious space. At £55, this product is competitive and reasonable.
This is one of the best noise gate pedals for those of you that are juggling multiple effect loops and large pedalboards, as it controls and suppresses any unwanted noise. You may be used to dealing with a hissing sound with larger setups, but the MXR M195 Noise Clamp will sort it for you! Due to this being one of the main aims of the product, if your noise output rises above the threshold limit, it won’t be completely suppressed.
The product looks professional, but it is worth noting that it’s slightly bulkier than the others on our list. There are four Jacks and these are Send, Return, Input and Output, and the single trigger knob controls the gate level. It can reduce noise frequencies up to 26DB and this creates a high-quality sound.
The price is set at £87, and this is a good price, although it’s important to remember that this is a gate pedal that’s geared towards musicians with large effect loops.
This noise gate pedal is actually one of the most innovative ones on the market thanks to its cutting-edge technology. It successfully accommodates Soft and Hard noise repression and utilises 6000 algorithms. The Multiband gating technology allows you to create pure and uninterrupted sound.
The TonePrint technology is another huge plus to this product, as downloading the app sees you collect a library of professional guitarist player settings. You can download this app to your iPhone or Android, as well as your Mac or PC. The price is set at £79.99.
This product is the smaller version of the ISP Technologies Decimator, which remains a firm favourite among lots of guitarists. People appreciate the ease of use for this product as just one knob controls the threshold level.
The design is so convenient due to the size, so for those of you with a large set up this will suit you down to the ground. Price wise, it’s around £125.
So, there we have it – the top 10 noise gate pedals out there on the market right now. We recommend using them if you have the money, as you can’t put a price on uninterrupted and clear audio, and we’re pretty sure your audience will agree!
For those of you watching your bank balance, we would recommend the Behringer Noise Reducer. For those of you with money to spare, we would recommend the MXR M-135 Smart Gate Noise.
Do a bit of research before you purchase though, as different gate pedals suit different setups and styles of music. Remember that you can refer back to our helpful review if you need advice. You can also check out our guide to distortion pedals and sidechain compression for further reading!
So, now you have heard our top picks for noise gate pedals, allow us to help you amplify your music, collaborate with others, succeed in music marketing and get your music in TV, film and more. Why not try Music Gateway for free?