Let’s take a look at one of the most underutilized, yet powerful, pedals in a musician’s arsenal. The noise gate pedal does not get used by most musicians because they have a hard time nailing down a full understanding of how to use it. Fortunately for you, you’ll have a full understanding of this mystical effect by the end of this article.

There are so many different pedals that have unique effects, and some are more popular than others. Noise gate pedals perform the important job of reducing hiss and unwanted noise from your amp and other pedals. The result is an overall cleaner sound with less feedback.

For artists who play a softer, more subtle brand of music, a noise gate can help remove any unwanted “color” from your sound by suppressing buzz, feedback, and pedal noise.

Meanwhile, if you play rock or metal, you already know how amp feedback can add an unwanted element to your sound. Anytime you aren’t playing, or if there’s a rest at a particular section of the song, that feedback can really ruin your band’s sound.

By the end of this article, you should have a full understanding of why you would want to use a noise gate pedal, and how to select the best noise gate for your sound.

What is the Best Noise Gate Pedal?

What exactly is a noise gate pedal and what does it do?

A noise gate pedal does quite a few things but to describe it in the most basic way; it eliminates amp and pedalboard hiss, buzz, and feedback. A misunderstanding that a lot of people have is that it ultimately gets rid of the noise which is not true. A noise gate only removes the unwanted sound when your amp reaches a certain decibel level.

Once that level gets reached, the gate will completely cut off any amp hiss and feedback. This can be especially useful anytime you’re playing live, as it will allow you to achieve a quiet on stage in between songs, or when you’re talking to your audience.

If you play heavier music, it’s common to leave your noise gate on at all times, as it will suppress any unwanted feedback that will occur whenever you’re not playing, either because your instrument isn’t part of a section, or because there’s a rest in the passage you’re playing.

The information covered above is the most basic understanding of what a noise gate does, but it can get used in tandem with some of your other pedals as well. When using a reverb, you can adjust the threshold on the noise gate just enough to eliminate the pesky iterations of the reverb.

As we said, these subtle changes may go entirely unnoticed by some, but if you care a lot about your tone then you will want to invest in a noise gate pedal.

What makes a great noise gate pedal?

Having a noise gate is not so much like affecting as it has a tool. You want to make sure you get the right noise gate pedal because it will quickly become essential for you once you understand how to use one.

The most important thing about buying an excellent noise pedal is timing and precision. You want it to kick in at precisely the right volume and reduce the noise; otherwise, you’ll be dealing with some issues and possibly embarrassment.

  • Precision Timing
  • Complete Noise Reduction
  • Simple Operation
  • Versatility and Features

Precision Timing

Arguably the most critical factor to look at with a noise gate pedal is the timing and precision of its noise cancellation. Having a noise gate in your signal chain allows you to reduce the noise at the exact moment when you need it most.

For example, if you are playing a set and in between songs you want to make sure there is no background noise. You want the noise gate to kick in at the specific decibel range otherwise you’ll hear the amp hum when there is no music playing.

The best noise gate pedals will offer exact precision, and they will continue to kick on and off as you want them to.

Complete Noise Reduction

In addition to timing and speed, you always want to make sure that the noise gate reduces the noise in its entirety. The whole idea between having this pedal in your chain is so there is no noise during slow or quiet times, and if you pay attention to the small details, you might pick up on some small hums that other people may never notice.

It’s essential to keep in mind the difference between low and high-quality noise reduction. If you are playing music with a smooth tone like jazz, you do not need to worry about this issue as much.

When you have high gain distortions and other effects a cheap noise gate won’t do the trick for you. This type of music will make it difficult for the pedal to distinguish what kind of noise to kill off. While this pedal might not be entirely necessary for beginners and amateurs, it’s something you should get in the habit of using.

Simple Operation

If you are a beginner, you want something without a steep learning curve. A lot of musicians do not understand how to use noise gate pedals and as a result – they never do. Overall, these pedals are simple to use even when you buy the most expensive and advanced model, but as a beginner, you don’t need too many features to confuse yourself. The pedal should be sensitive enough to kick in at the right time while also being powerful enough to reduce even the most troubling of hum sounds.

When it comes to noise gates, simple operation is essential, and once you understand how to implement this into your arsenal, you can opt for a more expensive model.

Versatility and Features

What if you do have a bit of experience and you are looking for features? Some noise gates are incredibly basic and offer the simplest result of less frequency from the amp while others provide light and hard modes, reduction, programmable editing software, and more. Are all of these features necessary to reduce noise? No, but they are fun to play around with.

Meanwhile, these features may really come in handy depending on the style of music you say. Today’s modern rock and metal are two styles that place high demands on your noise gate, and having these additional features and modes will allow you to dial in the perfect settings for your sound, without adding any additional color.

Noise Gate Pedal Reviews – Our Top 5 Recommendations

ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

Best Overall

What Makes It Special?

What separates this noise gate from a lot of the competition is the sheer number of features it offers along with reliability and precision. Much of the time you get one or the other, but this pedal allows you to purchase both a beginner and expert pedal to grow along with you.

  • You can insert the effects into your loop
  • Link in and out allows you to link two pedals at once
  • Durable and heavy build
  • Tracks guitar signal directly from the guitar

If you are looking to polish up your sound without impacting your tone, the Decimator II is a strong choice. If you have quiet spaces during your songs, the noise gate kicks in at the right time to eliminate any amp hiss, so you have a cleaner set. If you are a professional who plays gigs, this will dramatically impact your performance by reducing any excess noise or interference.

Thanks to its superior gating abilities, the Decimator II has long been favored by rock and metal musicians, as it provides the type of heavyweight gating that these styles demand. If you play heavy music, the Decimator II is practically required equipment.

What Customers Like

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Does not affect the tone
  • Dead silence when the noise gate kicks in

What Customers Dislike

  • Clamping action is off at higher gain settings
  • Price is higher than some other pedals of the same quality

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal

Best For The Price

What Makes It Special?

This noise gate pedal is the favorite of a lot of guitarists because they say it is the perfect combination of quality and affordability. The noise gate is simple to use, and it delivers exactly what you would expect — no sound or feedback from the amp in between sets and during slow periods.

  • Nearly indestructible build
  • Controls consist of two simple to use knobs
  • Allows you to regulate threshold and decay
  • Affordable

The primary reason most people look towards a noise gate pedal is that they are looking to minimize the feedback and hum from their amp or pedal board during quiet times or in between sets. This pedal does the job without all the bells and whistles of a lot of other pedals. The Boss is recommended by a lot of guitarists and for a good reason.

Equipment is known to get banged around and mistreated whether you perform on stage or in your bedroom, and this model will hold up against the rough treatment. A lot of musicians also like the fact that this pedal is simple to use and it provides what you need without a lot of additional features.

If you are looking for a noise gate pedal that cuts the hiss entirely and doesn’t require a college degree to understand it, then this is the right choice for you.

What Customers Like

  • Does a great job of maintaining a tone
  • Durable
  • Eliminates the hum of the amp

What Customers Dislike

  • Some customers say it’s still too weak
  • Requires specific settings to be effective

Donner Noise Gate Pedal

What Makes It Special?

Something that immediately stands out about the Donner pedal is its simplicity and price. At a fraction of the cost of some of the other pedals, you start to wonder if it works as well. With this one, you get two modes you can choose between; hard and soft mode. It’s not the most precise noise gate, but it’s popular with a ton of high reviews and its affordable.

  • Comes with a hard and soft mode
  • Aluminum alloy design
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Effectively reduces hum and hiss

This noise gate does a great job of offering options for guitarists. Depending on your style of music and gain you can choose to use either the soft or hard mode. Soft mode provides a softer noise reduction while the hard mode gives you a hard effect. You have from -70 to +10db noise reduction and overall, this affordable noise gate does a great job.

Something that a lot of guitarists enjoy about this pedal is that it acts as a noise gate and a suppressor. With the right settings, you can clean up your sound a lot without actually cutting the noise completely. This gives you the freedom to crank it up and lower down without having to reset the threshold over and over.

What Customers Like

  • Effective at reducing noise
  • Can get used as a noise gate or suppressor
  • Hard and soft mode offers versatility

What Customers Dislike

  • Does not come with a battery pack
  • Not as effective in the loop

Koogo Noise Gate Suppressor

Best For Beginners and Students

What Makes It Special?

If you are looking for a valid beginner noise gate that offers simplicity along with features you would want to give this one a try. The pedal provides two settings one being hard mode and the other is soft mode. The two methods allow you to tweak the effect of your noise reduction. The pedal keeps things simple with only one knob and offers an LED light that alerts you when it’s working.

  • LED light to tell you when it’s on
  • Simple to use the solo knob
  • Comes with hard and soft mode
  • Has a durable and robust construction of zinc alloy

If you are a beginner or trying to learn an instrument, simplicity is always the way to go. You also don’t want to go out and spend a bunch of money on something you’ll never use, so this is a great noise gate pedal for beginners and students. It serves its purpose well by eliminating hum and hiss from the amp while allowing you to use hard or soft mode.

Many musicians say they love the sound of the pedal and the fact that you can use it as a noise suppressor or a noise gate. That gives you the freedom to reduce the noise instead of cutting it out completely. The pedal is small, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it works well for children who are learning.

What Customers Like

  • Simple to use
  • Effectively reduces noise
  • An LED light alerts you when the suppression kicks in

What Customers Dislike

  • You will need to upgrade eventually
  • Weaker than most

Behringer Noise Reducer NR300

Best on a Budget

What Makes It Special?

If you are on a tight budget and not looking to spend a lot of money on something you’re unsure about you, want to go for this noise gate pedal. Here you are not sacrificing quality for the price because you are still getting an incredibly popular pedal that a lot of people use. This one offers a lot at an excellent price.

  • Offers mute and reduction options
  • Comes with send/return inputs and outputs so you can use other pedals
  • The ultimate value pedal
  • Popular online

If you want a budget pedal that does not take away from the tone of your music you want to give this pedal from Behringer a try. The company specializes in making noise gate pedals for budget buyers, and this one does not look or act like a budget pedal.

Something a lot of people love about this one is that you have both a reduction and mute option so you can reduce the interference without eliminating it. This gives the sound a grungy feel that some musicians like depending on their style.

The main thing you want to look at when you’re buying a noise gate pedal is that it eliminates the sounds you don’t want to hear but preserves the ones you do want. This pedal does a great job at doing that for an affordable price.

What Customers Like

  • Does a great job at reducing noise
  • Preserves the desired tone of your music
  • Simple to set up and use

What Customers Dislike

  • The build is cheap and fragile
  • Does not come with a power supply

6 More Really Good Noise Gate Pedals

Rowin Guitar Noise Killer Noise Gate Pedal

If you are in search of an affordable mini pedal, this is a great option. It does the trick of reducing noise entirely and it simple to use for beginners and students. The ultimate goal of a quality noise gate is to reduce the hum and hiss of your amp without eliminating the tone and overall sound of your music. This noise gate does a great job of that.

The pedal comes with two different settings for a hard and soft mode depending on what type of reduction you want. It also has a sturdy aluminum casing so it can hold up over time.

Something we like about this one is it comes with a 12-month satisfaction guarantee that if you don’t like it before your 12 months are up, you can return it.

TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal

What if cheap and affordable is not your thing and you are looking for awesome features? If that’s the case, you want to take a look at this Sentry noise gate. It comes with multiband or hard noise gate modes that allow you to remove the hum without sacrificing the integrity of your tone.

If you are spending a little more money on the pedal, you want more features, and this one offers a variety of unique settings so you can customize your sound and add a bunch of different effects to your tone.

Something cool about this noise gate is it comes with the TonePrint app which allows you to upload settings created by some of the most famous musicians. This pedal is a lot more than a noise gate; it offers a variety of cool features that are all available with the purchase.

Neewer Aluminum Alloy Noise Killer

This noise gate pedal comes with two different settings; hard and soft mode. Each mode is meant to cater to the type of tone you are looking to achieve. If you are on a budget and looking for a noise gate that will reduce the hum of your amp, then this is an excellent choice. The casing it comes in is durable so it can stand up against abuse over time.

There is nothing worse than hearing the hissing sound of your amp during quiet periods or in between sets, and this noise killer does the trick by reducing that sound to complete silence.

CNZ Audio Noise Gate

You want a noise gate that effectively eliminates unwanted noise and does not interfere with the tone of your music. This pedal does a great job of getting rid of the hiss and hum of your amp without getting in the way of your guitar.

The pedal comes with two settings; there is a soft noise reduction which is ideal for softer music as it eases up on the release allowing it to end slowly. The hard setting adjusts the pedal, so it releases almost immediately, so you get a clean silence in between hard riffs.

A big issue that a lot of people have with noise gate pedals is their lack of precision. When a pedal is off, it doesn’t cut out the right amount of noise at the right time, and as a result, it impacts your tone. This noise gate pedal is incredibly accurate, and it recognizes the sounds you want to preserve and the ones you want to eliminate.

Gokko Audio Noise Gate Pedal

If you are a beginner and you are starting to learn more about pedals and how they can impact the performance and sound of your music you might want a place where you can get them all in one. Gokko offers an excellent noise gate pedal that comes with two settings. The hard mode is for heavy strumming, and it cuts out any hum almost immediately. The soft mode helps you to hang on to the tone a little longer and cut it out slowly over time.

With Gokko they also offer a variety of other pedals like reverb and a dripping delay. They are all affordable, and they provide information so you can get a basic understanding of each pedal before you buy it. It always helps to purchase a product from a company that offers everything in one place. If you like the noise gate pedal, we suggest going back and checking out some of their other options.

Mooer EQ Effects Noise Gate Pedal

A tremendous problem facing a lot of amateur and professional musicians is the hum and hiss of their amp during quiet times in between sets. A lot of guitarists struggle to run around and turn off their distortion and compression, so the crowd does not have to listen to that loud static in between songs.

This noise gate pedal does the trick of kicking in at the perfect time to reduce the hissing sound without taking away from the integrity of your music. You can find the perfect setting based on your music and leave it there all night long.

It also offers a hard and soft mode. The hard mode will cut the sound immediately when you stop strumming, so it’s ideal for harder riffs. The soft mode allows the sound to taper off a bit for a more delicate and slower feel. Overall, if you are looking for an affordable and straightforward noise gate, this is an excellent option.

5 FAQ’s About Noise Gate Pedals

How to use a Noise Gate Pedal?

Using a noise gate pedal is relatively simple because it’s as easy as setting your decibel level and turning it on. However, since the style you play and the other equipment you use plays such a large role in the amount of noise you experience with your step, knowing how to use a noise gate effectively is a bit more nuanced.

The key to using a noise gate effectively is to find the sweet spot where the pedal will completely remove any unwanted noise without coloring your tone at all. Set the gate too high, and your entire sound will be flat and dull. Set the gate too low, and you’ll still experience hum and feedback even when the pedal is engaged.

When you’re dialing in your sound for the first time, start by turning the gate up so high that it starts cutting into your tone. From there, dial it back in small increments until you hit a point where your tone sounds exactly like it does without your gate on, but there’s no unwanted hum or feedback.

Where do you place a Noise Gate Pedal in the chain?

The simple answer is to place your noise gate at the very end of your pedal chain, so that it’s able to reduce any ambient noise that your other pedals are generating.

As you grow more comfortable with your noise gate, you may find that the gate does add some unwanted color to certain other effects, especially modulation effects. If you find that the noise gate is cutting into the sound of your reverb or delay effects, try moving the noise gate in front of those pedals.

Some noise gates include their own dedicated effects loops you may want to consider using instead. Other players will run their noise gate through the effects loop on their amp, as well.

As a rule of thumb, start by placing your noise gate at the end of your chain, and experiment from there if you aren’t happy with the results.

What are the Top Noise Gate Pedal Brands?

While it seems that brand is not of great importance for noise gate pedals, based on reviews from guitarists and other musicians online it appears that some of them are loyal to the most popular brands.

Boss seems to top the list as one of the most popular noise gate pedal brands. The company offers a comprehensive website full of products ranging from noise gates to tuners and amps. The company has a strong reputation for selling top-quality products for musicians.

ISP Technologies is another industry leader in music and audio equipment. The company seems to specialize in things like pedals, amplifiers, and combo sets. They offer a variety of different products to meet the needs of each artist and their music. ISP also has a strong online reputation with most of their products highly recommended by previous customers.

How Much Does a Good Noise Gate Typically Cost?

A quality noise gate pedal should run somewhere in the range of $50-150.

When you look at the features of most noise gate pedals, most of them offer standard features like a hard and soft mode with an input/output for your amp and your loop but outside of that, not too many noise gates offer anything that’s unique compared to their competitors.

Typically, price for a noise gate pedal ranges anywhere from 30 to 150 dollars for some of the most expensive ones.

When you compare noise gates, you’ll notice that they all  do the same thing, and many guitarists say they are surprised with how well the cheaper ones perform. The main factor we notice about the more affordable pedals is the build on them is much cheaper. They are usually plastic or a thin aluminum that does not hold up well against damage.

Generally, you can get away with purchasing a more affordable noise gate unless you play hard rock and metal music. When you require the high level of noise reduction that these styles demand, the higher end pedals seem to be the only ones that can get the job done without coloring your sound.

Where Can I Learn More About Noise Gates?

You can never have enough information, and we are lucky with the internet to have everything we could ever want to know at our fingertips. There are a ton of different resources available online for you to learn more about noise gate pedals. There are many videos on YouTube that discuss how to set up a noise gate pedal and how to implement it into your loop.

The Guitarfella offers a wide range of product reviews as well as expert commentary on certain products and techniques to help hone your skill.

Andertons Music Co. is a reputable website that provides information to musicians of all kinds. They have a wide assortment of articles and product reviews to help beginners learn more about noise gate pedals and all different kinds of pedals.

Guitartricks.com is a forum which we always see as a great way to get unbiased information from people who use the products you want to learn more about. On this website, you can ask questions, and experienced musicians will help you out by answering them in a timely fashion.

Utilizing a forum for guitar musicians is a great way to gather information quickly from people who know what they are talking about. We recommend getting on this website, creating an account, and engaging with the community to learn as much as you can.

Conclusion

By this point, you should have a comprehensive understanding of what a noise gate pedal is and how you can utilize it to enhance and improve your music. A noise gate pedal is something that a lot of musicians do not understand, and as a result, they refuse to use them, or they believe they don’t work.

We want to emphasize where you use them. This factor is the most important thing to think about because if you are not reducing noise at the right point, then you will not achieve the desired result.

Be sure to leave us a comment or question in the section below and let us know how you have utilized a noise gate with your music. If you have any product recommendations that you do not see above, give us a tip and let us know what you use.

Lastly, a noise gate pedal isn’t going to be the end all be all for you. There are a ton of other pedals that you’ll eventually want to add to your arsenal. Here are three of the most popular pedals that work alongside the noise gate:

  • Reverb
  • Tuner
  • Compressor
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