Quick Guide To Gates

by Oracle Blog
Quick Guide To Gates


These quick production tips will definitely save you time in the studio and improve your workflow.

How gates work! 

Here is a quick guide to how gates work! 

Gates are a way to remove background noise, room noise, or microphone bleed. They basically mute the audio of anything that is below a set threshold & unmute when audio exceeds a set threshold. They can really clean up a mix if background noise is becoming an issue. It's pretty common to use gates on individual drums from live drum kit recordings. 

They're also very useful for creative effects when it comes to creating pulses, rhythmic movement, & time-sync filters. 

  • Threshold - This will set the level it takes for the gate to open. The gate will remain closed until the audio signal exceeds the set threshold. Once the audio exceeds the threshold the gate will open up & allow audio to pass through. 
  • Range - Sets the amount of gain reduction below the threshold. You can use this to limit the amount of background noise or to expand only a specific area of the dynamic range. 
  • Ratio - Sets the expansion amount for signals below the threshold. For example, if the ratio is set to 3:1 than for every 1dB of audio, a gain reduction of 3dB will be applied. 
  • Attack - Determines how fast the gate opens. In most cases you will want to use a fast attack, so the gate opens up immediately; however, there may be some cases when you want a swelling or crescendo effect especially when it comes to side-chain gates or creative effects. When used for the purposes of eliminating background noise, a fast attack is most likely the best choice. 
  • Hold - Sets how long the gate stays open. Ahold time that's too fast can cause unwanted noises from the gate opening & closing too quickly & cutting off important signals. 
  • Release - Sets how long the gate will take to close. After the hold time has complete, the gate will begin to close. The release time will tell the gate if it should close quickly or slowly like a gradual decay. 
  • Side Chain - Allows an external source to control the gate. For example, you could apply a gate to a pad & send the signal of a kick drum to that gate. The rhythm of the kick drum would determine how often the gate opens & close on the pad. This is a cool way to add bounce & rhythm to various instruments. 

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