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Noise gate question, please help!

Hello. I am currently recording vocals from different artists and when I am listening to the diffent takes I am hearing some unwanted background noise like air, a little bit of headphone bleeds, etc. and I am needing some help on correctly using a noise gate. I know some will suggest not using one in digital and editing the track by deleting sections but I will like how to use it and then choose to use it or not.

I am using the gate fx on protools and when i gate my vocals it sounds choppy like its clicking or cutting of some breaths that really make the vocal sound unnatural. What are some good settings or starting points to use to get good results to remove the air and backgroung noise between words or ablibs.

What settings to use on:


Thanks in advance for the help!


TVPostSound Mon, 01/01/2007 - 22:39
I am hearing some unwanted background noise like air, a little bit of headphone bleeds, ect. and I am needing some help on correctly using a noise gate.

The key here is, do you really need that gate???
What happens when you mix the vocals with the instruments???

Now back to the gate, plugin gates are terrible, epecially the Digirack gate
on Protools. A hardware gate is a lot more natural.

If you feel you really need a gate, start here:

Make sure you see how the gated vocals sound in the mix, you soon see you ll hardly need it.

natural Tue, 01/02/2007 - 16:00
To expand on what has already been suggested. (pun not intended, but pretty cool now that I think about it)
- Make sure that you are not over compressing. The more you compress the more background noise you'll bring up. Try to find a happy medium between how much compression you need and how much you increase the background noise.

- As already mentioned, there's not too much need to heavily gate a track if the noise floor is well masked by the rest of the music.

- Gates don't always have to gate out 100% of the signal. You can try setting the floor of the gate so it only closes a little bit. Even a small amount of 6 to 12 db is plenty to bring things like headphone bleed down to an acceptable level.

- For general gating, the software gates are usually fine. It's when you get into the more surgical operations that the software begins to show it's limits.

RemyRAD Tue, 01/02/2007 - 16:24
For starters, nobody has suggested what I have routinely done in the past and still do.

The term gating often gets confused with the term ducking or downward expansion. You never want to gate a vocal. That's the most unnatural sounding thing you can do. You do however, want to gate drums.

What I routinely do for a vocal is to first listened to your vocalist and ask them to sing the most energetic part they will be singing. With that, you can adjust the microphone preamp gain setting. No plug that into your compressor/limiter having them repeat the same passage. With that, you should adjust for a couple of DB of gain reduction at a ratio of between 4: 1 to 10: 1. Now follow the compressor/limiter with your " noise gate/ducker/downward expander. Adjust it so that it does not " Gate", duck or downwardly expand much more than 6 to 10 DB! Adjust the threshold so that it begins to trigger on their breath and VOILÀ! NOW, NOT ONLY DO YOUR VOCALS SIT BETTER IN THE MIX, the background noises and their gasping breaths will be attenuated to nonirritating/noticeable levels, without that clipping sound of a door being opened and closed quickly.

This is generally the only way I cut vocals for popular music and announcers.

The woman who knows from whence she speaks
Ms. Remy Ann David