Noise Gate expander question

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Damohonda, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Damohonda

    Damohonda Guest


    Out of all the Fx I use, Noise gates are the one that give me so much trouble. Compressors are usually the culprits in any novices set up...

    I always try to record dry, no fx no compression.
    Other people I have spoken too put FX on things... OK I might record with compression on Bass guitar, but thats about as far as it goes...

    What are you thoughts... Should I use Noise gates during the recording or during mix down?
    Do people record with compression during recording?

    whats the best way to stop a really sensitive Mic picking up earphone bleed? Gate? Expander?

    Please help
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It would depend on what you are recording to. With analog or digital tape, you may want to compress to tape with signals that go from very quiet to very loud to reduce the dynamic range and/or get the quieter passages to tape above the noise floor (analog). In these cases, you would most likely want to apply any gating to the track(s) before the compression and it is difficult at best to gate compressed tracks after the fact.

    With DAW you can do all this at mix. You can draw out noise from toms and snares and kicks in the edit window, so you don't need to gate at all..

    If you have a comp that you like the sound of you can record with it to disk or tape. Just be careful not to over do it. You can't un-compress something once the damage is done. If you are compressing the vocal and the headphones are spilling into the mic, the more you compress, the louder the spill will get.

    The best way to keep the phone spill down is turn the phones or the mic or both down. If this is a problem, the phones are way to loud, or the mic is way too hot and the singer is too far off it, or a combination of all of these.

    Remember, always gate before you compress..
  3. slicraider

    slicraider Guest

    The only thing I ever gate when tracking is those times I mic the bottom of the tom. I trigger the gate with the top mic.Even then I use expander mode.

    Now about compression. You already use it on bass. The rest of your compression should be about taste. I use it at that point as an effect to sculpt the sound. When using it in this way I say print it during tracking. As for leakage unless it ends up causing you to lose control it can actually make your tracks bigger and easier to balance in the mix.
  4. white swan

    white swan Guest

    I try not to use gates much when tracking. The exceptions would be to get rid of something that is so annoying that it is interfering with the flow of the performance.

    This might include a really noisy guitar amp on a song where there are long sections where the guitar isn't playing, or a tom that persistently rings sympathetically to something else in the kit which for some reason doesn't get fixed by retuning or taping.

    As said before, expanders are a little safer and sometimes more musical than a hard knee gate. But it's pretty easy to completely ruin a track with inexpert gating, so when in doubt - don't! (At least until the mix.)
  5. siolle

    siolle Guest

    Hi there.

    Normally it take some time for a gate to open, so you will probably lose some attack that show up as a problem in the final mix. One solution is to use less range = faster opening.

    So save more drastic processing until your final mix will give more freedom (and safety).

    By the way...back in the old day´s we use to gate some tracks running the tape backwords using a fast release (while bouncing to a new track) ...this way we kept the attack on a kick or snare...

    Keep it simple
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    That's a cool trick! I love that kind of stuff!
  7. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Haha for good-ol-days.

    These days, it's basically getting a software plugin with look-ahead. ;)

    But that running backwards thing is a stroke of genius!
  8. siolle

    siolle Guest

    Look ahead is a good thing, but making it in a recordingsituation while making an overdub might be tricky....even with a good plugin...or....???

  9. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    During recording? I doubt any software written by anyone will ever be able to "look ahead" to events that haven't even occured yet. ;)

    Look-ahead plugins take advantage of the fact that audio streams in computers are usually buffered before playback - the algorithms read and work on the data in the buffer BEFORE it's even played... this is also how many phase-free EQ's work.

    Downside to that is you can't use these things on-the-fly. It's just like the reverse tape trick you're talking about... you can't do that while recording.
  10. siolle

    siolle Guest

    True Faclon, but the initial question was if effects should be used while recording or in the mix.
    And probably only if you have pre-mix a drumkit, or anythingelse, into one or two tracks.
    I guess this will only happen if you are short of I/O´s on your digital or if you have to save tracks on your analog.

  11. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    I suppose you're right...

    Directly on topic - I don't think there's much harm in recording dry first, then gating/compressing later. I don't really know what advantage gating while recording, but compression is to bring up the SNR while recording to tape - hardly an issue anymore with modern gear and/or digital recording. Record first, then compress and send out... that way you only have to get the performance right once.
  12. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    My two cents... If you record dry and use plugins later, pay attention to the signal routing options for the plugins. Many allow you to decide what modules within the plugins occur in what order. So, you may want to hit the EQ first, then the compressor, then the gate. But for some stuff, compressing before the gate may make it hard to cut some stuff out (snare bleeding onto toms, for instance) - so try gating first, then EQ, then compression. Each situation may require a different approach. :)
  13. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    I primarily use expanders and compressors to shape the tone of drums rather than to gate or even out volume... Attack too thin? Multiband the drums and expand the attack range. If done right it can actually save a drum track that has the mic placed a little too far away.

    Gating? I draw the envelopes. ;)
  14. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    You can do this with hardware of software that has a sidechain. You feed a mult of the original signal directly to the sidechain of the compressor and then other into a delay. Set the delay to 2ms or more until you get the attack of the compressor to zero. Of course the quality of the delay used impacts the tone, but that can be a good thing. If the latency is a problem, it can be done in mixing where you have the ability to time slip the track. Units like the TC Finalizer or the TC DBmax that I use have look ahead delay and it can be adjusted by as little as uS or frames. The same thing works for expanders and gates.

    I don't use gates in recording because I think they are a crude tool and I usually have so may other things that I'm trying to do and worry about that messing with a gate is way low on the priority list. Besides, gates really only work well when you have a very consistant drummer with above average performance techniques.
  15. Kamabdo

    Kamabdo Active Member

    Sep 21, 2003
    In a perfect world, u would want to track something as clean as possible.. no compression, no efx, nothing... just the desired signal.. But we live in a crazy world... With bad vocalist, u need compression to control their erratic vocal performances.... In noisey situation with alot of ambient leakage, u might use a gate.... But from my experience, having tracked music and vocals in various places (world famous state of the art recording studios to recording in someones living room in a put together studio), I try to make the recording chain as clean and short as possible... There are times when i break that rule when im going for a certain sound.. Like double compressing distorted guitars and running it across 2inch tape before it hits protools... So it all depends.. But genrally speaking, i use a good mic going to a good pre with a compressor i like and sounds good.. i never use a gate or expander before hittimg my multitreack... Id rather do that afterward... By the way, LEAKAGE is very overrated... If the song is a good song at the core of it, a little leakage never hurt nobody...separation is sometimes overrated tooo.... Just my thoughts people... PEACE
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