Using Gating to clean up your tracks

 Using Gating to clean up tracks. Sometimes no matter how hard we try there is unwanted noise in recordings. How can unwanted noise be dealt with without hurting the sound of the instrument? 

In every recording there is some unwanted noise

First extra noise isn’t always a bad thing. Bleed through can actually be used to enhance a sound, add to the sense of space or location in a mix. However when bleed start to overpower and diminish the actual sound needed something has to be done.

Open and close the gates

Gates are a wonderful little tool that when used properly control how much unwanted sound gets through. Used poorly they will destroy a sound by clipping off transients or tails. Most gates in plugins can act as a true gate by shutting off the sound completely when not activated. They can also act like a volume control by lowering the volume when not activated.

setting things right

Setting the threshold is crucial to getting gating right. Spend time listening to your source and get the threshold on the gate set where it opens as soon as the sound is played. Keep in mind that the gate needs to stay open long enough for the tail of the sound to come through as well.

When using gates on instruments like drums it can be useful to have the gate clean up some of the bleed from other drums. Something like a high hat in a snare mic. In this case you may want the gate to close completely in between hits. Using gates on vocals requires a different approach. The gate can be set to just lower the volume between phrases to help control breaths or headphone bleed. In that case use the gate to close down and “lower” the volume by a certain amount. 15-25db is usually good.

Que the video

I walk through some of the basics of using gates on instruments in today’s video. Check it out:

Don’t forget to check out my other blog post on using filters or how to sweep EQ to find and control frequencies.

You can also get a free studio gear guide here