Noise in your guitar rig can be such an irritating thing! No guitarist on earth wants to hear that annoying interference issue that the amp can emit while you are in performance.
Clearing your rig of this annoying buzz can be as easy as just adding a Noise Gate Pedal to it. Let’s discover the best noise gate pedal available for you. (And I’ll help you learn how to get the most out of these pedals to Neutralize Noise.)
The 5 Best Noise Gate Pedals That You Must Know!
#1 Boss NS 2 Noise Suppressor
If you want the same professional noise suppressor pedal used by bands like U2, Metallica, and Slipknot, among others, then the Boss Ns 2 Noise Suppressor pedal is the right choice for you. BOSS had kept this guitar pedal in continuous production since 1987, making the NS 2 an industry-standard in noise suppression.
The benefits you will obtain from the Noise Suppressor pedal depends greatly on understanding how it works and on how you connect it to your rig. To generate that aggressive metal staccato effect, this pedal can do the job, and it’s one of the best noise gate pedals out there.
The Ns 2 Noise Suppressor pedal features controls for Threshold, Decay, and the Mute and Reduction dual-mode operation:
- The Threshold control lets set how sensitive you wish the Noise Suppressor to be. But if you set the threshold level to max suppression, it will cut anything, including the original signal.
- The Decay control lets set how fast or slow you want the signal to fade out when the suppression circuitry kicks in. A much slow setting will give a more natural overall guitar sound. But, with a faster setting, it will generate a “choppy” sound that suits better for high gain rhythm playing.
- The Reduction and Mute dual-mode operation of the NS 2 let you set exactly how you want the guitar noise suppression to function. In Reduction mode, it suppresses unwanted noise, as determined by the threshold. In Mute mode, it will silence your sound once the pedal is switched on.
Simply move the mode selector to “Reduction” and press the pedal to activate Reduction mode. In this mode, the base signal passes through unfiltered, and pressing the pedal’s footswitch activates the noise attenuation.
When you want to preserve your guitar’s natural attack and envelope, this pedal has an innovative noise detection circuit that will let you get it. The NS 2 has such an effective performance today as it was when it was released.
The NS 2 has 4 jacks for Input and Output, Send and Return. These jacks allow this pedal to have two configuration modes depending on your rig. Let’s take a look at each one of the two configuration modes:
- With the first and most simple mode, you just connect it in-line, like any other guitar effects pedal, and this will work as a noise killer. Working with this mode at high noise levels, the Noise Suppressor will have difficulty in determining what the primary signal is and what the noise is.
- The advanced method makes use of the NS 2’s intelligent detection circuit by using all 4 jacks. The INPUT of the NS 2 contains the signal detection circuit, whereas the actual noise elimination circuit is within the Send and Return loop to connect the other pedals of your pedalboards.
- This way, the NS 2 will activate the noise suppression circuit only as your primary signal dies out, resulting in a more natural guitar sound. The BOSS NS 2 was the first noise reduction guitar pedal to offer this feature that remains an industry-standard still today.
You’ll love this:
- High-quality noise detection circuit that preserves the natural attack and envelope of an instrument’s sound.
- Expanded suppression shaping with the Threshold and decay knobs.
- Dual-mode operation enables noise reduction and complete signal muting.
- Integrated Send and Return Loop for getting the best efficiency with other guitar effects pedals.
You might not like this:
- Bypass mode may alter your base tone, particularly in the higher frequencies.
#2 MXR M135 Smart Gate Noise Gate
If you want a highly effective noise gate pedal that offers many options with a minimalistic design and a simple knob, the MXR M135 Smart Gate is the perfect option for you. This mix of effectiveness and simplicity is probably why it’s the favorite option of Frank Lero from My Chemical Romance or Zoltan Bathory from 5 Finger Death Punch.
The M135 Smart Gate Noise Gate will make you shine when you’re playing. Say goodbye to the noise in your guitar rig thanks to its intelligent gate speed. Smart Gate can react slowly, so you will never suffer from a sudden cutting off of your sustain and adding great definition to your playing.
The M135 Smart Gate will let you pick the best setting for the sound of your pedal chain, thanks to its three operation modes. It has:
- Trigger Level Controller.
- Push Button that activates a HI TRIGGER RANGE.
- A slider switch for Hiss, Mid, and Full modes.
- Metal footswitch.
- Input & Output.
- Gate LED and 1Status LED.
- You can use a 9-volt battery, or a Dunlop ECB003 9-volt adapter as a power supply.
The 135 Smart Gate is one of the most versatile and capable noise gate pedals that can be used in a variety of situations. It is equipped with three selectable types of noise reduction to handle virtually any signal. Let’s take a look at each one of its controllers:
- The Trigger Level knob lets you set the threshold and adjust the level of sensitivity of the Noise Suppressor.
- The HI TRIGGER RANGE push-button will help you when you have excessive noise to get rid of.
- The slider switch lets you select from three attenuation modes:
- The HISS setting is best used with instruments that accent higher frequencies.
- The MID setting lets you work on guitar tones that are heavier in the mid-range.
- The FULL setting covers a complete range of noise, from taking care of AC hum, the line noise to anything else that’s generated in your other pedals.
You’ll love this:
- MXR M135 Smart Gate brings high quality to your rig. It features clean circuitry, hardwired bypass, and a precise threshold trigger.
- MXR’s housing was built to last. The MXR’s very stable housing has long ago become the norm for all guitar effects pedal manufacturers.
- HI TRIGGER RANGE mode is the best fixing tool when your guitar signal is excessively noisy.
- Intelligent gating means that the gate reacts slowly when you’re holding sustained notes, and faster when your playing speeds up.
- Three operation modes: Hiss for high-frequency noise, Mid for noisy guitar amps, and Full for wide-range signals and bass rigs.
You might not like this:
- Simple interface: Maybe it isn’t the right choice when you need more adjustability than the M135’s simple interface allows.
#3 TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate
Sentry Noise Gate pedal is the right choice for those of you searching for an extremely simple to use Noise Gate with cutting-edge technology. The multiband technology of the Electronic Sentry Noise Gate is based on the same algorithms as featured in System 6000, the TC Electronics definitive studio processing powerhouse.
If you want a Noise Gate pedal that can be used for creative sidechaining, this model from TC Electronics is the best option because it has a Send and Return loop so the gate can be in precise sync with other signals.
TC says to have a simple philosophy: “When you are using one of our products, you should hear something great – and if you don’t, you shouldn’t hear it at all”. The TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate has an impressive set of features. Let’s see how these features can help you improve your sound:
- The Send and Return loop lets you silence noisy pedals/amps, but without cutting out dynamics or feel.
- TonePrint enables almost endless gating options through limitless customization via the TonePrint editor.
- True Bypass: When Sentry is bypassed, you obtain optimum clarity and zero loss of high end because it’s off and has zero influence on your tone.
- True Bypass / Buffered Bypass: Sentry is very flexible, and you can switch the pedal from True Bypass to Buffered Bypass mode.
- Send and Return loop: You can plug your guitar directly into the pedal’s input while placing your noisy effects in the loop. Sentry lets your guitar sound naturally before the gate closes.
- Use sidechaining: When placing noise guitar effects pedals in the Send/Return loop, the signal coming from your guitar will determine when the gate opens and closes.
- You can use either a 9v battery or a 9v adapter as a power supply.
- The finest and most flexible noise reduction pedal engine compared to any other pedal on the market.
Now we will consider Sentry Noise Gate’s three knobs. These control the “When?”, “How much?” and “How quickly?” the noise will be eliminated:
- The threshold knob manages the signal level at which the gate should attenuate the signal.
- The Damp knob controls how strongly the Noise Gate should attenuate the output signal when the input signal falls below the set threshold.
- The Decay knob regulates how quickly Sentry should attenuate the output signal when the input signal falls below the set threshold.
Sentry provides a multiband level to control specific frequencies. The gate-type selector will let you select the desired noise gate setting as explained below:
- Gate setting to operate the Noise Gate pedal as a traditional single-band gate.
- TonePrint setting to use TonePrint-based noise gate configurations.
- Hiss setting to operate Sentry in multiband gate mode especially suited for eliminating hissing.
You’ll love this:
- Send/Return loop for patching noisy pedals through or creatively sidechaining in other audio signals.
- True Bypass allows the best clarity and zero high-end loss when the pedal is off.
- Three operating modes for maximum flexibility. Thanks to the mini-toggle switch to select between Gate / TonePrint / Hiss.
- TonePrint-enabled to let you beam cool signature tones into your pedal with the free TonePrint App.
- Optional Buffered Bypass mode prevents high-frequency loss from long cable runs.
You might not like this:
- Limited operating documentation can make using this pedal to its full potential difficult.
#4 Electro Harmonix Silencer
For those looking for a noise gate that can manage from a single pedal to a complete effects loop, the Silencer can be one of the best noise gates. It’s a sophisticated noise gate to remove unwanted noise and comes ready to be fine-tuned to fit your system, guitar, and playing style.
This Electro Harmonix’s pedal is especially effective for single-coil pickups’ guitars. It has a buffered bypass and a compact rugged-chassis design. The three-knobs layout provides precise fine-tuning to fit your guitars, system, and playing style:
- The threshold knob controls how much level is needed to open the noise gate and allow your signal to pass through. At the max level, the gate remains open and passes all signals through.
- Reduction controls how much the gated signal will be reduced. The reduction is variable between -70dB at max level for maximum noise reduction to +4dB at min level. And you can boost the noise instead of reducing it if you want to.
- Release controls how long the gate remains open after the signal drops below the threshold. Release time varies from a quick 8ms at min level to a slow 4 seconds at max level.
Silencer includes ¼ inch Input, Output, Send and Return jacks. The footswitch selects whether it’s engaged or in buffered bypass mode. The effects loop remains in your signal path while The Silencer is bypassed. The buffered bypass allows the loop to remain in your signal path when the gate is bypassed.
Connect the Send jack to the beginning of your effects loop. This jack outputs a buffered version of the signal present at the Input jack at all times. Connect the end of your loop to the Return jack. The preset signal at the Return jack is gated by The Silencer.
You’ll love this:
- Especial for Single-coil pickups: The Silencer is especially effective for guitars with this type of pickups.
- Three knobs precise fine-tuning: The three control layout provides precise fine-tuning to fit your needs.
- Special features: The Silencer delivers up to -70dB of noise reduction with 8ms to 4 seconds of release time. Making this device works as a time-based effects pedal.
- Buffered bypass: The effects loop remains in your signal path while The Silencer is bypassed. The buffered bypass allows the effects loop to remain in your signal path when the gate is bypassed.
You might not like this:
- Unwanted variations: When turning on and off, the Silencer can generate undesirable variations in your sound.
#5 ISP Technologies Decimator Micro
If you are looking for an effective way to clean up your guitar rig with an extremely compact and easy to use pedal. So, you need the new ISP Technologies Decimator Micro to put superior performance under your feet. You’ll find only one knob to set the Threshold level. With Decimator, you’ll enjoy the lack of other switches or modes to worry about.
When you need a Noise Gate pedal that flawlessly tracks everything from speedy riffs to long sustained phrases, you can obtain it thanks to its new Decimator X™ technology.
The all-analog circuit ensures absolute transparency. Decimator has a whole analog design that won’t alter your tone. There aren’t any digital artifacts to ensure the most transparent noise reduction available.
Decimator is a micro version of the full-sized ISP Technologies Decimator, which has been a preferred Noise Gate pedal for many guitar players. When your pedalboard needs noise reduction to let your guitar sound amazing, Decimator creation is the best option to fix all your troubles.
When you want a Noise Gate pedal that tracks the envelope of the signal and immediately changes the release to obtain sustained notes, Decimator provides a fully adaptive release response.
To obtain long, sustained notes and smooth responses, the new Decimator X™ technology uses time vector integration and eliminates any modulation of the note.
Other Noise Gate pedals we have seen adjust a fixed release time. But Decimator tracks what you’re playing, so you can have a full adaptive response. With Decimator, you can have all it and great transparent performance in a very tiny package.
Decimate Micro Pedal Features:
- Full Decimator in Micro Pedal package.
- New Decimator X™ technology uses Time Vector Integration.
- True Bypass design.
- The adaptive release provides the smoothest release response possible and tracks both staccato and long sustained notes.
- Adaptive tracking response tracks any playing style.
- Analog circuit for transparency / no digital aliasing.
- You can use a 9v battery or a 9v adapter as a power supply.
You’ll love this:
- Single threshold knob for ease of control. Enjoy the lack of other switches or modes to worry about.
- Adaptive circuit design tracks your playing and adjusts the gate parameters to keep your sound natural.
- The Micro pedal sized package is ideal for saving space. The simplest approach on the outside is similar to the Donner Noise Killer.
- Adaptive response tracks the envelope of both superfast staccato notes and long sustained notes.
You might not like this:
- Maybe not as effective when dealing with higher gain guitar tones.
Most Asked Questions About Noise Gate Pedals
Which are the best noise gate pedals?
Unwanted noise in the guitar rig is a widespread problem that has been annoying electric guitar players since the invention of this magnificent instrument. Using a noise gate pedal became a quite common real-time technique implemented in the early 1980s.
These devices will attenuate your original guitar signal when it drops below a certain threshold to prevent that annoying hum between licks, riffs, and chords.
There is a great wide variety of pedals on the market. Models such as Boss NS 2; TC Electronic Sentry; MXR M 135 smart Gate; ISP DECIMATOR Micro; Donner Noise Killer; and Behringer Noise Reducer Nr300 are among the most renowned.
But figuring out which are the best noise gate pedals for you depends more on your personal taste and your playing style.
Is a noise gate pedal necessary?
When you use distortion pedals, and you notice an annoying noise when you drive your gain up, this means you need to add a noise gate pedal to your rig.
Players using pedal distortion would need two important components from any noise gate pedal, Threshold and Decay, to solve this issue.
What is the difference between a noise gate and a noise suppressor?
When you want to block the entire signal until you start playing and shut off everything again when you stop, then a noise gate pedal will do this job for you.
A noise suppressor attempts to filter out the noise all the time, whether you are or you aren’t playing.
How do you use a noise gate pedal?
Once you connect a noise gate pedal to your rig, then you need to adjust the Threshold, Decay, and Reduction controls, that are present in most noise gate pedals on the market.
By this, you will attenuate signals that drop below a certain threshold, and it’ll cut your original guitar signal to prevent any hum when playing.
It is a good practice to put your noise gate pedals after your ambient pedals. It will give you all the space you desire with no associated noise in your rig.
Now we have reached the most exciting part of this article. When I reveal the Top Picks, I’ve selected to make your task of selecting a noise gate pedal as easiest as possible. Without further waiting, let’s discover the Top Picks.
3rd Place: Electro Harmonix Silencer
Electro Harmonix Silencer
The Silencer can manage from a single pedal to a complete effects loop and is especially effective for single-coil guitars. It provides precise fine-tuning to fit in your needs thanks to its three knobs layout.
The effects loop remains in your signal path when the gate is bypassed thanks to its buffered bypass. But you can hear undesirable variations in your sound when turning on and off The Silence. This is why I name Electro Harmonix Silencer my Second Runner-up.
2nd Place: TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate
TC Electronic Sentry
Sentry Noise Gate is a noise reduction pedal extremely simple to use with cutting-edge technology. It includes three operating modes for maximum flexibility thanks to the mini-toggle switch.
The Send/Return loop allows patching noisy pedals, and the True Bypass allows zero high-end loss and the best clarity when the pedal is off. The free TonePrint App enables a large number of cool signature tones into your pedal.
Sentry’s Achilles’ heel seems to be its limited operating documentation that can make using this pedal difficult. So, I name TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate as my Runner-up.
Winner: Boss NS 2 Noise Suppressor
Boss NS 2
The BOSS NS 2 Noise Suppressor is an industry-standard in noise suppression. The NS 2 can do the job of silencing a single-coil hum or generating an aggressive metal staccato effect. The NS 2 features a three knobs layout with Threshold, Decay, and the Mute and Reduction dual-mode control.
The 4 jacks for INPUT/OUTPUT and SEND/RETURN allow the NS-2 to have two configuration modes depending on your rig. In the simple mode, you connect it as any other effects pedals, and it works as a noise killer. The advanced method makes use of the NS 2’s intelligent detection circuit by using all 4 jacks.
The BOSS NS 2 has a unique noise detection circuit that preserves the natural attack and envelope of an instrument’s sound. The weakest point of the NS 2 is that Bypass mode may alter your base tone in the higher frequencies. Thanks to all these attributes, I name the Boss NS 2 Noise Suppressor as the Winner of my Top Picks.
As you could see in this article, Noise Gate pedals are great tools to free your guitar rig from any annoying noises. Here I tried to show you the best picture of what I believe are the most reliable options now available in the market.
Now you have a great amount of data and knowledge to judge which one is the best according to your taste and the equipment you have. Remember that I have selected what I consider the best devices according to my criteria to help you find the option that fits your needs better.
I expect I have helped you learn how to get the most out of these pedals to Neutralize Noise. I hope you have enjoyed the article, and this will help you select the best noise gate pedal for you.