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Noise Gates/Noise Reducers.. and other stuff


p90jr

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Someone elsewhere asked for recommendations on noise gates and noise reducers.

 

I play a Danelectro 12-string and a tele through a JangleBuzz... I mean JangleBox on the treble boost setting, which nails some great classic sounds, but is VERY noisy. I rely on an MXR noise gate that follows it. It also comes in handy when clubs have grounding issues (along with a HumX).

 

Anyway, the instant response to that question, after a few mentions of pedals, was the old "they suck your tone" comments.

 

I'll post what I said:

 

I have never had a regular person in an audience say anything to me about "your tone," but I've had a couple say things like "your 'speaker' was too noisy" or "I think your guitar has hum feedback." I often wonder who the guys are who are playing for a room full of "tone snobs" who actually pay to get in? Must be a lively show with all the crossed arms and attention to tonal detail in the room.

 

I think we guitar players as group can get hung up on some silly, impractical things... but then I have to remember 90% of the guitarists on things don't gig...

 

So the question then becomes, why do they offer advice that isn't practical (and argue endlessly about it) to those who do?

 

 

 

 

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So the question then becomes, why do they offer advice that isn't practical (and argue endlessly about it) to those who do?

 

Dilettantes. The internet allows people to become important (in their own minds) in ways that real life doesn't.

Scott Fraser
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So the question then becomes, why do they offer advice that isn't practical (and argue endlessly about it) to those who do?

 

Dilettantes. The internet allows people to become important (in their own minds) in ways that real life doesn't.

 

:D:2thu:

 

Which iteration of the Janglebox do you have, p90'? PS center-positive, center-negative... ? How are you powering it?

 

I see that the makers of the Janglebox are now also offering their own noise-suppressor,

"The New J-Gate"...

 

In general, I'm all for noise gates and noise reduction.

 

I don't know as I ever noticed a noise-gate/suppressor to "suck tone"- though they can cut off the tail of sustained notes, particularly if used incorrectly. They can take some finessin' to dial in just-right. You may have to "play" them, too, listening and feeling for that cut-off point.

 

I get by as best I can without a 'gate to begin with, finding ways to reduce hum and noise and RF and all first; better cables, routing, better power supplies, finding which pedals will play nice with daisy-chained PS's and which WON'T, using an outlet-tester BEFORE I plug in... Then if I have to, I'll use some kind of 'gate.

 

Currently, for me, that's a Guyatone SV2 Slow Volume, which is actually an envelope auto-volume "swell" effect, in the Boss "Slow Gear" vein, but in a pinch, it's alright enough as a temporary 'gate for stubborn noisiness such as I'll sometimes get when stacking gainy pedals. It helps that (A) I'm a fingerstyle player with a good grip on lot of muting and damping with either hand and all fingers, and (B) I have a lot of stick-time using various volume-swell effects and techniques. Oh, and ©, that I tend to get pretty massive sustain to begin with, by various means and factors. That meaning, I don't have much trouble with sustained notes fading enough to get chopped-off by an envelope-sensing noise-gate.

 

Now, my misassigned SV2 would sound and feel pretty dreadful as a noise-gate for clean tones; grainy, not enough headroom, I suspect that it may have been damaged by a spiky unexpected feedback/wah/octave-fuzz/distortion/phaser burst. :freak::rolleyes: But it does alright enough, for me, for now, for heavily overdriven, distorted, and octave-fuzzed tones. :D:thu:

 

 

I haven't owned a true, actual noise-suppressor for a long time; the best one I'd tried, and owned, long ago, was a Boss NS-50, a "half-rack" unit. It was stereo, and had a "Side-Chain" input for controlling the 'gate; if I ran a fairly hot signal into the Side-Chain jack, say, such as from a headphone-output jack on a preamp, it tracked absolutely, very impressively FLAWLESSLY. No tone-sucking, no tail-chopping. :D:2thu::cool:

 

I've noticed that while the going rate for an old, used NS-50 was pretty cheap a few years ago, currently they're considerably more expensive...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I have the original JangleBox, center-negative, I think... powered by a chained One Spot, and it's only a buzz/hum problem on the "McGuinn" (treble-boosted) setting, and then only with single-coil guitars. Usually, my rig (which usually has a lot of pedals in the chain) is quiet... or as quiet as can be attained with the questionable wiring in some of the dives I gig in, even with a Tele, but the HumX at the end of the power strip deserves a lot of that credit (and not getting shocked on vocal mics anymore is an added plus).

 

The Danelectro is cool but wasn't designed or assembled as a pro-instrument, let's face it. A friend inherited an original that his dad had bought brand new in the late 50s and which had never been tampered with... and I was there when he took one of the pickups apart to see if he could fix it when it stopped working one day, and inside the lipstick tube was a nail haphazardly wrapped in wire! We died laughing... he called his dad to see if he'd messed with it or had it "fixed" over the years, but no... that's how it came. I can't remember what he did but he got it working, again.

 

That guitar is kind of noisy, anyway... the noisegate makes it usable (and the JangleBox makes it sound as good as a Rickenbacker 12) and might pinch off a bit of the highs, but that's kind of welcome in that usage (usually going through an AC15).

 

The Tele plus that setting on the JangleBox gets a great, compressed squishy jangly sound... the center position on the JB is the Nashville squish chicken-picking thing, and nails it... but the treble-boosted setting... well, I use it for "Last Train To Clarksville" by The Monkees and it sounds perfect. It also lets me do some nice faux-pedal steel licks, in conjunction with the volume pedal, because of the endless sustain it adds.

 

People complain that the JangleBox is a one-trick pony, I correct them that it has three default settings, which would make it a three trick pony, but that's only if you don't approach things from experimenting with them to see what you can come up with beyond the obvious use. Gibson and Les Paul meant for the Les Paul to be used in clean, low-output jazz settings. Fender was warning people against turning their amps up until they "distorted" even in the late 60s. Don't read the manual!

 

And sustain! The endless quest for sustain!. It sounds as if you play in a way that has some very subtle things and a wide dynamic range, which is awesome (I love Mark Knopfler and Blake Mills). But guys who are sawing away in a loud pop punk or metal band with an overdriven amp following 2 or 3 distortion pedals... I have no idea what they think they're talking about when then they start with the sustain discussions... they don't stop firing away long enough for a note to sustain in the first place!

 

I fear I'm becoming old, grouchy and elitist... or is that experienced, discerning and refined?

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So the question then becomes, why do they offer advice that isn't practical (and argue endlessly about it) to those who do?

 

Dilettantes. The internet allows people to become important (in their own minds) in ways that real life doesn't.

 

Yep. (pauses, looks in mirror for period of self-reflection...)

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The Danelectro is cool but wasn't designed or assembled as a pro-instrument, let's face it. A friend inherited an original that his dad had bought brand new in the late 50s and which had never been tampered with... and I was there when he took one of the pickups apart to see if he could fix it when it stopped working one day, and inside the lipstick tube was a nail haphazardly wrapped in wire! We died laughing... he called his dad to see if he'd messed with it or had it "fixed" over the years, but no... that's how it came. I can't remember what he did but he got it working, again.

 

Too funny!

 

That guitar is kind of noisy, anyway... the noisegate makes it usable (and the JangleBox makes it sound as good as a Rickenbacker 12) and might pinch off a bit of the highs, but that's kind of welcome in that usage (usually going through an AC15).

 

If a noise-gate/suppressor rolls off highs, "sucks tone", or anything like that, it's not because it's a 'gate, it's a matter of quality, components, design.

 

Then again, some people, hendrix possibly among 'em, like the subtle, warming treble roll-off of coily-cables...

 

The Tele plus that setting on the JangleBox gets a great, compressed squishy jangly sound... the center position on the JB is the Nashville squish chicken-picking thing, and nails it... but the treble-boosted setting... well, I use it for "Last Train To Clarksville" by The Monkees and it sounds perfect. It also lets me do some nice faux-pedal steel licks, in conjunction with the volume pedal, because of the endless sustain it adds.

 

I love a Tele through a good squishy compressor! I have a good squishy compressor- a Home Brew Electronics Compressor-Retro, a.k.a. HBE CPR. I don't have a Tele... :rolleyes: I'll correct that someday...

 

People complain that the JangleBox is a one-trick pony, I correct them that it has three default settings, which would make it a three trick pony, but that's only if you don't approach things from experimenting with them to see what you can come up with beyond the obvious use.

 

A little experimentation will often reveal all manner of versatility. Look (listen) how many different types of sounds players can get out of using fuzz pedals in different ways! I didn't know for the longest time that David Gilmour used a Big Muff Pi on so many tunes- he almost makes it sound clean, and certainly not what I think of at the word "fuzz"! Just an example...

 

And sustain! The endless quest for sustain!. It sounds as if you play in a way that has some very subtle things and a wide dynamic range, which is awesome (I love Mark Knopfler and Blake Mills). But guys who are sawing away in a loud pop punk or metal band with an overdriven amp following 2 or 3 distortion pedals... I have no idea what they think they're talking about when then they start with the sustain discussions... they don't stop firing away long enough for a note to sustain in the first place!

 

I range from maybe a little subtle to definitely, unmistakably bombastic; I love it all. My Les Paul is pretty sustainful; the way I "play the amp", using the "overdrive" channel with my guitar's volume rolled back for clean tones, is pretty sustainful, especially when in very close proximity to it for subtle but effective feedback-induced sustain; adding in some Octron octave-down fuzz will add even more sustain in that setting; and I have a secret-weapon, a Maniac Music Sustainiac "Acoustic Feedback" generator, which clamps a small vibrating-transducer onto the headstock to induce feedback directly through the wood of the neck and the strings... Sustain has never been a problem for me. :2thu: If someone else takes my guitar and plays through my rig set as-is, they'll likely have trouble with unwanted sounds jumping out! :D

 

I fear I'm becoming old, grouchy and elitist... or is that experienced, discerning and refined?

 

Definitely the latter three.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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later additions to the conversation elsewhere:

 

Original poster: I want the gate for practice. I have a big loud amp that I want to hear clearly at low volumes. Any decent sound guy can gate a hiss with a soundboard.

 

 

Me: How's that going to stop it coming out of your big loud amp onstage?

 

 

O.P.: The amp's turned up loud so the guitar is louder than the hiss, so you don't hear it.

 

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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later additions to the conversation elsewhere:

Original poster: I want the gate for practice. I have a big loud amp that I want to hear clearly at low volumes. Any decent sound guy can gate a hiss with a soundboard.

 

Me: How's that going to stop it coming out of your big loud amp onstage?

 

O.P.: The amp's turned up loud so the guitar is louder than the hiss, so you don't hear it.

 

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

 

As someone who does this for a living (the "sound guy" thing) I say to your correspondent, "Good luck with that approach".

Scott Fraser
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He clarified... his 150 watt amp has a drive channel he uses onstage, and that doesn't have the "hiss." But when he practices in his bedroom, he can only use the clean channel, and he uses a compressor and overdrive (I guess a pedal?) and it's very noisy. I told him that compressors tend to elevate noise and you want a gate after them before the noise gets elevated further by an overdrive pedal. I now see that I assumed he was putting the compressor first, which he probably isn't. which of course will elevate whatever noise is generated by the od pedal.

 

I started to tell him to go buy a solid state practice amp, since I'm sure his big loud 150 watt amp is solid state... but I started getting a headache thinking about the entire thing.

 

And I'm not thinking "tone" fits anywhere in this discussion.

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I think we all have to remember the different levels of expertise on the forum. There are many that have never gigged, but they might give everyone something to think about as they have experience with noise gates. We all just throw in our 2 cents and most of us are not looking for internet fame of any kind or looking in the mirror self-reflecting. With that said, I have many fun experiences from my old gigging days to share...but I digress as there are too many stories to tell from the good old days.

 

+1 on what Scott said about good luck relying on the "sound man" to provide a noise gate for just about everyone on stage. Also, rest assured if you show up with a 400 watt Bass amp buzzing to beat the band, no sound man is going to put you through the PA and you have to correct your own buzz problem (or in my case, have I got an amp for you with an xlr and level control, with no noise that you are going to play through if you want to play)...

 

that's just one example...here's another:

 

White Noise. Before all the techie crap that's out there today, bands had to listen to the "rush" noise (not just 60 cycle hum from someone's single coiled Strat...but a loud noise on stage when no one was on stage LOL! The good old boys playing with two prong outlets and polarity switches had to take this into consideration. Put amps on stand-by when not in use. If you hear a loud hum, walk up and touch the strings and viola, the hum goes away. That's probably why the guy thinks the band can play over the white noise, because when the band starts playing the strings are being touched and a lot of the noise goes away. The drums overpower the white noise as do the vocals too. Pretty soon everyone's had plenty to smoke and drink and could care less about "tone" or buzz problems anyway... But, nowadays, we don't worry because technology has resolved a lot of the old problems.

 

Would you know when there is a loud humming noise taking over the whole auditorium to go up and touch the strings on the acoustic, bass and electric guitars? Would you know to put the amps on stand-by or kill the volumes? Would you know to switch the snare drum from snare to tom? Would you know to go find the player that was causing the problem and let him/her know what you had to do to keep everyone from leaving the club cause their ears were getting blown away...or, would you just hit the mute button?

 

As far as tone suck, IMHO it's better to kill the buzz than to have somebodies OD, Distortion, or whatever problem is being amplified to the max, ruin the show.

 

The big problem for the "sound man" is to be able to isolate a problem ASAP, and some you just can't solve with a noisegate...

 

Back on topic, noise gates, DI's with ground lifts and other technologies we never knew about in my day (or we just didn't have them), can be very effective today. I learned about a noise problem with the Fender Mustang amp that could be solved with the on-board noise gate. I posted the YouTube on the forum for those that bought the amp (some of which had a major problem). Then, I used the same "Utility" settings at my own gig to alleviate the same problem coming over my PA from my Fender Floor multi effects pedal...

 

OK, that's my 2 cents...LOL!

 

ps. there are many different levels of gigging experience to take into consideration, from major stages on down to small town local bars...

Take care, Larryz
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Oh, everyone here is wise and reasonable... when people come in to ask questions they defer to the collective wisdom and experience and everybody has something to add.

 

this conversation was on a Facebook group, where every lunatic with a wifi connection speaks up, and many "deep troll," just spouting nonsense to see if someone falls for it, and since there's a lot of you kids...

 

ex: "Hey, I'm getting a buzz in my amp all of a sudden. How do I fix it?"

 

"Have you tried water insulation? Put just about 8 inches of water in your bathtub, and put the amp in upside down so just the electronics are in the water. Leave it like that for an hour, then take it out and plug it in right away. The buzz should be gone. You're welcome."

 

"^DO NOT DO THAT! YOU'LL RUIN YOUR AMP AND POSSIBLY KILL YOURSELF!!"

 

"^He's lying! This is what the pros do and he just doesn't want you sounding better than he does. Jimi Hendrix did this before every show! John Mayer does it!"

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The Danelectro is cool but wasn't designed or assembled as a pro-instrument, let's face it. A friend inherited an original that his dad had bought brand new in the late 50s and which had never been tampered with... and I was there when he took one of the pickups apart to see if he could fix it when it stopped working one day, and inside the lipstick tube was a nail haphazardly wrapped in wire! We died laughing... he called his dad to see if he'd messed with it or had it "fixed" over the years, but no... that's how it came. I can't remember what he did but he got it working, again.

 

Too funny!

 

 

You know... curiosity about remembering this lead me to do some research, and while the original lipstick pickups are certainly simple as can be, they are a small thin rectangular magnet wrapped in wiring... and knowing this guy, thinking back, he might've been playing a practical joke on the rest of us in the band, which he alone is still laughing to himself about to his day. He was from the desert in Arizona and his sense of humor was as dry as that climate. A young girl in the apartment next to his was moving out one day and asked if he wanted this old sofa she was otherwise going to leave on the street. He said "thanks, but that's naugahyde... my grandfather kept naugas as pets, I think exploiting them for their hides is cruel." She said "naugahyde is vinyl... it's man-made." "Well, imitation naugahyde is manmade, after they nearly caused the extinction of naugas... that's old enough to be the real thing." This was daily life with this guy, with nary a chuckle on his part until hours later, remembering it. He was kind of hard to be around.

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Oh, everyone here is wise and reasonable... when people come in to ask questions they defer to the collective wisdom and experience and everybody has something to add.

 

this conversation was on a Facebook group, where every lunatic with a wifi connection speaks up, and many "deep troll," just spouting nonsense to see if someone falls for it, and since there's a lot of you kids...

 

ex: "Hey, I'm getting a buzz in my amp all of a sudden. How do I fix it?"

 

"Have you tried water insulation? Put just about 8 inches of water in your bathtub, and put the amp in upside down so just the electronics are in the water. Leave it like that for an hour, then take it out and plug it in right away. The buzz should be gone. You're welcome."

 

"^DO NOT DO THAT! YOU'LL RUIN YOUR AMP AND POSSIBLY KILL YOURSELF!!"

 

"^He's lying! This is what the pros do and he just doesn't want you sounding better than he does. Jimi Hendrix did this before every show! John Mayer does it!"

 

I've never been on Facebook, but I appreciate the dark humor LOL! :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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