5 Best Noise Gate Pedals to Supress All Side Guitar Noises
Last updated: Apr 29, 2020
69Hours of Research
Whether you have aspirations of being your generation’s Eric Clapton or enjoy gigging with your band, humming, squealing, and other noises can compromise your sound. Fortunately, a noise gate pedal can provide a great solution for these issues. Noise gate pedals are designed to eliminate the noises beyond a specified threshold to create a clean sound without cutting off your long notes or compromising your performance. While a noise gate pedal may be a relatively inexpensive piece of kit, it should be an invaluable tool in your arsenal, so it is crucial to choose the best noise gate pedal for your set up.
With so many noise gate pedals on the market, it can be difficult to make a purchase decision. In our best noise gate pedal review, we’ve considered the functionality and performance of the pedals, looking at modes, sound quality, interface, warranties, and prices. These factors should heavily influence your choice of the pedal and help you to find the one best suited to your requirements.
Top 5 Best Noise Gate Pedals Review 2020
Our research team has compiled a list of some of the best noise gate pedals on the market. Our team not only look at the features of each pedal, but also manufacturer information and user feedback. These details have allowed us to create in-depth reviews, a comprehensive buying guide, and product tables to help you to make your informed purchase decision.
Boss is a well-known name in the guitar pedal world, and the NS-2 is a great example of why. This pedal is favored by many artists and industry pros, providing reliable performance exactly as advertised. Like all pedals in the Boss product line, it has a robust look and feel with a compact design. The solid metal casing has the signature Boss strip on the stomp box, so you can be assured that it can take any hits.
The NS-2 has Decay and Threshold knobs to provide generous amounts of tone shaping and elimination. Unlike some noise gate pedals, the NS-2 does not reduce instrument clarity. So, you can use this pedal as part of a varied, large board set up.
The NS-2 will also look great on the pedalboard with noisiest boxes, such as compressors and gain behind this pedal in your chain, and your time effects, such as your reverb and delay. This pedal will not detract from your effects.
The Boss NS-2 runs on one 9V battery, or you can use an AC adapter power supply, which makes it flexible for studio or gig use, even if you don’t have access to a reliable power outlet. As with all the Boss pedals, the NS-2 is supplied with a five-year warranty and features four jack inputs; input, output, return, and send.
While the Boss NS-2 is not glamorous with no frills, it is utterly essential and highly reliable. This should make the NS-2 a mainstay on your board for many years to come. You can have complete confidence that the pedal is capable of taking a beating and continue performing without giving you any problems. This makes this model our choice for the best noise gate pedal.
The Rowin Noise Killer is a compact pedal that is ideal for adding it to the end of your effect pedal chain. This effective pedal has a simple design, working to minimize and eliminate sounds and buzzes that are extraneous to your effects as your music moves through to your amp. This creates a tidier and cleaner finish and eliminates the needs to switch pedals immediately after you finish a song or have played a solo.
The Rowin Noise Killer works as a noise eliminator to prevent feedback and unwanted noises from being amplified when you’re not playing. You can set a threshold or volume limit on your pedal to determine when the gate is open to allow signals to pass and when it will shut to prevent the signals moving through to your amp. You can set your guitar, amp, and pedal to your optimum and then wind in your threshold, so while the notes, chords and sustains ring true, any buzz, the noise of feedback is cut off from the amp.
Rowin has made use of the advances in circuitry design to create a pedal with a compact design that can literally fit in the palm of your hand. This small design allows you to fit more gear on your pedalboard and reduces the overall weight of your gig bag. The zinc alloy shell ensures that the Noise Killer is rugged enough to cope with continuous use and allow you the confidence to rely on your pedal when gigging live.
The Rowin Noise Killer has a threshold range of -70dB to +10dB with a current draw of 26mA. The pedal requires a 9V DC power supply that is not included and has a weight of just 8 ounces.
The ISP Technologies Decimator II is probably the best noise suppressor gate pedal on the market. The Decimator II is the second-generation Decimator noise reduction device and features improved innovations and performance that is unique and covered under new pending patents. This pedal features improvements in expander tracking with the Linearized Time Vector Processing. This improvement offers a more linear constant response for exponential downward expander release curve, dynamically changing responses to fit the input signal. This has increased the smoothness of expander release response, virtually eliminating release ripple for smooth decay of your longer sustained notes.
The design is the perfect example of simplicity, providing just the complexity needed and nothing more. This pedal reduces noise completely regardless of what type of gear you’re using. There is only one control knob for the threshold with footswitch for input/output, on/off and link in/link out. The link in and out serves linking two Decimators simultaneously. This allows you to put one at the front and one at the back of your chain for the ultimate noise gate.
The Decimator II has a bulletproof, rugged design that is ideal for musicians on the road. If you’re continually gigging, you can have confidence that your pedal can handle the beating it will take. Despite this impressive performance, the Decimator II is an affordable option. Although it is not the best low-price noise gate pedal, it is certainly one of the most inexpensive options.
The Decimator II is one of the best noise gate pedals on the market. It is easy and simple to use without a hefty price tag. The stiff built and rugged design makes it a great companion when you hit the road.
Electro-Harmonix is considered a heavyweight in the guitar world. The brand is a pioneer in the guitar effects since the 1970s with an almost unrivaled back catalog with only Boss having a similar volume of gear and positive reviews. The Silencer exemplifies the Electro-Harmonix standards and is a professional, sophisticated noise gate pedal. There are three knobs; reduction, thresh, and release which provide an ability to fine-tune sound precisely through the gate.
The release knob allows you to regulate the time the gate will remain open after the signal has dropped below the threshold. This can be adjusted from 8 milliseconds up to 4 seconds. Reduction allows you to regulate the signal reduction levels through the gate with a range of -70 dB to +4 dB and the threshold allows you to adjust the levels which the gate opens to permit the signal through.
One of the most impressive features of this pedal is that it can be used as an inline regular noise gate, or you can gate your entire effects loop. There is also a “Buffered Bypass” effect, so you can retain your effects loop even if you bypass the pedal.
The Silencer has four jacks; send, return, input, and output with a compact design that is remarkably rugged. You can power this pedal using a 9-volt battery or use a standard 9V DC adapter. The unit has a pro looking design with a jet-black color to provide a polished and sleek finish that will look great on any pedalboard. This is a top of the line product that allows you to prioritize precision tuning without needing to shell out for overpriced gear.
The TC Electronic EQ provides a gateway to a fully dynamic, yet noise-free performance. The pedal features innovative multi-band technology for instant noise removal. This pedal is highly intuitive, making it easy to dial out unwanted noise quickly, so you can eliminate issues on-site if you develop a hum or buzz during your gig soundcheck.
The Multiband technology features one of the most advanced algorithms for noise reduction. This will allow you to hone in on a specific frequency to remove extraneous noise quickly without compromising core tone. This creates a seamless, organic noise reduction.
This pedal also features the classic hard gate mode, which provides immediate noise cut off effects. You can go from a full-on sound barrage to complete silence instantly, so your epic riff dramatically reemerges with unprecedented force.
The TC Electronic EQ also features TonePrint for signature effects and creative tones. The TC team asked pro artists to create customized signature versions of TC Electronic effects, and these are made available for free with this pedal. The TonePrint editor also allows you complete control over your effect parameters, so you can create your own signature sound.
The EQ pedal has a rugged design, and this is backed with a TC Electronic 10-year warranty, so you can have confidence that this little pedal can cope with heavy use.
Easy to use controls
Some users report lag issues
Even if you’re not a pro musician, you’re likely to have experienced unwanted hiss, hum or other noises from your set up. When this occurs, you need a good quality noise gate pedal. The best noise gate pedals reduce the effects of hum from noisy pickups or anything that creates unwanted electrical sounds in your rig. Noise gate pedals can also remove the white noise from distortion or overdrive pedals. Unfortunately, with so many noise gate pedals on the market, choosing the best one can be a challenge. So, here we’ll explore in more detail the factors you should consider and features to look for before you make your purchase decision.
Features to consider while choosing a noise gate pedal
Just like any piece of gear, the features on a noise gate pedal will vary from one to another. So, when you are shopping for a new pedal, there are some features that you should consider, including:
The interface on each noise gate pedal is different, but there are likely to be some common features that will help you to choose the right pedal for your set up. It is a good idea to look for an interface that features threshold and decay controls. The threshold will require a little fine-tuning, but it will allow you to kick the pedal in to cancel noise as you need it. This knob sets the sensitivity of the noise suppression. If you set the threshold to maximum, it will cut almost anything including your guitar signal. Backing it off a little will allow you to get some nice feedback swells.
Decay determines the speed that the noise gate is triggered and the selected threshold is reached. A fast decay can create an unnatural tone, while a slow decay causes improper function that negates the pedal. With a little tweaking, you can set how slow or fast you want your signal to fade out. This will help you to eliminate longer notes being chopped off or create a choppy sound that is suited to high gain, tight rhythm playing.
The interface may also include LEDs to help you quickly see that the pedal is operating correctly when you’re on a dark stage and multiple inputs to help you tailor your effects chain to suit your unique sound. For example, the Decimator II features a link in and link out input, so that you can incorporate two Decimators into your chain. This allows you to put one noise gate pedal at the start of your chain and one in the back for the ultimate effect.
Some noise gate pedals also have increased functionality with different modes. The Rowin Noise Killer has hard and soft modes. As the name suggests, the hard mode provides hard effects of noise reduction, while soft mode offers soft effects of noise reduction. Soft noise can include anything from refrigerators to fans that can be audible in a quiet environment, whereas hard noise include hums, squeals, and other feedback sounds that can compromise your sound. The other example of noise gate pedals with different modes on our list is the Boss NS-2. This pedal features mute and reduction modes. In the reduction mode, the NS-2 suppresses unwanted noise that is determined by the Threshold level. The Mute mode mutes all sound once the pedal is activated, acting like a kill switch to provide dead silence. These modes can be easily activated: you simply select the mode and press the pedal on.
Dimensions and Weight
When you have an extensive setup, the space on your pedalboard can become tight, so you need to know that your noise gate pedal can slot into your set up without impacting your other effects. Many manufacturers appreciate this and design noise gate pedals with compact designs that can easily be accommodated on a pedalboard. It is worth looking at your current set up to check what space you have available and think about your future purchases so that you can keep your new pedal in your set up.
It is also important to think about the size and weight of your new pedal for easy transportation to your next gig. Gig bags can quickly become weighed down, and whether you’re using public transport or pilling into a tour bus, you need to keep your set up as streamlined as possible. Fortunately, these pedals tend to be lightweight, so they can easily be accommodated in a small gig bag pocket or even in your guitar case. However, you don’t want to go so lightweight that your pedal loses durability. This requires a compromise between weight and rugged design, so your pedal can continue to perform without weighing you down.
Price and Warranty
Creating a gig set up can be a costly process, so you may naturally look for the cheapest option to eliminate the unwanted noise from your rig. Fortunately, there are noise gate pedals to suit all budgets. Our best budget pick, the Rowin Noise Killer offers impressive performance for a very modest price tag. However, it is worth looking at the features and functionality before you rule out a more expensive model.
It is also crucial to look at the warranty offered with each pedal. Pedals tend to have a hard life and need to take a pounding, particularly if you gig regularly. You need to know that your pedal can not only cope with being stomped on but can also handle being put in your gig bag and taken to your next venue. A significant warranty showcases a brand’s confidence that its product can handle everyday wear and tear. Some of the models on our list offer extensive five- or ten-year warranties from reputable brands that make it worth spending a little more, so you can have the reassurance that your new pedal will last the distance.
Branded pedals tend to offer greater reliability compared to cheap, generic pedals. While there are some decent offerings from mass-produced Chinese brands or overseas manufacturers, it is worth looking for a reputable company. For example, although you may pay a little more, Boss has a solid reputation that spans decades and provides an assurance of reliability and durability. A decent brand will also have more credibility for its warranty.
There are two options to place your noise gate pedal in your signal chain. If you don’t have a delay or reverb, place it at the end of the chain, but if you have them, you will need to place your noise gate pedal before them, or it will interfere with performance. Many artists like to put a noise gate after high gain pedals. This will allow the pedal to kick in and deal with the noise produced when a lot of gain is pushed into your signal. Some noise gate pedals are also designed to offer greater placement flexibility. For example, the Electro-Harmonix Silencer can be used as a regular inline gate, or you can gate your full effects loop. This model also has a buffered bypass to retain the effects loop even when you bypass your pedal.
A noise gate completely shuts off the sound, while a noise suppressor simply cuts certain frequencies. A noise gate will close when the signal is below a threshold to produce no sound, while a noise suppressor pedal never closes.
The Rowan Noise Killer compact pedal is an ideal choice for the end of your effect pedal chain. With a simple design, the pedal creates a cleaner finish, preventing feedback and unwanted noises. This pedal can literally fit in your palm, so you can reduce the overall weight of your set up and find more room on your pedalboard.
The Decimator II from ISP Technologies is probably the best noise suppressor, benefitting from previous generation technology with innovative features and simplistic design. This offers noise reduction regardless of the gear you’re using.
However, a standout and our pick as the best noise gate pedal has to be the Boss NS-2. This pedal has a compact design and robust look that can stand the test of time with a solid metal casing and signature Boss stomp box strip. With Decay and Threshold controls, you can be sure that the NS-2 will not reduce instrument clarity and not detract from your effects. Although it is not frills and not glamorous, the NS-2 offers fantastic reliability and should be considered utterly essential.