Noise Gates: Do you also need two?!

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Bassman1, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. Gudbrand

    Gudbrand SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Okay, I think the answer is #6: the NS-2 is not a noise gate. I guess I should have known from the name "noise suppressor", but there is a lot of conflicting information in reviews and forums. Even the manual says "The NS-2 works as a noise-gate unit, cutting the noise and hum that occur between song intervals or a break", which mislead me.

    After doing more reading, it seems like many noise suppressor pedals are not true gates, in the sense that they do not offer 100% attenuation. I have always assumed they do, so I learned something today.

    In that case, you were right. The combined hum of all the pedals plus the preamp lead channel is too loud, and becomes noticeable even though it is attenuated. (The hum is still better than when you bypass the NS-2, right?) Sorry if I mislead you with my own wrong assumptions!

    So your idea of adding a second noise suppressor makes sense. Or switching to a different pedal that offers control over the attenuation amount, or naturally attenuates more than the NS-2.
     
  2. Bassman1

    Bassman1 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA

    Wow... This was super helpful. Thanks for investigating! I was starting to get suspicious myself and was thinking that it had to be one or a combination of problems #4-6. I've had my NS-2 for probably 13 or 14 years. So, maybe it's just not working as well as it used to.

    Super interesting about your conclusions in the last post...the hum is definitely wayyyyy better than when bypassed. So, it's definitely working. It's just not a complete solution. It sounds like a band-aid.

    In this regard, maybe it's time to replace my NS-2 with something like a Sentry or G String. I'm still waiting on the NR300 to arrive just to do a little more experimenting.

    Thanks for going off on this! I really found this helpful.
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  3. GoldDragon

    GoldDragon SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,268
    Likes Received:
    388
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Location:
    Delaware
    NS-2 is not a gate in that it has a release and can engage gradually. But it does have the ability to filter out all the noise, with exception of ground loops. If background noise is so great that the difference between the guitar sound and the noise is similar, no noise gate will cope well.

    Another thing you can do is buy some 9V batteries to see if the power supply is causing the issues. Then you can pinpoint what is the issue.

    You are going through alot of pain to solve this, but I feel that in the end you wont be happy. I have never been happy with any setup that has gremlins, even if I do find a workaround. Life is too short to screw with problematic gear. (Apparently that mesa has a known design flaw?? that you have to swap the PI tube with a lower gain one?? No thank you. That is BS.)

    I would return the head and get something else.
     
  4. Bassman1

    Bassman1 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Honestly, I don't think the head is the issue. The FX loop was certainly noisy at first. But, that has been resolved. I never experienced what a lot of other MT15 owners have talked about with noise even on standby. That was never an issue for me. When I engage just the NS-2 and use no other pedals, it's close to silent.

    I think you're right in one thing though...I need to simply! Definitely set on selling my whammy and possibly some other pedals at this point now.
     
  5. Gudbrand

    Gudbrand SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    No problem! I like digging into these kinds of problems. It helps that I should have been working on something else, but I was procrastinating.

    I don't think it can filter out all the noise, regardless of how loud it is.
    • Some noise gates advertise that they can attenuate 100% of the signal, but most don't.
    • Some, like the ISP Decimators and the EHX Silencer, advertise their maximum attenuation, which is something like -60 or -70 dB. That's not technically a mute, but it might as well be unless your rig hums at insane levels.
    • I'm no electrical engineer, but I examined the NS-2's schematic. It uses a VCA to attenuate the signal in noise reduction mode. Even if the VCA can totally mute the signal, or even if it supports high attenuation levels like -60 dB or more, any part tolerances or aging could theoretically leak voltage to the VCA, preventing full attenuation. There is no other way to completely mute the signal in noise reduction mode. In mute mode the entire signal gets shunted to ground, but that is separate from the noise reduction functionality.
    I'm actually tempted to buy an NS-2, not only to confirm this for myself, but also it looks like it would be easy to mod to make it a loop selector + noise suppressor. So stomping on it wouldn't disable the noise suppression, but rather bypass the loop entirely. Seems useful for toggling multiple stacked drives without the noise suppression messing with your clean sound.
     
  6. GoldDragon

    GoldDragon SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,268
    Likes Received:
    388
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Location:
    Delaware
    The NS-2 is a proven design thats been on the market for... 30+ years. I've owned both it and the NR300 copies. I still have a NR300 when I fire up a tube amp.

    Ive used various iterations of HUSH, but IME the best noise gate I have ever used is the digital one in the BOSS Gt-100. Stellar performance, it is double ended, can track the guitar input or input signal, can be put anywhere, and just works flawless. And there are two of them. ( It was much better than the gate in the HD500, maybe even better than the Helix gate.)

    Even if a gate can only attenutate 60db of noise vs 70, my opinion is that if you have that much background noise, there is something else wrong or you just have the gain up way too high.

    When the noise threshold gets too high, when you mute notes or have long tails, there will always be some "leakage" even if the gate can handle it. If you ever try to record with a sound like that, you will hear little "hisps" and "thwaps" in the background when you mute or when you move your hand between phrases. You can raise the gate higher to a point where it will compromise dynamics, but then you are in really strange territory. For instance, it will cut off note attack and neuter the sound.

    Get a NR300. Its only 25 and functionally identical to the NS-2.

    The NR300 has a "mute/reduction" switch. I think the mute will do a hard gate, havent tried it in a while. I use it on reduction because it tracks note tails better than a hard gate. Or maybe mute just cuts off the signal when pedal is on, id remeber.
     
  7. devastone

    devastone SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    160
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    What do you mean by "daisy chain my loud Digitech pedals"? Are you daisy chaining the power for them from of the NS-2? If so, that means you are pulling a lot of current off of one of the isolated outs, probably more than it is rated for. When you run a power supply at its limits, it gets noisy, and/or shuts down. You don't need to daisy chain power off of the NS-2, if you are pulling too much current on the same supply that is powering the NS-2, the noise could be coming from it.

    Again, make sure you are not pulling too much current from any one output.

    I've used the NS-2 in the past, it's not perfect, the Decimator is probably better, but the NS-2 will do the job. FWIW, I've never daisy chained power from it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  8. Gudbrand

    Gudbrand SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    I managed to miss that part. When you said you were using a CS12 I assumed each pedal was isolated. Digital pedals especially can get really noisy when daisy chaining them, and when mixing analog and digital in the same chain. That could be a huge source of the noise you're experiencing.
     
  9. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

    Messages:
    2,973
    Likes Received:
    2,603
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Arizona
    The NS-2 works great for clean tones. For heavy stuff it's great too, but for really fast heavy stuff it falls a little short. I play slower to moderately fast stuff and it works gret for all that. I liked the SmartGate better for faster heavy stuff and theh NS-2 for cleans.
     
  10. Bassman1

    Bassman1 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Just to clarify..

    I'm using the isolated power for all pedals. I tried Daisy chaining just for experimenting purposes. But, I'm only running pedals with their own power source in the CS12.

    The NS-2 is by no means bad. I really wonder if it also is just not as sharp as it used to be due to age. When the NR300 arrives, I'll definitely do some more experimenting.
     
  11. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1,644
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    I kind of think what others said above. The NS-2 isn't the best, but if it is not strong enough to battle the noise, then the noise is a bigger issue. You are band-aiding it instead of fixing the root issue. If you have so much noise you have to crank a NS-2, then there are other problems. I don't think I go over 1 oclock on the threshold on mine. And that is not even using the send/return jacks... just in/out before the amp.

    I assume some of these pedals also have their own supplies. The MXR EQ has a 18v adapter it comes with, and the Whammy typically has its own 9CAC adapter. Those other digital pedals can pull a lot of power (Digitech, TC Electronic), so I would make sure each tap can handle the requirements of each pedal.
     
    devastone and c7spheres like this.
  12. devastone

    devastone SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    160
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    Those old Digitech pedals are great, but they have a digital noise that gets amplified when they are in front of gain/comp pedals, I would try a setup without them, at least for trouble shooting.
     
  13. Bassman1

    Bassman1 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    UPDATE:

    So, I traded my whammy pedal straight up for a G String II locally. You were right! It fixed everything. I just ran it in an X formation along with my noisiest pedals (XP Compressor and Tube Screamer), it was absolutely silent. I cranked the volume to noon just to see if I could hear any hiss...nope.

    I guess that's really all I needed this whole time. The Boss has been fantastic over the years, but I guess it just couldn't handle my new rig. Thanks for everybody's input! I learned a lot, and this was all very helpful.

    For any MT15 owners with noisy ass pedals: the G String will solve all. (hehe)
     
    devastone, Rev2010 and c7spheres like this.
  14. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

    Messages:
    5,875
    Likes Received:
    912
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Yep, like I said, just get it and be done with it! Best noisegate ever! Glad to hear man :)


    Rev.
     
  15. ESPImperium

    ESPImperium @ESPImperium

    Messages:
    607
    Likes Received:
    300
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Ive just taken delivery of the SMG Cockblocker and its a noise gate done right, loads of STFU and sod all tone suckage. Ive got a NS-2 that ive been using for the better part of 15 years now that will now be semi-retired, and have had a ISP over the years.

    Sad thing is the Cockblocker is no longer being made, as it was only a limited run pedal.
     
    lewis likes this.
  16. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    7,393
    Likes Received:
    3,713
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Silly to do that when it was so popular and very very well made.
     
  17. Bassman1

    Bassman1 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA

    Finally got the board all patched together. So, I figured I'd post here. The G String is in X formation with the Tuner going before the guitar in. I've got the EQ, chorus, and Tremolo going before the Decimator in, and the rest following after the G string.

    With the MT15, this sounds fantastic. The gate is certainly hard, but this makes it perfect for djent.

    Appreciate everyone's help!
     
    Shask and c7spheres like this.
  18. Nicki

    Nicki SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    983
    Likes Received:
    688
    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    Oh sure when I say it, it must not be true but when the almight @Rev2010 does, it's gospel :rofl:.

     
    c7spheres likes this.
  19. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1,644
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Wasn't it a copy of the Fortin Zuul?

    If that is the case, the THAT noise processor IC chip used for those quit being made in through-hole, and is now made in SMT only. Maybe the person that made those can't work with SMT stuff?? Even the Zuul, and other copies had to be re-designed for the chip change.
     
  20. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1,644
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Curious what you use the bass overdrive for. I have one of those, and never found much of a use for it, lol. Maybe I should dig it out.
     

Share This Page