If you’re experiencing unwanted hum, hiss or any noises from your rig, then you need a good quality noise gate pedal. It will reduce the effect of the hum from noisy pickups, pushing your volume or anything that creates an unwanted electrical sound within your system.
It will also remove the ‘white noise’ you get when distortion or overdrive pedals have too much gain.
And, since the use of a large number of pedals has never been higher, a Noise Gate is a vitally important part of your pedal board. But, there are many on the marketplace, some good, while others are not so good
So, we’ve have selected some of the most popular choices to find out which is the best Noise Gate pedal for you…
- Top 8 Best Noise Gate Pedals In 2020 Reviews
- 1 Boss Ns-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal
- 2 Isp Technologies Decimator Ii Noise Reduction Pedal
- 3 Tc Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal
- 4 Mxr M135 Smart Gate Noise Gate
- 5 Electro-Harmonix The Silencer Guitar Noise Gate Pedal With Effects Loop
- 6 Donner Noise Killer Guitar Effect Pedal Noise Gate
- 7 Behringer Noise Reducer Nr300 Ulitmate Noise Reduction Instrument Effects Pedal
- 8 Mooer EQ Effects Pedal 2.25 X 4.25 X 1.75″ Noise Killer
- Why Should You Buy One Of The Best Noise Gate Pedals?
- So, What Are The Best Noise Gate Pedals?
Top 8 Best Noise Gate Pedals In 2020 Reviews
1 Boss Ns-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal
Let’s start by looking at what Boss is producing with regard to noise suppressors. Will it be a quality sturdy pedal, without being flashy or over-technical, like most Boss pedals?
This is most certainly not a new pedal; in fact, it’s been around since the late ’80s with very little changes made to the design.
Much more on that later…
This is a very comforting thought in terms of its reliability and performance.
It can be configured with two options; either using the input/output or the send/return. And, it will operate slightly differently depending on the choice you make. Using the input/output from the pedal into an amplifier will reduce quite a bit of the unwanted sounds but might not solve all the problems that may exist in your other pedals.
Boss, therefore, gives you the option of using the send/return. This allows you to place the pedal anywhere you like in your signal path.
Very easy to operate…
The NS-2 has become an industry standard because it can recognize your guitar signal and will only activate itself as that dies away. This leaves the guitar signal untouched but cuts out any other unwanted noise. The pedal is in the famed, easily recognizable, heavy-duty Boss design. And, there are three principle controls – threshold, decay, and mode – which make it very easy to operate.
This is much more than a simple noise filter; it is a full-on ‘gate’ and will detect and suppress any sound that should not be there. It operates best in the correct place in your pedal chain; therefore some experimentation will be needed to get the optimal results. But, when you’ve got it dialed in, you will undoubtedly hear the difference.
It’s an outstanding pedal, from a very well respected manufacturer at a sensible price.
2 Isp Technologies Decimator Ii Noise Reduction Pedal
This is ISP’s Decimator noise suppressor Mark II. And, it’s so new that some of the technologies have still not received their patent. Mark I was highly regarded, but this pedal takes everything even further.
There simply isn’t enough room in this review to go through all the technical details regarding the improvements, so let’s just agree that it provides one of the highest levels of noise reduction of any pedal.
Your signal will not suddenly disappear…
It has been designed to track your guitar signal and then apply a threshold to give you a note decay that is sustained yet smooth. This means that your signal will not suddenly disappear, as you would get with a standard ‘gate,’ which may struggle to determine the difference between the note and any unwanted noise.
Your signal just gentle rolls off as the volume decreases, as the noise gate very gradually comes in. It is, however, quite sensitive, so you need to be careful that you don’t lose any of your guitar’s natural sustain.
Conventionally, you would place a pedal like this after fuzz, distortion, overdrive, etc. and before any modulation and time-based effects. But, with the Decimator II, it doesn’t matter where you put it, because it operates well anywhere in your effects chain.
It’s very sturdily built and will take a fair bit of the punishment on the road without any issues.
One of the stand out gates in this review…
But, what’s so good about this pedal is that it doesn’t impact the sound of your guitar, while still providing you with a lot of superb noise control options. This makes it one of the stand out gates in this review.
The quality and technical advances are however reflected in the price, so this isn’t exactly an affordable pedal.
3 Tc Electronic Sentry Noise Gate Pedal
Pedal industry leaders, TC Electronics answer to noise issues is the appropriately named Sentry. Which as you would expect from the company is an upmarket pedal that offers a wide range of gating and suppression possibilities.
It has a multi-band design that allows it to focus in on certain parts of the audio and then take away any unwanted noise from your guitar signal. It uses its hard gate mode to do the task, which is quick and seamless.
The pedal has three main controls; they are threshold, decay, and damp. Anyone familiar with gating will be aware of what the threshold and decay functions do, but damp is more unusual. What it does is control how much of the signal is being attenuated, after you have stopped playing.
Like the Boss we just reviewed, it has both input/output and send/return sockets, but unlike the Boss, the Sentry is true bypass.
It also features TC’s excellent Toneprint technology. This allows you to download patches and presets via a USB connection, or from the Toneprint App via your smartphone directly to your pedal through one of your guitar’s pickup. Very clever indeed. These Toneprints then give you access to customized settings from other users and famous TC endorsees.
This is an excellent pedal and operates at a very high level. But, it isn’t cheap, but that’s understandable considering what you’re getting for your money.
4 Mxr M135 Smart Gate Noise Gate
MXR is famed for consistently producing basic quality pedals, and the M135 is no exception. It features three modes – full, mid and hiss, and will get rid of just about unwanted noise. However, it will not affect your guitar notes and allows whatever you’re playing to pass through as it. The clever little pedal recognizes the difference between your actual guitar sound and anything that isn’t.
Cuts out noise from other pedals…
So, you can let your guitar sustain, and it won’t abruptly cut the signal until it falls below the threshold you’ve set. Plus, depending on where you position it in your effects chain, it can be used to cut out noise from other pedals, even distortions and fuzzes that are being driven hard.
It is a well-built pedal and is easy to use and with its basic but efficient controls.
As with a lot of MXR pedals, it is nothing fancy, but it does its job very well and is excellent value for money.
5 Electro-Harmonix The Silencer Guitar Noise Gate Pedal With Effects Loop
TC Electronic gave us the Sentry; now Electro Harmonix’s give us the Silencer. Great names fair play, even if they do remind us of many a past TV detective shows.
Electro-Harmonix have been building pedals for as long as anyone and are well known for producing affordable, efficient and practical pedals.
They are also renowned for being creative with their designs, but with the Silencer, they have decided to keep it simple.
Send and return options…
The controls are basic – threshold, release, and reduction – and, like the Boss and the TC Electronics Sentry, it features input and output sockets and send and return options.
The threshold does what you expect it to do – control the amount of signal required to open the noise gate and then allow the signal through. Reduction controls the amount the gated signal is reduced by, and the Release controls how long the gate will remain open after the signal has fallen below the threshold.
You can reduce the signal by up to -70db and have a release time with a maximum of 4 seconds.
As with the other pedals with a send and return, it works well at getting rid of unwanted noise from high gain effects pedals. It isn’t the most sophisticated pedal in this review, but it has enough options and does its job well. It is easy to use, and it allows unwanted sound to be eliminated quickly and easily.
And, all this at a price that is very reasonable when you consider what you are getting.
6 Donner Noise Killer Guitar Effect Pedal Noise Gate
Donner is best known for producing quality, very affordable pedals. They tend to keep their designs and functionality very basic, and that is not only reflected in the low price, but, can be excellent for players who don’t want or need an overly complicated pedal. And, the Noise Killer is no exception.
The controls are simple, consisting of only one knob – a threshold control. It does, however, also have an LED that shows if the pedal is on or off, and a toggle switch to change between soft and hard gating.
If set on hard, it really attacks the noise and may interfere with your overall guitar sound, especially the sustain. So, it’s best to use it sparingly in conjunction with the threshold.
Need an aggressive attack?
But, that said, it does have its use, and would be great for when you need an aggressive attack to get rid a certain noise.
The soft mode is, however, far more manageable and easily produces reliable results.
It couldn’t be much easier to use, you simply select between the hard or soft mode, and then turn the Threshold knob until the noise is gone. Fantastically easy, fair play!
One of the best budget noise gate pedals available…
Donner has once again, given us a good, very affordable pedal, that will cut your noise with as little fuss as possible.
And being made from aluminum alloy, it is also rugged, making it one of the best budget noise gate pedals available.
7 Behringer Noise Reducer Nr300 Ulitmate Noise Reduction Instrument Effects Pedal
Much like Donner, Behringer is another manufacturer of functional and cost-effective effects pedals. But, that statement might be a little unfair, because the quality of pedal you often get from them seems to defy the very low price.
The NR300 noise gate is, like the Donner we just reviewed, not filled with unnecessary functions, but has an efficient operation that will allow you to eliminate or reduce unwanted noise.
Without interfering with the sound of the guitar…
The controls are very easy to use, and the pedal has two basic modes – mute and reduction, which are self-explanatory
The threshold and decay controls perform their usual functions and work with the mode selection to give you the amount and type of noise reduction you want. And, they allow you to do this without interfering with the sound of the guitar.
Remembering that this is a very affordable pedal, yet it still allows you to set up send and return loops, in exactly the same way as some of the more expensive pedals in this review. Something the similarly priced Donner doesn’t feature.
But, the Donner does win in terms of its construction, aluminum alloy, being far more durable than the NR300’s plastic casing.
It’s great for use with lots of noisy hi-gain pedals and comes at a ridiculously low price. But, it’s plastic construction doesn’t make it very durable.
8 Mooer EQ Effects Pedal 2.25 X 4.25 X 1.75″ Noise Killer
Compact and easy to use is the best way to describe the Mooer Noise Killer.
In fact, it has very similar functionality to the Donner, with only a threshold control and the same type of toggle switch which allows for a hard or a soft setting. And it works in exactly the same way.
The hard setting providing an aggressive and harder to control attack. While the soft setting is much easier to use and control with more reliable and tweakable results.
A great no frills pedal…
Again, like the Donner, this is a no frills pedal and does what it has been designed to do as efficiently as it can, i.e., eliminate unwanted noise from your signal chain.
It may be small, but it’s well built and should take all the abuses that life on the road can throw at it. And, the small size might well be an advantage to many players with not much room left on their pedal boards.
Affordable, quality construction and functional, what is there not to like about the Mooer Noise Killer? Nothing is the answer.
Why Should You Buy One Of The Best Noise Gate Pedals?
Every guitarist who has ever connected a guitar cable to anything has experienced some degree of hum, hiss or just strange noises. And, the more things you have in your signal chain, the more chances you have of creating unwanted noise.
I remember, back in the late ’80s when I took my pedal board to an electrical engineer because I had so many issues. And asked him to sort the whole thing out. He re-wired everything and added a Boss NS-2. One of the first ones available, in a time when the variety of available pedals (especially things like noise suppressors) was nothing like it, is today.
The difference was night and day. I remember going to my next studio session and the producer looking at me as I hauled my massive pedal flightcase into the live room. I unlocked it’s top cover and revealed a homemade pedalboard (you couldn’t buy manufactured ones them back then), with ten different pedals on it.
That ‘thing’ will be unusable…
He looked down in horror and said that he would get one of the studio engineers to set up some patches for me using rack effects because that ‘thing’ will be unusable. I said, let’s give it a go and see how it sounds. He reluctantly agreed.
When everything was plugged in and warmed up, I started to play, and he came back into the live room with a surprised look on his face. He was looking at the mass of pedals and cables and hearing no hum or hiss. So, he checked that I was actually going through them and switched them all on.
He just looked dumbfounded and shook his head…
This produced an ever so slight background hum. But, that was with everything on and no guitar signal. He just looked dumbfounded, shook his head and said that we should get on with the session. No mention of rack effects was ever made again.
That was way back in the late ’80s, and a lot has changed for the better since then. And, I’m sure the complete professional re-wiring had as much to do with the end result as the fact that I had a Boss NS-2. But, the story goes to show just how useful a Noise Gate can be.
So, if your struggling with any noise issues, then get hold of one, they will make your life a lot quieter and keep producers and engineers happy, which is always a bonus!
Also read: Top 10 Best Wah Pedals On The Market
So, What Are The Best Noise Gate Pedals?
Well, as is obvious from the above story I loved the original, Japanese produced Boss NS-2, and I still have it to this day. It is a great pedal, and its design and functionality have lasted the test of time spectacularly well.
But, that was 30 odd years ago, and things have moved on a lot since then. So, I’m going to award the winning prize to the…
Its use of technology allows the player to control the noise in such a detailed form that the results it produces are wonderful. It will take some time to get used to, and it certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s well worth the expense if you’re looking for a quality pedal that will remove the noise and leave you with the best possible guitar tone afterward.
If that’s too expensive, which is understandable for a lot of younger players and those on a budget, then I would recommend the…
It doesn’t have the very useful send and return functionality of the similarly priced Behringer NR300, but that is made from plastic, which is never a good material if you want your pedal to last as long as they should. So, between the two I would go for the Donner, unless you have a really noise hi-gain pedal and are thinking of buying a more expensive and more durable noise gate in a few years time.
We hope this review has been useful. And, that you now know a lot more about why you need to buy one of the best Noise Gate pedals available and which one is the perfect one for you! Enjoy your hum and his free playing!