Best UK Noise Gate Pedal
Update: September 2020
Here are our top ranked selections in the category of best noise gate pedal to buy in the UK.
#1 Selection: Overall Rating = 94%
#2: Top Quality Alternative
#3: Another Great Pick
Noise Gate Pedals: A Buyer’s Guide
Whether you’re just getting started playing the electric guitar, or if you’re a seasoned musician with many years on the road behind you, it’s likely you will have come into contact with noise. Of course, noise is something all musicians want to make! What we refer to, however, is nuisance noise – feedback and nasty little sounds which can interrupt and even throw off a whole performance or recording session. There are plenty of reliable ways to remove extraneous noise from your guitar output, however, one of the easiest and most common ways to take charge right away is to invest in a noise gate pedal.
If you’re just setting up as a musician, you may find that there are plenty of pedals out there. These are all switches which combine together in a ‘board’. You can use these to fine-tune your guitar’s output whether you are on stage, at home, or in the studio. Thankfully, noise gate pedals and other technology are growing ever more adaptable, which means there are more and more ways for you to fine-tune the perfect sound.
In this buying guide, we will take a look at what you should be thinking about when shopping for a noise gate pedal. We won’t go too deep into how you can reduce noise – that’s for another guide to fill you in – but what we will do, as always, is show you everything you need to consider before putting any kind of money down. Not sure whether it’s worth paying more than the average for a noise gate pedal? Take a look at our guide, and read our commonly asked questions, for the full lowdown.
Why Buy a Noise Gate Pedal?
When playing an electric guitar through an amp, it is likely you will notice a few interesting sounds and noises starting to pick up along the way. You could notice a little fuzziness in your output at first, or you could be getting an annoying, persistent hum which just won’t leave you alone. In either case, it is well worth taking advantage of a pedal to help you achieve that smooth, consistent sound you’re desperate for.
Amps, while really useful at getting your sound out there, can be a pain to fine-tune. If you use a particular type of amp or struggle with smoothness or clarity of sound, you may actually find it tempting to buy a whole new model outright. However, that’s not always going to be the most cost-effective way for you to deal with this kind of problem. That’s where noise gate pedals come in.
When active, these pedals will cut signals, that hum or buzz above a certain sound level. This means that you won’t lose any of the sound or music you actively want to produce, rather, a pedal will make sure that unwanted interruptions are cut off at the source. There are many different causes of hums, rattles and buzzes in amps.
These can include the amount of volume you’re working with, any radio interference in your setup, and even the type of amp you are using altogether. Therefore, it can actually be a bit of a nightmare to try and find the source of such problems. We therefore recommend you invest in a great all-around noise gate pedal as soon as possible to head whatever may be causing you problems off at the source.
But aren’t all noise gate pedals the same? Far from it. This is where we dig a little deeper – keep your cash to one side for now until you’ve read up on the facts!
What to Look For
As mentioned, it is tempting to think that all noise gate pedals do exactly the same thing. Yes – they all work to the same ends, but there are more than a few features and functions which set the most popular models apart from the pack.
Settings and Ease of Use
All good noise gate pedals should have a series of features and functions which will help you fine-tune your noise and hum removal. You should ideally look for pedals which have at least reduction, decay and threshold functions. Reduction will help you choose how much noise you let through the gate. Decay settings will let you fine-tune how long the gate stays open, and your threshold will let you choose when you want your gate to open and close.
Ultimately, all noise gate pedals should have these features in place. However, it is worth bearing in mind that not all pedals will have such functions that are always easy to access. You will need to invest in a pedal that lets you fine-tune these features at short notice, too, particularly as you may need to make changes on the go, whether in the studio or live on stage.
This is something you should look for in all pedals. Pedals and boards are going to need to travel with you on the road, which means that you should expect a fair amount of durability. The best noise gate pedals are robustly built, meaning that they can take all kinds of knocks and shakes along the way. It’s not always easy to tell how robust a pedal is from the outside, however, unless you are physically handling the device. Therefore, do make sure to check what other buyers are saying, as well as the opinions of experienced guitarists, wherever possible.
Threshold sensitivity could make all the difference to how effective a pedal is at cutting out noise. Again, this isn’t something that’s always easy to see from marketing or shopping around alone, therefore, do read reviews and try and watch some videos to see what you can expect. The more controls a pedal gives you, the more precise you are likely able to filter noise out. However, this can mean that you end up paying more. Therefore, be willing to balance out how much you are willing to pay with the features and functions you’d like to receive.
Naturally, all pedals should be easy for you to carry around. They are built to use on tour! However, some may be smaller than others. Therefore, think carefully about your own kit bag and what’s likely to fit best in your pedal board. Consider purchasing a pedal that’s going to be easy to find, too – as one of the major issues people have with the smaller kit is, of course, that it can go missing at short notice!
Frequently Asked Questions
Noise gate pedals are fantastic assets for many guitarists and other musicians. However, there are still likely to be plenty of questions they may need to ask when shopping around. Here are just a few of the more common queries people ask when shopping online – the answers here may help you along the way!
Are Noise Gates and Noise Suppressors the Same?
No. Noise gates are often thought to be more efficient in dealing with noise, as they will cut unwanted sound off at the source by blocking signals. Suppressors, meanwhile, will actively work to quash noise or filter it out. Therefore, while your own tastes and needs may vary, a noise gate is much more likely to deal with all the most common amp noise head-on. A suppressor may not actually give you the support you need in the long run but might help when recording.
How Much Do Noise Gate Pedals Cost?
You can likely pick up a good noise gate pedal from a leading brand for as little as £25 to £30. However, in many cases, it is worth investing more. This will especially be the case if you want to take advantage of more features, and therefore likely more control over your sound, and the amount of noise you actively reduce.
What Makes a Good Noise Gate Pedal?
A good noise gate pedal is one which you can easily fix into a board and tweak at short notice. A great pedal will give you a wealth of features and functions that you can use to fine-tune and filter out the worst hums and buzzes. On the whole, noise pedals do tend to work to the same strategies, but you may be interested in purchasing a system that’s produced by a specific brand, or which carries a specific look.
Our advice in this regard would be not to necessarily go with specific brands unless you have previous experience with them. There may be some great bargains out there which will likely do the same job for you for a fraction of the price you expect.
Any budding guitarist or touring musician should think about taking greater control over the noise they produce. A noise gate pedal is likely to be a great, quick option to reduce humming and buzzing which will otherwise throw off a whole soundscape. Take a look around at options online, with our guide and picks above as a useful template! Don’t be afraid to trust what verified buyers have to say!