Using A Noise Gate to Clean Up Sampled Kicks

Here is a quick way to clean up a sampled kicks using the stock Pro Tools noise gate plugin. Using a gate on a sampled kick with an unnecessarily long tail can really help to tighten up the performance. This technique can be very useful when you are mixing a track and want to save time by not having to edit each individual hit.

The first thing you will want to do is add a noise gate plugin to your track.  You can leave the range at the default -40dB.  Next, change the ratio from 3:1 to 4:1 and adjust the attack to 10.0 us.  The attack controls how fast the gate opens when the sound goes above the threshold.  We set the attack of the gate to a fast attack as we want the gate to open as soon as the kick hits.

Next, you will want to adjust the threshold.  When the sound goes above the threshold the gate will open and when it goes below it will close.  Adjust your threshold such that the gate opens when the transient hits and closes shortly thereafter.  The key here is that when the gate closes, we want it to remove some of the excess tail of the sampled kick.

After you have adjusted the attack and threshold you will next want to adjust the release.  The release controls how long it takes for the gate to go from opened to closed.  Release settings will be different for every kick so you will need to listen and adjust it accordingly.  Adjust the release until you have a nice natural sounding decay.

Lastly, after you have found the right release setting you might need to adjust the hold.  The hold determines how long the gate is held open after the sound goes below the gate’s threshold.  The hold is something that you may or not need to adjust.  If you hear a clicking sound after the gate closes, then adjusting the hold can help to eliminate that sound.

So that is how you can use a noise gate to clean up your sampled kicks.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop them in the comments below.

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