This time on bpb Freeware Studio, we’ll be covering the best free noise gate VST/AU plugins for Windows and Mac. A noise gate is not the sort of effect you’d use all over your mix in electronic music (especially if you’re working with virtual instruments, which means there’s no unwanted noise). But if you’re processing live recorded audio like vocals, guitars, or external synthesizers, a noise gate is an essential tool to have at your disposal!
Don’t forget that a noise gate can also be effectively used for shaping sound envelopes – I often use this technique on acoustic kick drum tracks to shorten those subby tails and leave room for the bass guitar. Noise gates with an attack control can also be used to soften the attack transient of percussive sounds, much like you would do with a transient shaper!
Follow the links for screenshots & download info:
- Auto Gate/Expander by slim slow slider (Windows)
- Floorfish by digitalfishphones (Mac, Windows)
- G8 by platinumears (Windows)
- Gate by xhip (Windows)
- GGate by GVST (Windows)
- preFIX by Variety Of Sound (Windows)
- ReaGate by Cockos (Windows)
My two favorite noise gates from the list are preFIX by Variety Of Sound and Floorfish by digitalfishphones. Both plugins are easy to use, yet offer most of the functionality you’d expect to find in a noise gate. preFIX is more than just a noise gate though – it’s a great all-round utility plugin with transparent filters to clean up the lows and highs, as well as a phase correction module to calibrate an audio track perfectly before sending it to further processing.
If you’re looking for ultimate simplicity, make sure you check out GGate! It features only three controls and it’s extremely easy to use, making it a perfect tool for less demanding tasks (like noise gating an electric guitar track before sending it to a virtual guitar amp). Definitely not the most feature-packed noise gate out there, but sometimes a quick and efficient tool is all you need.
Finally, here’s a handy video tutorial on how to set up a noise gate on a multitracked acoustic drum mix – it shows how a noise gate can be used to remove bleeding signals from individual drum tracks and thus clean up the mix as a whole (video by recordingrevolution):
That’s all for today! Enjoy reading BPB, share your favorite articles on Facebook, Twitter or your favorite forums to help us grow, and happy mixing!