There are many volume modulator effect plugins available on the VST market, but they often produce undesirable results. Sudden DC offsets (amplitude displacements that deviate from zero phase) occur as a result of poor sample accuracy. Polyverse Gatekeeper is 100% sample accurate, which makes it one of the most aggressive volume plugins around.
Gatekeeper has eight envelopes, each with a simple on/off switch, a toggled background view that displays all enabled envelopes, a MIDI learn button that triggers each envelope with only the notes you teach it, Trigger and Grid controls, Smoothing controls, Envelope Node Creation Tools, and Paint Tools with a selection of paintbrush shapes. These are similar to the “Performer” in Native Instruments Massive.
Gatekeeper has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from any common garden variety volume gate, but there’s a lot more here than just volume modulation at play here. The plugin also features MIDI Modulation that allows you to manipulate the Envelope Modulation Controls (Time/Amp/Pan) with the range of your keyboard or MIDI note velocities, and two extra sources enabling you to alternate between minimum/maximum values or assign Random parameter adjustments everytime a note is triggered.
There’s also a stereo ping-pong Delay with host-synced delay times and a few basic controls for Wet level and Feedback, and a small handful of controls in the Input/Output Control Bar, which includes a Trigger button that will send a “note on/off” signal and trigger envelopes set to Envelope Mode, a Wet level knob, a selection of three clipping algorithms and two separate controls for Input/Output Volume.
Now that we have all the technical mumbo-jumbo nailed down, let’s explore what you can do with all of these options. At first, I was a little confused by the presence of eight envelopes. I thought, “Why would you want to modulate the volume of just one signal eight times?” Well, it’s a bit of a loaded question, but I’ll try to answer it in a few different ways…
The first thing you should take into account is that the resultant dynamic created by several envelopes would be extraordinarily difficult to program within a single envelope. But you must also remember that Gatekeeper is a stereo effect. You can program modulation for different parts of the stereo field by hard panning the signal output. But the most important thing you should try to keep in mind is that almost any sound can be transformed into something completely different by altering its dynamic. If only there was a plugin that let you do this several times in a parallel process. Voila. Gatekeeper.
Also, Gatekeeper receives live MIDI when set to Envelope Mode, which makes it especially useful as a powerful sound design tool, not just another rhythmic gate effect. I’ve found Envelope Mode perfect for triggering noisy, atonal sounds and layering them to create extraordinarily complex sounds I could not have made with a software instrument.
You can right-click on nodes and then select the “Automate” option within the context menu, which will “bind” the node to any one of 64 automation channels dedicated to each one of three parameters made available to the host: Amplitude, Time and Curve. Also, Gatekeeper can produce CV output for external hardware if you have a DC-coupled audio interface, and of course a hardware instrument to plug into.
While I still wish Gatekeeper had inputs for each of its eight envelopes, I am very happy with what I can do with just one signal. I also think it would be great if we could use Gatekeeper’s output as an external modulation source, although we can still use sidechaining and third-party envelope followers. But, then we’d bump into the same problem yet again with most envelope followers: sluggish sample accuracy.
That said, there is no question that this is, hands down, the most bone-shatteringly awesome volume modulator in the scope of existence. I only have a small handful of “go to” plugins I normally use in my own productions, and this is now one of them. Here’s hoping that the masterminds at Polyverse might eventually develop a similarly powerful filter plugin. Polyverse Gatekeeper is now on sale for only $49, which is a great value!
More info: Gatekeeper ($49)
There is no question that Gatekeeper is, hands down, the most bone-shatteringly awesome volume modulator in the scope of existence.