Mogwai Audio Tools offers the MGate-Multi ($9.99 value) multiband gate plugin as a free download for a limited time.
The plugin normally costs $9.99, but you can currently get it for free. Just head to the MGate-Multi product page, add it to your cart and enter your details; pretty straightforward.
MGate-Multi is a smart 6-band gate plugin with a very nice GUI. The top half of the GUI is a visual display, showing what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Each band is clear to see, and bands can be removed, added, bypassed, soloed, or deactivated easily. You can alter the display to show just the incoming or outgoing signal or both.
The lower section of the GUI is where you’ll find controls to shape each band’s response. Starting with the basics, you have threshold, ratio, attack, and release that you’d see on any typical dynamic processor, like a compressor.
For anyone new to noise gates, you can think of them as doing the opposite of a compressor. A compressor attenuates the loud and boosts the quiet to bring each end of the dynamic range closer together. A noise gate attenuates the quietest parts, which means it increases the dynamic range.
The threshold is the level at which anything underneath will be attenuated. You decide by how many dB’s you want the signal to be decreased by adjusting the ratio. Attack and release controls determine how fast the gate opens and closes.
Unless you are using the gate to create an obvious effect, you should be careful with the attack/release to avoid sounding unnatural. For example, a snare might lose its sharp transient nature if the attack time is too slow.
MGate-Multi actually has a lovely Lookahead function to help deal with faster attack signals. It’s similar to some hardware that will have a built-in delay line, so you get the pure transient and can shape the attack on it perfectly.
Remember, all of these controls are available per band, and switching from band to output will take you to the master controls for dry/wet mix and gain.
Apologies to all who are well-versed in gate plugins, but it doesn’t hurt to cover some basics for those who aren’t (yet). Any insight tends to come from my own past misunderstandings as a student, like the difference between noise gating and noise reduction.
MGate-Multi is available as VST3/AU and AAX plugins for macOS and Windows (64-bit only).
More info: MGate-Multi (FREE for a limited time)