Gates

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mike C Mike C 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #99258
    Profile photo of raycarroll03
    raycarroll03
    Participant

    Like I have said before new to the digital world and have been playing around with rack fxs compression on the sq6 mixer. Somethings I have read and heard that I need to use a gate on our drums to help with sound. Should gate be on all the mics for the drums or just on kick and should I use a quick or slow attack and what would be a good starting point for the attack?

    Ray

    #99260
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    Normally you want a fast attack so you don’t miss the initial “hit of the drum.

    Finding the magic threshold setting so the unwanted noise is blocked while still letting
    the wanted drum come through can be tricky and even more so on a loud stage.

    The hold and release time settings will be something to you want to play with for a natural sounding drum, unless of course your going for a mechanical processed sound.
    Hold time is how long the gate stay open after the signal has dropped below the threshold
    and release time is how long it take the gate to close after the hold time has expired.

    Gate depth is how much the gate turns down the signal level when it is closed, for drums I find around 12db works well most of the time.

    I’ll normally gate the kick and toms.
    Now if it’s a jazz or big band show I may not gate anything.

    #99268
    Profile photo of Dave Meadowcroft
    Dave Meadowcroft
    Participant

    Gating drums can clean up the sound by cutting of the mics when the drum they’re micing isn’t being hit or resonating after being hit.
    A nice quick attack and release just a fraction longer than the natural decay works well, with the threshold low enough to be triggered even on a soft hit but high enough to stop the gate being opened by another instrument or drum.
    A balancing act but it can be effective.
    The downsides…
    You lose the ambience that spill into the mics give which is often desirable depending on the material.
    It can mask potential feedback. If you get random feedback when you have gated, turn of each gate until the feedback isn’t random and fix the issue before re-engaging – all in a split second without the audience or performers noticing there was ever any feedback of course!
    Gated signals in in ear monitors in particular can be problematic for performers so try to make their feed pre gate or digitally split and use one channel for FOH and the other for IEMs.

    #99271
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    First, you have to understand why you are putting a gate on an input. You don’t have to gate any of the drums. It’s not right or wrong. You might want to add a gate to change the sound of the input, or you might want a gate to try to cut out stage noise.

    If it is not to artistically change the sound of the input, but rather to control stage noise, then I agree that you want the gate trigger to be as fast as possible. That being said, I find that a super fast attack time can result in a “clicking” sound. So listen to the input and get it as fast as possible without introducing a clicking or unnatural sound. Hold and release times will vary on the instrument, but you want to make sure you aren’t cutting off the transients or decay of the input (unless you want to). So a tom gate will likely have a longer hold and release time than a snare because it rings longer naturally.

    On a kick drum you might decide to cut off some of the ring by having a shorter release time, but you might not. It all depends on the style of music and the natural sound of the drum.

    On a acoustic piano, you might have an extremely slow release to ensure the natural decay comes through and never gets abruptly cut off.

    You want your threshold levels as low as possible where the gate stays closed when the instrument isn’t actively being played. This will help make sure the gate opens when the instrument is being played at a soft level. If the instrument’s “soft” level is lower than the average ambient stage level, then a gate is going to be useless in most cases. In other words, if you have having to turn the threshold up so far (because of stage noise) that it doesn’t open when the instrument is played softly, then you need to disengage the gate (at least at those points in the show).

    To start off, I might suggest that you first try the snare drum (because I think it is one of the easiest channels to hear what the gate is doing, and therefore easier to start with as a beginner). Just be sure to watch the threshold level when the drummer is playing soft sections to make sure the gate is actually opening. After dialing that in try the kick drum. Finally do the toms if you feel it is necessary (but it may not be). Don’t gate high hat or overhead mics.

    Anyway, that is just my opinion. Others may agree or disagree. The short answer is simply to try things out and see how they work. But never get so stubborn that you either refuse to do something, or get where you always have to do something. Be flexible.

    #99393
    Profile photo of raycarroll03
    raycarroll03
    Participant

    The reason asking about gates is wondering if it would help the drum sound from bleeding into our vocal mics. Our drummer said today a drum shield might help that too? Trying to learn from everyone’s advice and thanks for the tips will practice with it this week since I am off work

    #99394
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    The reason asking about gates is wondering if it would help the drum sound from bleeding into our vocal mics. Our drummer said today a drum shield might help that too? Trying to learn from everyone’s advice and thanks for the tips will practice with it this week since I am off work

    Gating the drum mic will not help in keeping the sound of the drums out of the vocal mics.
    Gating vocal mics is tricky an generally not the best idea, unless your vocalist sign right on top of the mics with some volume to their voice….all the time.

    The plastic drum shields can kind of help but can cause other issues like the sound reflecting off the wall behind the drummer and out into the room in different directions.

    What type of vocal mics do you use?
    Do you signers stay on the mics, singing close?
    How close are they to the drums?
    How loud does the drummer play?

    What type of band is this and were do you play?

    For smaller church settings short of a soft dynamic controlled drummer and or building a drum set iso booth electronic drums are the next best thing. A good E Drum set can sound really good, not quite a real kit but no one in the congregation will care or notice, but they will notice a controlled volume and mix.

    #99395
    Profile photo of raycarroll03
    raycarroll03
    Participant

    This is picture of our band on stage at church the drums are behind the vocals

    #99396
    Profile photo of raycarroll03
    raycarroll03
    Participant

    Here is the bnf hope this works

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    #99403
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    Maybe re arrange the stage layout, drums with non singing instrumentalist towards one
    side and vocalist towards the other side.

    #99405
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    Placingthe drums in a bigger distance to the vocals might be very helpful. For me is a gates a tool when nothing else can be done to solve an issue.
    And in such circumstances, when louder instruments are bleeding into micropgones for softer signals, I prefer the use use expanders for that softer signals. But unfortunately none of the current A&H mixers are equipped with expanders.

    #99414
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    It really comes down to what ever is loudest at the mic wins!
    There are things that kind of help but a mic does not know that it needs
    to pick up the soft spoken singer 10 inches away and not the loud crash cymbal.

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