Does this effect pedal exist?
February 3, 2009 11:42 PM   Subscribe

I want a particular guitar effects pedal but I don't know if it exists: I want a box with two inputs and one output. One input will be for whatever instrument -- guitar, say. The output will also be the guitar, but through a noise gate. The opening and closing of the gate will be determined not by the volume of the guitar but by the volume of whatever is going into input #2.

So you could feed, say, a snare drum beat into input #2 and then play guitar and what you would get out of the output would be guitar cutting in and out in time to the beat. (But you wouldn't hear the drum beat itself at all.)

I'm sure there's easy ways to do this in computer recording software programs, but I don't use a computer. I'm not sure what the term for this would be, so I'm having trouble Googling for it -- "noise gate" is as close as I can come up with and it's not specific enough.

It seems like it should be pretty easy to put this together so I'm wondering what there is out there that would do this. Any ideas?
posted by Karlos the Jackal to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This unit will do what you're looking for, but at $999 it'd be cheaper just to have a dedicated computer for the task. I'm sure someone makes a noise gate pedal with a side chain for a lot less.
posted by bunnytricks at 11:55 PM on February 3, 2009

This kit has an external trigger input.
posted by spiderskull at 12:39 AM on February 4, 2009

If you are pretty handy the best bet might be to make it. I build pedals and once you get the soldering down it's been pretty rewarding. I don't think that this device has surfaced with the build it yourself crowd yet. Though if it has someone at the first link will know.

Where to start ???
posted by magikker at 12:40 AM on February 4, 2009

Yeah the key word you looking for is "side chain".

I can't think of any pedals off hand that do this other than the kit linked above. Maybe post over at gearslutz or another site that deals specifically with effects. Maybe one of the Line6 pod thingies can do this. If not, perhaps you can find a cheap rack unit with a side chain input to accomplish this.
posted by chillmost at 12:41 AM on February 4, 2009

You're looking for a compressor or noise gate with a sidechain. I can't find a nice audio sample, but basically the side chain part is the one you want.

I can't recall any specific pedals with this sort of functionality, so you might have to end up resorting to some rackmounted gear similar to that listed by bunnytricks.

I've got to head off to work, so I can't google it for you, but it might be worth asking on forums such as (really!), the Harmony Central forum, Home Recording or

Good luck!
posted by Magnakai at 12:44 AM on February 4, 2009

You want a noise gate with a side chain or an external key. I don't know if this exists in a simple pedal/device - I'm seeing machines in the same price range as bunnytricks.
posted by O9scar at 12:46 AM on February 4, 2009

I've got a cheapo behringer compressor that'll do this. It was a lot less that $999. This page reckons about 100USD.
posted by pompomtom at 12:47 AM on February 4, 2009

(though that's a 1U rack, not a pedal...)
posted by pompomtom at 12:48 AM on February 4, 2009

Small Bear Electronics might be able to help you.
posted by ezekieldas at 5:37 AM on February 4, 2009

Does the Send / Return link on this Behringer Pedal use the main input as a Gate Trigger?
posted by mary8nne at 6:21 AM on February 4, 2009

the manual is available here but it doesn't really say.

it seems that you may be able to use this to acheive the desired affect.
posted by mary8nne at 6:24 AM on February 4, 2009

On a pedal, this will be real hard to find. As a 1U rack unit, you should be able to grab an Alesis 3630 for $30 or so from any craigslist or ebay listing. The function you describe is a bog-standard Sidechain, par for the course on any compressor.
posted by Aquaman at 10:52 AM on February 4, 2009

Sidechain. Huh, I've heard that term (unlike the term "bog-standard," which I had to Google -- I thought maybe it was technical lingo) but never knew what it meant. I checked my local Craigslist and saw that someone had a DBX 266XL compressor/gate for sale, so I picked that up today. I've only barely started playing with it but it seems to do what I want. Thanks everyone!
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 10:41 PM on February 5, 2009

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