The DAS Side-Chain Gate was created in response to a user commissioned requirement, and based on a well known hardware device.  It incorporates many features not found on conventional noise gates, specifically the implementation of a side-chain input (normally only found on compressors) and the ability to filter out unwanted material from the side-chain which would otherwise trigger the gate inappropriately.

You know the problem, set the threshold too low, and the gate opens too often.  Set the threshold too high, and it doesn't open often enough.  As an example, if a gate is used to clean up a snare drum it's likely that nearby hi-hats could spill into the snare mic and cause the gate to open.  On the DAS SC Gate, the 'Key Input Filters' can be used to gain more control over the input triggering the gate, resulting in a much more accurate opening and closing of the gate.

Add to this some comprehensive envelope control of the 'gate' effect, and not only do you have more control of the timing of the gate, but also the action of the gate can be finely tuned beyond just being fully open or fully closed.

  • Low Frequency Key Filter: Filter applied to cut out high frequencies from the side-chain (key) input.
  • High Frequency Key Filter: Filter applied to cut out low frequencies from the side-chain (key) input.
  • Threshold:  The threshold level of the side-chain input at which the gate is activated.
  • Attack:  The attack speed of the gate (time it takes for the gate to close out the input signal).
  • Hold:  The duration of time that the gate will stay closed (input signal blocked).
  • Decay:  The duration of time that the gate will take to open (and let the input signal through).
  • Range: The amount of gain reduction applied to the input signal whilst the gate is closed.
  • Link:  Locks the left and right channel parameters together for true stereo operation.
  • Ext/Int:  Allows the user to toggle the gate between using the side-chain input or just the main audio input.
  • Key/Bypass/Listen:  In side-chain mode, allows the user to solo the side-chain input, main input or both.



Dante:  So what inspired you to commission DAS to build the SC Gate?

Jimmy: I explained to Eric my problems with time-based effects on vocals and snares.  I like the heavier. wet sound but wanted the tails clipped with a slow slope, like a Manley SLAM Limiter has. It actually has the faster slopes (FFT) and the slower (Electro-Optical).  After playing with it to refresh my memory I remembered I really liked the way the vocals could side-chain certain frequencies, or a complete instrument bus, while keeping the kick and snare unaffected.

Dante:  Sounds good.  Any other applications come to mind?

Jimmy:  We were using it to clip the effects on vocals and the frequencies could be taken from a snare, an upper octave keyboard, or whatever you choose during the Listen mode that works the best.  In this way we could use the delay on one channel, a Stereo Lexicon PCM-70 Concert Hall with chorusing, and the Eventide Unison Voice thickener, then whatever frequency we chose could trigger the gates. A miked snare, the upper octaves of the keyboard or even a sample triggered by the lowest note on my controller that could be played and it was a great effect.  I also used a Harmonizer where I had Local Off on a Zone, and held down the silent keys, which would in turn be the harmonies taken from the singer and add them.  It was great for those Benatar high harmonies, where the slight munchkinizing wouldn't be detected.  I kissed a lot of ass for singers, etc. Tricks like this are invaluable for certain kinds of music.

If you don't have the SC Gate and want to read up on it, it's based on the Drawmer DS201.



Dante and Jimmy January 2012