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3 Ways to Use a Gate for Punchy Drums [Video]

An Expander/Gate is a dynamics processor that decreases the amplitude of a signal when it is below a certain threshold. However, it does not change the signal when it is above the threshold.

This has the effect of making relatively quiet portions of an audio signal even more quiet proportionally, so the difference between loud and quiet parts are increased.

There are many uses for an expander/gate when mixing:

  • First, it can be used to reduce “spill” or “bleed” between recorded instruments.
  • Second, it can be used to shape the amplitude envelope of a signal.
  • Third, a side-chain input to an expander/gate can be used to “key” or “trigger” a signal. 

Last but not least, don’t hesitate to use a gate to get rid of or reduce buzz, hum, and noise on an amp’ed up electric guitar track.

Check out the video above as I break down three ways you can use an Expander/Gate to get punchy drums.


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Eric Tarr

Eric Tarr

Eric Tarr is a musician, audio engineer, and producer based in Nashville, TN. Currently, he is a Professor of Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University.

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