anything opposite of a gate?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
KVRer
16 posts since 20 Apr, 2016

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:58 am

So, once the level goes above some threshold, the output mutes for some time. I would just use this to let myself know clearly that I'm above 0db, without looking. It could just as well make a beep or something.

I tried a waveshaper that turns all samples above a threshold to zero, but that's not noticeable in every situation.

KVRer

Topic Starter

16 posts since 20 Apr, 2016

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:02 am

I guess the topic should have been "audible clipping indicator", since that's what I'm after.

KVRAF
3596 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:04 am

FabFilter Pro-G has a "Ducking" mode that does exactly that, so does Logic's native "Noise Gate" gate plugin.
I don't have others, but maybe check your stock Gate or any gates you might have.

Then there's Nugen SigMod which has a "fuse" (if signal goes above X it mutes).
Last edited by Ploki on Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

KVRAF
1614 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:05 am

Unfiltered Audio's G8 has "reject" outputs that would do exactly this. You could set a long release time to make short "overs" more audible.

KVRian
873 posts since 8 Mar, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:02 am

Try and find a link for Cerberus Audio ICE9. It does exactly this
I

KVRian
929 posts since 16 Jan, 2018 from Portland, OR USA

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:44 am

Cerberus Audio Ice9 Automute
“In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.”

KVRer

Topic Starter

16 posts since 20 Apr, 2016

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:19 am

hi, thanks for the replies, gave me a general direction to look for. found ice9 automute, and it worked for a while, then muted my audio forever :/

User avatar
KVRAF
2666 posts since 15 Oct, 2017 from U.S.

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:24 am

Invert the gate in Live. Sometimes I'll run 2 synths/fx parallel, one with gate,one with inverted gate to hear what I can get from it

KVRer

Topic Starter

16 posts since 20 Apr, 2016

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:32 am

problem solved! my daw (renoise) built-in gate has a "duck" option that does exactly this. :) thanks all.

KVRAF
4370 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:33 am

Prolly not answering your exact question OP, but what the hey...

anything opposite of a gate?

To me, the opposite of a noise gate is an expander. But really, they both do the same thing; it's just things classed as 'noise gates' have an infinite shutoff once a certain threshold is reached, i.e. they actually expand dynamic range by making certain parts of the program material quieter. This often gives the impression that the program material is louder, because of how our brains process audio. But not always, just as compressors can make things sound quieter or louder, depending on program material and settings (all volume stuff being equal), so can expanders/gates make things sound quieter.

Technically speaking the opposite of a gate is a compressor/limiter. As mentioned, gates/expanders increase dynamic range, compressors/limiters reduce it.

Expanders and noise gates work like compressors and limiters in reverse. An expander increases the dynamic range of a signal by lowering the level of audio material that is below a set threshold. The amount of reduction is set by the ratio. If an extreme ratio setting is chosen (such as negative infinite) then the effect is a noise gate. This means that when the signal goes below the threshold is amplitude is turned to negative infinite, meaning the signal is basically muted.

https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/princi ... amics.html

I suppose an expander could be considered 'opposite' to a gate by virtue of the fact that it doesn't totally shut off the signal. But really, they are doing the same thing in essence (expanding and making greater the difference between the higher and lower peaks in audio).

Any 'dynamics processor' worth its salt should be able to gate/expand as well as compress/limit. But mileage varies and this is why we have dedicated gates/expanders and compressors/limiters. A limiter is to a compressor what an expander is to a gate: it exacts an inifinite 'brute force' on the signal, at a specified threshold. Then again, many consider anything more than 10:1 compression ratio to effectively be more 'limiting' rather than 'compression'. People probably argue over that figure as well.

That is why we have certain types of limiters that are not 'brickwall', i.e. they do not shut off the signal completely when a certain ratio is met, but then again they are working at much higher ratios to be considered doing the job of a typical compressor. An example of one type of limiter like this is the LA2A by Teletronix. You probably have one of these somewhere in your plugin arsenal, I have half a dozen at least. I just chose this one to illustrate the arbitrary distinction between compression/limiting. This thread illustrates the point further: https://gearspace.com/board/so-much-gea ... press.html

But there are plenty of examples of limiters that do not 'brickwall' out there. Most of us know where we draw a line with the distinction. It doesn't really matter, once you reach a certain level of understanding and accept that different limiters/compressors will sound different on different program material anyway. I very often compress the hell out of things far more than a ratio of 10:1. Do I consider this limiting? No, it's just extreme compression - that's where I draw the line.

An example of a good workhorse gate/expander would be the Waves C1 compressor. Got a sidechain too! It still works great and does things its own sweet way that sometimes other software comps/gates/expanders can't. This is why I own a few dozen of each.

Another good example of a real workhorse dynamics processor would be boz' Big Beautiful Door. It's also a good example of a plugin that is more a gate/expander than compressor/limiter. An absolute must have if you like to play 'God' with your audio levels. I used it the other day as an expander on a Kick/Snare/Hat sample. I wanted to eradicate the hat, or rather take it down quite far in level. So I just visually lowered the slider to where the hat resided (obvious because kick/snare are both same top level peaks) and from there I could either totally cut it out or make it quieter, just like magic, the exact same loop but with the hats mysteriously erased (or much lowered). I could of course, as easily, just raised the level of the hats so they were more pronounced in the mix. But this would technically be compression (lessening the dynamic range between peaks).

This kind of dynamics control is why you see gates/expanders used so much on drums. Real life kits with bleed can be tidied up for better signal to noise ratio, making for an overall cleaner and more punchier drum sound. This is where you really act when you want to make a loud recording - at the bottom end of things, so to speak. The raw signal, rather than just going mad at the limiter stage at the end of the chain.

Another gate/expander of note is the Sonalksis SV-719 - https://www.sonalksis.com/sv-719-gate.html

Probably, for me at least, its most distinguishing feature is the fact that it acts superfast, as immediate as you can get among plugins. A common complaint against software gate/expander plugins is the fact they react a little too slow. SV-719 is sharper than a razor on your audio signal! It can also be subtle and nuanced too - the controls are there. If you're after that gated keyboard or vocal effect that you find in a lot of 90s techno/dance then this is yer boy!

Both the Waves C1 and the Sonalksis SV-719 might be considered old tech by some but they still get the job done. Big Beautiful Door is a more modern dream of a plugin, Rolls Royce, best in class as the babble goes. It takes a certain subset of the needed requirements for a dynamics processor and expounds on them (for want of a better word). There are some things it can't really do (nor was it meant to), but the area it does cover is so large you would find yourself reaching for it a multitude of times.

Really, a sane man only needs a handful of flexible plugins like this for dynamics processing, the question is which ones?


TL;DR: The opposite of a gate is a compressor/limiter.



EDIT:
problem solved! my daw (renoise) built-in gate has a "duck" option that does exactly this.

Glad you cracked it. So in your case, the opposite of a gate was indeed a type of expander, just as I thought at the beginning of my reply. If I'd seen it, it would have saved me a lot of typing!

At least I'm not the only one who thinks the opposite of a gate is an expander...

KVRAF
3596 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:08 am

Doesn't expander increase gain over threshold, thus, increasing dynamic range?
A "ducker" mutes over threshold. Hypothetically, absolute silence is "more dynamic range" but practically, you chop off what could've been over the threshold, so you kind of reduce dynamic range?

KVRAF
4370 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:09 am

So, to draw the distinction further, if we take the statement by iZotope I quoted above as gospel -

An expander increases the dynamic range of a signal by lowering the level of audio material that is below a set threshold.

We could extrapolate this statement to be correct:

A ducker increases the dynamic range of a signal by lowering the level of audio material that is above a set threshold.


Would that be a fair assumption to make? If you were forced, gun to head, to make a distinction?


Then again, where is the line abstracted down in software knobs?

As above, so below.

One man's "-01" on the scale is the same as another man's "+01", I guess. Right?

Because we can take things that are just below, or just above that signal point, and raise or lower them further, respectively, interdependently, or should that rather be dependently?

When I look up the meaning of both of those words, the semantic explanation seems to be the same thing.

I think, therefore I am confused!


:dog:

KVRian
873 posts since 8 Mar, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:11 am

joku wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:19 am
hi, thanks for the replies, gave me a general direction to look for. found ice9 automute, and it worked for a while, then muted my audio forever :/
You need to click the now blown fuse in the middle and it resets the plugin
I

KVRAF
3596 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:34 am

codec_spurt wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:09 am
So, to draw the distinction further, if we take the statement by iZotope I quoted above as gospel -

An expander increases the dynamic range of a signal by lowering the level of audio material that is below a set threshold.

We could extrapolate this statement to be correct:

A ducker increases the dynamic range of a signal by lowering the level of audio material that is above a set threshold.


Would that be a fair assumption to make? If you were forced, gun to head, to make a distinction?


Then again, where is the line abstracted down in software knobs?

As above, so below.

One man's "-01" on the scale is the same as another man's "+01", I guess. Right?

Because we can take things that are just below, or just above that signal point, and raise or lower them further, respectively, interdependently, or should that rather be dependently?

When I look up the meaning of both of those words, the semantic explanation seems to be the same thing.

I think, therefore I am confused!
:dog:
i think this explains it.
I guess if "gate" expands the dynamic range (if you consider -infinity dB FS like, infinite dynamic range) so does the ducker
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KVRAF
4370 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:49 am

Ploki wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:08 am
Doesn't expander increase gain over threshold, thus, increasing dynamic range?
A "ducker" mutes over threshold. Hypothetically, absolute silence is "more dynamic range" but practically, you chop off what could've been over the threshold, so you kind of reduce dynamic range?

In a word, No!

This is very counter-intuitive stuff. Even top-level producers get it wrong. Don't listen to them. And in fact, you prolly shouldn't listen to me, but I'll have a shot...

Doesn't expander increase gain over threshold, thus, increasing dynamic range?

No, see iZotope quote above. They are correct. They make dynamics plugins for a living and do good quality educational material. Not being snarky!

An expander increases the dynamic range of a signal by lowering the level of audio material that is below a set threshold.

If it increased the volume it would be bringing it back more in to line with the rest of the signal, and thus be described as being compression: reducing the dynamic range. Flattening the difference between higher and lower peaks.

Really there is no better way to understand this than by taking a Kick Snare Hat loop and then messing with it however you want to understand it. A plugin like boz Big Beautiful Door has an absolutely incredible display - you can download as just demo and it works perfectly - and you can then raise or lower sliders as you see what you want to effect: either kick, snare or hat. Adjust accordingly. I'm quite advanced with this stuff, but I'm still a noob. I'm only piping up now in this thread because I had a play about recently that showed me how ignorant and stupid I was in my whole understanding of this concept.

When we compress or limit or wtf, we often just focus on one subset of the audio signal. But there is never only one subset to deal with - we are always dealing with the total signal - all things combined, so it is not so easy. Then again, it makes it easier! I hope that didn't sound like I was trying to be Yoda.

Many people get compression, but fewer understand the concept that you can use a compressor to expand a signal, namely, make quiet sounds quieter, eliminating them or just making them less audible. This increases dynamic range. None of this is intuitive. And even when you begin to understand it, it gets confused in semantics.

Not all compressors can do this of course, but those with certain or extra controls can. Some are just dedicated dynamics units that excel at one type of dynamic control. That is why we have dedicated Limiters, Compressors, Gates, Expanders, Clippers, Duckers...

The line is arbitrary, see my previous post, but expanders decrease gain at a certain threshold, never mind above or below - when a threshold is set - if it is met - then the volume will drop, to a designated amount. If that amount is infinite, then it is considered to be gating, if it just dropped to a lower level (increasing dynamic range) then it is expanding. This is why Ducking is a form of Expansion.

I'm still confused about the implementation of this though. Above? Below? Does it matter? Some people say that expanders reduce the audio range when signal goes below a certain amount, then again, others say it reduces audio range when it goes over a certain amount.

I'm sorry if I am a little obtuse. I'm struggling to understand the deeper concepts myself.

If it increased the level, it would be bringing it closer to the rest of the peaks of the signal and be called compression. It's a very very easy mistake to make, and still this stuff is all able to be semantically challenged.


A "ducker" mutes over threshold.

A "ducker" sometimes mutes, but sometimes also just drops the signal by say, ooohh -6dB or wtf. To totally brickwall a signal, say when broadcasting would seem un-natural and that is why it is only dropped a bit. It can be both.


Hypothetically, absolute silence is "more dynamic range" but practically, you chop off what could've been over the threshold, so you kind of reduce dynamic range?

Absolute silence by itself would be NO dynamic range because of no variation in signal. See Signal to Noise ratio.

A good signal to noise ratio would be where your guitars/vox are at a good enough level to be recorded and captured by the recording medium (be it analog tape or digital bits), and where the resulting background noise is not overly intrusive. Ideally we aim for total silence as recording engineers, but that is not possible in reality. We do the best we can, with the mediums we work with. Both analog and digital require quite different approaches.

I didn't answer your question very well, as I didn't understand it exactly, just did the best I could.

If I'm trying to make a point here it is just this: the points of where compression/limiting/gating/expansion/ducking are defined are just arbitrary. They overlap though, and no one who knew his onions would quibble with someone who defined limiting to be at a 10:1 ratio or an infinite ratio. Mileage varies.

But I'm not an expert. No one is. Someone like bmanic would probably be as close as you could get to a practical expert on this subject, as opposed to a theoretical expert on this subject which might be Jeroen from Toneboosters.

To open the can of worms even further, we have not mentioned Clippers, which are a kind of compressor/limiter in their way:

but practically, you chop off what could've been over the threshold, so you kind of reduce dynamic range?

:help:

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