What is “Gated”?

BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
I hear this term on a lot of forums, particularly with fuzz effects. What does it mean and can someone provide an example? Thanks
 

mdc

Well-known member
Generally it means that instead of having a smooth, linear note decay (ie, I hit a note, it sustains, the volume tapers off gradually in a 'natural' way) you get sustain that is truncated sharply/unnaturally. It can also refer to the same effect on the attack of the note; a slight delay between hitting the string and then a sharp 'bloom' out of the fuzz pedal. Sometimes it's a desirable thing in fuzz pedals, sometimes it isn't.

In pro audio/studio/live sound, a gate is an effect that clamps the volume of a signal/channel down to zero (i guess -∞ more accurately?) until the signal hits a minimum threshold. So the gate won't open unless it sees an input of say -20dB, and it'll clamp down again once the signal drops back below that level. Some guitar effects will have built in noise gates, and there are pedals that do just this as well.

In pedal circuits my chunderheaded understanding is that the kind of gating that I think you're asking about is usually a function of gain staging/biasing/voltage/transistor selection (either as an intended thing in some fuzz pedals, or a problem to be solved in others), rather than an additional circuit fragment with its own controls (ie, a noise gate).
 

MrRTF

New member
As i understand, "gated fuzz" means soundwise that it cuts the signal completely if the level is below a certain point. Imagine it like a noisegate, only if open you get that sharp "velcro" sound that crackles down as the signal fades.
I think Jack White uses that effect in many of his songs.
 

BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
So that’s what’s I hear when I turn the gain up to max on a fuzz pedal and hit a strong chord? The sound virtually disappears until the signal gets lower? I do understand the concept of a noise gate and what it does for the low end of volume/signal
 

mdc

Well-known member
Yeah, that's a good point that I didn't think of - it can happen in the inverse too, just like you're describing.
 

Chuck D. Bones

Circuit Wizard
So that’s what’s I hear when I turn the gain up to max on a fuzz pedal and hit a strong chord? The sound virtually disappears until the signal gets lower? I do understand the concept of a noise gate and what it does for the low end of volume/signal
Which pedal?
 

BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
I've got a Devi Ever Hyperion, Escobedo Triple Fuzz, EQD Acapulco Gold, just to name a few. The Acapulco doesn't have trannies, but the sound I get is the same when I really dig into the strings. I should have also mentioned that I've got some pretty hot humbuckers on my guitars which I know is causing the gating, but I still get it on my strat.
 

BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
Bringing this thread back to life for a related question. Obviously, if I turn down the volume knob on my guitar I can keep gating to a minimum. Would it be possible to do this with transistors, subbing, say a 2n3904 for a pn2222 which has a lower hfe?

Hoping Chuck can weigh in on this as well. I've got a fuzz face derivative that I want to tone down the gating on.
 

Chuck D. Bones

Circuit Wizard
Can you provide a demo of S.M.F.R. so I can hear the gating to which you refer?

There is another type of gating that happens when a gain stage is driven hard enough to push the bias point so far that something saturates and it takes time to recover. Not even sure "gating" is the best word to describe it. Depends on the circuit, but I have found that reducing one or more of the coupling caps will speed up the recovery to the point that the "gating" disappears almost instantly.
 

BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
Not the best quality since I used my phone. All the knobs are pegged with the exception of the fuzz control. I used a les Paul at volume setting around 1, then 5, then maxed out. I then adjusted the fuzz to full and repeated. I can post another video if needed with the phone more in front of my amp.

Full disclosure. I subbed the 1.5nf cap for a 1n since I didn’t have one handy.

 

BuddytheReow

Breadboard Baker
Doing some experimenting I hooked up a 100k pot to dial back the incoming signal. Pretty much clears up the gating issue even though I have some pretty hot pickups. Maybe I’ll try it with a 500k pot or greater. Not sure if this would be the “cheaters” way out or if I can sub a different part in there
 
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