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carlito17

Noise Gate/Suppressor, Boss NS-2 X Pattern, more

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First off, I am playing modern rock. I like to use a gate on my amp just to keep things quiet for between songs and quick mutes. I am not looking for a hard gate.

 

I have used a Boss NS-2 for years and as much as I try it always ends up in my chain. Maybe I’m just very used to it.

 

I am running my Helix Rack in 4CM.

 

I should probably say that I do use my volume knob for tonal variations which is why I’ve always used the NS2. It does not cut off notes at low volume.

 

In the last week I have tried the Noise Gate in the Helix with 80% success.

 

1) I tried putting the Gate Block as the first thing in the loop of my amp. I still get a small bit of hiss that I just cannot tweak out.

 

2) I then tried the NS-2 as I usually run it in an X pattern. Guitar > NS2 in > NS2 send > Helix front input > Helix loop 1 send > front of amp. Then Helix 1/4 out > NS2 return > NS2 out > Helix loop 1 return. This has great best noise reduction but does cause a little tone change.

 

3) Then I tried Guitar > Helix front input > helix loop 1 send > NS2 in > NS2 send > front of amp. Then Helix 1/4 out > NS2 return > NS2 out > Helix loop 1 return. This has great noise reduction and causes little tone change whether off or on. The only issue is when I use the volume pedal block down to tune (I use and external tuner) I still get hiss when I pluck notes. Not hearing any guitar but you can hear the NS 2 open. I’m not sure why.

 

4) Lastly I tried the NS2 in the loop only - Guitar > front helix input > loop 1 send > front of amp. Then 1/4 out NS2 in > NS2 Out > loop 1 return. Sounded the same as the gate block. Still a minor hiss.

 

If I could get #3 to work without the gate opening hiss when I tune I would use this as it has the best sound and reduction.

 

Any thoughts? Does anyone have other options or things they use?

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You can use the tuner option on Helix to mute the patch.  Connect your external tuner to Helix send 3 or 4 (assuming your send 1 or 2 is tied up in 4CM).  Hold the tap tempo button to engage the onboard tuner and you can change the output (knob 2) to read Send 3/4.  It should mute everything except a line to the other tuner.

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After several hours of testing and recording I ended up back at #2. It has the best noise reduction of all of the options (at least for my purposes). I'm about 95% where I want it to be. I may try a Hush 2x pedal that I have. Just place it in the same spot in the chain and see if it performs any better. But I'm right back where I started for now. Haha. Sometimes you're just used to what you've used for 20 years.

 

Any time I start thinking about something "effecting my tone" I think of how many times I've seen Randy Rhoads listed as having one of the worst guitar tones yet winning the best guitarist all in the same poll. The change in my tone is so slight that it couldn't make it any worse than it already is. Haha.

 

After trying all of the units out there, and I mean all of them, I am happy to be back with the Helix. Especially in 4CM. It works flawlessly and the community surrounding the product is much more my style.

 

Happy riffing everyone.

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A couple last things to try -  Place the NS2 after Helix in front of the amp, and then in the amps FX loop. So it would look like this:

 

Guitar > Helix > Helix Send 1 into NS2 > NS2 Out into Amp input > Amp FX Send into Helix Return 1 > Helix 1/4" out into Amp FX Return.

 

If you absolutely needed hum reduction directly after the guitar, you could use the input gate on Helix (it works great for hum, but isn't perfect for the staccato/ quick mutes part).

 

Also, the same way the NS-2 reduces hum at two places, you can try using more than one noise gate block in Helix.  The hard gate option takes a little time to set up but is really good for tight gating.  Its like gain staging with pedals, but for quiet instead of gain.

 

If you are looking to change noise gates I highly recommend the MXR Smart Gate.  If the 2x Ins and 2x Outs is a must have feature, ISP's Decimator G String could help you out.  I went from the NS-2 to the ISP, then eventually to the MXR.  Both are upgrades in transparancy.

 

 

Good Luck.

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That is what #2 is. Path 1 is after the Helix and into the front of the amp. Path 2 is in the loop directly after the amp fx send. I’ve tried the MXR Smart Gate with varying results. I have never tried the ISP. I will try the Hush 2x and post the results. Thank you for the suggestions.

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Oh ok. I might have misread #2.  I thought it had the NS2 in front of Helix, then again in the a secondary HX loop.

 

I meant to recommend placing it between Helix Send 1 and the front of amp, and then again before it hits the Amps FX loop return (I think you are already doing the second part)

 

Also, I found using the FX loops themselves can sometimes introduce noise if place before a high gain amp model, or sometimes when used in front of physical high gain amps.

 

Curious to hear how the Hush stacks up.  

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Oh ok. I might have misread #2. I thought it had the NS2 in front of Helix, then again in the a secondary HX loop.

 

I meant to recommend placing it between Helix Send 1 and the front of amp, and then again before it hits the Amps FX loop return (I think you are already doing the second part)

 

Also, I found using the FX loops themselves can sometimes introduce noise if place before a high gain amp model, or sometimes when used in front of physical high gain amps.

 

Curious to hear how the Hush stacks up.

I hear ya on the loops. I’ve trued the NS2 in a loop so I could move it around and it was no bueno.

 

The Hush 2x was ok. It was good in the amps loop but in front it was not what I wanted. It cannot be the first thing after the guitar so it had to go after the Helix and It introduce noise. It still didn’t touch the NS2 in the X pattern. I’m just gonna stick with what works for me. If it ain’t broke...

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