Guitar Noise Gate and Compressor Pedals

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Noise Reduction and Compression guitar effects pedals both belong to a family of effects called "Dynamics Processors". This is a class of signal processing devices used to alter the dynamic range of an audio signal (the ratio of the loudest signal to the quietest signal).

Two of the most commonly used types of dynamic processing pedals for the guitar are Compression and Noise Reduction.


A "Compressor" is used to decrease the dynamic range of a signal. When most guitarists talk about compressors they are talking about more about attack and sustain than actual dynamic range. The guitarist uses a compressor, or "sustainer" as it is sometimes called, to increase the length of time the guitar string sustains.

The controls on a guitar compression pedal are most often labeled "sustain" and "attack". The sustain parameter determines the length of time that a note is sustained; the attack parameter determines how fast the compressor acts upon the signal.

Here are some examples of Guitar Compression Pedals:

Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal

AMT Electronics GP Packer Guitar Compression Effects Pedal


Most guitarists prefer the "Noise Gate". This pedal cuts off the signal when it gets below a certain volume. When you stop playing and the volume of your guitar gets below a certain level the noise gate turns off the sound. Noise can originate with things such as 60 cycle hum and fluorescent lights, as well as being a"side-effect" of some of the guitar foot pedals such as compression pedals.

Check out these Noise Gate Pedals:

Rocktron HUSH Noise Reduction Pedal

ISP Technologies Decimator Noise Reduction Pedal


Remember that Compression and Noise Reduction are but two of a multitude of guitar effect available to you. To check out more effects,

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