The 11 Best Noise Gate Plugins Ever – 2023

Noise gates are an essential part of your mixing and mastering toolkit. They are best used when you want to clean up a mix, remove background noise or hum, hiss or other sounds that interfere with the clarity of the signal.

It is best to use noise gate plugins before any EQ filters in order to preserve the frequency response but it can also be used after effects such as reverb for creative sound design purposes. There are many great free and paid options available.

In this article we're going to cover the 11 best noise gate plugins available right now!

Here is the complete list of the best noise gate plugins updated for 2021:

  1. FabFilter Pro-G
  2. Boz Digital Labs Gatey Watey
  3. Waves C1 Compressor/Gate
  4. Infected Mushroom Gatekeeper
  5. kiloHearts Gate
  6. Sonnox Oxford Drum Gate
  7. Denise Audio Poltergate
  8. Volume Shaper 6
  9. Image Line Gross Beat
  10. AlexHilton A1TriggerGate (FREE)
  11. Venomode Complexer 2

What Is A Noise Gate?

A noise gate is an audio effect that lets sound through if the sound is louder than a certain level – this is called the threshold. If the sound is lower than the set level (threshold), then it won't let the sound through.

They can stop unwanted background noise, hum, hiss and even mic bleed from causing too much of an issue, opening only at a certain threshold, so that the main parts of your audio can come through, but can make your audio much cleaner.

Gate plugins are fantastic to use when you want your drums snappier, and used in conjunction with transient shapers, can really help things to pop a little bit more.

You can also use gates for the classic Eric Prydz reverb snare, so gates can be used creatively for sound design too, and are not just a mixing & mastering tool to clean audio up.

How Do Noise Gates Work?

Noise Gates are usually controlled by a combination of parameters.

Threshold controls the level, at which your Gate will kick in. When the sound is above the threshold, the gate is open, letting sound through. If it's below, the gate closes and no sound goes through..

As a lot of effects like this, you also get an Attack and Release interface, as well as Hold.

Attack controls the speed at which your gate kicks in.

Release sets the length of time your gate will fade out for.

Hold controls how long your gate remains in it's closed state, before checking for new transients.

Some Gates also feature a Range control, which sets the amount by which the signal is reduced, when the gate is shut.

Noise Gates are in general, extremely useful effects, that can be essential to achieving clean mixes, when using distorted and rough sounds.

If you've ever dealt with unpleasant hiss or hum in your audio, don't feel alone, you're not the first, or the last person experiencing this.

Getting rid of these unwanted elements can be tough, but with the help of a noise gate or expander eliminating these issues can be quite simple. The choices of noise gates on the market are nearly endless, so choosing what fits your production style the best can be a difficult task.

Do I Really Need A Noise Gate Plugin?

Noise Gate plugins are fantastic both for sound design, mixing and mastering. They're an essential tool for any audio engineer and music producer – especially if you're recording instrument!

A noise gate can help to clean up your audio and remove background noise, and is especially useful in a studio environment for recording, or for mixing and mastering. If you don't do much of these two things, it might not be worth getting a paid gate plugin.

There are lots of free options out there you can use first and most DAWs like Ableton 11, Logic & Cubase will have gate plugins built in.

So, before you invest, take a look into whether you need a paid gate plugin. They're very useful for some people, but for others they're just not worth it. It all comes down to what you need and how

1. FabFilter Pro-G

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, VST3, 64-bit

fabfilter pro g noise gate plugin

Pro G is made by the awesome FabFilter, who are known for their incredible, industry standard mixing utility plugins like Pro-Q3.

FabFilter's Pro-G is the best noise gate plugin out there. It's simple to use, easy to pick up, and damn powerful. Pro-G comes with 6 different algorithms as well as mono, stereo and mid/side processing.

In addition to all that, it's also light on the CPU. Pro-G works as both a noise gate and an expander, and modes are switched between very easily.

What we like the best about Pro-G, is it's lightning fast workflow. Whatever you might be trying to accomplish with your gate, can be done in just seconds.

Combine that with a bunch of really powerful presets, and you'll have all your gating needs met in one single awesome plugin.

Pro-G is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac.

2. Boz Digital Labs Gatey Watey

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, VST3, 64-bit

boz digital labs gatey watey noise gate VST

Gatey Watey is as fun to use as it name might suggest. Boz Digital Labs' amazing gate plugin is frequency dependent. This essentially means that you can gate separate frequencies of your sound. You can choose between low, mid and high modes to accomplish this.

As different as it is from a normal noise gate plugin, Gatey Watey retains the standard gate parameters. So, using it is no different than any other gate out there.

The UI is simple, but inspiring, and the looks alone make us want to use this plugin quite often.

Probably the most unique of the Gate plug ins on our list, Boz Digital Labs Gatey Watey is an incredibly fun and creative effect, which can be pushed to great lengths.

If you already have a great Gate plugin in your noise reduction arsenal, trust me, you need this one as well!

Gatey Watey is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac.

3. Waves C1 Compressor/Gate

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, VST3, 64-bit

waves C1 compressor/noise gate plugin

A true production workhorse, the Waves C1 is an impressively versatile production tool. The C1 features compression, expansion, gating as well as equalization functions. Split into three modules, these effects can be used separately, or in tandem, to shape your sound even further.

All three options are extremely powerful processing modules in themselves, making the C1's versatility something to keep in mind when choosing a gate plugin.

Split-band dynamics help you isolate the frequency ranges in your signal, for a more in-depth dynamics control. A look ahead feature also helps the C1 anticipate transients better.

Lastly, our favourite part of the C1 is it's spectacular sidechaining. Your sidechain comes with it's own filters, and equalizers, to help shape your tone further, as well as reduce muddiness.

All-in-all, if you're just starting in production, the C1 is a powerhouse that you'll get a lot of mileage out of.

The Waves C1 Compressor is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac.

4. Infected Mushroom Gatekeeper

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, VST3, 64-bit

infected mushroom gatekeeper gate VST

Polyverse's Infected Mushroom line of plugins never fails to deliver. Gatekeeper, their volume modulation plugin, is as good as the rest.

Gatekeeper stands out from other standard gate designs with an interesting feature that includes eight envelopes, independent of each other. This essentially makes Gatekeeper, one of the best noise gate plug ins for rhythmic gating purposes.

While it can perform the same function as a standard noise gate plugin would, The rhythmical capabilities of Gatekeeper are intense.

The UI is also just as complex and eye-catching, as the other plug ins from Polyverse. But while it may look complex, the GUI is extremely easy to operate, and will get the job you need done in a matter of moments.

In addition to everything else that's already awesome about it, Gatekeeper also comes with hundreds of presets for you to use.

Add to that gain, envelope and pan controls for every envelope, and you have a powerful and unique noise gate plug in.

Gatekeep is amazing for sound design purposes due to its sheer customisability.

Gatekeeper is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac.

5. kiloHearts Gate

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, VST3, 64-bit

kiloHearts noise gate plugin

Just like the rest of kiloHearts blocks plugins, the Gate is designed with ease of use and simplicity in mind.

The simplicity of this plugin shouldn't be taken at face value, since, this is a very capable and powerful gate plugin, with absolutely nothing in terms of added functionality. What you ask for, is what you get with the kiloHearts plugins.

We love the kiloHearts bundle, for the sole reason of it being full of extremely useful utility plugins designed for ease of use.

If you're looking for reliability, ease of use, and zero latency, kiloHearts' software is absolutely for you.

KiloHearts' Gate is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac.

6. Oxford Drum Gate

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, 32-bit, 64-bit

Oxford drum gate sonnox

Drum Gate is a gating plugin by Sonnox, who produces several of the industry's greatest mixing and mastering plug-ins, and produces a favourite of ours – the Oxford inflator.

Coming in with another plugin to add to the Oxford range, comes Drum Gate. This gate plugin has been designed with simplicity in mind, with a workflow to prevent annoyances like chatter, mis-detection, lost & choked ghost notes etc.

Drum Gate stands out from the rest of the gate plugins on this list, because it has been specifically designed for use on drums. At the heart of the plugin there's an intelligent drum-hit detection algorithm that spots your audio's transients by type.

You can choose from 3 different detection modes:

  • Kick
  • Tom
  • Snare

Choosing any of these modes will detect what you have selected. So, if you choose Kick as your detection mode, Drum Gate will only detect the Kicks and do its best to keep the other sections of audio silent, only allowing the Kick through.

The enveloper is another useful feature of the Drum Gate. You may smooth out the decay of your gate parameters, letting your snares ring out longer or pull them in to have a snappier sound, rather than having the quick in and out characteristics of a regular gate.

There's even a fantastic Levelling option, which allows you to make your drummer's performance more consistent.

Sonnox's Drum Gate is a fantastic tool, and if you're looking for a drum specific gate, you should get it.

7. Denise Audio Poltergate

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, 32-bit, 64-bit

Denise audio poltergate

Denise Audio make some of the greatest plugins for mixing and mastering, including one of our favourites – the Dragon Fire Compressor.

The Poltergate is a new addition to the Denise Audio range, and is a gating plugin, that fuses the powers of gating, transient design, and de-bleeding, into one neat little plugin unit, that has a fantastic interface and workflow.

There's often been times I've been using a stock gate plugin to try and clean up drums, and it just hasn't managed to quite do the job properly. Some of the bleed comes through, then runs through the compressor, gets squashed and sounds horrible as a result.

With Poltergate, you don't have this issue.

Denise Audio have specifically designed an algorithm for their De-Bleed functionality, that is easily controlled by 3 knobs and retains all the punch & character of your drums, without the pesky bleed coming through.

The Curve option is also a fantastic feature, allowing you to apply gating to specific regions of the frequency spectrum, allowing you to pick and choose the parts and rhythms you want from a sample.

Poltergate also has a Dynamics option, that essential let's you add punch and grit to your samples too.

One really cool option, is the ability to add a sidechain input, and reverse how the gate reacts. This gives you some incredible, pumping sidechain that adds so much feeling to your tracks. Using alongside the other controls you have, you can truly dial a precise, musical sound.

Poltergate is a fantastic gating plugin, and is definitely worth checking out.

8. Cableguys Volume Shaper 6

Cableguys Volume Shaper 6 is an incredible volume shaping tool, that can be used to get similar results as a gate, and can also be used for amazing, creative effects.

It's more of an effect unit that houses a number of modules you can apply, including:

  • Gating
  • Multiband Sidechain
  • Compression
  • Envelope
  • Stutter Effect

With its own unique level manipulation toolset, VolumeShaper 6 makes it easy to modify the volume of audio signals in precise detail. It's quick and simple to use, but it packs a punch thanks to drawable volume LFOs and visual compressors on every band.

The LFO in VolumeShaper 6 is unlike any other, and has been made with workflow in mind.

With simple editing tools you can generate any wave shape imaginable, from precise level modifications to pulsing patterns. Sample accuracy allows you to lock LFOs to tempo or start a non-4/4 rhythm with MIDI notes.

Volume Shaper 6 also has some incredible mixing capability, with designer compression that you can draw into, and literally change the shape of your compression until it's as punchy as you like, using a pen tool to control LFO curves.

Add to that specific frequency control, that gives you the ability to remove certain frequency ranges entirely, and total dynamic control that will shape your transients perfectly, and you have one hell of a gate plugin.

There's so much stuff in Volume Shaper 6, we can't include all of it in this article. If you want to learn more about it, check the link we left above. It's a fantastic gating plugin.

9. Image Line Gross Beat

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, 32-bit, 64-bit

image line gross beat

Gross Beat by Image Line is not a gate plugin for mixing and mastering, but is more for creative stutter, and glitch effects that add flair to your music. If you've watched any FL Studio tutorial on YouTube, you'll know how useful Gross Beat is.

You can use it for anything from super creative stutter effects, to simple sidechaining, without the need for an input source & even simple gating.

It's not a plugin we'd use for drum mixing, or cleaning up audio, but rather a creative effect that can morph samples into something entirely new. Use alongside re-sampling and it can be a great sound design tool.

Where it really shines is the glitch & stutter effects, giving you a 2 bar rolling buffer, that can be controlled by 36 different volume envelopes.

10. Alex Hilton A1TriggerGate (FREE)

Compatibility: Win, Mac, AU, AAX, VST, 32-bit, 64-bit

A1 Trigger Gate noise gate VST plugin

Lastly, we've saved the A1TriggerGate as dessert. This Alex Hilton plugin is truly amazing. The A1TriggerGate let's you trigger audio with a gated sound. You can even adjust this further with the built-in settings.

A1TriggerGate is absolutely free to download. And, what makes that even more impressive is the included FX section, with access to effects like delay, distortion, filters, reverb, etc.

In addition to this, A1TriggerGate has a built-in pattern sequencer with 4 or 3 beats, divided into 16th notes and 8th note triplets respectively.

Lastly, adding to the already creative approach to Gate plugins, you get a randomize button. If you've read some of our reviews before, you'll know how much we love randomize buttons.

Sometimes you're just a bit lazy, and want to get results quickly, and easily, which is why having a randomization feature is awesome. It makes crazy things happen without having to do much. You can then resample these crazy things, and turn them into something even more.

All in all, the AlexHilton A1TriggerGate is an impressive free effects plugin. Whether you want to remove some background noise, or want to sequence a rhythmic gate pattern, you can do all of it with A1TriggerGate.

A1Triggergate is available for free in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats for both Windows and Mac.

11. Venomode Complexer 2

venomode complexer 2

Venomode Complexer 2 is a multi-dynamics processor that includes compression, limiting and gating all in one beautiful plugin.

The cool thing about Complexer 2 that it has 3 modules, that have 6 different modes to choose from, giving you incredible control over your sound. So instead of just having a fixed compressor unit, or a fixed limiting unit, you can choose from 6 different modes, replacing a compressor with an expander, or limiter if you choose.

The 6 different modes are:

  • Compressor
  • Compressor (UP)
  • Expander
  • Expander (UP)
  • Limiter
  • Gate

These three stages can also be processed in a variety of ways, including parallel chaining, stereo and mid/side mixing, and multiband processing, as can be seen in the image below.

venomode complexer 2 processing

There's a lot of control included with Complexer 2 with the dynamics processing, and you can control the basics you'd expect like attack, hold, release, threshold & even lookahead to capture transients early. On top of that there are 3 detection modes including: RMS, peak and average.

You can also control the frequency range of your effects, giving you the ability to gate certain frequencies or even compressor or limit them.

Complexer 2 is a fantastic gate unit, and an even better multi-dynamics plugin.

How To Use Noise Gates

Sadly, while gates are incredibly important, beginner producers rarely utilize it, if at all. Let's look at some precise use cases and settings to use, to get the most out of this tool.

Noise Removal

Removing noise from a recording is going to be the first, and usually, the most frequent type of operating you'll do with a Gate plug in.

No matter who you are or how long you've been recording for, a noisy recording is something everyone needs to deal with regularly.

Imagine you're doing some field recording, and want to use a sample as a hi-hat, but the background noise is too loud or you're getting some mic bleed. Using a noise gate, to catch the hi-hat transient, while removing everything else is a quick and easy way to fix unwanted noise in your tracks.

You can also use noise removal tools, like the amazing Acon Digital Acoustica, but sometimes a gate is better for this.

Make sure to set your threshold above the background noise, but below the main transient of your hi-hat. A great visual representation of your Gate envelope can be very helpful when doing this.

Additionally, if your gate has a look ahead feature, turn that on. Quicker and sharper sounds work better with more precision when gating, so a look-ahead feature can be a life-saver.

Rhythmic Gating

Secondly, a favorite of all EDM producers of the 2010's, rhythmic gating.

Some gate plug ins allow for rhythmical gating, which will produce a rough and stuttering sound. While this isn't great as an effect you'd leave on all the time, using rhythmic gating on impacts, or at points of tension in your music, can create intense transitions.

We love to drop a gate going in triplets on our synth bus, and automating it to turn on during a transition, or pulling focus back to the element. Whether you put it on your bass, drums, samples or a snare, rhythmic gating can be a very powerful, and interesting effect to add to your tracks.

Additionally, if your gate plugin has a “Range” control, you can control the intensity of the gating. Automating this further can create an awesome riser in your music.

Rhythmic Gating can be a bit finnicky at times, and just like mixing, or any other process in music production, takes a bit of time to get used to.

Once you become better at operating your noise gate plugin, you can be as precise as you like and create some awesome effects for your tracks.

Finishing Up

Here is the essential list of the best noise gate VST plugins updated for 2021:

  1. FabFilter Pro-G
  2. Boz Digital Labs Gatey Watey
  3. Waves C1 Compressor/Gate
  4. Infected Mushroom Gatekeeper
  5. kiloHearts Gate
  6. AlexHilton A1TriggerGate (FREE)

Whether you're looking to fix your drum spill, add a rhythmic flavor, or just remove some unwanted hum, a noise gate can be a great support for your tracks.

Adding some spice to a sample or fixing acoustics in real time, you probably want the best noise gate plugin you can find.

Hopefully this list has helped you find the best quality noise gate VST plugin for your daw production process.

Check out our other plugin roundups:

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