Enhancing Transients With Noise Gate
In my blog’s statistics, which I check frequently, I see a lot of search queries like ‘what does Enveloper do?’ or something in that area. For a quick demonstration of what Logic Pro’s Enveloper does, try this approach:
- Create a track, add a drumloop of your choice. Don’t insert any plugin.
- Duplicate the track, and copy the same drumloop to it. Add a Noise Gate.
- Suggested settings for the Noise Gate: Attack: 0ms. Hold: 20ms. Release: 10ms.
Now, solo the duplicate track, and move the Noise Gate’s threshold slider until it starts to pick up only the loudest parts of the loop. Let me illustrate with an audio example:
The original loop:
The noise gated loop:
Next, play everything together, and just dial in, or increase the volume of the duplicate track until you think the loop feels snappier. Here’s the original loop with the noise gated loop added to it. I’m exaggerating it a bit to prove my point:
Enveloper Attack vs. Noise Gate Attack
Now here comes the confusing part: When you’ve got the Enveloper’s Attack Gain slider set to anything above zero and you’re altering the Attack Time knob, you’re changing the lenght of the attack phase, or transient that is being enhanced. With the Noise Gate, when changing the attack, if it’s anything above zero, you’re fading in the attack phase/transient. That’s why I left it at zero: I wanted to leave the transients unaltered. If this doesn’t stick, try soloing the Noise Gated track and set the attack value to something like 40ms. Hear that? Small fade-ins at every transient. Transients kaputt. Not good, in this case.
Simply put, The Enveloper’s Attack time = The Noise Gate’s Hold Time.
Edited 03-21-2012: This statement is false, please read Grant Ransom’s excellent comment below. (Thanks Grant!)
Enveloper Release Is a Different Beast
I can’t use the Noise Gate to illustrate what the Enveloper’s Release Gain slider does, it’s best to just fool around with it until you grasp it. It basically increases or decreases volume after the attack phase is over. Release Time lets you set how long it will boost the volume. I’ll close off with an extreme setting of the Release Gain slider, and Release Time set to 500ms:
Using a Noise Gate to enhance transients is a pretty good alternative to using the Enveloper plugin. Best thing is, you get to process the enhanced bits even further by using EQ, for example. And that brings this method pretty close to the capabilities of third party plugins like Waves TransX Multi plugin. Have fun!