Most of the time, my posts are over broad topics that relate to the basics of sound engineering, but today, I’ll be discussing a specific chain of effects that I like to use. Today’s topic is all about gated reverb. If you are confused about reverb, it may be helpful to read my last post here.

What Is Gated Reverb?

Gated reverb is an effect typically used on drums to give them a huge sound. This effect is accomplished by applying huge reverb to a drum track, and then adding a noise gate to sharply cut the end of the signal. This leaves drums (particularly the snare) sounding huge but not taking up too much space. It’s powerful, and it’s brief. An example of this effect would be in the Phil Collins song, “In The Air Tonight”, as the famous drum fill uses gated reverb. I’ll provide another song good example of gated reverb below.

This is a tune of my own called Robokraken that uses the same effect. Notice the quick cutoff on the snare drum.

How To Create Gated Reverb.

This effect isn’t incredibly hard to create. It is really just a combination of two effects that are standard on any DAW. For the best effect, you may want to use this on a snare track. In order to set up gated reverb on a track, simply add reverb. In most situations, you will want to put a pretty large amount of reverb on the track. The next step is to add a noise gate. A noise gate will mute certain frequencies that go below a threshold you set. Make sure you keep the sound of the snare itself when using the noise gate, you only want to cut the reverb off once the hit is finished. The final step is to dial the threshold up until you get a large reverb sound with a quick, almost instant cutoff.

A noise gate set relatively high. The noise gate is incredibly important and is key to the gated reverb effect.

A noise gate set relatively high.

Conclusion:

This is a more specific effect than usual, but it can really help make your drums sound big if you use if you use it right. This effect can also help you achieve an 80’s sound on your song. Any way you use it, it can really make the difference in the sound of your track!