ReaGate Noise Reduction | Media
Cockos Reaper Tips & TechniquesTechnique : Reaper Notes
Using Reaper’s ReaGate Plug-in: Audio Examples
n May 2011’s edition of Sound On Sound, we looked at using Reaper’s bundled gating plug-in — ReaGate. Here, Mike has supplied audio examples to demonstrate the techniques used in the workshop, which can be read in full by going to www.soundonsound.com/sos/may11/articles/reaper-tech-0511.htm
The first set of audio examples show how the side-chain filtering and Pre-open facilities of Reaper’s ReaGate can be used to deal with a challenging spill-reduction task.
Here’s a live snare-drum close-mic recording. As you can hear, there’s masses of hi-hat and kick-drum spill, which I want to reduce.
For this file, I’ve applied ReaGate, using 0ms Attack and 44ms Release settings so that I can hear the triggering action clearly. (I’ve also dialled in 3ms of Hold time to reduce gate chattering, in the light of the fast attack/release times.) I’ve set the Threshold to -27dB, which is as high as I can get it without losing any of the snare hits, but despite this both the kick and hi-hat parts are causing the gating to misfire.
To improve the triggering, I use ReaGate’s built-in side-chain filtering options to reduce the levels of kick-drum and hi-hat spill in the detector signal. Setting the Highpass slider to 674Hz and the Lowpass slider to 4869Hz does the trick, as you can hear in this example: the gate now opens only when it should.
In order to set up ReaGate’s side-chain filters for the Snare03_Gate_SCFilters example file, I engaged the plug-in’s Preview Filter Output button so that I could audition the filtered detector signal directly and refine them by ear. Here’s what the side-chain signal sounded like by the time I’d finished refining the Highpass and Lowpass settings. Although it sounds nasty and boxy, it does give the snare a balance advantage for detection purposes. Compare this with the Snare01_Ungated file to remind yourself of the original unfiltered spill levels.
Although the gate in the Snare03_Gate_SCFilters audio example is now triggering only on the snare hits, its Threshold has had to be set so high that the gate is slicing off a little of the initial snare transient, even with a minimum 0ms Attack setting. ReaGate’s Pre-open facility provides a way to improve this aspect of the processed sound. In this example I’ve applied 6ms of Pre-open, which helps the drum onset sound crisper.
So far I’ve deliberately kept ReaGate’s Release setting short and its Dry slider all the way down so that I could easily hear the finer points of the gating action. However, in practice a longer release time will give a more musical-sounding snare decay, and the gating range needn’t be nearly so extreme: some spill between the mics in a drum kit is usually beneficial to the sound, so all you really want to do is reduce the spill on this snare close-mic to a more suitable level. In this audio example I’ve attended to both these issues, setting the Release to 115ms and reducing the gating range to 8dB (Wet slider at -4.4dB, Dry slider at -8dB). Compare this to Snare01_Ungated to hear how far we’ve come from the original recording.
This audio example contains a section of the kick-drum close-mic track of a live drum recording. As you’d expect of a real performer, there is some inconsistency in the bass-drum levels through the track.
One way to add low-end attack to a kick-drum sound is to set up a fast gate as a send effect to isolate a little ‘blip’ from each hit, EQ that blip primarily into the low-frequency region, and then mix it back in with the unprocessed kick sound. This audio example demonstrates the kind of sound such a gated send channel would have when fed from the kick-drum track in the Kick02_Raw audio file. The processing comprises an instance of ReaGate (Attack: 0ms; Hold: 22ms; Release 6ms) followed by a 940Hz low-pass filter in ReaEQ. Note that the weight and tone of the blip changes from hit to hit in response to the inherent level changes in the live performance.
This audio file shows how the gated send in the Kick02_ParaGate example enhances the raw kick-drum sound of the Kick01_Raw file when they are mixed together. Again, note the inconsistency of the low-end attack.
This file demonstrates how the ‘blip’ in the Kick02_ParaGate example can be made to sound more consistent when ReaGate’s Hysteresis is increased to its maximum value of +24dB, effectively transforming the gate into a triggered envelope generator.
Here you can listen to the effects of the Kick04_ParaGateHysteresis file’s improved gated send processing when it is mixed with the unprocessed kick-drum recording of the Kick01_Raw file. Compare this with Kick03_ParaGateMix to hear the difference in consistency at the low end.
Here’s an example of a drum overheads track, recorded from Toontrack’s Superior 2 virtual instrument, where the cymbals are overpowering the snare-drum sound.
Inserting an instance of ReaGate on the overheads channel and then triggering it from one of the snare close-mics is able to significantly increase the snare level in the overheads balance.
This section of a full mix contains a lot of overdriven guitar parts, which make it difficult to retain vocal clarity.
Here are the two main guitar parts within the Ducking01_NoDuckingFullMix file. Note that they are currently pretty consistent in level throughout this section of the production.
Inserting ReaGate on the guitar tracks, switching the gate’s operation to ducking using the plug-in’s Invert Gate tickbox, and then feeding the detection side-chain from the lead-vocal part results in the following ducked guitar sound. Notice that the ducking is pretty obvious when heard in isolation like this.
Here’s a version of the full mix previously heard in the Ducking01_NoDuckingFullMix example file, but with the guitars ducked along the lines audible in the Ducking03_DuckingGtrSolo demonstration. Note how the ducking is much less obviously audible within the full-mix context than when the guitars were soloed, but nonetheless significantly increases the sense of lead-vocal clarity. 0