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AES NY 2019 — Smart drum gating from Sonnox

New Drum Gate employs machine learning to clean up your rhythm tracks

Oxford Drum Gate from UK plug-in company Sonnox shipped a week before AES: a surprisingly affordable but highly effective rhythm gating plug-in for cleaning up drum tracks, as you can see from Paul White's video interview above with Sonnox's Andy Kelly at the show. Rather than just relying on level measurements or spectral content to gate out unwanted parts of your drum tracks, such as spill from the other drum mics, the plug-in also uses knowledge of typical drum sound types acquired by applying machine learning to tens of thousands of drum samples. This allows the software to identify parts of your rhythm tracks in real time as snare hits, toms, hi-hats and so on, and to gate them intelligently.

This allows the Oxford Drum Gate to improve considerably on the effectiveness of an ordinary gate when applied to drum and percussion tracks. Because level is not the only gating criterion, different rhythmic elements that sound simultaneously can still be identified, separated and gated as required, and the clever Adaptive Decay feature of the plug-in can be used to retain the quieter ringing of toms or rattle of snare wires after the main rhythmic hit without being gated out. Once separated, individual hits can be conformed to two different target levels using the plug-in's Leveller section to create a more consistent performance, but without the sonic side effects of compressing to achieve the same result. And finally, once identified and separated, the rhythmic elements in the rhythm track can be assigned separate MIDI notes, so you can replace or augment unsatisfactorily recorded drum sounds with samples if you choose.

Sonnox Drum Gate is out now, retailing on-line for £170$244.80 — although if you buy it before the end of Tuesday, December 4th 2019, it can be yours for £127.50$183.

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