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Troubleshooting your MXR Smart Gate Pedal
How to get what you want.
I, like many other serious guitarists, own an MXR Smart Gate Pedal. To me, it is one of the most important pieces of gear in my rig, next to the guitar and amp themselves.
One thing that bothered me, was on a popular equipment retail website, one dissatisfied customer claims that his MXR was a piece of garbage and "didn't work".
That's the purpose of this hub, to dispel any rumors or uncertainty about this fantastic pedal that no guitarist should be without.
The main reason to buy a noise suppressor/gate is to eliminate 60-cycle hum, feedback, and awful hissing noises caused by A/C disturbance and high-output components. The reason why any noise suppression system would seem "ineffective" or "a piece of crap" is because either a) It IS a piece of crap, or b) the "guitarist" has no idea what their own intent is or what they are doing due to amature-based ignorance.
High-watt amplifiers and sound systems are obviously for big sound. Once you creep up the scales of different classes of amps and rigs, the more interferance you are going to have from all the power you are handling.
QUALITY amplifiers (especially valve-state) have effects loops channels installed on them. If you simply toss a noise gate somewhere in your effects chain (even if it abides by the proper "order" of pedal placement), you may actually have a weakened or barely decreased the nuisances to the desired sound of your rig. THIS is where most amature guitarists start getting let down. If you buy a $200 noise gate for a $50 12-watt amp with an 8-inch speaker, you have indeed over-shot your priorities and should probably go back to the drawing board.
By running the noise gate THROUGH your amplifier's effects loop, you get to the root of the problem, and get optimum performance out of the gear. In the below photo, I have used 2 different types of cables, to eliminate confusion, to insert into the jacks on the amplifier.
From effects loop "send" to pedal "input", then from effects loop "return" to pedal "output" (on this particular model, a Marshall G100R CD).
The MXR Smart Gate has the "hi-trigger" button on the top-left. This is mostly handy to open the gate quicker, and keep it open longer, for all you sustain junkies out there.
Notice that I have the trigger level turned to the "two o'clock" position. Even when using really distorted settings, like through my Boss Metal Zone MT-2, this is a sufficient amount of suppression to fit my needs, especially since I use a lot of overhead effects like chorus and analog delay.
This next photo is an example of amp settings used in conjunction with the pedal:
The "Loop Level" is set to the "in" position, to avoid the -20db drop that sucks down the strength of the noise gate. The effects level knob is set to "9", mainly to avoid overkill by zapping it at "10" to still let some of the natural signal gain to push through. You of course will need to test yours and try alternate settings to suit your needs.
I hope this Hub has snuffed out many of the rumors and comments made based on consumer negativity due to amature-level guitarists that spoil themselves with random gadgets.