Last modifiedby & filed under Mixing & Other Tips.

How can you make a gated Synths without any special plugin?

Simply use a compressor with side chaining to chop any sound you like (works best with pads or sustaining instruments) aprox. setup time 2 minutes

Note: if you wanna have more of an aggressive sounding you can use a gate with side chain instead

A compressor is smooth, doesn’t completely cut your instruments and creates a soulful timbre whereas a gate is aggressive and really chops the sound staccato like. Mostly you know this technique from electronic music. Also many modern Synths already got a build-in rhythmical gate.

 gated_synth_11. add a new trigger track with a percussive sound. It would be best to use a closed & open HiHat or a percussive synth (like pulse or sawtooth). Record a rhythm, like this one HiHat Trigger




gated_synth_1-12. add a second synth track and record your synth line Synth Line




gated_synth_23. Add a compressor to your synth track and activate side chaining. Set the ratio to 8:1 at least and the threshold as low as possible.





gated_synth_3 gated_synth_44. Simply route the trigger (Synth) output to your compressor’s side chain input now. In Cubase you can also use one send slot of your trigger track (see left picture) . If you are using a send slot make sure you set it to pre-fader* so that you can turn down the trigger volume, in case you wanna silence the trigger in your mix. To do so, right click on the send slot and select “Move to Pre-Fader” from the menu (see right picture). Don’t mute the trigger track because the side chain wouldn’t receive any signal any more

*) Pre-fader means that the volume fader has no influence on the send output volume because the signal of your send output is routed to your fx (or side chain) inputs before the volume fader. 


5. Open your Synth track again and play around with the compressor’s attack and release time. This all influences the choppin sound directly. Also note that the trigger sound itself (in this case the HiHat) has a big impact on the chopped sound as well. Also the compressor itself influences the sounding of course.


You’re Done. This it what it could sound like Gated Synth (compressor)

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  1.  Gated Synth – With Side Chain Gate - YummyBeats

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