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FL Studio Tutorial - Noise Reduction

Blckbxxx | 10:50 AM | 2 kommentarer

FL Studio tutorial explaining how to hide noise.

Hiding background noise from sounds and samples is an important step towards a clean, crisp sounding mix. Even if you do not or hardly notice the little bit of noise in your sounds, it is simply good practice to remove it as the problem is quickly magnified when dealing with multiple tracks. The accumulated noise can go well beyond the audible and turn your mix into a muddy, blurred blend.

By utilizing so called noise gates, we can manage the noise on a track. The purpose is not to remove the noise from the sound (once noise is part of a sound it is hard to remove it), but rather to hide it during quiet sections where the track would otherwise only contribute with unnecessary noise.

Simply put, a noise gate allows a sound to pass when it is above a certain threshold (the noise gate is open). If the sound is below the threshold, the sound is not let through (the noise gate is closed). See the illustration below:



The red line represents the input signal. As long as it is below the threshold value (the gray line), the noise gate is closed (see the green line for the output signal). When the input signal exceeds the threshold, the noise gate opens. How fast it opens depends on the attack setting. Similarly, when the input signal falls below the threshold value, the gate closes. How fast it closes, depends on the release setting.

In FL Studio you have a few options when it comes to noise gates, most notably the Fruity Limiter. But also the fruity Love Philter can be used for this purpose.

Fruity Limiter

To illustrate the Fruity Limiter noise gating capabilities, first add an Audio clip to the Step Sequencer and load the FLS_OhYeah.wav sample, which you find in your FL Studio folder under Data\Patches\Packs\Vocals. See below:




Next, place a few clips to the Playlist and play the song.




You will clearly hear a noise at the end of the sample (where you hear the word ‘yeah’). Make sure to listen to it a couple of times so you know what I am referring to.

Now, this is the unwanted noise that we will attempt to suppress using the Fruity Limiter. Go to the Mixer and add the Fruity Limiter to the first FX slot of the master track. See below:




Note: It is better practice not to use the master track unless you want an effect to be applied to all sounds in your project (all sounds are routed to the master track). For simplicity’s sake, I use the master track here.

The Fruity Limiter is a compressor, limiter and noise gate in one. What we will focus on is the basic noise gate functionality that it offers via the controls shown below:




If the Thresh (threshold) control is turned entirely to the left (no threshold), the noise gate function is effectively switched off. If you play the song, the Fruity Limiter will show something like this:




Note: Make sure the Loudness Gain and Ceil (Ceiling) controls are set to similar levels as in the screenshot to avoid the limiter function to kick in.

In this state, you will still hear the noise at the end of the ‘yeah’. But let’s increase the threshold a bit and play our song again. See below:




Note: Make sure to turn the Noise gate Gain control entirely to the left (as shown above).

If you use a similar threshold as in the above screenshot you should really be able to notice the reduction in noise at the end of the vocal clip!

The Rel (release) control will also have an effect. As discussed, the release controls how fast the gate closes when the input signal falls below the threshold. If you set this too high, you will still hear the noise in the output signal as the gate simply does not close fast enough. If it is low the gate will close abruptly giving a less smooth transition.

Finally, with the Gain control you can adjust the signal passing through the gate when it is closed, but for our noise reduction exercise we are not really interested in boosting the signal. We want to suppress it completely.

Fruity Love Philter

The Fruity Love Philter is a feature-rich filter plugin that allows for creating really complex filtering and gating effects (it has 8 filter units, where each unit can feed its output into the next). What we will discuss here, however, is how to use the plugin as a basic noise gate.

Add the Fruity Love Philter in the second FX slot of the master track in the Mixer. Also, make sure to disable FX slot that contains the Fruity Limiter. See below:




Next, select the ‘Basic noise gate’ preset from the FX slot options menu.




The Fruity Love Philter will show the following:




It would go (far) beyond the scope of this tutorial to discuss every feature and control of the plugin. Nevertheless, let us have a look at some of the relevant aspects.

First of all, let’s talk a bit about the IEF (input envelope follower). IEF is a feature where the input signal is converted into a controller signal. Simply put, the louder the input signal the bigger the IEF signal. While not giving any visual feedback (unfortunately), the IEF controller signal moves up and down the horizontal scale you see at the bottom of the filter. See below:




Now, the interesting thing is that this IEF can function as a modulator source of a modulator target. In other words, we can let the level of the IEF control a target, such as the volume. See below:




As you can see in the screenshot above the IEF has been selected as the source and Vol (Volume) as the target.

But how exactly does the IEF affect the volume? Well, that depends on the graph above the IEF scale. As you can see, the line starts at 0% (volume of the output signal is reduced to 0) and quickly rises to 100% (volume of the output signal is unaffected). The way to interpret this is that at low input (IEF) signal levels the output signal is muted. When the input (IEF) signal exceeds a certain level (threshold), the output signal is unaffected. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? This is a noise gate effect. See also below:




Listen to the song and determine whether the noise gate has the desired effect. Most likely, you want to tweak things a bit and for this we have threshold, attack and release at our disposal.

With respect to the threshold, you can change this in two ways. By changing the graph or by changing the Envelope Follower Level slider.

Let’s first have a look at the graph. The way that you can manipulate it is very similar to the way you manipulate automation clips. You can move control points, add and delete control points, etc. In the screenshot shown below you can see that I have moved the threshold up a bit (I also added one control point to make sure the change in volume is abrupt).




With respect to the Envelope Follower Level slider (the rightmost slider on the plugin labelled IEF), what this one does is transpose the IEF scale to higher or lower dB ranges. Now, with a fixed graph, transposing the scale up or down will effectively be the same as changing the threshold (the threshold in the graph will be at a different dB level if you change the position of the Envelope Follower Level slider. Try this out while you play the song.

From the introduction you know that attack and release determine how fast the gate opens and closes. The controls for this can be found on the right side of the plugin. See below:




The best way to learn how the various settings influence the noise gate is by trying. Unlike the Fruity Limiter, there is no visual feedback so you have to do it by listening carefully to the output sound (which is actually the preferred way to work on your sounds).


We have seen that removing noise from your sounds is important in order to achieve a clean mix. Noise gates can help us to do this.

Both the Fruity Limiter and Fruity Love Philter offer a noise gate. Which one you want to use is first of all a matter of taste, but either way, make it a habit to reduce the noise in your compositions!

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FL Studio Tutorials - All fl studio tutorials are written by Marc Demar

2 kommentarer

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice one. Never used the noisegate but will defenately try this out.