Developer Sonnox has a new addition to its coveted Oxford series of plug-ins. Drum Gate aims to deal away with the inconsistencies and difficulties of traditional drum gating by means of intelligent detection and optimisation. Furthermore, the plug-in does drum replacement.
Drum Gate is laid out in three tabs. The first is called ‘Detection’ and it’s meant for tasks like reducing spill on snare, kick and tom tracks. Click the appropriate button and adjust threshold to activate the gate and detect transients. The second is called ‘Decay’ and it has an adaptive engine to focus on the resonance of each hit, according to its velocity. Sonnox is advising this one for gating toms while keeping their natural ring and removing spill. This is also where you apply hit detection and MIDI triggering to add samples while retaining the original performance’s dynamics. ‘Leveller’ is the third tab, it lets you bring louder hits and softer articulations down to two target level ranges with separate controls for both.
Drum Gate has some other features aside from its core functionality. The plug-in lets you create custom drum profiles for unusual drum types and to fix mismatches. The spectral decay editor lets you preserve the characteristics of a drum hit, such as resonance, ring and rattle, while reducing spill. Finally, the MIDI functionality includes real-time MIDI output and file capture, which is very useful for triggering and other production tasks.
Sonnox’s Oxford plug-ins are well-regarded for their clean interfaces and accuracy. Drum Gate appears to be no exception, especially according to feedback from producers and the provided audio samples. It’s tools like this in the hands of skilled producers and soundpeople that bring about the clean drum sounds everyone else aspires to. Drum Gate also combines the functionality of several plug-ins in one, which is convenient.
Price and release date
Drum Gate is on sale at an introductory price of USD 162 / EUR 147 / GBP 127. A 15-day demo is available. The plug-in is found in AAX Native, AU, and VST formats for Windows and macOS (including Catalina). The demo requires an iLok User ID, while the full plug-in allows 2 activations per license and authorizes via an iLok USB dongle or the iLok Cloud.