The CNZ Audio Noise Gate pedal is a no-frills, one-knob solution to your pedal hiss woes. With the majority of their pedals being mini pedals, and manufactured in China, CNZ Audio can perhaps be seen as being in the same class as Donner, Joyo, and Mooer. However, one of the things that separates CNZ Audio from the pack is their business structure. CNZ Audio is a family-run business, based in Powell, Ohio, that prioritizes customer engagement and social responsibility. Not only are they committed to customer satisfaction, but they have partnered with individuals who are involved with the construction of new schools in Uganda. We have tried a few of their pedals, and so far we are impressed with both build quality, and performance.
Currently, the two most common styles of noise gate pedals are those with two ins and two outs, like the Boss NS-2, and the Behringer NR300; and those with one in and one out, like the ISP Decimator, and the Fortin Zuul (the Zuul is actually a bit more complex, but it is still a one-knob pedal). Both styles can be useful, depending on your needs and preferences. The NS-2 style is great if you have a larger rig, or if you don’t use or have an FX loop on your amp. However, in order to truly shine, NS-2 style noise gates require that you use the four-cable method, which for many people is overkill. For those who prefer a more straightforward approach to noise reduction, one-knob noise gates are the way to go.
The CNZ Audio Noise Gate works best when placed after your gain pedals, but before your modulation pedals. This way, the noise gate will stop the hiss and hum without gating any other effects that you have on your board. Of course, you could also use this pedal to experiment with gating your reverb or any other effect, and since it is so small it is bound to fit anywhere on your board.
Threshold: controls the level at which the gate engages. Turn it down for less noise reduction, and turn it up for more noise reduction. One of the convenient things about single knob gates is that it is insanely easy to tweak them on the fly, which can be useful if you use multiple instruments in your set, and if one happens to be noisier than the others. With a single knob unit like the CNZ Audio Noise Gate, you don’t have to worry about getting your attack and release ratios jumbled in an attempt to re-tweak your rig, just turn the knob until you find the sweet spot for whatever instrument you are using and you’re good.
Hard/Soft: like many one-knob noise gates, CNZ Audio’s version uses a switch, rather than a knob, to control the decay speed. This binary approach to the gate’s decay function streamlines the user interface, and is perfect for those of you who don’t like to spend too much time turning knobs. Hard sets the gate to engage abruptly and often noticeably, while Soft provides gentler and more subtle gating.
Telecaster Style Guitar [Maple Fingerboard, Dimarzio D-Activator Humbucker (bridge position)] – Cable – Scarlett 2i2 Interface – MacBook Pro 15” 2012 – Logic Pro X
Powered by a grounded Voodoo Labs Pedal Power unit via 9V input.
Not much signal loss or frequency gouging here. Basically what you would expect from a true bypass pedal, although the signal here is a bit cleaner than some generic offerings.
The CNZ Audio Noise Gate is a fine piece of gear that works well across a variety of styles, and as part of pretty much any kind of pedal rig. The housing is durable, the circuitry is reliable, and the artwork looks cool. Plus, it doesn’t take up much space, nor will it put a significant dent in your wallet. If you are looking to tame some of the noise that has been floating around your rig, but don’t want to shell out wads of cash or commit to a more complex cabling scheme, you would be smart to check out the CNZ Audio Noise Gate.
True Bypass: Yes
Battery Cavity: No
DC in: Yes (power supply sold separately)
Input(s): 1 x 1/4”
Output(s): 1 x 1/4”
9VDC Input (- center, + outside), 10 mA
470K Ohms Input Impedance
470 Ohms Output Impedance