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When I found out that I had gone through a 20 min short dialogue editing using an expander instead of a gate, I immediately went back and switched it all to gate and went back through the project. Upon going back through, I am confronted with this fact: the gate is being far less effective of shaving off the thin layer of noise that I was looking for. The Dialogue was recorded very well.
Anybody use expanders for this? Maybe I should go back and switch to expander again.

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Gates are usually too "harsh" for dialog work - the shutting off of room tone below the threshold is very noticeable. If you have it, try something like the C4 or the WaveArts Multidynamics to do multiband expansion (both have noise reduction presets that are a good starting point). These are even more effective at removing noise without harming the signal than broadband expansion. Lots of mixers (myself included) use that as a first go to when we need NR, saving things like the Izotope for more surgical requirements. Basically things like the Cedar DNS (and before it the Dolby 43/430) are very specialized multiband expanders.

  • That makes sense, I was getting nowhere with the gate – Chris May 16 '11 at 20:43
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multiband expander ftw.

  • Waves C4, set preset to "4 band noise reducer"
  • set threshold just above noise floor
  • set range a little wider than the preset
  • set gain to taste
  • profit!

Izotope alloy also sounds great for this application

Cedar DNS is essentially just a multiband expander.

Any of these can gain you 4-6 db of noise reduction pretty easily and with little negative side effects.

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multiband expansion might be the answer you're looking for..

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+1 to Rene. I actually did a discussion about the C4 for dialogue noise suppression on my blog with before/after samples that you may find useful: http://www.stavrosound.com/blog/wordpress/2011/07/dialogue-clean-out-the-noise/

The C4 is my day-to-day go-to when I don't have the luxury of working with a CEDAR. But it's not suitable all that well for sound effects because it gently softens/rounds the sharp transients (of say, debris sounds).

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The best use of gates that I know of is to put them on the toms on a drum kit in a live band situation, to minimize bleed from the other instruments on the stage. I don't think I'd ever use them in dialog editing though.

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I'm finding that through the use of an expander, I can decrease the noise background but at he cost of a little clarity of speach. The expander may be decreasing the quiet noises that occur in speach like "B" and "F"

Do you think this is because the expander is removing ER or other reflections or is it the other reason?

  • if you can use/setup multiband expansion (using something like Waves C4) you'll be able to get a little more precise, which will help maintain intelligibility. – Shaun Farley Jul 28 '11 at 11:32

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