TL;DW: SoftGate is a gate that can mute hiss and smooth sample tails.

Hi! Today’s Airwindows tool is for sample makers (though you could use in in a mix if you really wanted to, or abuse it for special effects). It’s called SoftGate.

The purpose of SoftGate is this: you can set it so it’ll take the noise floor of a recording that you want to turn to samples (or multisamples), and fade it into darkness. You can set it to do this quickly, or quite slowly. This will clean up the noise floor of your multisample instruments and let you sustain things for longer, whatever the source recording quality is: if it’s real noisy and all your samples fade into a bunch of ugly noise, tell SoftGate to fade more slowly (lower on the slider) and allow that to kick in as the sound fades away into what’s supposed to be silence.

Or, if it’s a good effect but you don’t need to produce that much gating, use the bottom fader to bring in the raw signal again and balance that with the processed one, to get the right kind of fade.

The Audio Unit comes in SoftGate and SoftGateMono, because it’s inherently a linked stereo plugin (so stereo image doesn’t wander as it fades). You can use those on mono tracks in VST, but in AU you’re not supposed to run a stereo plugin on a mono source… so SoftGateMono exists to cover non-stereo tracks. If you use it on a stereo track it’ll gate Left and Right separately, so be warned. Also, SoftGateMono is technically ‘N to N’, like many of my AUs that aren’t stereo or stereo linked, so like many of my AUs you can also use it on quad, 5.1 or 7.1 tracks (did you know you could do that? Have fun, surround mixers).

This is all supported by Patreon, including the lightning bugfixes I do when something is wrong (since this is my job, I can do that when it’s needed). Also, if you’re a patron, you get to hear a new podcast I’m doing. It has to be secret because it’s the Evergreens podcast and I’m playing (excerpts of) classic hit record vinyl, and making a passionate case for how you should learn to record and mix the way they did back then. If there are plugins that correspond to stuff I talk about on the records, I’ll tell you. But more often than you’d think, the magic is to NOT process stuff and just let it be alive in the mix with minimum doctoring. If you’re a patron, you’ll get announcements each week when a podcast is out. (if you do share it, just torrent or rehost it so my hosting doesn’t get beat up again… and for the love of God don’t try to put it on YouTube, that will only end in tears. Trust me on this :D )