How to use a Boss NS-2 Noise Gate

If you, like me, occasionally use a high gain distortion pedal, you know that these are notoriously noisy when the pedal is on and you are not playing. At one point it just got too much for me and I decided to buy a noise gate.

When it came to choosing a noise gate, at the time it was not very difficult. The only ones my local guitar store carried were the Boss NS-2 and the Rocktron Hush rack noise gate. The Hush was too expensive, so I bought the Boss. As this article describes, it turned out to actually be the best option, as the Boss pedal has a feature that can make it much more efficient. More about that later.

A few words about the noise and where it comes from

Basically, noise can come from all sources in your signal chain, including, but not limited to, your guitar, your effects and your amp. The primary source for noise is almost always gain in some incarnation. This can be your overdrive/distortion pedals, and it can be your amp’s preamp section. The more gain, the more noise.

A compressor is another source for noise due to the way a compressor works. Basically, it turns up the volume of weak signals, and turns down the volume of strong signals. This causes it to amplify any noise already present in a weak signal (typically from noisy pickups).

These kinds of noise are the ones that noise gates are designed to dampen or remove.

How does a noise gate work?

This is a VERY basic description of a noise gate: If the signal on the input of the noise gate is over a certain (user adjustable) threshold, the signal is let through to the output. Otherwise, it cuts the output (closes the gate).

There are noise gates on the market that have additional features, but the above description is the way all noise gates work.

The signal chain and where a noise gate fits in.

Detailed descriptions of how to chain your effects together can be found in abundance on the internet so I will not go in to detail, just show two of the most commonly used signal chains.

The simple serial chain:

<guitar> – <germanium fuzz> – <wah> – <compressor> – <overdrive/distortion> – <tremolo> – <volume> – <choruses/flangers/other time-based effects> – <delay> – <reverb> – <amp>

I have included the germanium fuzz pedals right after the guitar, as these are designed to work without a buffer in front, and many of the other types of pedals contain buffers that can affect the sound of the germanium fuzz pedals in a very negative way.

You could argue that the best place to put a noise gate in any signal chain is always dead last, right before the amp. That way, it will remove any noise from all effects. However, there is a problem with the delays and reverbs. A delay effect is the most obvious example, as the delay repeats would be cut off by the noise gate when the guitar stops playing. Reverbs have the same problem. Therefore, we need to put the noise gate before the delay and reverb effects so these effects can ”ring out”.

The effects loop chain:

<guitar> – <germanium fuzz> – <wah> – <compressor> – <overdrive/distortion> – <amp input> <amp loop send> – <tremolo> – <volume> – <choruses/flangers/other time-based effects> – <delay> – <reverb> – <amp loop return> – <power amp>

Again, placing the noise gate just before the delay is probably the best option. This time, it will even attenuate the noise generated by the amp’s preamp section.

So this is it, right? – Problem solved! – Or what?

By no means. There is one problem with placing the noise gate near the end of the signal chain: If you have an effect that generates a lot of noise when it is turned on, this noise becomes part of the signal that controls the noise gate! ”You can just turn up the threshold”, you argue. Yes, that is correct, but you also want the threshold to be low enough to let the signal through if you play very quietly. With just one or two noisy pedals in the chain it can be impossible to find that balance.

So what is the solution?

The solution is simple. The noise gate needs to be split into two. The first half (sensing the input signal) should be placed right after the guitar and sense the signal there, before most of the noise sources, and the second half (the gate) should be placed right before your delay/reverb effects.

”But I cannot just hacksaw my noise gate into two…”

Well, no. This is where the Boss NS-2 comes in. This is the clever bit.

The Boss NS-2 has an effects loop so you can insert your effects between the input sensing and the output gate. This means that you can create a serial signal chain like this:

<guitar> – <germanium fuzz> – <Boss NS-2 input> – <Boss NS-2 send> – <wah> – <compressor> – <overdrive/distortion> – <tremolo> – <volume> – <choruses/flangers/other time-based effects> – <Boss NS-2 return> – <Boss NS-2 output> – <delay> – <reverb> – <amp>

Please note that I have left the germanium fuzz outside the loop due to the buffer issues described earlier.

The effects loop chain.

<guitar> – <germanium fuzz> – <Boss NS-2 input> – <Boss NS-2 send> – <wah> – <compressor> – <overdrive/distortion> – <Boss NS-2 return> – <Boss NS-2 output> – <amp input> <amp loop send> – <tremolo> – <volume> – <choruses/flangers/other time-based effects> – <delay> – <reverb> – <amp loop return> – <power amp>

You will notice that the threshold in both signal chains can be set lower, causing more of your guitar signal to get through.

You might argue that it should be possible to do it like this:

<guitar> – <germanium fuzz> – <Boss NS-2 input> – <Boss NS-2 send> – <wah> – <compressor> – <overdrive/distortion> – <amp input> – <amp loop send> – <tremolo> – <volume> – <choruses/flangers/other time-based effects> – <Boss NS-2 return> – <Boss NS-2 output> – <delay> – <reverb> – <amp loop return> – <power amp>

This option is problematic since it might lead to other noise issues like ground loop hum etc. due to the fact that the Boss NS-2 exists both before and inside the effects loop at the same time. I have not tried this option and I do not take any responsibility for any damage caused by following the above description. Now you have been warned.

There are several noise reduction pedals on the market now that have similar send/return loop functionality, and it will be possible to substitute them. I wrote about the Boss NS-2 because that was the one I bought back then. Today, there are many competitors. The TC Electronic Sentry pedal and the ISP Decimator G-string pedal are two of the newer alternatives. I have not tested any of them so I cannot compare them to the NS-2.

 

76 Responses to How to use a Boss NS-2 Noise Gate

  • Vlad says:

    I love this post and am grateful for it. I’d like an advice on placement of the EQ pedal with the NS2 and other pedals. I have a bunch of Boss pedals, going straight into two amps (I like to use the stereo perk of those pedals that have stereo i/o), no amp loops used.
    My guitar has a single coil neck and p90-style bridge, and I’d like to reduce some (or all) of that hum/buzz coming out of it, with a NS2.
    My chain so far: FV50H (volume)-> EQ20(equalizer)-> BD2 (blues driver)-> TR2 (tremolo)-> PH3 (phaser)-> CEB3 (chorus)=> DD20 (delay)=> RV6 (reverb)=> RC1 (loop station)=> Hughes&Kettner Edition Blue 60R and Fender Rumble 100 v3
    -> mono chain, => stereo chain
    Thanks in advance!

    • admin says:

      I think in your case I would place the equalizer where it is, and add the NS-2 around the mono part of the chain, like this:

      Guitar > NS-2 in > NS-2 send > volume > eq > blues driver > tremolo > phaser > NS-2 return > NS-2 Output > chorus => delay => reverb => loop station => amps

  • Sendy says:

    I find this article and really help, but i still got question, my pedalboard chain:
    Wireless-polytune-wah-od808-input tc sentry-send tc sentry-amp input
    Send amp-return tc sentry-input delay-output delay-return amp

    What do you think about that chain? Should i try tc sentry after polytune before wah or after wah before od808?
    Because i read all this articel you tell ns2 always first in the chain before wah or od. Is that same with tc sentry? Thanks

    • admin says:

      The rule is in general that pedals that are noisy should be inside the loop of the NS-2 or Sentry. So if your wah or your tube screamer generates noise when you are not playing (hiss, hum etc.), put them inside the loop.

  • Paul Bik says:

    Hello, thank you for a very informative article.
    I have one question: I’m using a boss lmb-3 which I really like. But when using the enhance control over 11 o’click it generaties some hiss. Is this noise also silenced by the ns-2?

  • Aidan Black says:

    Hello, this article was really helpful! I now I’m still wondering however where I should place a multi-effects processor in my loop and my volume pedal, and generally if my pedals are placed fairly well in the loop. (Just so you know I’m mainly playing thrash metal and hard/classic rock)
    This is my chain so far: Guitar -> NS-2 INPUT -> NS-2 SEND -> BOSS volume pedal (with tuner straight from volume pedal) -> VOX wah -> BOSS CS-3 -> Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini -> EHX metal muff -> NS-2 RETURN -> NS-2 OUTPUT -> EHX Canyon Delay & Looper -> Clean Amp.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Cheers, Aidan

    • admin says:

      I would probably place the multi effects processor right after your Metal Muff inside the NS-2 loop, and the volume pedal between the NS-2 output and the delay.

      But that depends what you want to use the volume pedal for. If you put it early in the chain, it controls how much distortion you get, and if you put it late in the chain (after your overdrive & distortion), it controls the overall volume.

      Allan

  • Samuel Hernandez says:

    Hey man! I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to setup my board with the NS-2

    guitar -> Digitech whammy -> boss tu-3 -> mxr dyna comp -> mxr fullbore -> mxr analog chorus -> tv electronic flashback delay -> tc electronic HOF -> strymon big sky -> boss RC3 -> amp

    • admin says:

      I would probably leave all pedals from the chorus and onward out of the NS-2 loop. You want them to be able to “ring out” even if the NS-2 closes the gate.

      Then you have two options, depending if your amp has an effects loop or not.

      With effects loop:

      guitar > NS-2 in – NS-2 Send > whammy > tuner > comp > fullbore > Amp in – Amp send > NS-2 Return – NS-2 Output > Chorus > Delay > HOF > Big Sky > RC-3 > Amp Return

      And without effects loop:

      guitar > NS-2 in – NS-2 Send > whammy > tuner > comp > fullbore > NS-2 Return – NS-2 Output > Chorus > Delay > HOF > Big Sky > RC-3 > Amp In

  • Travis says:

    Hey man my chain is as follows
    (Not necessarily in this order)

    Guitar (one with passive humbuckers and one with active)
    Ernie ball vp Jr. (boss tu 2 on tuner output)
    Digitech Drop
    Wampler Tumnus (always on as a tone shaper/boost)
    Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe V2
    Boss Chorus Ensemble
    Boss Graphic EQ
    Boss NS2

    All going into either a Carvin V3M 50 watt tube head or an Orange CR120 solid state head (back up)

    What would be my best routing scheme to reduce the noise from the dirt pedals and from both amps gain channels?

    The Carvin is a 3 channel with lots of gain hum and the Orange is 2 channel with lots of hum at higher gain settings and both have an effects loop and built in reverb that I use 100% of the time.

    Thanks for any help you can offer

    Travis

    • admin says:

      Your current setup has one issue: If you connect a tuner pedal to your volume pedal’s tuner output, it can cause tone suck if there is no buffer in front of the volume pedal. I have considered that when making the effects chain below.

      Since you are not using any delay pedals, I would probably recommend putting everything into the loop of the NS-2 like this:

      Guitar > NS-2 In – NS-2 Send > Tuner > Volume > Digitech Drop > Tumnus > Pinnacle > Amp In – Amp Send > Chorus > EQ > NS-2 Return – NS-2 Output > Amp Return

      The amp’s reverb is most likely placed after the effects loop internally in the amp so it will not be an issue here.

      I have placed the tuner before the volume pedal, but you can put it in the volume pedal’s tuner out if you prefer. The NS-2 has a buffer, so it will counter the tone suck from the volume pedal.

  • tyson says:

    Hey man i have tried this it didnt blow my gear but something was wrong…. now the last thing you mentioned. Simplified version would be guitar-ns2 send-amp input-effects loop send-ns2 return- ns2 output-effects loop input. Now this worked it sounded amazing I had literally no hiss. And I should mention I’m rocking a evh 5150 and a tube screamer (lots of hiss usually) but basically you said it could blow your gear I’m worried I could do some damage as my pedal board kept cutting out with power. Everything worked fine for about half an hour I was amazed my tone was unique and now I read this and think can I really blow something. Please advise I need to use this somehow because it made the difference I needed 🙂

    BTW this article was brilliant if I would have found it 2 years ago you would have cleared up so much I can use this to help my friends 🙂 thanks

    • admin says:

      I have become wiser since I wrote the article, luckily. It is not a problem doing what you have done. The noise killer pedals are designed to handle it. So don’t worry and keep playin’!

      • Phil says:

        i also use an NS-2 with a EVH 5150. iv wired my output and return through the effects loop and the input and send through the guiter – amp loop. the problem im having is when i stop playing, i get a half – 1 second of noise before the pedal reacts and cuts it out. is there a way i can cut the noise instantly when i stop playing and mute the strings? iv tried everything from upgrading my cables to providing a clean power supply from a 9V DC power block.

        great article btw

        Phil

        • admin says:

          The NS-2 will always have a bit of reaction delay to allow for short staccato notes without risking that the noise gate cuts off any part of the notes.

  • Oliver says:

    Hi great article thanks. I’d love your advice on how to connect my rig for the best tone and least noise. I have a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Tremoverb 100w combo and it’s a 2 channel amp and I need 3 (clean/overdrive/high gain) plus solo boost. A boost out front wouldn’t work on the high gain channel as no headroom so my solution was to have the parallel effects loop modded to serial and put a true bypass clean boost in the loop between the preamp and power amp with overdrive. However I’ve gone with the MXR/CAE MC-04 combined boost/OD and whilst the boost works great in loop the OD sounds terrible. I also use a sonic maximiser at the end of the chain to get my desired tone. Here’s my rig:

    Guitar
    Boss Tuner
    Dunlop cry baby wah
    MXR/CAE clean boost/OD
    Boss super chorus
    Korg flanger
    Boss digital delay
    Boss NS-2 noise suppressor
    BBE sonic stomp sonic maximiser

    How should I connect it all up and utilise the NS-2 loop with the amps loop to get the best tone/least noise? The flanger sounds best out front but the chorus sounds better in the amps loop. The boost must be in the amps loop to work, and the BBE sonic maximiser must be at the end of the signal path in the amps loop to process the entire signal. Any advice appreciated.

    • admin says:

      I don’t know what the Sonic Maximiser does, so you might want to experiment with it in the loop or in front of the amp.

      I would probably try this first:

      Guitar -> Tuner -> NS-2 In -> NS-2 Send -> Cry Baby -> Flanger -> Amp in -> Amp Send -> Chorus -> Boost -> NS-2 Return -> NS-2 Out -> Delay -> BBE -> Amp Return

  • Ricardo says:

    Hey man! I have an ENGL530 with a Rocktron Velocity. I use just the Distortion of the amp and nothing else. I want to eliminate even the hiss coming out from the speakers, to be completely silent. (I use only high gain since I play death metal).
    I have in hands an ISP Decimator and a Boss NS-2.

    I was thinking to sell my boss to buy a TC Electronic Sentry to put in the loop while using the ISP Decimator in Front. Is that wise? What do you recommend me? ISP in front and Boss in the loop? How would you mount that?

    I used the boss before in the front but it is too slow and I felt it sucked my tone. (I didn’t felt that with the ISP).

    Let me know 🙂

    • admin says:

      I think you will get the best results with a TC Sentry if you feel that the NS-2 sucks too much tone. As far as I remember, there is no loop in the ISP Decimator (unless it is the ISP G-string you have, of course).

      Guitar -> Sentry in, Sentry Send -> Amp in, Amp Send -> Sentry Return, Sentry Out -> Amp Return

      The reason is that you want the clean guitar signal (that has very little noise content) controlling the gate, but you want the gate itself to be after all the distortion so it will kill the noise.

  • MSC says:

    My current set up:

    Guitar>Boss TU2 tuner>Cry Baby Wah>Boss C-2 Compressor>Marshall Super Vibe Chorus>MXR phaser>Marshall 150 AVT.

    I use the distortion & delay from the amplifier itself. My Fender strat is noisy (especially when i stop playing) as is the MXR phase 90 when I use it. Where/how would you recommend placing the NS-2 in this set up? Classic rock/ country, no huge volumes.

    • admin says:

      I would probably put the NS-2 in the chain like this:

      Guitar > Tuner > NS-2 in > NS-2 send > Cry baby > Compressor > Amp in > Amp send > Chorus > MXR > NS-2 return > NS-2 send > Amp return

      That way, all pedals except the tuner is inside the NS-2 loop, including the amplifier’s preamp section. I think that would give you the least amount of noise.

      Just to clarify things a bit: The NS-2 cannot remove noise generated by your MXR pedal when you are playing. It only kills noise when you are NOT playing.

  • Neill says:

    Hi there, great article and really helpful. I would appreciate your thoughts on my own signal chain:

    Guitar >

    – Polytune Noir
    – EHX Pitchfork

    Boss NS2 input >
    Boss NS2 send >

    – Dunlop Cybaby Wah
    – Ibanez TS9 Tube screamer
    – EHX Big Muff Tone Wicker

    Boss NS2 return >
    Boss NS2 output >

    – MXR Phase 90
    – EHX Small Clone
    – MXR Micro Amp
    – Boss DD3 Delay
    – EHX Holy Grail Nano

    > Amp input (Blackstar HT-100)

    Amp FX Loop send >

    – MXR M108 EQ

    Amp FX Loop Return

    I prefer my modulation pedals in line, and use the EQ in the loop to dial in my amp distorton tones. The pedal I’m most unsure on (in terms of placement/order) is the Pitchfork, my theory in placing it in front of the dirt/wah is to get the cleanest signal possible before applying pitch changes).

    Many thanks.

    • admin says:

      I think you are right about placing the Pitchfork first. You could consider moving it inside the loop of the noise gate, but only if it is noisy in itself.

  • Jeremy says:

    Thanks for this article. Do you have any familiarity with an effects processor, such as a Boss Me-20? I have one and it has an in and out. I mainly use it for the time based effects (delay, trem, chorus, etc.). I also have the NS-2 and a DS-1 dist. pedal. Simple board really. So, should i simply run my set like this:
    Guitar – NS 2 in – NS 2 send – DS-1 -NS 2 Return – NS2 out – AMP Front in – Amp FX send – ME-20 in – Me-20 return – Amp FX return?
    I know i have a power button on my amp for FX -10db or +4db, im guessing to boost the FX loop… not sure.
    Lastly, my Amp also has its own footswtich for clean/dirty and amp reverb on/off. will the dirty channel run through the NS-2 or should i stick to the DS-1 pedal? I’d like to have 2 distortion sounds and am trying to utilize the DS-1 and amp dirty without any noise. Thanks in advance!

    • admin says:

      I would probably try both the way you describe and this way:
      Guitar > NS-2 in > NS-2 send > DS-1 > Amp Front in > Amp FX send > NS-2 return > NS-2 output > ME-20 in > Amp FX return

      This way the amp distortion is also included in the loop.

      Regarding the -10db/+4 db Always use -10db for pedals and +4db for rack effects. Since you only have pedals, use the -10db. This will make sure you don’t overdrive the pedals.

      Allan

  • FAbio says:

    Hi,
    Great article! I almost solve all of my problems…but…

    I have this setup:

    Guitar -> Wah -> Polytune -> Nano big Muff-> MXR phaser -> Amp input
    Nothing in the loop apart from a DI box ( I have a HK Switchblade with integrated effects)
    I use the amp distortion mainly (Very High gain) and sometimes the Fuzz in the clean channel (again crazy high gain)

    The ampli is not very noisy, so I would not need to put the boss ns2 in the fx loop section, but I have problems with feedbacks, especially with the big muff of course.

    Would this connection save me from feedbacks from the amp distortion and the big muff?
    Guitar -> Wah -> Polytune -> NS2 input -> NS2 Send-> Nano big Muff -> NS2 Return -> NS2 output > MXR phaser -> Amp input

    I have already tried the simple connection in putting the NS2 just between the Polytune and the Muff without the loop and it works fine with amp distortion but not so good with the muff.

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      If you want to kill the feedback when you are not playing, you should probably look at doing my effects loop setup description. That way everything will be quiet when you are not playing. Basically you should put anything high gain in the ns-2 loop.

      • Fabio says:

        Thanks for your fast reply
        Yes, that’s clearly the best way!
        I was just wondering if I can avoid having another two long cables from the pedalboard to the amp 🙂
        I will try both ways and see what’s better for me….thanks!

  • Kurt A. Butzin says:

    I have the following and wonder what the setup should be using the amps (Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III) FX loop:

    Guitar: Fender Strat American Deluxe V-neck

    Boss Volume Pedal
    NS2
    Delay (DD-7)
    Equalizer (GE-7)
    Chorus (CE-5)
    Tuner (TU-3)
    Compression (CS-3)
    Overdrive/Distoration (OS-2)
    Flanger (BF-3)

    • admin says:

      First of all, you should experiment with putting Boss pedals in the loop of your Fender amp. My experience is that they do not work well in that particular amp’s loop (the loop is line level, I think, and that is too much for the Boss pedals).

      But if the loop works fine, try this order: Guitar > Tuner > NS-2 In > NS-2 Send > Wah > Equalizer > Compressor > Overdrive > Flanger > Amp in > Amp Pre Out > NS-2 return > NS-2 Output > Volume > Chorus > Delay > Amp Main In

      The equalizer can be placed just about anywhere in the chain, depending on what you want to use it for (tone change, solo boost etc.). I put it in the beginning so it can be used to boost the overdrive pedal, but if you put it just before the Volume pedal, it can function as a solo boost.

  • Bert says:

    Hi, great info. Still a little confused but you certainly cleared up a lot of it! Would really appreciate if you could help me out here.

    I have a Gibson LP Studio going into a Marshall AVT150H half-stack. It has 4 channels: 2 clean and 2 OD. It has a set of digital built-in effects, mostly reverb effects, but also has a chorus, delay and flanger effect (as well as various combos of the aforementioned). The amp also has an FX loop. The pedals I currently have are a Boss tuner, an Aramat Soul Patch Fuzz, an Ibanez tube screamer, a ZVex Box of Rock Boost/Distortion (currently broken but will fix soon), an Ernie Ball volume pedal, an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, and the NS-2. I also plan to purchase a wah pedal at some point.

    I realize you may not know the answer to this without owning the amp yourself, but if you had to guess based on your experience, does the FX loop send only the “preamp” signal (OD or clean, EQ, scoop, gain, etc.), whereas the built-in effects control the tone of the “power amp” signal (i.e. the final tone sent into the amp through the FX return jack)? I’m assuming that’s got to be the case with amps that have these kind of built-in effects…or does the FX loop on the amp send EVERYTHING (both the OD and the FX) into the chain? Honestly, I don’t have the number of (functioning) guitar cables needed to figure this out; plus, I can’t find any info on the internet to answer this question, and it’s driving me nuts!

    The reason I ask is because, for one, the closest music shop to my house is about a 30+ minute drive one way; on top of that, I’m trying to figure out which “clean” stomp boxes I want to buy in the future given the built-in effects I have to work with on the amp itself. So I’m trying to figure out a budget as well as save time by not having to make multiple trips to the guitar store, one to buy cables to figure out this whole FX loop issue and one to buy more pedals later.

    But, assuming I’m correct in what I said above about the FX loop sending only the preamp signal and not the built-in effects, and given what you’ve written, I’m guessing my pedal chain should go something like this:

    Guitar -> Tuner -> Wah (future) -> Soul Patch -> NS-2 Input/Send -> Tube Screamer -> Box of Rock -> Amp Front Input -> FX Loop Send -> Volume -> NS-2 Return -> Carbon Copy -> *future “clean” pedals* -> FX Loop Return

    Would this be proper? Also, could I experiment by putting the distortion pedals and amp input/send in any order between the NS-2 Send and Volume pedals, or does the amp input/send have to be last for whatever reason?

    Finally, one last thing. I’ve noticed in some chains above you put the chorus/flanger/other-time based effects before the NS-2 return/output, and in other chains after it; why is that? I always thought that these, along with delay and reverb, should go after the NS-2, since it would gate these effects.

    Real sorry for the lengthy post, but if you can save me a few trips to the guitar store, I would be extremely grateful!

    • admin says:

      Hi Bert,

      I am not familiar with the Marshall AVT amps so I am unable to tell you whether the built-in effects loop comes before or after the built-in effects. But my somewhat qualified guess will be that the loop comes before the built-in effects. That makes the most sense. So my guess is that you are right.

      Your pedal chain suggestion looks fine to me. By all means, experiment with the order of dirt pedals, but keep them before the amp input. Dirt pedals don’t usually work well in an effects loop. They are designed to go in front of the amp.

      Regarding putting chorus/flanger/other time based pedals inside the NS-2 loop: As long as the pedal stops playing when you stop playing on the guitar, it will not cause problems to put it inside the NS-2 loop.

  • Cammo says:

    Here is my set-up:

    Fender Telecaster
    Marshall JCM 2000 DSL

    I use the amp’s overdrive for my distortion and a Soul Food pedal as a clean channel boost and solo boost.

    I want to run these pedals into the amp:

    Tuner
    Wah
    Noise Suppressor
    Soul Food
    EQ

    and I want to run these pedals in the FX loop of the amp:

    Chorus
    Delay

    (I use the amps built reverb)
    -What would be the best configuration for me to best utilize the NS-2??

    • admin says:

      Try this first:

      Tuner – NS-2 in – NS-2 send – Wah – Soul Food – EQ – Amp in – Amp loop send – chorus – NS-2 return – NS-2 out – delay – Amp loop return

      If you get hum, try this:

      Tuner – NS-2 in – NS-2 send – Wah – Soul Food – EQ – NS-2 return – NS-2 out – Amp in – Amp loop send – chorus – delay – Amp loop return

  • Victor says:

    If i were to put an audio buffer in the chain, would i still put it first in front of the guitar?

    • admin says:

      I would put it AFTER your guitar…
      Also, if you have a fuzz, put it after that.
      If you are running long cables from the pedalboard,
      put another buffer after the last pedal.

  • Jeremy Gleason says:

    Hello! This is probably the most well explained thread I’ve seen regarding the ns-2! May I have your thoughts on my rig? Currently, my (small) chain is tuner—ns-2—mxr 78 distortion (in ns-2 loop)—amp. I will be adding a Boss ge-7 when the UPS man arrives, today. My amp has an effects loop…I’ve never used an effects loop.
    I’ve read numerous times that the ge-7 “can” be noisy. I’m hoping its quiet enough to put in the amps fx loop by itself…if not, maybe after the mxr distortion in the ns-2 loop? Thank you very much for your time! J.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      I have no experience with the Boss GE-7 so I cannot tell you if it is noisy or not. But try it out when you receive it. Try both combinations and see which one you like best.

  • Adam says:

    Hello!
    I have a question for these things! I have these pedals and i can’t setup them normally!
    (Pedals: Tuner, Wah, Compressor, Super Overdrive, Distortion, Delay and the Ns-2)
    My amp’s have FX LOOP connection!
    What is the best setup?
    Sorry for my english :/
    I hope you can help me!
    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      The only pedal that makes sense to put in the amp’s loop is the delay. The rest of the pedals should go before the amp input.

      You could either do like this:

      1) Guitar > Tuner > NS-2 in > NS-2 send > Wah > compressor > Super Overdrive > Distortion > NS-2 return > NS-2 output > amp in > amp send > delay > amp return

      or like this:

      2) Guitar > Tuner > NS-2 in > NS-2 send > Wah > compressor > Super Overdrive > Distortion > amp in > amp send > NS-2 return > NS-2 output > delay > amp return

      If you use your amp’s own overdrive, you will probably prefer number two.

  • Nazha says:

    Hello !

    I have a question.. !

    I run this NS2 in my Peavey 6505+ combo, and I’ve tried a few different setups, without (yet) illumination.

    What I have : Guitar, tuner, whammy, wah-wah, volume boost, delay, reverb, and the NS2.

    I just want it to cut the amp’s noise (none of my pedals are, if I’m correct, producing a lot of noise) while still letting the delay and reverb through when it’s close.

    Currently I’m running it like that :

    Guitar -> Tuner -> Whammy -> Wah-wah -> NS2 Input -> NS2 Output -> Delay -> Reverb -> Amp Return -> Amp Send -> NS2 Return -> NS2 Send -> Amp Input

    Everything works fine, but the whole chaining seems to create (when I play, when the gate is open) a high frequency noise in my sound. I’ve tried without any pedals, it’s fine..

    Am I doing something wrong ?
    My pedals are Marshall RF1, Memory Boy deluxe, Cry Baby, Digitech whammy…

    Thanks a lot !

    • admin says:

      The noise can come from different places. It can be a bad cable or a bad connection, it can be generated by combinations of pedals or it can come from your amp.

      You might want to try this:

      Guitar -> Tuner -> NS-2 input -> NS-2 Send -> Whammy -> Wah -> Amp input -> Amp Send -> NS-2 Return -> NS-2 Output -> Delay -> Reverb -> Amp return

      That way, you put the whammy, the wah and the preamp section of your amp into the loop of the NS-2 and keep the delay and reverb after the loop to allow them to ring out when you stop playing and the gate closes.

      • Nazha says:

        Thanks !

        That works perfectly.

        I’m adding a boost right now, Mxr micro amp, where should I put it in your opinion ?

        Dead last ?

        • admin says:

          That depends… – If you want to use your boost as a “solo” function, put it just before the delay. If you want to use it for making the amp distort more, put it after the wah.

  • Griffin says:

    Hi, thank you so much for the help!But I was wondering why would you put the fuzz, but not the overdrive, outside of the noise gate loop. Wouldn’t these both go under the category of noise producers? And it would affect the sound of the wah if used with the fuzz. You may have already partially answered this but I just need some more clarification.

    • admin says:

      Some fuzz pedals do not like to have a buffer in front of them. They should be placed right after the guitar. That is the only reason for putting them before the NS-2. If the fuzz pedal works fine with a buffer in front, by all means put it in the NS-2 loop.

  • MMMMMMMMM says:

    Hey Allan. Thanks for a very helpful article. I have a couple of questions that I’m hoping you can help me out with as I’m considering buying the NS-2.

    I have a Z-vex Fuzz Factory (germanium fuzz) and a bunch of other pedals. I was thinking about doing something like this:

    Guitar (Fender Mustang)
    Z-vex Fuzz Factory
    Boss NS-2 (input)
    Boss NS-2 (send)
    – EHX Micro POG (octave generator)
    – EHX Germanium OD (overdrive, not a fuzz)
    – Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde overdrive/distortion
    – EHX Stereo Pulsar tremolo
    Boss NS-2 (return)
    Boss NS-2 (output)
    Boss TU-3 tuner
    EHX Freeze
    Morley M2 Passive Volume pedal
    Boss RE-20 Space Echo
    EHX Holy Grail Nano reverb

    Do you think this is going to work out, noise gate-wise? I’m wondering whether the noise from the Fuzz Factory will be gated or not. I don’t think I fully understand how it works. 😎

    Also, an unrelated question:
    I’m getting some hum from my amp (Fender Hot Rod Deluxe). When it’s just the guitar straight into the amp, it’s not that bad, but when the pedalboard is hooked up, there’s noticeable hum – even when the volume knob on the guitar is turned all the way down AND all the volume knobs on the pedals are turned all the way down.

    I’m running the amp and the pedal board from the same power strip plugged into a wall plug – could this be the problem? I’ve heard about something called a power conditioner which could possibly take care of such problems – do you know anything about power conditioners?

    Sorry for this long message – hoping for some help from someone who knows about these things 🙂
    /M

    • admin says:

      I think it will work fine with the NS-2 as you describe. You might have to set the threshold a little bit higher than you would if the Fuzz could be inside the NS-2 loop. The only thing I would change would be to put the tuner in front of the NS-2 so the tuner will always see a clean signal. If you put the tuner after the drives, the tuner might struggle if your drives are turned on.

      Regarding your hum issue: There are several possibilities: It could be your mains outlet that needs filtering, it could be your amp that has some kind of defect, it could be your pedalboard that needs a power supply with isolated outputs etc. In your case, I think a power conditioner might work. Electrical appliances in your house create noise or hum in the wires. Particularly fridges and freezers. If they are on the same electrical circuit (the same fuse) as your amp and pedals, the power is “polluted” with noise.

      Allan

      • MMMMMMMM says:

        Thanks a lot 😀
        I will try getting a NS-2 then.
        Regarding the amp-hum I think the problem could be “polluted power” since my power supplies (2x Carl Martin Pro Power) have isolated outputs.
        Do you have any recommendations for a power conditioner? I’m running a lot of electrical stuff in my home studio, and it would be nice to be able to record the guitar amp without hum.

  • PF says:

    Hello !

    Nice tuto, thanks a lot

    I just had a question,
    in my case, it’s the amp that creates the noise, so I put it in the loop that is cut when I’m not playing.. But with this method my delay will be cut too right ?

    My gear is guitar, tuner, whammy, NS2, wah, Delay, Reverb, Amp with loop.

    Do you have a solution ?

    • admin says:

      Hi PF,

      In your case, just put the delay and reverb after the NS-2 Output in the amp loop. That will allow the delay repeats to continue even if the NS-2 gate is closed.

      Allan

      • PF says:

        So something like Guitar -> NS Input -> NS Output -> Delay, reverb -> Amp Send -> Amp Return -> NS Return -> NS Send -> Amp Input ?

        Thanks for your time !

        • admin says:

          More like this:

          <guitar> – <fuzzes> – <boss NS-2 input> – <boss NS-2 send> – <effects before the amp input> – <amp input> – <amp loop send> – <chorus/flanger/…> – <boss NS-2 return> – <boss NS-2 output> – <delay> – <reverb> – <amp loop return> – <power amp>

          Allan

          • PF says:

            Thanks !

            just to be sure, the link between and is the stock thing ? I don’t have anything special to do ?

            Thanks again

  • trys says:

    hia. cheers for the info. would i be able to use my bsns2 as a way to have one signal going to my amp and then recording my amp for a wet signal and then using the send going straight into my audio interface for my dry signal? cheers

    • admin says:

      Hi trys,

      I’m afraid not. It cannot be used as a signal splitter. The signal is sent out through the “Send” jack OR the Output jack, determined by if a cable is connected to the “Send” jack or not.

      Allan

  • Nils says:

    Hello, all my pedals are noisy (overdrives, fuzz, compressor, preamp) but I also have a very noisy bass (rickenbacker 4003) if I understand your post, putting all the effects on the NS2 loop results in a better noise reduction with lower threshold since it separates the bass from the effects. However if I plug it this way will it also reduce the hum from the bass? If not is it better to just put it at the end of my chain? I use clean amp and I don’t use “clean” effects like delay or reverb.

    • admin says:

      Hi Nils,

      I believe that you will see slightly better results (lower threshold setting) with your effects in the loop of the NS-2, as compared to having the NS-2 at the end of the chain. However, you should probably consider getting your bass shielded to avoid the hum.

  • Bruce says:

    Hello. Thanks for the great article and my question is as follows. I want to use thw following pedals but Im unsure about my NS-2 placement.

    These are the pedals I want to use…

    Tuner, wah, compressor, octave, distortion, chorus/delay(which will be in the same pedal), EQ/boost, reverb.

    My issue comes with me wanting to use a Line selector and have my distortion in one loop and my chorus/delay pedal in the other loop. so where is it best to place my noise suppressor?

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Bruce,

      That would depend on which pedals are noisy, I would say. If you want the noise suppressor to be always active regardless of which pedals are on, wrap it around the LS-2 like this:

      Guitar -> Tuner -> NS-2 Input -> NS-2 Send -> Wah -> Compressor -> Octave -> LS-2 Input -> (Put the distortions in one LS-2 loop and the chorus/delay in the other LS-2 loop) -> LS-2 Output -> EQ/Boost -> Reverb -> NS-2 Return -> NS-2 Output -> Amp

      The drawback is that it will cut off your delays if you stop playing.

      So I would probably put it in the loop with the OD/Distortion pedals like this:

      Guitar -> Tuner -> Wah -> Compressor -> Octave -> LS-2 Input -> LS-2 Loop 1 Send -> NS-2 Input -> NS-2 Send -> OD/Distortions -> NS-2 Return -> NS-2 Output ->LS-2 Loop 1 Return -> LS-2 Loop 2 Send -> Chorus/Delay -> LS-2 Loop 2 Return -> LS-2 Output -> EQ/Boost -> Reverb -> Amp

      This solution is based on the assumption that it is your OD/Distortion pedals that create the noise. But it will allow the delay and reverb to “ring out”

  • BrettChiodo says:

    So currently I run an ac30 with a polytune , flashback delay and soon a HOF reverb. Im trying to fix my signal issues due to running a 12 ft cable and true bypass pedals. Everywhere I’ve read says I should use two buffers. I bought a spark booster to go directly after my guitar and I’ll have that on all the time. But can I use the ns-2 as a end of the line buffer before my amp? With my set up being low gain for the most part, I don’t REALLY need the ns-2 but I have it laying around and am wondering if it would help my tone to add It in with the knobs turned down just to bunder the signal?

    • admin says:

      Hi BrettChiodo,

      Yes, you can use it as a buffer. But I don’t think you will need to. The pedals you mention all have output buffers when they are engaged, and since your Spark booster is always engaged, you will basically always have a buffer between your pedals and your amp. Adding another buffer just to buffer an already buffered signal makes no sense.

      Allan

  • Honzis says:

    Nice description. Maybe I missed something, but what’s the difference between placing an effect in NS-2 effect loop and before NS-2 input? Let’s say we have a chain like this: Guitar -> Tuner, Cry Baby, NS-2 ->and then loop: MXR Dyna Comp, RAT Distortion, Chorus, Phaser, and return to NS-2, then output to Amp ?? Since my VOX doesn’t have an effect loop, I left out reverbs, I usually add them later, I don’t like heavily amplified reverbs in front of the amp, sounds too fuzzy and distorted to me.. I want to have it like playing in a real space, adding them later does the job.

    • admin says:

      The difference is that if you put the effect before NS-2, the noise generated by the effect is added to the signal that controls the noise gate. This typically means that you will have to set the threshold higher than if you put the effect in the NS-2 effects loop.

      • Honzis says:

        Thanks for explanation. Should I place booster (LBP-1 or Boss FB-2) in effect loop of NS-2 or in front of the amp’s input? My goal si to boost up the signal before going into the amp, so won’t the NS-2 lower the overall volume?

        • admin says:

          NS-2 does not change the overall volume of the signal. It cuts the signal completely when you are not playing.

          I would probably put the booster dead last in the NS-2 loop. This way, any noise generated by the booster is cut off when you are not playing.

  • Rob says:

    Thanks for taking to the time to write this article. I own a rocktron, but it also has a loop in it so this article helped just as much.

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