The Noise Terminator is a great tool when you want to remove unwanted background noise from your gear. The effect from this pedal can range from very subtle to a near complete blockage of the signal (not just the noise, but a guitar’s signal, as well). This means being able to adjust and dial in small increments until you no longer can hear what you don’t want to hear, and I did this under exaggerated conditions. In the accompanying video I hooked up two high-gain pedals, one considered ‘modern,’ being the Friedman BE-OD Deluxe, and the other ‘vintage-modern’ (it’s a current pedal, but based on a 1960s-1970s design and sound), being the Buzz Tone by Jext Telez. With the gain at 2-o’clock on the second channel of the Friedman there was some hum, but nothing extreme, although extreme enough to engage the Hard Gate on the Noise Terminator to a 2-o’clock position as well and in order to completely remove any slight hum or hiss. Next, I linked the Jext Telez at full gain into the first channel of the Friedman (its gain at 12-noon) to create significant and exaggerated amount of background noise – within an environment that is not usual (not many people would put a fuzz/distortion up full and into a high-gain pedal). The Noise Terminator’s High Gate had to be increased to about 95% to completely eradicate any background noise, but it did so and without affecting the original tone. As a bonus, you don’t hear the clicking of the footswitch when engaged or disengaged.
Carl Martin’s Noise Terminator is a precision Gate that allows you to customize the degree of noise to be removed from a signal; that humming, hissing or crackling that messes with a great tone. A small amount of noise is forgivable in a live setting, which likely will go unnoticed unless the entire band and audience is absolutely quiet, but is an annoyance in studio recording conditions. The Noise Terminator allows two levels of artifact control, with a Soft Gate for very minor sounds and a Hard Gate for those high-gain and noisy fuzz pedal situations. For $165 USD the Noise Terminator is a fair price, considering you can switch between two Gate levels, which means keeping your signal quiet while playing clean or with some crunch and then stepping on the footswitch to engage greater line silence during more intense and higher-gain moments. As well, being able to activate the unit via MIDI with its Remote Jack, that you don’t hear any clicking noise from the footswitch and that it doesn’t mess with your original tone are definite features that make the Noise Terminator worth investigating.
[/B]With your gear powered on, the Noise Terminator’s Soft Gate engages automatically. If you want to have no Gated effect, simply keep the Soft Gate turned down completely. However, even when turned up to 12-noon the Soft Gate is very modest and would not interfere with softer playing. The unit shows power received with either a battery (with a guitar plugged in) or via the power adapter and by way of a green LED light located directly below the Soft Gate knob. If you require a more powerful gate, then the Hard Gate can be engaged via the footswitch that shows a red LED light located directly below the Hard Gate knob. If your signal noise is significant, you likely will require the Hard Gate activated, although you can begin by turning up the Soft Gate to determine how much noise can be removed with that control. If still requiring the Hard Gate, activate via the footswitch and begin turning up the Hard Gate until you notice very little or no noise interference. Turning up the Hard Gate to its fullest will result in some of the desired guitar signal being truncated. In regard to proper positioning of the Gate, I find it appropriate to place it after any noisy pedals and likely best to place it before any reverb or delay as their tails and trails could be cut off. However, that may be a desired effect worth exploring. Another option is to place the Noise Terminator within your amplifier’s effect loop. An added feature of the Noise Terminator is the Remote Jack, which allows you to connect the pedal to an external MIDI switching system. In doing so, you can go between the Soft and Hard settings without the need of using the Noise Terminator’s footswitch.
Weighing 250g (12.34 oz) and measuring in at 120 (w) x 95 (D) x 56 (H) mm (4.72 x 3.74 x 2.2 inches), the Carl Martin Noise Terminator has a steel chassis and quality paint job. It has a signal-to-noise ratio of 87dB, input of 20K Ohm and output of 50 Ohm. The Noise Terminator can work on a 9V battery or a standard 9V DC (regulated) 2.1 mm female plug that provides a minimum 50mA power supply (while consuming maximum 12 mA). The power input is located in the back of the pedal, whereas the cable input and outputs are located along the sides. The footswitch has a solid click in feel, yet produces no audio signal when engaged or disengaged. Both knobs and LED lights are situated far enough from the footswitch to prevent any damage or mishaps while stomping. The knobs have a very solid and smooth feel – they are not stiff to turn, but they do require good tension when turning (which means they stay in place once in place).