21 September 2014

Pedals: ISP Technologies G-String Decimator


Note: this entry was already published in my old Spanish version of this blog, around January 2012. I'm translating it here.

During the tests I did with my pedalboard based in Mad Professor's range of pedals, the level of the floor noise raised really high.
I've checked first the ISP Decimator pedal, trying to get rid of the noise but, such a pedal, completely removed the noise but with the drawback of destroy the tail of my sounds (decay).

Every noise gate directly affects sound's dynamics. As a compressor works over volume peaks, noise gates work as a downstream compressor, pushing to zero the signals below threshold's value.

Most noise gates are real tone-suckers, not just affecting artificially to the decay of the notes but, even modifying the character or the sound, making it sharper, hollow or altering its frequential content.

ISP Technologies' noise gates are well known as, probably, the most transparent and natural noise gates available.

The Decimator works just over a single spot in your chain of effects and, it seems to be enough if you have very few gain pedals.
But, the G-String seems to work way better in longer chains, where the Decimator isn't able to do the same work.

After discovering myself that the Decimator version isn't enough for my needs and, after reading some good reviews about the G-String. I decided to go ahead with the G-String.
I've tested it and, this is all about this blog's entry: my impressions with the G-String.


This pedal comes perfectly packed and with an user's manual short but good enough.
It looks as sturdy as his "little brother", the Decimator.
When you look at pictures, its size could seem similar to a Boss pedal but, is bigger in every dimension.
The swap of the battery is so comfortable as in Boss pedals. Practical. There is no need for a screwdriver.
It seems to have an iron core inside, because it weights considerably, like the Decimator.

Externally, it looks like the same as the Decimator. Differences can be found in the jacks. This pedal has 4 jacks, 3 on its right side (Guitar In, Guitar Out, Dec IN) and 1 on its left side (Dec Out).

As in the case of the Decimator, there is just a single control (Threshold). There are no other controls to fine tune the attack, door delay, compression level, etc.

Using it

While the Decimator seemed to work better at the end of the gain pedals, the G-String is the first and last pedal in the "protected" chain of pedals.

The idea is more or less like follows: the guitar will be connected to Guit In; the Guit Out goes to the first pedal to be "protected" and then, from the last pedal in the protected chain we go to the Dec In input. From Dec Out we go to the amp or to the first pedal unprotected before the amp's input.

So, I've put inside the protected chain from the Wah to the Fuzz and, out of protection, reverberation and delay.

Alternatively, you can link the output of the Fx loop to Dec In and, the input of the Fx loop to Dec Out.

G-String seems to analyze the original signal (the one coming by Guit In) and, it proportionally adjusts the noise level inside the protection loop (Dec In to Dec Out).

User's manual points you to select the threshold level with the guitar plugged and no other effect pedal active, just to remove the floor noise coming from your pickups and the cable between your guitar and the G-String.

My tests say that this works really nice in clean but, that you have to fine tune the threshold once your noisy gain pedals are being switched on.
What I did instead was to switch on the noisiest of my pedals, leaving the strings open and untouched and, gently working on the threshold until the floor noise disappeared.

Results were... IMPRESSIVE !!!

Same operation with the Decimator doesn't works. If I set the threshold level to get rid of the floor noise that the fuzz introduces and, I switch on one more gain pedal before, the noise level raises and the gate opens, creating some intermittencies.

With the G-String, just to test it in depth, I was able to switch off EVERY gain pedal simultaneously and, after mutting the strings, the sound and noise completely quieted.

In the negative side is the decay of the sound. While with chords everything seems to work fine, I had some issues with some sustained bendings and, while doing a vibrato while bending.
In those cases, sometimes the gate is being triggered and the tail of the sound suddenly deads.
Paradoxically, maintaining same threshold in clean, it doesn't seem to affect the continuity and natural character of the sound. The Decimator, with same Threshold affected really hard the dynamics of the clean sound.


I don't know of a better noise gate, in a pedal format. I don't mean that there is no better, just that I don't know any better one.

Before going for the G-String, I was visiting lots of forums where there were discussing about the few noise gates available and, it seemed that the MXR Noise Clamp didn't worked so good and, that the Boss NS2 was a tone-sucker.

If you are doubting between the Decimator or the G-String, I will tell you: G-String!, no doubt!.
This one REALLY works.

Demo video

An image worths more than thousand words and, in our case, a sound more than thousand words.
In the following video I am doing a comparison of the two pedals by ISP, the Decimator and the G-String Decimator.
I think the video is very helpful and will clearly see the different behaviour of both pedals.
Don't miss it!.

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