Surprisingly enough, sometimes great quality comes at an extremely low cost. When talking about cheap pedals, we always say that you compromise certain qualities for the price. But sometimes you get everything in one package and most importantly, you receive the tone that you would have never expected from such affordable units. The thing is that these brands are not consistent and not all of their products have the same quality. But when they succeed, you are left with a beautiful pedal that you got for almost free. Donner is a great example of how Chinese brands create good stompboxes too. Their noise gate is definitely worth checking out as it will make your jaw-drop as you plug in and play for the first time. Your amazement will increase when you remember the price and when the whole picture will get painted in your mind, you will realize that sometimes money does not mean anything. Material values fade away in that moment and you start rethinking the way you perceive different things. Okay, okay I am going elsewhere now so before I drift away, let me introduce to you Noise Killer. If you want to know what the capabilities of this tiny pedal are, then keep on reading as I answer all of your questions. Let’s get started!
If you are looking for an extremely feature-laden noise gate, then you are in the wrong place. In fact, Donner Noise Killer works because of its simplicity. Yet it does its job perfectly with hardly any flaws. This means that you get a full package here: straight to the point operation, ease of usage and awesome sounds. And there is nothing else you will wish for with this one. It is mounted in a tiny shell that is made out of aluminum alloy. This means that this baby is not a fragile thing, rather it can withstand some of the abuse. The insides are wired with quality and attention, as well, so that you have a nice base to work with. This fella ranges from -70dB to +10dB, which is more than enough in most cases. But it is worth mentioning that such a wide scope is surprising at this price point and is a truly welcomed feature. Noise Killer operates in two modes: Hard is your typical noise gate that eliminates any unwanted noise, while Soft acts as a penetrable barrier that lets some of the noise come through. This way you can choose to deliberately include some of the noises in your sound and give your performance a really unique texture. Have I already mentioned that this bad boy is mounted in a tiny body? I am sure I have but I cannot stop talking about it. Such small bodies have turned into the latest trend among Donner pedals, yet it is always pleasing to see that your beloved stompbox will take up hardly any space on your pedalboard. Noise Killer does also offer true bypass, but keep in mind that the circuit has a distinctive click when activated. Other than that, this one is a true gem!
It goes without saying that Donner Noise Killer doesn’t offer the most crowded control section out there. That stands to reason if you consider how small and simple it is. And plus, there is nothing to complain about. We have essentials here that shape your sound on one hand and give you some sort of versatility as well. Noise gates are not that easy to make and when such small pedals offer as much as this one does, lack of control is something that is not even worth mentioning.
The main encoder here is Threshold which sets the level at which the effect starts operating. The gate will close below that margin and open up above it. That is the whole magic that is behind this effect. Apart from this useful knob, we do also have a toggle that lets you go from Soft to Hard mode. The distinction between them is that Soft takes a longer time to close the gate, while Hard shuts it abruptly and immediately. The effect can be triggered with the help of the footswitch and that’s it. Scrolling through all the settings will take you hardly any time and you will easily find that silver lining.
Donner Noise Killer is a wonderful pedal as it doesn’t suck your tone or ruin the dynamics in your playing. It doesn’t let unwanted noise pass through the gate and, thus, gives you the possibility to clean up your tone beautifully. Though it might add some of its own color, it is not something that will bother you. This bad boy is quite powerful for such a small thing and will help you a lot during daily utilization. Noise Killer can be an extension of another noise gate or be a superb way to refine your distortion pedals. Due to the character of the effect, you might want to experiment with various setups to see where this tool is needed the most. The great thing is that Threshold has a wide range to choose from so that you can take small steps and make meticulous adjustments until you find the settings that work for you. Hard and Soft are not a far cry from each other, yet you will hear more delay with the latter. The ability to switch between these two gives you more precision in the process of controlling your sound. Wonderful job, Donner!
All in all, Donner Noise Killer is probably the most affordable noise gate pedal you can get. Regardless of a low price point, it still maintains the sonic quality that will help you out in so many scenarios. For those who want a simple and inexpensive noise gate pedal, it doesn’t get better than this. Since you are taking a really small risk, I cannot see why you would hesitate. Good luck!
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