When thinking about noise gate pedals, you don’t really think that you need that much. You usually expect them to be one trick ponies without nothing else to offer. While that can be true in many cases, there are brands out there that change the way we think about different effects and stompboxes. TC Electronic is definitely on top of that list. They always find a way to spice things up even when everything seems too dull to work with, and create a unique piece that has way more to offer than you would ever imagine. Trust me, I am not exaggerating. Their noise gate pedal, namely, Sentry has numerous qualities that set it apart from the competition. It has TonePrint enabled (yeah, you heard me), taking your possibilities to another dimension. You might be wondering how that app can be used with such specific stompbox, but it definitely makes the magic happen. I will get into all the details in a bit, I just want to let you know right away that this will be the best option for you if you are picky about your sound and want to tweak the hell out of it. If not, you will still find this baby useful. Without further ado, let’s begin our noiseless journey!
When this baby was released, it took me quite a while to process the compatibility of TonePrint and noise gate. Yeah, I get it, with other effects you have the chance to access the presets or the Editor which fine tunes everything in your sound. But for some reason, these two seemed to be nonsensical together. But I was wrong, so wrong… When I got the chance to actually try Sentry out, I quickly understood what was the big deal about it. TonePrint opens up a whole new editing door for you: with its help you can choose between numerous gates depending on what your problem is and even put together your own with ease. The pedal itself operates in three modes: you can select traditional single-band gate in Gate, TonePrint and a multi-band hard gate in Hiss. This way you can target specific frequencies that mess with your perfect sound and eliminate those without affecting anything else. What is more, Sentry has a true bypass that can be switched to the buffered one to make sure your frequencies are not lost. This puppy also has Send and Return jacks that make it possible to connect this one to noisy loops and tackle some problems there as well. It is featured in a compact enclosure that doesn’t require too much space to be mounted on the pedalboard. It goes without saying that it has high-quality chassis and internal components that improve the tracking of the unit and allow it to maintain tonal clarity. If it didn’t have TonePrint feature, it would still be rather versatile among its competitors. Yet it offers that additional capability and mounts this one in the high league. And all of that can be achieved by connecting an adapter, your instrument or chain and that’s it – all that is left to do is experiment!
If you are someone who wants to mess around with a single knob and be done with it, you should look elsewhere, since this fella is the opposite of that. Sentry itself offers an all-encompassing package when it comes to the controls, and when you add TonePrint on top, you get a pedal that will take you a while to adjust. Finding the perfect settings in an array of choices is not a simple task and you should definitely spend some time with it to see what is what.
In order to choose a specific operation mode, you have to tweak the toggle that you will see on the top part of the panel. It will easily shift between Gate, TonePrint and Hiss modes. Threshold will let you determine the level at which the gate starts operating and lowering the unwanted sounds; To modify how intense the attenuation of selected frequencies or levels is, you will have to employ Damp encoder. Decay will let you select the length of the time it takes to attenuate the signal when it drops below the threshold. Nothing too complicated, right? The pedal can be activated or turned off with the footswitch that immediately triggers or bypasses the circuit.
When I first started playing with this pedal, TonePrint quickly became my favorite thing to experiment with. Though initially I didn’t understand how it would assist noise gate, after trying it out myself I figured out that these two can make wonderful things to happen. If I am being honest, I have only scratched the surface with this one, as its potential seems interminable. With the help of the app you can experiment with different voicing, experiment with already existing options or design your own gate that will be tailored to your setup and rig. That flexibility takes this pedal to a whole new level and turns it into a studio quality beast. What is more, Sentry doesn’t color your tone at all, it simply targets the noise with a single-band gate that attenuates the volume, or multi-band one that can take care of badgering frequencies. This way you have everything it takes to create completely noiseless sounds right in your bedroom. Not to mention just how usable the universal bypass can be. This pedal is a true godsend treat, my friend, and I don’t think you want to miss out on that.
TC Electronic has done it again – they have created a product that amazes us with every bit of its existence. Sentry doesn’t even have any technical flaw, everything we have singled out is just nitpicking. It will take you some time before you find the settings that work for you, but once you do, those efforts will pay off. It can be too much for those who love easier units, but sometimes you have to pay a certain price for amazing results. Good luck!
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