KMA Machines Pylon Noise Gate

We doubt a noise gate has ever triggered raptures of inspiration in any musician but the device has a crucial role for those guitarists who like their tone extremely distorted, and therefore constantly fight with noise floor. The KMA Machines Pylon seems to take the art of noise gating to new levels. Besides doing the job at hand, it has a host of useful functions unforeseen in a noise gate.

Based on a VCA circuit that allows for a fast and clean response, the Pylon provides two detection settings (High and Low) linked to the Threshold knob, for finding the exact sweet spot where the noise floor should be gated.

The circuit also includes an integrated Boost with up to 30dB of gain also featuring a Cut knob that will tighten the low end when needed, affecting the 65-730 Hz frequency range (anything under 65 Hz is rolled off when the boost is on to tame any mud accentuated by the circuit’s transformer).

Thanks to a 3-way toggle, this section can be left on or off all the time (even when the gate is bypassed), or can be turned on only when the gate is on, in Synch mode.

An FX loop allows several routing configurations, while an External Control jack allows remote switching both in trigger or bypass mode.

Another Channel jack allows you to trigger other pedal or amp functions when the pedal is turned on/off, with selectable polarity through the switch above the jack socket.

KMA Machines Pylon, Builder’s Notes

Perfect your Rig with Silence and Control

“Deep within the solitude of the temple, the Sau’s of the Per-Ankh circled in silence. Their conclusion was self-evident. Only those pure of tone could be received in the temple and find sonic peace. From the centre of their silent circle, the Orb swelled and raised above the Pylons. Erupting in a rain of light and spewing forth daggers of lightning, their new God subdued and separated the chaotic ocean of noise from the perfect breeze of stillness. Peace reigned once more, the hordes of cacophony overcome.”

When you add drive, dirt or other sound manipulation devices to your signal, the trade-off is always noise. So, many players turn to noise gates to help tame these unwanted nasties. Unlike many noise gates on the market, the PYLON ATB Noise Gate seeks to not only drive back the hordes of fizz and hum, but also arms and reinforces your tonal attack, shutting down the noise and yet helping you enjoy your rig’s true potential. This advanced, multi-functional and super-versatile pedal not only features an ultra-fast Gate with a smooth trigger, an integrated Boost section, an External Trigger Input for external bypass switching or Gate-triggering, a relay-based Channel Switcher for your amp but also sports a built-in Audio Transformer to help enhance and balance your rig. Hear and feel the quiet in the eye of the storm!

Main Features
• ATB (Advanced Transformer Boost) Noise Gate Pedal
• Easy-to-use, yet high-performance Blackmer® VCA-based Noise Gate
• Integrated Audio Transformer – adds heft to signal
• Switchable Boost/Attenuation circuit – up to 37 dB of gain on tap
• Variable frequency CUT control – helps to tighten up the low end and remove mud
• EXT Trigger Input – allows Gate and Bypass control from external sources
• Channel Relay Output – switch your amp’s gain channel in sync with the pedal
• FX-Loop, for signal-chain flexibility and 4-cable method connectivity
• Internal Ground Lift Control
• Relay-based soft-switching, with selectable Gate/Boost switching modes
• Made in Berlin, Germany
• Power by opt. 9 V PSU (9 V DC, centre -, 2.1 mm, >??? mA max. current draw)

When talking about signal gain, we all know drive circuits at full tilt can be noisy malice monsters. To help get a grip on your noise floor, PYLON’s NOISE GATE is based on a high-performance Blackmer® VCA and provides lightning-fast and precise performance. To find the right spot, simply choose between one of the two detection-range settings and dial in the THRESHOLD to taste. With either softly decaying notes using HIGH mode or a fast-closing response in LOW mode, you’re sure to be able to dial in super tight tones when you need it, but without interfering with your sonic signature. Fast palm-mutes? No problem. Decaying notes? Dead simple to accomplish and just so you know when it is operating, the white status LED will also turn blue as soon as the gate starts to act.

Providing up to 37 dB of gain, the integrated BOOST circuit can really help to fine tune your tone, but it can also serve as an attenuator too. Its CUT control will tighten up your low end and is selectable between 65-730 Hz to ensure a mid-focussed and cutting lead sound when pushing your amp’s preamp into saturation. Choosing between three different modes for the boost’s on/off state, gives you plenty of options on how you want to use it. Either leave it ON to always help shape your tone, OFF if you don’t need it, or use SYNC mode so it is activated with the GATE. Both CUT & BOOST knobs are backlit, in order to show you the on/off status of the BOOST section at a glance.

Using transformers in pro-audio gear is nothing new, but while they help to easily match the impedance of low-level and unbalanced signals such as from guitar or bass instruments, PYLON’s audio-grade-transformer also gives additional warmth with associated nice low-frequency harmonics. Your guitars, synths or in fact anything you put through the pedal will never have sounded so solid. The pedal gives more ‘heft’ and enhances the core tone, in a much finer way and without any of the phase issues that can happen when using EQ alone!

However, when the output transformer is boosted even further in level, it can overload many amplifier or pre-amp inputs and make things appear muddy, especially with high levels of additional gain. So, to help tame superfluous low end (especially for rhythm chugging and soloing) we added a fixed built-in roll off that affects everything below 65 Hz when the internal BOOST section is activated.
Due to PYLON’s IN/OUT and SEND/RETURN jacks it’s capable of many different wirings, including the classic 4-Cable method to tame your amp’s own drive sounds, via its FX Loop send/returns.

Due to the utilitarian nature of noise gates, a lot of musicians use their gate on top of or even inside their amp rigs. But what if you have to turn it off and on from time to time? Well, with PYLON that’s dead simple. Just hook up an external (Normally Open) Momentary Switch to the EXT Control Connector, move the slide switch above the jack to BYPASS (BP) mode and you have solved the problem.

But you may be asking what the TR position is for then? If you want to put the PYLON on your pedalboard and have an external source trigger your noise gate, move the slide switch over to TR and bingo. There’s actually lots of fun behind this little function! For instance, by feeding the sound of your drummer’s kick drum into the pedal, your riffs can be tight and synced up. Those who like to experiment with sound designs might even use the Noise Gate in other ways, the creative power is almost endless here.

Sometimes you may want rely on your amp’s distortion but also use the clean channel of your amp and only want the Gate on the drive. That sounds like it could be a bit of a tap dance to switch over channels, turning your gate on/off and maybe turn on a boost too. Well have no fear, PYLON is here and will give you all of that in one go! Connect the CHANNEL input on PYLON to your amp’s channel switcher connector, set the polarity slide switch to suit and here we go. As soon as you engage PYLON it will also switch the amp’s channel. Alternatively, you could also use this socket as a remote switch for many functions on other pedals you may have in your arsenal too.

Last and by no means least we added an internal GND-Lift DIP switch for helping isolate any ground issues, if needed.

So, you thought gates were just utility devices? With PYLON you’ll enhance your whole rig. Now go let your tone flow through and riff!