The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor has long been a mainstay of many pro pedal-boards. Any guitarist who plays at high volumes and gain settings knows that your sound can be easily plagued by hum, hiss, and string noise. A noise gate pedal such as the Boss NS-2 is designed to eliminate these issues from noisy guitar pedals. In our Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor review, we’ll see if it really works and if it’s the best guitar noise gate pedal you can buy.
A noise gate is a dynamics effect pedal, meaning its focus is on volume attenuation. A noise gate essentially cuts off any sound or “noise” that falls below a given threshold. This can be great for high-gain and metal players who employ tight stops in their riffs. The only concern is finding the right balance to cut off the noise without having the threshold cut off the tails of notes you want to ring out. We’ll put the NS-2 to the test to see if it’s as good as they say. This is one pedal I’ve had a lot lot experience with despite its simple feature set.
Decay Control for setting how long the NS-2 takes to fade out and silence the noise
Modes for standard noise reduction and mute options
Send/Return for routing to pedals that may need noise suppression
Sound & Performance:
I went straight for a high-gain sound with this one, pushing up the gain on my amp to around 9 o’clock, dialing in a brutal metal tone, and laying down some heavy palm-muted rhythms. As is typical when playing heavier styles of music, I could hear noticeable noise between the staccato stabs of my riffs.
I stomped on the NS-2 with the knobs around 12 o’clock and noticed that it instantly made a difference in the tightness of the sound. There was a noticeable silence between notes that wasn’t there before.
After playing and tweaking the knobs a bit more, I settled in on a setting with high threshold at around 3 o’clock. This allowed my tone to cut through without any trace of coloring or tone-sucking. I set the decay around 9 o’clock which allows for a fairly quick, natural-sounding reduction of noise immediately after muting the strings.
This pedal instantly tightens up your sound. For articulate riffs and solos with double-stops, everything you dish out comes through while the noise in between disappears. Very impressive.
With careful adjustment of the Threshold knob, you can find just the right spot for eliminating string noise. Experienced players can usually do this pretty well, but the NS-2 clamps down on any string noise that remains for silent position changes anywhere on the neck.
While this pedal functions superbly at the end of your signal chain, it’s worth trying out routing an unruly fuzz or distortion pedal to the Send and Return. I was able to put an Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi into the loop and find a great fuzzed out distortion tone with reduced noise for tighter riffs. Also, punching up your sound with an MXR Micro Amp or Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive pedal in the loop while keeping the noise out is an option worth considering for a thicker tone. Lot’s of versatility here.
One more cool feature the NS-2 offers is being to power your other pedals with a daisy chain just like the Boss TU-3 tuner pedal. That makes this one noise suppressor that really adds some extra versatility to your pedalboard.
Let’s get the final word.
The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor makes a world of difference to your sound by cleaning up your signal. Noise is virtually non-existent while your tone remains unaffected. This is truly a must-have pedal for any guitarist who needs to cut the noise out of their sound. Your heavy riffs will never sound tighter. All rests will be filled with the perfect sound of silence. If you want the best guitar noise gate pedal out there, this may be it. P.S. I’ve owned a ton of Boss pedals over the years, most of which I’ve gotten rid of for better products. The NS-2, however, is one Boss pedal I’ve owned for over a decade and will likely keep for years to come.
That concludes our Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor review. Thanks for reading.
Want to buy a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor?
Beginner guitarists check out our guide to online guitar lessons.