A gate is a digital signal that is used to trigger events within a modular synthesizer. Gates are typically used to trigger envelopes, sequencers, or other modules that respond to a short-duration pulse or trigger.
Gate signals are usually voltages that transition from a low voltage to a high voltage for a short duration. The length of the gate signal can be controlled by an envelope or sequencer, and can range from a few milliseconds to several seconds.
When a gate signal is received by a module, it triggers a specific event, such as starting an envelope that controls the amplitude of a sound, advancing a sequencer to the next step, or triggering a drum sound from a drum module. The gate signal can also be used to open and close a filter, modulate an oscillator, or create other dynamic effects.
Gates are often used in conjunction with other control signals, such as CV (control voltage), to create complex and evolving soundscapes. For example, a gate signal can be used to trigger an envelope that controls the amplitude of a sound, while a CV signal can be used to modulate the filter cutoff frequency over time.
Gates are an essential component of modular synthesis, allowing users to trigger and control events with precise timing and control.