ISP Decimator Noise Suppression Pedal

By Victor Oshiro | Posted April 26, 2013 at 09:24AM


MSRP: $129 USD

Adaptive noise suppression (Hush technology)
Simple one knob adjustment

ISP Decimator Site




Easiest noise suppressor I've found
Adapts quickly to changing input
As my son's pedal board kept growing it became painfully obvious he needed a noise suppressor. Without it there was always the noise that is a byproduct of many effects pedals - whooshing sounds, hum, even feedback. The standby pedals I've always used are made by Boss (Roland). One problem I've always encountered with different noise suppression pedals is that depending on the amount of noise suppression dialed in often softer notes are clamped off not allowing them to naturally ring out. Forget harmonics - usually the initial attack pops out and whoosh its gone as the noise suppressor cuts off the sound. Loud passages are easy but ideally you'd want the pedal to let you play loud passages and quickly play a soft section without notes getting cut short. Also - it would be nice if a long slowly fading note could be allowed to naturally fade to its own end. Normally this isn't possible with most noise suppression pedals. That's when I came across this pedal from ISP (actually my son brought it home).

First Impressions

Having never heard of ISP I was very skeptical. The pedal housing itself could have rolled off a Boss assembly line. The activation button also is the cover for the battery just like Boss's pedals.  The housing is finished in a high gloss chrome with only one knob. Only one knob? That was my reaction. ISP utilizes what is called Hush technology so as you adjust the one knob you get the full effect of the Hush design. No need to adjust multiple knobs trying to nail that perfect setting. The problem that I find with trickier to setup pedals is that what works great for one song is terrible for next. For instance - one song you have a heavy rhythm riff with lots of distortion. The next song you want to use a little overdrive but no distortion - something reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Most noise suppressors can't handle this sudden change. If you setup for the heavier distortion sound you'll get too much clamping as you go to your cleaner setup. If you setup for the cleaner sound guess what happens to that heavy sound - you guessed it- all sorts of noise gets past which totally defeats the purpose of the noise suppressor. 


I setup the Decimator in the typical location for a noise suppressor: the last pedal in the chain before the input to the amp. With only one knob to work with I played a chord with no other effects activated and kept rotating the knob clockwise. Its pretty evident more is going on as you rotate the knob than what you'd expect. With the volume on the guitar turned up no extra sound is coming through when the stings aren't vibrating. I found that a setting between -50 and -40 gave me the amount of noise suppression I needed without clamping long notes. Exactly what I hoped for.

Next I fired up my distortion pedal and set it with more distortion than normal. What I found was that without changing the setting on the Decimator was that I didn't have too much clamping happening. I hate when you hit a nice power chord and the sound almost instantly disappears because of the noise suppressor. This didn't happen with the Decimator. This must be what Hush technology is - an adaptive way of determining how much clamping and suppression to provide depending on the input strength and attack. This gives a much more versatile effect. Play a heavy version of a Hendrix song and you can immediately go into a light version of Layla and not look back. Obviously you may not play these types of songs but no matter your style what I found with the Hush effect is useful. 


I'm a believer in ISP's Hush technology. It works. Normally you have to setup your noise suppressor's sensitivity and where it limits. With the one knob design of the Decimator all the guess work is taken out of this. The technology adapts quickly to whatever you put in front of it which is more than other pedals can do.

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