Rockman Smart Gate

Production: Approximately 1,940 units (1989-1994)
Suggested list price: $189.00
Dealer price: $114.00
Revisions: Three (3)

An expanded version of the noise reduction circuitry initially developed for the Rockman Sustainor. The Rockman Smart Gate module is arguably the best guitar noise reduction device invented. This amazing module epitomizes the SR&D ideal of a simple unit to do a specific, complex task. With no processing circuitry in the signal path when the gate open, the patented circuitry automatically sets the gate release time as notes either cut or decay. The net result is total silence to an unencumbered concert dB level. If you need a further endorsement, Eddie Van Halen used (and may still use) a pair of Smart Gates in his stage rig.

On Stage

The Smart Gate module is not used by Scholz in concert. This is primarily because of two (2) factors. First, Scholz does not use a excessive amount of distortion (gain). Playing in the Sustainors EDGE mode with AUTO CLN on, the distortion level is moderately low. Distortion is increased only where needed, increasing the guitar output level via the volume knob. Second, the REV20 is less prone to feedback inherent in earlier Sustainor models. Pihl has a pair of Smart Gates in his lead setups.


The Rockman Smart Gate is sought after by a wide variety of players. Relatively low production, uncommon but not rare, it can be quite hard to find. A very effective unit used with traditional guitar amps and modern rack setups, in or out of Studio. Dunlop has reissued an updated version of the Smart Gate in pedal form under the MXR brand, but this has not particularly affected the collectability nor prices of the original Rockman Smart Gate module.

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Last updated October 6, 2003