Let's make some pads

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
beats me
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Let's make some pads

Post by beats me » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:20 pm

My favorite synth sound. I'm talking epic stringy pads you could score an entire movie with just that sound or make the cheesiest of trance with.

I'm not saying this is the hardest type sound to synthesize but there doesn't seem to be much out there on how to make this sound from scratch and my limited knowledge isn't coming up with it by pure luck. So what's the key pointers on whipping this shit up...without starting with a close enough preset? I HATE tutorials supposedly telling you how to make sounds and the first thing it says is "use the demo version of Vanguard and start with preset 172 - Mud Flap....".

McQ714
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by McQ714 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:31 pm

"Instant Soup"?!?!

mescalin
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by mescalin » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:59 pm

just swamp everything in tonnes of reverb and make the LFOs change really slowly so the sound "evolves"

Ableton 8, NI Massive, Max 4 Live, other stuff

Khazul
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by Khazul » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:09 pm

SAW / PWM modulated pulse + 2 filters - one for the top end, the other for the low end - then swamp with fx :)

Slow flanger+delay+reverb is often a good combo - reverb character will make or break it though. Overdrive is good for adding mid range character as well.
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Rave
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by Rave » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:11 pm

I hate pad sounds

Khazul
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by Khazul » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:13 pm

Rave wrote:I hate pad sounds
I like the old 80s term for them - 'analog polyfilla' :)
Nothing to see here - move along!

ChiDJ
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by ChiDJ » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:16 pm

Image
"Let you're body feel the sound! Let it cover you up and down!"

Image

Saxer
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by Saxer » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:19 pm

I'm talking epic stringy pads you could score an entire movie with just that sound...
what about a good orchestral library?

good synth-pads are often a question of stacking, modulating and efx and resampling all of that.
my favourite ready-to-go-resampled pads are in nexus, alchemy and omnisphere.

good from scratch padmakers are: rob papens blue, zebra2, sampler+microphone, eventide fx... and good old real world analog stuff.

4.33
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by 4.33 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:49 pm

with simpler/sampler you can make a pad out of anything, including kitchen sink

anybody human
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by anybody human » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:17 pm

I read somewhere that a basic string pad is 2 Saw waves slightly detuned from each other, then filter. It really works great. Add some effects, reverb/delay, slow modulation etc. Try it on a some of your synths, just keep tweaking & saving, you'll have a bunch of stuff to work with.
Also, I read on the forum that it's a good idea to stack a string pad, sampled strings, and a physical modeled string instrument together. That works great too.
Also you could stack a pad you made with just a couple Saw waves, etc. w/ a "String Machine" sound, either from a sample pack or a preset on a soft synth.
As mentioned you could make one with Simpler/Sampler too, pads are especially quick that way. For that advanced ableton berklee class we had to make a whole song out of one sound. Used my voice singing the word "monochromatic"- pads, bass synth, kick, snare, hat. That was a fun project.

beats me
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by beats me » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:32 pm

I have a stupid amount of presets on softsynths and samplers but it doesn't help when the sound isn't quite right and I want to alter it but don't know what I'm doing exactly, not to mention finding the sound in the vastness of it all. If I know somewhat how to do the sound from scratch this won't be an issue.

Thanks for the tips, those who gave them.

3phase
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by 3phase » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:17 pm

4.33 wrote:with simpler/sampler you can make a pad out of anything, including kitchen sink
isnt a pad supposed to sound nice?
mac book 2,16 ghz 4(3)gb ram, Os 10.62, fireface 400,

4.33
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by 4.33 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:44 am

3phase wrote:
4.33 wrote:with simpler/sampler you can make a pad out of anything, including kitchen sink
isnt a pad supposed to sound nice?
nope, but farting in the mic will sound nice too if you slap a long attack on it, just try

3phase
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by 3phase » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:45 am

russian pads?
mac book 2,16 ghz 4(3)gb ram, Os 10.62, fireface 400,

jake noise
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Re: Let's make some pads

Post by jake noise » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:24 am

Pads are all about stacking oscillators, detuning them by a few cents to make the sound wider (check out your synth of choice's unison mode for the quickest and easiest way of doing this) and long evolving modulations of things like pulse width, filter cutoff/resonance, wavetable position etc with LFO's and envelopes.

Using effects can also help, but you should be able to get decent pad sounds without using effects. Try and use effects like you would spices and seasoning in cooking, they should add to the sound not overpower it. Admittedly there are occasions when heavy effect use is justified depending on the genre and how you want to shape the sound but try not to rely on them. IMHO the problem with most factory presets is overuse of effects, yes they sound impressive, but try to actually fit the sound into a track and you'll struggle as there's too much going on.

Actually thats a good point, if you're struggling to make pads try deconstructing some factory presets. I find once I turn off the effects i'm often surprised by how simple many factory pads actually are.
MBP 2.4, Live 7, Logic 8, Maschine, Audio 2 DJ, Sennheiser HD 25 1 II, M-Audio Fasttrack Pro, Komplete 6, Novation Nocturn, Alesis Micron, Jap Fender Jaguar, lots of guitar pedals...

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