Author Topic: Pads from the waveform up...  (Read 5788 times)

Gemini Ambience

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Pads from the waveform up...
« on: January 29, 2008, 02:45:15 PM »
Hey everyone,

As I've been studying about subtractive synthesis, I've had one creature elude my knob-turning fingers: evolving pads/textures. I either get tones/sounds that are too "tinkly" or too "pale" when I try to create a drone or evolving texture. I'm at a loss.

Can anyone recommend a good tutorial or process that is essential to making rich, evolving textures and pads? I've been using Atmosphere from Spectrasonics until I can improve my own pads.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Jim

mgriffin

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2008, 03:02:29 PM »
If I were to recommend a method of creating rich, evolving pads, I would not start with subtractive synthesis, which seems to me better for more sterile, cleaner sounds... sometimes even metallic or bright or thing.

I have no doubt there will be others who speak up here and say "Not so, I create wonderful rich, gurgling, warm, ripe sounds with my K5000S" but to me, it's not the right tool for that sort of thing.
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jkn

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 06:56:18 PM »
Mike - I think you're confusing subtractive with additive...  subtractive would be the big analogs of the 70's and 80's...  moogs, arps, early prophets, etc...
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Gemini Ambience

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 07:09:49 PM »
Okay...let me ask a few more specific questions.

Is it better to use a minimal number of oscillators versus maxing it out as far as your synth can go? Likewise, is the evolving characteristic of a nice drone or pad all LFO-controlled? My biggest hurdle is trying to make a pad soud soft and large...

Thanks again for any and all replies.  :)

APK

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 07:45:33 PM »
"Soft and large" --- this is often a product of applied reverb.

So you'd get the tone and timbre you want with the osc's, and the slow lfo modulation to relieve the boredom, then run it through a fairly large reverb setting - large hall or cathedral with longish reverb, quite wet. This will tend to both soften all edges and expand the whole sound to fill the stereo sphere. It helps to use the best quality reverb to get a real smooth effect.

But multiple voices can also be used to make something large too. Keep the voices smallish so they don't overpower each other and pan them differently. ......... then slap on the reverb :)  Of course, choosing the voices carefully is an art.

Another approach is to duplicate your pad on another track (or tracks) and treat that a bit differently (effects) from the original pad. You can build up a richness and largeness that way.

Just some things that came to mind.


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mgriffin

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 07:52:29 PM »
Mike - I think you're confusing subtractive with additive...  subtractive would be the big analogs of the 70's and 80's...  moogs, arps, early prophets, etc...

You're right... I have to start posting in less of a hurry, and thinking for a few seconds first!

 ;)
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2008, 05:08:27 AM »
I've posted too fast on a number of occasions... happens to the best of us (and the worst of us like me... :) )

Creating sounds... what a huge, great topic.   The best way to tackle creating a sound is to start small and build up.   Get familiar with the building blocks -and it becomes easier and easier to achieve sounds you're looking for.

Start with a single osc - filter - adsr envelope.   Fiddle with it - see what it does.   Add a 2nd osc - mess with the tuning a bit- you'll notice if you slightly detune it (just smidge) you'll get an interesting chorus like effect.   Add another osc to modulate the sound...(usually labeled LFO) - this is a low frequency oscillator that is used to modulate the oscillators - making the 'move' a bit.   Keep it small - keep adding things step by step.    Try changing the waveform of the oscillator - sine, sawtooth, square...  see what happens to your sound as you flip through them.   

Effects... wow - there's a whole 'nother huge topic.  :)    APK's right - taking a sound and tossing a bit of reverb on it will go a long way for getting the sound you're probably looking for.   I also love the technique he mentioned - making a copy of the same track and changing the copy slightly - detuning it - or offsetting it by a few milliseconds from the original - changing the panning - changing the filtering...

For the "evolving" part - everything comes together - I like to be able to directly control the filter, modulation, on the synth... and control the effects playing part (I like to have my effects as aux sends on my mixer coming back into channels - so I can easily apply effects to the original or the already effected sound - create feedback loops - etc... ) while I'm recording - I will constantly ride the knobs on the synths, effects, and mixer to make it all evolve.    This is just my technique - there are many many other ways.



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Gemini Ambience

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2008, 08:00:25 AM »
Thank you very much everyone.  :)

And JKN, you get extra points for quoting Eddie Izzard in your signature.  LOL 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 08:04:40 AM by Gemini Ambience »

jkn

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2008, 08:05:18 AM »
I've got 5 of Eddie's dvd's - hilarious stuff!

"we're going to need more cake, I didn't realize there was going to be such a rush
cake or death?
death, no cake!
ah ah ah - you said death first... oh all right... give 'em cake."

john
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 08:07:24 AM by jkn »
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Gemini Ambience

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Re: Pads from the waveform up...
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2008, 08:09:10 AM »
You're lucky I'm church of England!

hehe

Glad to see there's another Izzard fan here.  :)