Many modern electronic music genres include atmospheric textures as an essential component. They are frequently used to fill empty space in the track and pushed to the background, although they can also be prominent. When it comes to sound design, they can be manipulated in many different ways. In the following tutorial, we’ll show you how to create your own atmospheric pad sound.

As usual, we’ll begin by listening to a short sequence created in SoundBridge: DAW. It contains the majority of a full mix’s elements.

This is a screenshot of my mix taken before creating an atmospheric pad sound.
~Full Mix – Without Atmospheric Pad Sound

We chose Serum by Xfer to create our sound from scratch. This synth has modulation capabilities required for this type of sound. Let’s start by loading an instance of it to a newly created MIDI channel, and writing a simple chord progression in the editor.

This is a picture of the atmospheric pad sound MIDI editor and chord progression.
~Atmospheric Pad – Initial Preset

Atmospheric pad sound design

To start designing our sound let’s first tweak the filter section and engage it to act on oscillator A. Additionally, we’re gonna need a long release and sustain. We can set that in the envelope section.

This is a picture of Xfer Serum and its highlighted filter and envelope sections.
~Atmospheric Pad – Filter & Envelope Settings

Following that, we can proceed to the oscillator itself. In oscillator A, we will set the octave to +1, select the wavetable preset “Analog BD Sin,” and set the wavetable position to around 130. In addition, we will increase the unison number to four and slightly detune it.

~Atmospheric Pad – Osc 1 Settings

Now it’s time to modulate the parameters of oscillator A, which we will do by linking the BEND +/- parameter with LFO 2, as shown in the picture below. Let’s set the rate of the LFO to four bars.

This is a picture of Xfer Serum and its highlighted oscillator 1 section.
~Atmospheric Pad – Osc 1 Modulation

Moving forward, we will activate oscillator B and select the “4088” wavetable preset. Let’s move the wavetable to around 215 degrees on this one. Now, we will use the LFO 1 to modulate the filter cutoff parameter at a rate of 1/16. Let’s also connect the LFO 3 to the oscillator B level and adjust the rate to eight bars.

This is a picture of Xfer Serum and its highlighted LFO 1&2 routing paths, used to create an atmospheric pad sound.
~Atmospheric Pad – Osc 2 Modulation

Once we’re done with the oscillators’ settings and modulation, let’s move to Serum’s FX section. For this type of sound, we have used the Delay, Reverb, and EQ with the settings you can see in the picture below.

Finally, let’s hear our atmospheric pad sound solo and then with the other elements of the full mix.

~Atmospheric Pad – Final (Solo)
~Full Mix – With Atmospheric Pad Sound

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