The word “Pad” can refer to many things in the studio. From pads on your midi controller, to drum machine buttons. It is a fact that the synthesizer Pad Sound has been a compulsory element of various music genres since the birth of synthesizers 4+ decades ago. Typically set with higher sustain and release parameters, pad sounds can really boost up the stereo width. Being positioned in front, or way back in the track mix, they have colored many famous records to this day. In the following tutorial I will try to demonstrate few different uses for pad sounds along with other effects which will surely make it even more refreshing and interesting.
Let’s Get Started
So without further delay, here is the track that I have previously made with an acoustic guitar accompanied with a bass and some rhythmic elements. I feel that this chilled downbeat pattern has just enough space for pad sound.
~ Down Tempo Beat 1 Without Pad Sound
Creating Huge Pads
The next step would be to open a new instrument channel for the sole purpose of creating a big pad sound. In this case, I will choose a VST synthesizer called Spire by Reveal Sound. I find this one particularly useful since it possesses really smooth sounding filters as well as multiple oscillators.
After writing some chords for the pad sound and setting up the filter and first oscillator, let us hear the results:
~ Pad Sound Clean
It may not sound extraordinary to you, but stay with me because I have just started.
Pad Sound Testing
Using multiple oscillators and slightly detuning and panning them is a key for a big pad. What’s more, I will additionally process the sound with built in reverb, chorus and delay and finally automate the filter cutoff parameter in order to introduce an evolving kind of feeling.
Now, let us hear how it sounds together with other elements in the mix.
~ Full Mix With the Pad Sound
In addition to previously mentioned, another interesting thing to do would be to apply a built in rhythmic gate effect on the pad sound found within Spire. In my opinion, it is always sounding nice but you have to be the judge of that.
~ Full Mix with Gated Pad Sound
Try experimenting and have fun creating Huge Pad sounds!
Download the patch here.