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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:17 am
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Hi all,

If been looking around on this forum for a few months now and think you guys have done a great job sharing tips and tricks in the more IDM oriented styles, I can’t get enough of it!!!
Unfortunately it seems to be abandoned a little lately here.
As I’m fairly new to producing (1 year) I haven’t been able to contribute very much but hope to do so in the future and help boost things up again;)

Never the less I'm going to post my first question here as I’m really stuck on creating warm deep synth pads. I’ve been checking YouTube and other fora but most things there are more EDM orientated which just isn’t my thing.

I really would like to create synths similar like the one in the clip at 1:30 below:



I’m working with Ableton and have a couple of VST’s I’m experiment with but not sure which one to use best for this and how:

Lush101
Massive
Sylenth1
FabFilter twin 2
Analog Factory
Tal-u-no-lx-v2

Any tips, trick or suggestions would really be appreciated.

Thanks and I look forward to hear you all out!!!!


Last edited by Myl040 on Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Forgot I also have the korg m1 vst which I believe is used quite heavely by the smallville people


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:39 am 
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mnml maxi
mnml maxi

Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:01 pm
Posts: 1969
Location: Worcestershire
Hi mate. Had a listen but I'm on a small portable laptop as I'm away from home and using the internal speaker for audio - which is awful but here's some of my input in terms of pads:

Firstly, you can turn almost any sound into a pad by simply adjusting a few parameters, softening the attack time via the ADSR envelope and increasing the release for starters. There's not one single thing that defines 'warm' that I could put my finger on but using a low pass filter to bring down any high end sheen helps take it into that territory.

But perhaps the main thing for me, is the actual notes you use for the pad itself. A single note will just sound like a drone, and a simple triad chord will just sound ineffective and thin and doesn't really create a 'deep warm' sound.

What you want to look at trying are chords with at least 7ths in their extentions, major 7ths & minor 7ths at least, although personally, I find minor 7ths a little too vibrant and 'nice' to be used for most purposes, so if I'm using a minor pad chord, it will almost always be a minimum of a minor 9th, sometimes minor 11ths, or minor 13ths, sus7ths with added 9ths and all sorts of inversions thereof. If you're not familiar with these chord types, I'd urge you to try them out on your pad sounds and you will find that the pads themselves are a means to an end and are simple to create and that the voicings you use got a long way to achieving the atmosphere and vibe.

Some of these chords could mean I end up typing a long reply so I wont get into that at the moment unless you wish to discuss these: :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:56 am 
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Hi AK,

Thank you so much for these valuable tips, they’re really appreciated.
I also checked your soundcloud and it seems we have quite some overlap in musical taste.
Especially Live Jam clip is a nice piece of work which I would certainly play during a gig and some of the others would also easily fit in my sets as well. You’ve also got some nice drum patterns going on that are interesting and have a nice drive.

As mentioned I’m just coming around the corner with regards to producing. This first year I’ve mainly been trying to familiarize myself with my DAW (ableton) and some VST’s. It’s fun but also a tough road as it’s hard to find info on the more subtle genres I like. Of course there is plenty of info out there but most of it is more EDM orientated and I’m having a hard time to filter al this info and convert it into to useful techniques within my genre.

Unfortunately I’m not trained in scales and chords and mostly riley on my ears.
Therefore I think it’s something I have to dig into, besides all the other techniques (real noob) I want to master, as sometimes it’s getting to complex to just go by my hearing.

Never the less your tips gave me a good starting point and I’m already noticing results by applying them on simple chord structures. I don’t know if you listened to the clip on descend speakers in the meantime but I was wondering if you have any suggestions on the type of samples that are useful. Many of the ones I have used until now are to recognizable, meaning they really sound like a string or etc etc…

Once again, thank you very much for your help and enjoy the holidays,


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:41 am 
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mnml maxi
mnml maxi

Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:01 pm
Posts: 1969
Location: Worcestershire
Hey mate, sorry for late reply ( Xmas and all ) Yeah that's a nice track, really trippy. I'm generally more into deep house myself but I obviously listen to other stuff too.

It is quiet here lately but there is still a great deal of useful stuff stored on the pages of this forum and its worth going through.....Ok, here's the difficult bit............

Making music by ear is fine and I do it too, I don't think 'theory', never but the problem is, when you're trying to communicate music information, you have to talk theory as a way of getting that information across and it can't be any other way because hat you're describing in this track is about chords and harmonic structure.

Like I was saying before, the pad sound ( there's not just 1 ) is more to do with chords than the sound itself. If you had the pad sound/s yourself and played single notes, it would become obvious pretty quickly that there was nothing remarkable at all about them. often a low pass filter combined with some resonance or a gentle LFO over the filter and/or resonance is enough for subtle movement but something else also contributes to it a lot and that is called voicing. Often with large chords ( by large I mean extended chords like major & minor 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and sus chords ) the way you voice them has a dramatic effect on the timbre of the sound. Here's an example below:

Take a minor 9th chord and play it on 'C', you have these notes: C/Eb/G/Bb/D That's a nice chord as it is but what we can do is to invert the chord which means we 'voice' it differently, it's still the same chord but it sounds different. A classic inversion of this chord is to play it like this: C/Bb/D/Eb/G. Inverting large chords in this type of way creates a bunch of notes in the centre ( the D & the Eb in this case ) which 'beat' against each other creating a nice sense of depth and resonance and the chord is surrounded by a C & a G which are a perfect 5th apart. ( If you are unsure what Eb & Bb are, the 'b' means flat, those notes can also be called D sharp & A sharp or D# & A# )

The point of this? Just to illustrate how much the chord itself has to do with the sound of pads as oppose to just the sound itself. If you want to have a play around with some chords and you're not a keyboardist, you should use the chord device in Ableton.

Here's some settings you can try out, I'll name the chord and name the intervals to set, you can save these as presets.

1. Minor 9th chord: +3, +7, +10, +14
1b. Inverted minor 9th chord: +10, +14, +15, + 19

2. Major 7th: +4, +7, +11
2b. Inv major 7th: +4, +5, +9

3. Minor 11th: +3, +7, +10, +14, +17

4. Major 11th: +4, +7, +11, +14

5. 7sus: +5, +7, +10

Ok, there's a fe chord types you can try out on Abletons chord device so you can play them 1 finger. Load a synth, find a sound that is polyphonic and see what you come up with, you'll see that the chords lend more to the sound that is first realised, turn the chord device off, play a single note and see how unremarkable it is. :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:56 am
Posts: 3
Hi AK - half a year later lol. I am also looking to find pad sounds like this and I find it very hard. Trying to figure out what kind of synth is being used and go from there.

Would buying a Boutique JP-08 or JU-06 make sense?


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 11:42 am 
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mnml mmbr
mnml mmbr

Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 298
I wouldn't go analog or analog modeling if you want those kinds of light airy pads. Most likely a digital synth. I think the Waldorf Blofeld might suit your needs quite nicely. I'll probably get one too soon.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:21 pm
Posts: 28
AK wrote:
Take a minor 9th chord and play it on 'C', you have these notes: C/Eb/G/Bb/D That's a nice chord as it is but what we can do is to invert the chord which means we 'voice' it differently, it's still the same chord but it sounds different. A classic inversion of this chord is to play it like this: C/Bb/D/Eb/G. Inverting large chords in this type of way creates a bunch of notes in the centre ( the D & the Eb in this case ) which 'beat' against each other creating a nice sense of depth and resonance and the chord is surrounded by a C & a G which are a perfect 5th apart. ( If you are unsure what Eb & Bb are, the 'b' means flat, those notes can also be called D sharp & A sharp or D# & A# )

The point of this? Just to illustrate how much the chord itself has to do with the sound of pads as oppose to just the sound itself. If you want to have a play around with some chords and you're not a keyboardist, you should use the chord device in Ableton.

Here's some settings you can try out, I'll name the chord and name the intervals to set, you can save these as presets.

1. Minor 9th chord: +3, +7, +10, +14
1b. Inverted minor 9th chord: +10, +14, +15, + 19

2. Major 7th: +4, +7, +11
2b. Inv major 7th: +4, +5, +9

3. Minor 11th: +3, +7, +10, +14, +17

4. Major 11th: +4, +7, +11, +14

5. 7sus: +5, +7, +10


Top Post AK, thanks.


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