Dear Anyone.

I'm after New Age Pad sounds - examples are anything by Karunesh, Medwyn Goodall, Mike Rowland, Deuter, Yellow Brick Cinema (especially them!) et al, they're all over YouTube like a rash. Medwyn and Karunesh are Lead Sound, Rhythm Section and Beeeg Beautiful Pad as jam in sandwich.  Yellow Brick Cinema are Lead Instrument and a Ton of Layered Beautiful Pads.  And I have zero idea whey they get their pads from.  I've got a feeling they're starting off life as presets because I keep hearing different composers (other than the above) useing sounds that seem perilously similar. But presets on What!?!  I keep downloading demos and can't find anything that sounds like their sounds.   so I flat don't know what to buy.  Yet as the sounds are all similar, they must know...  Here's a couple of links so you can hear the kinda sounds I'm after (YouTube links)  That's Yellow Brick Cinema, this one's pad central and I'd LOVE to know what pad has presets like/similar to/tweakable into sounds like that  Karunesh, go to about 3-4 minutes in and you'll hear the Standard Karunesh Pad Sound, he uses it on most of his pieces.  Medwyn Goodall, his pad sounds similar to Karunesh's but he uses/layers others on it in other tracks so I'm wondering if it's the same mysterious synth preset Karunesh uses (on what synth!?!)  Deuter again great backing sounds but I've no idea where he or any of the above are getting them from. 

I KNOW I'm gonna get everyone saying 'But they're so EASY.  There's LOADS of freebie/cheap synths that can do those things...) IF there are, and I get one you tell me to get, can I come back for a little advice on tweaking?  Ghastly-but-true story to finish - heard Gladiator by Tone2 and LOVED it, so I bought it. Great sounds - BUT - you can't midi-control volume/velocity, the thing seems to be EQ proof (How is that possible? Ask Tone2) and I can't even map controllers to it cos it doesn't have MIDI learn and all its CC numbers are non-standard, so Tone2 have told me.  So all these sounds and they're unusable with my DAW, anyway (Quick Score Elite Level 2) 

Why presets? I'll happily own up - I know the theory of sound design, I also know the theory of flying a jet plane, I wouldn't advise you to let me within a mile of either cos my practical technique sucks footballs throiugh a straw.  Would love a bunch of decent presets that are MIDI Controllable/EQ'able (unlike Gladiator) so I can drop 'em in as backing sounds!

Yours hopefullly


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  • These ones exactly? I have no idea where to get them, but with some sensible use of most made-for-pads synths you can squeeze out similar stuff. 

    Take a look at Blade. Wonderful, additive synth stuff. Can do evolving, soft, talking like pad sounds in a breeze, after you figure it out. And, thank god, it's not that hard to tackle, just give the manual a read.

    Absynth might have some goodness for you too in it's presets. That thing is quite the monster, I never really got down to learning how to properly use it, but it has lot's of juice in it, for sure.

    I personally like working with NI's Massive. Lots of flexibility, can control every damn thing you see on the UI, assign any control signal (LFOs, Envelopes and so on) to any parameter you like (envelop attacks, filter resonance, lfo speeds, Glide, you name it). And it's very intuitive, after you get the basics down.

    When it comes to sound design and composing, it's not so much a matter of where you're getting that sound, but how the sounds you make/find can fit into the "greater plan" (ie, your piece). Believe it or not, you could become legendary just by filtering a square wave. And, while presets are fun and we'll all use them sometime, it pays off to be able to design your own sound, or at the very least, tailor the presets to your needs, so I suggest you quit looking for THAT sound, pick a synth you feel comfortable with and start learning how it works. It really isn't that hard after you get down to it.

  • Dear Spiros et al.

    Doesn't have  to be EXACTLY those, but that kinda thing, that does the same kinda job, sounds nice behind lead sounds (like piano/flute etc.) filling out the mix a little, maybe just adding thickness to instruments that sound a bit 'thin'.  Maybe I should have explained that more in my original post.  If so, I apologise. 

    Also - people like Yellow Brick Cinema, Tangerine Dream etc. have pads SOOO good they can use them as lead sounds in themselves. And again, you go to websites and they all say 'GET ME - I'M INCREDIBLE!!' and in the hands of the masters on the websites they ALL sound incredible and you don't know what to get if you're not as good at handling sounds/softsynths as the industry experts on the websites.  I mean I've been known to spend days patiently tweaking a sound before someone tells me that getting it to sound any better than I have done is flat not gonna happen cos the sound wasn't good enough in the first place.   So the sounds don't have to be golden, I don't even mind if they're not REELLY good enough to use on their own, just good enough to use for backing like the guys I talked about do.  That's all I want them for, to layer them up into backing tracks for lead instruments.  I'm all DAW anyway cos I'm disabled and can't play anything.  (Sad, isn't it, don't let it bother you!)

    Yours reswpectfully and hopefully


  • I made a small comparison for you. A simple chord progression, on 3 different plugins, using a stock preset on each one. on the first three I have tweaked nothing- just loaded the preset and played the same midi file. By order of appearance, Blade (ECOMPO-AMBLADE-1 ), Massive (edge optional), Absynth (Brahms).

    The fourth one is a simple pad I made as a demonstration in massive just now-took me less than 10 minutes and it's dead simple. It's a sawtooth waveform, passing through a lowpass 4 pole (24 db) filter. Filter and output volume are modulated by the same ADSR envelope, slow attack, no peak, long release. I have used the stock reverb, flanger and EQ contained within massive. Those are things you can do with practically any subtractive soft synth available, both freeware and very expensive.

    The last part is the Blade pad and my pad layered together (playing the same thing at the same time). Layering is a very useful technique when working with soft synths, it can really give depth to otherwise empty sounds (or give them that nice high accent, or that deep kick, depending on how you do it). For example, electronic music producers often add a simple sinewave to their bass or kick sounds to boost the low end.

  • it didn't post the file because it was too big. there you go.

    pad comparison1.mp3
  • I just opened up Colossus and picked up some pads at random until I found something passably similar (it's called "Meditation Pad", duh :P), then tweaked it with EQ and added delay to fatten it up. The result is basically a clone of what you have in those videos.

    You could probably even build the patch from scratch with some simple synthesizer. The sound isn't particularly complicated.

    A thought - if your synths are immune to EQ, maybe you should consider another DAW :) I'm not familiar with Quick Score Elite, but it seems to be even the dumbest VST should be somewhat managable with the master tool at hand.

  • I'm not sure what "immune to EQ" means in practice. 

    But the truth is, you don't need complicated tools or techniques to get those sounds-in fact, more complex stuff won't really do it. You want something that works on the background, ie, not that many high frequencies and not much else going on, or it defeats the purpose. Even the stock subtractive synth of any DAW will do that for you, and you can bring it to fit your mix with effects like EQ, reverb/delay and maybe add some spice with phasing/flanging and overdrive.

    So, instead of throwing money to plugins you probably don't need just now (I do love massive-but spending so much money for such a simple task is rather pointless), get a free, simple synth and learn the ropes. If you do know the theory, as you say, you can get satisfactory sounds very quickly. 

    If you tell us which part of the process seems hard to you, I'm sure we can help more.

  • Dear Spiros.

    UGH - I know you're right in theory but I've been batting my head against LFOs/sine waves/square/triangle/saw waves for literally ages and I've never gotten anything out of a synth anywhere near as beautiful as the sounds I hear on YouTube every day.  I also didn't acrtually write any music in all that time cos I was too busy batting my head against creating the sounds from scratch.  I liken it to a painter - do you get powdered pigments and mix your own colours from scratch, or do you buy a bunch of tubes of paint from a paint company and get on with painting pictures?  I know I SHOULD understand how to mix my own 'paints' from scratch instead of using tubes but as I seem not to know the practice as well as I know the theory, I just wanted to buy a few/get a few premixed audio paints and try making a few 'pictures' - music pieces - with them.  Ghastly analogy, hope it makes sense.

    'Immune to EQ' means exactly what it says on the tin.  I fire the sound up, slap my EQium or FabFilter EQ plugin on its channel, doesn't matter what I do, the sound never actually changes.  Darned thing's bulletproof! I've also got a little bunch of sounds that won't obey MIDI commands either - some obey velocity but NOT volume, others volume but NOT velocity, others still laughi in your face and won't obey anything at all. 

    And there's Gladiator, beautiful synth, lovely sounds, flat won't obey velocity, volume, panning or anything else so the darned thing's useless.  OK you can set up volume within Gladiator itself but if you then wanted to automate the volume of its sound from the software, forget it, isn't gonna happen.  And the Tone2 guy said it's because the CC controllers within it are non-standard and it doesn't have MIDI Learn so you can't use spare controllers with it either - why the heck didn't he use standard controls the same as everybody else!

    Just to reiterate - I know yo're theoretically right about using a synth from scratch but I am royally awful at getting anything decent soundwised from scratch so I thought that, as so many of the sounds I hear sound suspiciously preset-ish to me, I might as well use paint-from-a-tube instead of self-mixed pigments too!

    Yours respectfully and a little sheepishly


  • My main point is, instead of buying presets (ie, a synth whose factory sounds sound good), it's much better (and cheaper) to utilise what you already have. Any DAW has a simple softsynth you can use, start reading the manual.

    Making a sound "good" is quite subjective. Good for what? You need to have a more broad idea of what you want in order to make a "good" sound. "Discrete smooth bassy pad" is a good start for a sound, but to get there you'll have to consider what else is in the mix. Often, a very simple or even uninteresting patch can work very well, provided you use it in the right context, while the best patch can sound like shit, because of how it's used.

    Trying to perfect a sound before you get down to writing actual music can be very hard to resist, but trust me-don't do it. If you set out to write something, work on the music and sound design at the same time, going back and forth, until you get satisfactory results.

    Let's say you want a pad. I suppose you already have some kind of context in mind, a lead instrument/drum part/melody/ chord progression/bassline. You then go on and make the most basic pad of them all- slow attack and long release. You decide you like it smooth, so you use a low pass filter. It kinda needs some brightness too, so you assign the envelope to the filter, to give it some movement and bring it to life. You fool around a bit and eventually you've got something that sounds half good. You give it it's midi part and listen to the whole thing. If it works well with the rest, you leave it be, if something's off, you go back and tweak it a bit. Now, just leave it there and go back to composing. As you progress, you can always go back and address anything that comes up.

    During that process it's good to think of reverb, delay and EQ as separate steps that will come later. Obviously, you'll apply some reverb and EQ, but don't be overly worried about it. No matter how much you try, you will always have to return and change them again, when the track is finished, so why bother so much in the first place.

  • Dear Spiros. 

    I DO know what I want them to sound like,  that' swhy I put the links in the O.P..,  because they're composers who's sounds I've loved for ages.  They're all blends of sounds, or seem to be, gentle mixes of voices and drones, unearthly synth-strings and ethereal orgian-like sounds.   They're all rich and full and dreamy, all the ones I've found either sound like refugees from an Arnold Van Helm Megadance Mix or cheap and tinny, the difference between soapstone and pure jade, or real bone china and the lumps of wobbly, melted-looking moulded stuff you get in overpriced stately home souvenir shops.    I've added reaverb, they just sound cheap'n'tinny with reverb on. Ditto other effects.  Can't seem to hide the tinniness of the original sounds.   I pretend I have done, then I listen to the rich'n'fullness of the sounds these people use and just want to chuck mine out the window.  And I'm not talking about the quality of the actual composition, whether mine's a better/worse composition, that's subjective, there's lovers/haters of all the composers I love. I'm just saying the best compositions I've ever done sound like cheap imitations of theirs because the sounds themselves sound like cheap imitations of theirs. 

    I just want/wanted to see how my MIDI files - and that's all I can use cos of disability,  I create everything using MIDI - stacked up when a few decent sounds were activated by them, instead of the cheap, never-right-or-really-close sounds I have at present.  I know you're going to say 'Well, cut your coat according to your cloth', and I suppose I should do, but I guess it feels like seeing all the others at the show in designer outfits, and all you've got is something you cobbled together on a home sewing machine from material you unpicked from a thrift store/charity shop! You might have got the style totally right, but the quality of the material/sewing would always look a leetle off, no?

    Maybe having decent materials would only highlight the paucity of the cojmpsition itself, I don't know.  just wanted to give my MIDI files a chance.  I've uploaded one I wrote for you, can never think of decent titles for the things so sorry about that, but I hope you like it for what it is.  Me personally, I like the lead instrument (Sampletank guitar) and bass (Proteus VX) and drums (also  Proteus VX but a separate instance) and the pads are the two best soundfonts I have, mingled as best I know how but I'm still iffy about them.  Imagine these other composers' sounds in their place......

    Yours respectfully


    Sampletank Guitar Version 3.mp3

  • I'm a fan of the U-he soft synths.  I really like the sounds from Zebra and Diva.  You can download Zebralette for free from their site and it has a bunch of presets that are quite usable rite out of the gate.  I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to synths in any form, but seeing as how it's free to check out it may be worth looking in to.

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