Dear Anyone.

I'm after cotton-wool pads.  The kind that go BEHIND other sounds in a New Agey track so  they're adding a bit of 'stuffing' to the track, if you don't notice them you're not missing anything (but they're still adding 'stuffing', you'd notice the lack of them if they weren't there even though you're not always consciously hearing them!) but if you DO, they sound nice!  Examples are HERE.... (first sound after the gong)


All the way through, any/all of those sounds really.  I've tried programming them on VSTs and my skills definitely suck! Tried downloading a ton of things that call themselves pads but they're all Star Wars rayguns and trance leads.  Anyone know of a source of just those kind of sounds, either as soundfonts, or as presets on a VST that doesn't cost hundreds of bucks/British pounds?  Can modify existing pads, just too dang thick to get the hang of creating my own.  I follow all the instructions in YouTube vids, I get seal f@rts, they get lovely sounds, no idea why!  Just a nice box-of-chocolate background pad collection.....

Yours hopefully


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  • HI Chris -

    I don't do much ambient and I'm certainly no expert but here's a clip of a piece that I did. If this is anywhere close to what you want to do I can explain how I did it.


  • Dear Ingo Lee.

    I'd dearly love you to explain how you did it!  The problem I usually have is that all these YouTube tutorials - not saying your explanation, just the YouTube tutorials - only seem to work on the VST they're designed to work on.  I get - for example - saw waves like I'm asked to, the amount of voices, detune the way I'm told to and it sounds NOTHING like theirs, I can only assume it's because they're using the VST they designed the sound on, so that's the only VST the design can work on.

    Either that, or I'm missing something.  It's probably called a brain!

    Feel free to explain.  Tell me what VST you used.  If I've got it, I'll use it, if I can download a demo version (assuming I don't have it!) to create the sound in, I'll do that.  I'll also try one of my many freebies (high budget, me!) and see if it actually sounds right in that but I'm not holding my breath on that one. 

    You teach, I'll follow. 

    Yours respectfully


  • Well Chris like I said I'm no expert but I'm happy to talk about my approach to this stuff. Doing this work is more of what they call sound design than composition and I'm more into composition but there is common ground between the two.

    There are different ways to approach this I guess but I think the key concept here is motion. Any sound has different components to it unless it is just a basic electronic oscillator tone. Basic tones are pretty boring so what I did is to combine some different tones together and then create some motion by adjusting the volume levels of the different sounds relative to each other over time.

    You could do this with a single VST I guess but that gets complicated as you say. VST's are either samplers (recorded clips of real instruments) or synthesizers which assemble and process those oscillator tones I mentioned. And some VST's do both of these things and then add in a bunch of effects processors and whatever else they can think of and it gets real complicated.

    So my suggestion is to first load up a few tracks on your DAW with a collection of sounds lasting a few minutes. This could be different patches from one VST or several different VST's or even some live sound you recorded.  Now the critical part. I use DAW automation to raise and lower the volume levels of those sounds relative to each other as the tracks play. If the volume levels raise and lower slowly you get a subtle blend, if they jump up and down you get something wild, it's up to you. You can also automate panning, reverb or any other effects that you have in your DAW to add interest to the mix.

    So that's what I did. Now you may say "Heck, that's easy, now give the good stuff!". Well Chris, that's how I did the track above, we'll have to search elsewhere for something different.

    But, all of the above assumes you know about midi recording and DAW automation and other basic functions so if you have any questions please ask, sometimes I know the answers.


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