Having a living, breathing organic element in your productions are proven to help your listener engage with your music. The most organic and relatable element we have at our disposal are vocals. A lot of producers I come into contact with struggle to know how to work these into their tracks and overly complicate the process. When it comes to sound design, often the simplest of techniques work the best, so in this tutorial I show you a super easy way to add that vocal, organic layer into your music using simple sampling techniques.
Okay in this tutorial we’re going to look at a super quick sound design technique for you that’s perfect for creating vocal pads. Now before we take a listen to the example as a quick heads up for you, this technique is absolutely dynamite with the bringing atmospheres to life tutorial that I put out a couple of weeks back. So straight after watching this you’re gonna want to jump to that one because they really work beautifully together. So let’s have a listen to the pad sound that we’re going to be making.
It’s a nice kind of eerie pad sound that we’ve got going on there and this is how it started life. Now should point out that you don’t just have to use vocals for this you can try all sorts of textures and get some really really cool pad ideas. But if you are using vocals it’s really important that you pick something that’s got a sustained pitch. So it might be a sample like this, it could be a choir sample it could just be any singer that you like, as long as you’ve got a part of the audio where they’re holding one particular pitch. And then this is how we’re going to make the pad. So we’ve dropped the audio into a sampler and we’re going to loop it up but before we do that I just want to talk you through the effects that are going on here. So it’s fairly standard a delay in a reverb. I’ve got a pretty generous setting on the dry/wet here. I find that three sixteenths works well ping-pong round 50% feedback. Now what this is gonna do is add some nice stereo wit and some nice movement. And then the reverb is set up to be really lush so I’ve gone for a massive size on this push the stereo. Again quite a strong decay time four and a half seconds and then a generous dry wet. Now the reason that I’ve gone quite high on the dry/wet as well as the thickness, the lushness, the sort of stereo vibe is that it helps to hide the loop points as the sample is looping over. And I find it’s best to have these set up already because then you hear much more of what the final texture will be like, what the finished product is gonna be. And then it’s as simple as finding a nice point to loop in your sample. Keeping in mind that what we’re really aiming for here is a section where we’ve got a sustained notes, or a single pitch and ideally a relatively flat volume now the beauty of these effects is they do hide that too quite a large degree. And that’s why it’s good to have them on first because it stops your overthinking and over fiddling around with this.
So that’s perfect. And there you can probably hear we’ve got a few clicks and pops that’s where our crossfade comes in. And that’s it, you’ve got your basic sound. Now I’m just playing one note there but when you play a chord it really starts to thicken out nicely.
So it’s a really nice sound. Now of course you’re gonna want to go in, set things like your envelope in here. So I’ve got quite a long attack on this. So it fades in and quite a long release as well, three seconds attack, three seconds on the release. That just gives us that gentle fading in and fading out kind of vibe on the sound. Last few touches you probably want to want to get any cue in on this. In this case I wanted to cut out some of the muddy frequencies.
And that’s it, you’re good to go. Now one final tip for you on this one, once you’ve got the texture down this basic texture that you’re happy with, try experimenting. Go a bit mental throwing some other effects at this things like distortion and other coloration effects like saturation are all fair game, any of your modulation effects, your chorus faint, flanger, phaser. All of this stuff is really really good.
So there you go super fast for creating a variety of different pad sounds. If y’all like this technique you want to grab more like this then pick up a free copy of our ebook 101 Ableton Tips for House and Techno Producers. I’ve stuck the link underneath this video and in fact all of our other videos for you. So it’s super quick to bag yourself a copy. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Until next time. Take care and happy music making.
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