5 Tips For Getting Great Pad Sounds

Pads are useful for filling the sonic space live, but can be a little tricky to tame. Here are 5 ways to tame your pads: 


1. Reduce the release time.


Drop your release time on your synth to around 30%, and you’ll have much more control of how long your pad will last live. 


2. Use reverb. 


Once you’ve adjusted your release time, bring up the amount of reverb on your patch. This will create a more open feel, and add some natural chorusing that will thicken your pad’s sound. 


3. Use modulation. 


Try using the Ensemble FX plugin on your patch to thicken it up, or even a chorus. If the built in chorus isn’t doing it for you, we highly recommend this free plugin that does a great job of recreating the classic Juno 106 chorus sound. 


4. Play with the pitch bend wheel. 


Slightly bending the pitch of your pad can make your pad have more tonal interest. Try “plucking” your pad slightly for a great tape slipping FX, or quickly move up and down 10 cents for a chorus type effect. 


5. Keep it simple.


Don’t get too fancy with your pads or it will become too thick and drown out other instruments. Stick with 4ths and 5ths where you can. 


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