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Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
EricBarker #2962019 12/09/18 06:20 PM
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Quote:
they muddy the live mix.


Not if you do it right. I'd think in either case, you have to program your pads to work sonically with the other instruments, and you have to choose your notes judiciously.


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Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Steve Nathan #2962021 12/09/18 07:00 PM
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If I was out in FoH and could hear the frequency response of the hall, maybe... but so many room modes in club venues, I can never tell what's going to happen from onstage.


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Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Steve Nathan #2962023 12/09/18 07:07 PM
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The core instruments in rock (guitar, el bass and drums) are in the percussive and plucked categories. Add your typically keyboard instruments of piano, el. piano, clavinet and it's more of the same. The Hammond provides a reprieve, but its usage has come in and out of vogue. So yeah, synth pads can certainly provide a welcomed sonic break from an unending stream of decaying, percussive tones.

Busch.

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
burningbusch #2962027 12/09/18 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted By: burningbusch
The core instruments in rock (guitar, el bass and drums) are in the percussive and plucked categories. Add your typically keyboard instruments of piano, el. piano, clavinet and it's more of the same. The Hammond provides a reprieve, but its usage has come in and out of vogue. So yeah, synth pads can certainly provide a welcomed sonic break from an unending stream of decaying, percussive tones.

Busch.


Yes, this. I think the "frequency response" approach is only useful to the extent that it helps craft an appropriate pad, not avoid it completely. I personally find a more human connection to the organ in these situations (live), but that's still a pad. And those people better at real-time sound-shaping would certainly feel the same sense of connection with the synth pads they deploy.

I used to do a rock-guitar-god gig where I played only pads all night except for one organ song and one piano song. I found the gig kinda boring musicially, and TBH it probably was (musically), but if I had more of a personal stake in pad-crafting in real-time, I might have felt differently about it.


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Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
MathOfInsects #2962143 12/10/18 02:23 PM
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A couple of recent examples where the pad is essentially the song:

Currently #1 on iTunes charts:




Billboard's #1 single of the year:





I wish I knew how to do this kind of stuff. I'm getting so old... rolleyes

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Bill H. #2962195 12/10/18 06:51 PM
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Bill

I wouldn't worry if I were you. The first song was an interesting mix of Rap and vocal. Chord changes were common, nothing new there. The second video wasn't even music. I wouldn't be all that interested in doing something like that. That's not old, that's demonstrating you have taste.


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Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
MikeT156 #2962200 12/10/18 06:57 PM
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Some pads have a faster attack and can be easily made to follow a chord progression of smaller note values. Some are not meant to be used this way as they have all kinds of pitch shifting going on even if you hold on to the same chord. With pads anything goes. There's a musical application for all!

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Sam CA #2962277 12/11/18 01:38 AM
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I regularly adjust the attack and release envelopes to work for the song. In some cases, I extend the release slightly so that I don't need the sustain pedal to connect notes. If playing with a piano layer, then the pedal can be mapped only to the piano. I'll also do things where the pad only is in the lower octaves, but not in the way of melodies and voicings. It adds fullness, but isn't fighting for space. I've also put in a button on my controller that does a massive high-pass at 80-120hz. This way a super fat pad can be thinned out when the bass guitar comes in, or it can widen up to fill that space if the bass is laying out and coverage is needed. As someone mentioned, it can be a bit of a rabbit hole to go down, and you don't realize the subtlety until you do. A lot of the best pads are chameleons. They work because the actual timbre produces an emotional response, completely apart from the notes played. It can be buried in the background, but still contributing emotional content without demanding much space in the mix.

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Nathanael_I #2962286 12/11/18 04:00 AM
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These are all great tips...especially for Omnisphere type of pads that tend to be more aggressive.

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Sam CA #2962380 12/11/18 06:58 PM
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pad (n): a synthesizer backing timbre of no artistic significance played over many whole or half notes, sometimes holding the same note(s) while an egotistical attention whore guitar wanker fires off an incomprehensible barrage of pyrotechnics at a very annoying volume level much higher than the rest of the group. See also wallpaper.

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
The Real MC #2962399 12/11/18 08:43 PM
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Depends on the song and the player. For my taste, Tony Banks is the master of synth pads. I remember seeing Genesis back in the 70's and Tony filled Madison Square Garden with the most musical / beautiful synth pads. Much of what he played was understated, but with a brilliant sense of orchestration. It was a wonderful experience.

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Al Quinn #2962626 12/13/18 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted By: Al Quinn
Depends on the song and the player. For my taste, Tony Banks is the master of synth pads. I remember seeing Genesis back in the 70's and Tony filled Madison Square Garden with the most musical / beautiful synth pads. Much of what he played was understated, but with a brilliant sense of orchestration. It was a wonderful experience.

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Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Bill H. #2962641 12/13/18 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bill H.
A couple of recent examples where the pad is essentially the song:

<Imagine Dragons, "Natural">


Originally Posted By: MikeT156
The first song was an interesting mix of Rap and vocal.


Something I don't think Imagine Dragons and Dan Reynolds get enough credit for is how hard and deeply the vocal lines swing. Song after song he pumps out deeply groovy rhythms in his delivery, somewhere in the nexus of big-band aggro-jazz and sloggy hip-hop. Their arrangements can be a little overwrought for me, but I've always admired that group's ability to make every song massive and distinct. Plus somewhere in their catalogue is a true and real funk tune in an odd meter, and I wish Alexa would serve it up again because it was a grinder and I'd love to play it.


"
Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Dave Bryce #2962665 12/13/18 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
I love a good pad - especially an evolving one (see Korg Wavestation, figure A).

One of my favorite songs to play with my band (The Cars song Drive) has a few gorgeous swirling pads I put together by stacking sounds and adding timbres using velocity. I also love fat analog string pads - especially single low notes - and am a big fan of putting a nice soft pad behind an AP or EP. Not necessarily just strings, either..
Making pads interesting and dynamic is one of the biggest reasons I am an advocate for polyphonic aftertouch. I also like to create pads by playing two or three notes in wide, moving intervals.

Re: Are synth Pads as bad as I think they are?
Marzzz #2962705 12/13/18 03:30 PM
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Here's a paragraph from Bobby Owsinski's The Mixing Engineer's Handbook that I found useful for figuring out what a pad is supposed to be. (This in a section on arrangement and the parts are: Foundation -- drums/bass usually, Pad -- see below, Rhythm -- obvious?, Lead -- vocal/solos/etc., Fills -- different stuff used for transitions, answering the lead or perhaps counterpoint).

"The Pad: A pad is a long sustaining note or chord that adds a sort of 'glue' to the arrangement and therefore the mix. In the days before synthesizers, a Hammond organ provided the best pad, and was later joined by the Fender Rhodes. Synthesizers now provide the majority of pads, but real strings or a guitar power chord can also serve in that role as well."

I expect it is significantly easier to fine tune a pad to be a tasteful but notable part of the song in a mixing context than in a live one.

-Z-

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