Maybe it's just that I'm getting soft in my old age, but more and more recently I've become increasingly interested in pads, nice thick chords and involving chord sequences.
I'm sure I didn't used to be like this, I was more obsessed with mashing breaks to infinity and back (which I still am) than getting all emotional and stuff...
Still, whatever the reason, I like pads, and today's sound is exactly that, a nice pad part.
I've spent most of this evening working on a commission track for a short film, which thankfully has a pretty easy to understand brief, and conveniently requires some pad sounds. I wanted to create a soft warm atmosphere, quite relaxed and contented type of feeling, and because of the setting of the film, a little bit of texture or grain as well.
DUSTY PADS by Noisy Neighbour Sound
The sound is made using a patch I made in Reaktor, built around a comb filter for a kind of Karplus-Strong style synthesis. However, rather than using the noise as an exciter only, I thought it might be worth allowing some of it through the filter chain to fuzz the edges. I think it works quite well. There's a lot of subtle modulation in the patch in an attempt to keep it interesting, but without getting excessive, and just a little bit of saturation too. The reverb is coming from one of the Lexicon PCM plugins.
Maybe it's a bit of an easy way out, but I think that a good pad sound can do so much for creating atmospheres. With something complex like NI's Absynth or Green Oak's Crystal, you can make some really abstract, uncomfortable environments, or with more standard methods, some really soft and comfortable ones. To be honest though, I think this is one area where analogue shines through. The pure power of an analogue polysynth is just incredible. All the tiny impurities, distortions and so on all combine to make a really rich sound, something very hard to do with digital kit.