Designing a Dark Dynamic Pad with FM8
When it comes to designing pads, it either ends up that you need something very specific or something very flexible. This tutorial will show you how to create a dark dynamic pad with FM8 that can easily be used for lighter pieces as well.
I truly enjoy designing a pad like this one because it is more about the subtleties and the things that you do not do, rather than what is done that really makes it something special. Using slight variation in pitch and timbre you can accomplish a lot, in regards to how a sound is delivered, how it changes over time and how it is perceived in a mix. I find that making a dark dynamic pad with FM8, such as this one, keeps the sound design skills sharp and the creative juices flowing!
Starting off with the FM Matrix, you can see that the routing is very busy. With plenty of feedback and each of the operators heading to the main output strip, this sound is simple up front, with plenty of complexity added along the way through modulation and differences in pitch. Keeping all of the wavetables the same helps to keep the sound from getting away from us too quickly, avoids unexpected conflicts and move the process along.
The envelopes are the big key to success with this type of pad. Revealing different elements at different times keeps the listener guessing, the musc interesting and the pad evolving as it develops. As you can see in the image below. the envelopes vary greatly. Some have a short attack, while others have a long attack. The filter has a very crazy, and quite random, curve. Do not worry about getting these envelopes exactly the same as what I have programmed. What you end up with will sound fine and help this pad become your own.
The Master window is where the number of voices is increased and where detuning and spreading the sound across the stereo field happen. Also, the Analog and Digital Quality parameters are tweaked to help round out the character of the pad.
The Easy/Morph window is the next stop. Here more subtle changes are made that really enhance the beauty and mystery of the pad. Make sure you apply the Timbre Envelope settings by turning up the Env Amt knob on the Timbre panel.
The last step to making this dark dynamic pad with FM8 is to visit the Effects window. Here a Peak EQ is added to boost the low end and clean up the mid-range frequencies. Also, a Chorus/Delay is added for some extra movement, width and depth. This wraps up the sound design part of the process.
Below is a sample of the pad being played in four different octaves of the note C, starting at C0 and moving up to C3.[audio:https://www.fm8tutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Dark-Dynamic-Pad.mp3|titles=Dark Dynamic Pad]
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