Tips on Making Lush Ambient Pads with FM8
This helpful tutorial from one of our resident gurus, Jonny, has plenty of good ideas that you can put to use immediately when designing ambient pads with FM8.
The term Ambient Pad can conjure up a very wide range of sounds in one’s mind. Pads have become such an integral piece of modern music production, and the ambient variety are widely used to impart more atmosphere and depth in so many different genres that there are simply too many to begin naming here. If you can imagine what a string section means to orchestral composers, then you can easily identify the seemingly endless uses for pads in music today. Designing ambient pads with FM8 brings with it some rather unique options that you won’t be quick to find elsewhere, too. One of these things is the Morphing Matrix, granting you the ability to combine up to four different versions of the same sound (or four different sounds, or any combination you prefer) in a highly dynamic and responsive way. So once you’ve finished following along with this lesson, this may be one of the first things you experiment with to launch your sounds to a new level.
So much of the deep character and subtle movement is coming from the programming done in the FM Matrix and the Voicing window, rather than through the use of effects. This means that the sound will respond better to processing later on and will be more likely to play nicely with the other sounds in your mix. This is one tip that can really help with designing ambient pads with FM8! Spend plenty of time playing with the pitch values across all of the operators that you use in a patch like this one to maximize the potential depth, width and character hidden away. Routing it all through the filter unit (Operator Z) is a good way to wrangle in your frequencies a bit and help keep things under control.
These are just a few tips to help you go further when designing ambient pads with FM8. And we’d love to hear some of your best practices, tips, tricks and whatever else you are willing to share with us in the forum post linked below. The more people who contribute to conversations like this one, the more we all learn and grow because of it. See you there!