Make Ambient Vocal Pads In U-he Zebra
Pad sounds are always useful and when done right they can really make your song come alive, for this week let’s check out how to make some vocal pads in U-he Zebra!
This weeks patch has a lot going on, and it’s a bit more complicated than some of the other tutorials, the concept is very simple though.
Whenever I want to make rich patches that sound harmonically full and interesting I try to program as many subtle variations as I can.
I often use a lot of lanes, oscillators and filters and do all sorts of small modulation routings to make the sound interesting enough to hear throughout a full song.
Phase modulation is a very good choice here because it is adds a lot of movement without distracting the listener from the other elements in your song.
You want the pad to be nice and full but at the same time, it has to be a background element.
After that you can also add vibrato, oscillator effects and really small amounts of filter modulation.
Don’t always go for the low-pass filters with pads like these, also try all-pass filters (more phasing), peak filters and high-pass filters.
If you want those clean vocal-like tones a bandpass filter is always a good option because it only allows specific frequencies through, the same way a vowel filter does, so now you can carefully select the frequencies that sound like the human voice.
If all your oscillators are set up you can move to the envelopes, play around with the attack time and the release but also don’t forget to tweak the curve of the envelope, this has more effect than you would think and can really improve the human feel in a patch, this is true for all sorts of sounds!
You can use a different envelope for each oscillator to get even more variation.
Now you’re almost there, time to add some reverb and play some good chords.
This last thing is perhaps one of the most important parts and one that you really have to find by yourself, make sure the progressions are interesting and keep moving, you can do this by chord inversions and chord changes.
Don’t be afraid to completely change the chords in a bridge or buildup, knowing a little bit of music theory never hurts when we’re talking chords!
I hope this helps you a little bit with designing your own pads, and if you have questions just let me know!