Psytrance Tutorial Day 4: Thick Pad, Glassy Pad + Bonus Pad!

Hi, I’m Dave from and welcome to day 4 of the 7ds on psytrance. Yesterday in day 3, we discovered 2 sweet psytrancey leads. Today in day 4, we’ll be laying back into some soft pads to fill out the track.

So let’s combinate it up, mixer, thor, init, and I’ll insert some simple notes.

A 2 octave spread of sawtooth multi oscs will give the basis of the sound, taking the second one down.

Filter it a bit with the freq at 210hz, env will provide a little attack, but so it’s not too sharp, bring the attack to 30ms and the decay to 700. S and R on 0 please, we want no messy tail ends with the filter envelope.

However, messy tail ends are the order of the day with the amp envelope, take the release up to 5 seconds.

Delay on, tempo sync and chorus on, slightly wetter.

Compress that bitch with full input gain, 1/4 threshold and 16:1 ration, with 0 release and full output gain – it’s really quiet thanks to that filtering, so we need to boost it like crazy, plus this’ll give it a satisfying punch to the pad.

Follow it with a stereo imager soloing the hi band at 300hz, so only that attack is really prominent, then finish it off with a maximizer limiting it with a 4ms look ahead.

Lastly, reverberation is the next port of audible call. Add it after the mixer on All warm plate, then just over half aux will finish off the lovely, long tail of the sound.

Those notes are horrendously simple, I had to fight the urge to chuck thirds everywhere, but I settled with starting on that C, hitting the octave. Then going tense with the C# down to the Bb, remember that those are the notes in key closest to the root note that are nice and desperate to go back to the C when it comes round.

Well, that was easy. I’ll probably end up using the pad a few more times and give in to my urge to add thirds everywhere. We shall see! Before we leave the realm of paddage entirely (incidentally, that totally sounds like a low budget web-based flash RPG), let’s delve into another pad or two for the last synthy elements of the song.

Pad number 2 requires a combinator, mixer, thor, init, open and prepare for the glassiest synth you’ve ever experienced in your entire life. Sorry, I wanted an excuse to test out my action movie trailer voice.

I’ll just add in some notes now.

Name it “Glassy Pad”, then add a wavetable osc on mixed waves 1 to the saw wave that’s there so there’s a nice thick starting sound, run them through and take the env to 0 so there’s no high end at the start and the freq to 200hz-ish so there’s no hi end at the end either. Hi end is the ENEMY! We’re rescuing the mids with this synth, fighting off the evil forces of bass and treble to replace the midrange on it’s rightful throne of aural glory! Or something.

To add a bit more texture to the tone, add the shaper on bipulse and drive at 5/8.

Take sustain to full, attack up a few notches and release up a notch on the amp envelope to make it more pad-like, so it fades in and out rather than being a sharp start and stop.

Now, the chorus on and to 3/4 d/wet should top it off. The only problem is the volume is ridiculously low, since we kinda removed all of the harmonic content with that low pass filter. Whoops! Not to worry though, we’ll compress and limit the crap out of it! I’m not sure if it’s conventionally considered good technique, but it works, and I figure that’s what matters. Compressor with full input gain and 3/4 output, then maximizer with full input and 4ms look ahead in case it clips now it’s volumized to the max. Don’t think volumized is a word? Google it, there’s like 25,000 results. Most are to do with hair, which I actually found quite useful. Anyway.

Lastly, add a DDL-1 to the mixer and dial it in generously with 4 steps so it’s echoing on every beat. This will help to get that beautiful dissonance between the notes that are a semitone apart.

So let’s look at those notes – they involve the first time we’ve approached changing the chord progression of the song! Dun dun duuun! We go from the C down to the Bb later on. But in the meantime we jump to the C# for some gorgeous, glassy semitonal dissonance. The high note that’s an octave above isn’t very loud and I wasn’t sure if it fit at first, but I’ve grown to love it, like the fourth child in an already hectic family that constantly cries for attention in its youth, but eventually settles down and turns out to be the only one that keeps in touch, since all the other kids are busy being horrendously rich web entrepreneurs, while this one is in a conventional job and provides you with grandkids. I completely forgot what this metaphor was supposed to be about, so I’m just going to move on to the next synth.

In an excercise of existential minimalism and to get across appreciation of just how much you can make out of what you already have, watch this.

Duplicate the synth, this gorgeous, glassy synth, auto-route it, then after thor, add a scream 4, remove the cut section, and turn type to “A”. Now listen to the notes I magically added in just now without the help of any video editing whatsoever.

Hear that? Same synth. Yeah, I know, it makes you want to get rid of all the worldly possessions you can’t fit into a rucksack, doesn’t it?

Let’s call this one “Janist monk pad” to remind ourselves of how more isn’t necessarily better.

So there we have it, a pad more thick and full than 100 creationists crammed into a shoe box, and a glassy pad more glassy than a glass of glass juice. Oh, and that monk pad that is so humble that it requested I didn’t use a metaphor to describe it, lest it become proud of itself for some reason.

Join me tomorrow for day 5 where I’ll be tightening the whole track up with some fancy FX!


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Hi! I'm Dave from and welcome to the site!

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