Designing a Long Evolving NI Massive Pad
Deep & Evolving!
This easy to follow tutorial shares a few tricks you can use to make your pads deeper, more complex and full of character!
When it comes to long form sound design I get a lot of requests to design very deep, complex and evolving instruments that seem to go on forever without the need for any musical knowledge of any kind. This allows the end user to slip a sound like this into a movie or television soundtrack without any problems. As you will hear at the end of this tutorial, after just a few minutes time in Massive, one sustained note can provide several minutes of rich and intriguing audio to provide a backdrop of sound or support other instruments without any additional effort. Of course, the more you play with this NI Massive pad, the more interesting it becomes. Building a progression over a long period of time is a great way to use a synth like this one. And it works well at just about any tempo. Let’s take a look at how it’s made.
To start this NI Massive pad out, load a Camchord wavetable into OSC1 and drop the pitch two octaves. Then, load a Colors wavetable into OSC2. Finally, load a Melancholia wavetable into OSC3 and drop the pitch one octave. This will be the core of our instrument.
Adding a little Ring Modulation to OSC3 via the Modulation OSC panel will add some extra character and harmonics to this NI Massive pad.
Using the Water Pipes preset in the Noise Oscillator will provide us with an interesting noise and texture that will be hard to identify in the layers of the NI Massive pad. This is perfect for this type of sound.
A Bandreject Filter is loaded into the Filter1 panel. And a daft filter is loaded into the Filter2 panel. You should take notice of the routing of each of the three main oscillators, as well as the fact that the routing and output mix of the filter panel has also been tweaked a bit. This is simply to shape our sound to achieve a more immersive NI Massive pad experience.
Next, the FX tabs are set up. A Synced Delay unit is added to extend our NI Massive pad, and Reverb is used to create a much larger environment for the sound to develop and move around in. The EQ is also activated and used to shave off a little of the highs and mids, while accenting the low end just a touch.
The synth is set to run in Monophonic mode on the Voicing tab. And a small amount of Glide is applied on the OSC tab to smooth the transition between notes a bit.
Now the main Amp Envelope is set up to shape the basic delivery and development of our NI Massive pad. This also affects how the sound will resolve once a note is released.
It’s time for a little fun. This is when we start to bring our NI Massive pad to life through some creative modulation assignments and programming. Let’s start with an LFO. This LFO is then assigned to modulate several parameters across all three main oscillators and both filters. It is also used to modulate the Amp parameter of the Noise oscillator, influenced by the main Amp Envelope which has been loaded as a Side Chain controller.
We will now add both a Frequency Shifter insert effect and a Sample & Hold insert effect. These will both be used to help us make this NI Massive pad a very long and evolving instrument. First we need to set up a couple of Performers. Notice how low the Rate parameter is set on each of the Performers, and that they are slightly different. Now each one is assigned to modulate the Pitch knobs of the two insert effects. This will produce automated (yet seemingly random to the listener) risers, textures and changes in character over long periods of time as a note is sustained.
Below is an sample of our NI Massive pad in action. One note, C2, is sustained for a few minutes to allow you to here how it develops and changes over time. This can actually go on much longer without any true duplication. And you still have the ability to add to your modulation capabilities to extend this sound even further if you so desire. No processing of any kind has been applied, so you should be able to recreate this instrument without any difficulty.
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