Ambient tracks

Abbedabbe

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#1
I'm currently trying learn more about making pads, ambience and stuff like that. But I'm having a hard time figuring out what makes good ambience, or what elements such tracks consist of, like this track I've been listening to a lot lately:
. What I can atleast figure out of it is that there seems to be a lot of choirs. What are you're thoughts this, what do you use/do to fill out your tracks?
 

smoothassilk

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#2
Mood comes from the notes you choose. It's music theory much more than sound design. A choir can sound angelic or terrifying depending on the chords.
 

Dark Lizardro

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#3
Like said above, but I think sound design can and will help in the mood of the ambiance.
You can get a dark sounding ambiance out of a major scale progression (more happier than minor) by simply having a sound design oriented to be more dark. One of my old dark ambient tracks are based in the music "Garota de Ipanema", a rather "happy" sounding music.

Anyways, good ambiance comes from experiment and what you want to achieve as the final result.
 

Dark Lizardro

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#5
Anything you want, feel free to ask. Ambient is my genre of choice when producing, so probably I can help you out with some things.
 

Solace

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Yea I do have a question!
Lately I like to make long atmospheric intros (64bars). But I find it quite hard to get some development going on, some variation, without abruptly taking sounds in or out.
The only thing I'm doing now is slowly fading stuff in, and fading stuff out. And I'm also using some one shots here and there. delayed claps, whooshes, that stuff.
But, to my feeling, that's not doing it, not enough.
 

Dark Lizardro

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#7
Yea I do have a question!
Lately I like to make long atmospheric intros (64bars). But I find it quite hard to get some development going on, some variation, without abruptly taking sounds in or out.
The only thing I'm doing now is slowly fading stuff in, and fading stuff out. And I'm also using some one shots here and there. delayed claps, whooshes, that stuff.
But, to my feeling, that's not doing it, not enough.
And the question is? Lol, jk.

The answer to this is just, imo, layering different sounds that complement each other, and have a great deal of movement. What you do by fading in/out sounds is surely helping with this. you just need to know how you want the ambiance part to sound and what sounds you can use for them.

I don't normally use samples for ambiance, so I rely heavily on synths. That said, I tend to create patches for my synths and normally I just use the randomize function of those synths (specially massive) until I get something interesting enough.

When creating a new track, I layer different sounds from those patches and experiment with different ones. Then I play with different EQ settings to get the most of them and to avoid too much mud (some mud is good for ambiance, give some characteristic to it), distort them, apply reverb, delay, flanger, eq again if needed. It all comes to you and your way of experimenting with different sound sources.

I think that your "problem" might be that you're choosing sounds that are too much discordant to each other, so they overlap and fight, instead of work together to create a good sounding fat ambiance.

I could explain how this came from the very foundations of orchestration, but probably it would be boring as hell.
 

Solace

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#8
I could explain how this came from the very foundations of orchestration, but probably it would be boring as hell.
I wouldn't mind, as long its not 3 pages long :D

Alright, everything you say seems very logical and obvious now. I'm definitely going to try all this out!
As you say, I might not listen enough to the sounds if they actually work together. Mostly I just go with 'hey, that might work', and I just roll with it.

Agreed on the synths thought, most of the time I try to use vsts instead of samples!


And wait. Randomize? Massive? Where?!

Thanks alot btw!
 

Dark Lizardro

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#9
I wouldn't mind, as long its not 3 pages long :D

Alright, everything you say seems very logical and obvious now. I'm definitely going to try all this out!
As you say, I might not listen enough to the sounds if they actually work together. Mostly I just go with 'hey, that might work', and I just roll with it.

Agreed on the synths thought, most of the time I try to use vsts instead of samples!


And wait. Randomize? Massive? Where?!

Thanks alot btw!
Massive has a randomize function in one of it's tabs (can't remember what, but probably the OSC tab), where you choose the ammount of randomic values for the oscillators, or envelopes or lfos. some very good results can be achieved with it. Oh, you have to load a pre-existing patch before, and the resulting sounds will be variants of said patch. some maintain the characteristics, others don't.

About the orchestral thing, it's pretty simple: some instruments tend to work well in the same melodic line than others, giving a impression of being a single instrument. Example are violins and woodwinds (like bassoons and clarinets). But if you put some brass instruments like the trombone or the trumpet together with violins, they won't sound as a unique sound, but rather two different sounds playing the same melodic line. concordant for violins and bassoons. Discordant about violins and trumpets.

Of course, it isn't the whole string instruments that won't work with brass instruments: violoncellos tend to work well with french horns and basses ten to work well with tubas.
 

Solace

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#10
Massive has a randomize function in one of it's tabs

About the orchestral thing, it's pretty simple: some instruments tend to work well in the same melodic line than others, giving a impression of being a single instrument. Example are violins and woodwinds (like bassoons and clarinets). But if you put some brass instruments like the trombone or the trumpet together with violins, they won't sound as a unique sound, but rather two different sounds playing the same melodic line. concordant for violins and bassoons. Discordant about violins and trumpets.

Of course, it isn't the whole string instruments that won't work with brass instruments: violoncellos tend to work well with french horns and basses ten to work well with tubas.
Yea, found the randomize function! Its under 'global'. I haven't had the chance to experiment with it, but it looks promising and fun.

Ah yea ofcourse :D I thought there was going to follow a full on theoretical explanation. But that actually helped. Makes me think about my atmospheres still being music and having to fit together as much as classical music.
 

Dark Lizardro

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Yea, found the randomize function! Its under 'global'. I haven't had the chance to experiment with it, but it looks promising and fun.

Ah yea ofcourse :D I thought there was going to follow a full on theoretical explanation. But that actually helped. Makes me think about my atmospheres still being music and having to fit together as much as classical music.
Global, yes. I tend not to pay attention to the names of those tabs.

About the orchestration thing: it's the same in every genre of music, but with different instruments.

Also, don't consider some instruments as a genre specific thing: in one of my tracks I mixed a synth + cellos + basses for a drone. In another, I made a melodic line using a piano, and timestretched it to hell. Then distorted it using a multiband distortion, then some delay, chorus, reverb and voi-lá, I had a great middle range aerial melodic line.

It all comes to experimentation and what you think that sound good when layering.
 

Solace

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#12
Global, yes. I tend not to pay attention to the names of those tabs.

About the orchestration thing: it's the same in every genre of music, but with different instruments.

Also, don't consider some instruments as a genre specific thing: in one of my tracks I mixed a synth + cellos + basses for a drone. In another, I made a melodic line using a piano, and timestretched it to hell. Then distorted it using a multiband distortion, then some delay, chorus, reverb and voi-lá, I had a great middle range aerial melodic line.

It all comes to experimentation and what you think that sound good when layering.
Yea I never even bothered to look at that tab...

Oh wow that's nice. Damn. Thats real nice. I'll def be more experimenting now
 
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#15
a trick i recently learned ( and I am still in the early stages of experimentation )-
1. take a reverb you like
2. send in your tracks using variing predelays- the longer the predelay, the closer to the listener; dampen the closer ones a little. I now people with more computer power also vary the amount of diffusion.
3. mix a tiy little bit of the predelay int your mix undiluted.
THe whole idea is that you simulate a wall to the back of the music, and the ear will place your sounds according to the reflections.
hope this helps!
 
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#18
a trick i recently learned ( and I am still in the early stages of experimentation )-
1. take a reverb you like
2. send in your tracks using variing predelays- the longer the predelay, the closer to the listener; dampen the closer ones a little. I now people with more computer power also vary the amount of diffusion.
3. mix a tiy little bit of the predelay int your mix undiluted.
THe whole idea is that you simulate a wall to the back of the music, and the ear will place your sounds according to the reflections.
hope this helps!
Yeah with Readelay on Reaper you can do a similar thing - not too heavy CPU-wise either. Well not on mine!
 
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