Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Patch 002 - Ambient pad

Last week I started with an initialized patch (shift+3 if you've forgotten how already!), this week I decided to take a factory preset I quite like but am not altogether happy with and tweak it to my own taste.

The starting patch is b.62 - "Stairs pad".  If you've already overwritten this with a custom patch then you can restore it by pressing shift+7, selecting 1Program (1P9) with knob 1 and b.62 with knob 2. Confirm by pressing the 7 key again. Remember you'll need to have turned the write protect off first (shift+8, turn knob 1 to off and then press the 8 key again to confirm). If you don't want to overwrite your custom patch saved to b.62 already then copy this to another program position first.

So now I have the "Stairs Pad" loaded on my synth, the first thing to do is try it out. I actually really like the pad sound as it is, great for ambient landscapes, but I wanted to play more than two note chords (although the patch is  polyphonic it is limited to two voices because it is layered) and I didn't want the arp voice playing as it doesn't fit with the track I am working on.

Therefore, the first thing I do is change the program to single but what you'll notice is that now only the arp plays. This is because single patches use timbre 1 only and the pad I want is on timbre 2. Therefore you'll need to swap the timbres (shift+2, you'll need to set it up to be layer first or you'll get an error message). Now reverting to a single program only the pad will play. If the arp is on, turn it off as this is arpeggiating layer 1 (now the pad).

Now, call me boring but I like this patch pretty much as is. What I do like to do though is save the patch to a free program, select it to go out of edit mode and then play with the performance controls which can result in noticeably different sounds. For example, turn the EG Attack counterclockwise and you'll get more of a brass sound (especially with the cutoff increased). You'll notice how important the envelope controls are in ensuring that what we are left with is a pad sound. From playing about with these controls though, the only thing I did and kept was closing of the filter cutoff a little so that the pad was a touch brighter, although you could always just use the mod wheel for this as the mod wheel is currently assigned to the cutoff.

Here are the final settings of the patch I called Ambient Pad (where "unchanged", this is relative to timbre 2 of the Factory preset b.62 - "Stairs Pad").

Voice: SYT, SGL, PLY, ---, ---
Pitch: 0, 0, 0, 2, 0 (unchanged)
Osc 1: SQU, 0, 0, ---, --- (unchanged)
Osc 2: SAW, OFF, 7, -7, --- (unchanged)
Mixer: 127, 110, 0, ---, --- (unchanged)
Filter: 24L, 38, 0, 14, 30
Filter EG: 115, 122, 53, 115, ON (unchanged)
Amp: 127, CNT, OFF, 0, --- (unchanged)
Amp EG: 22, 64, 127, 122, ON (unchanged)
LFO 1: TRI, VOC, OFF, 75, --- (unchanged)
LFO 2: SIN, VOC, OFF, 42, --- (unchanged)

Patch 1: TRC, LF2, 42, ---, --- (unchanged)
Patch 2: LF2, 1.CT, 42, ---, --- (unchanged)
Patch 3: MOD, CUT, 24, ---, --- (unchanged)
Patch 4: LF2, PAN, 24, ---, --- (unchanged)
Mod FX: FLG, 32, 46, ---, --- (unchanged)
Delay: CRS, ON, 3.16, 80, --- (unchanged)
EQ: 320, 5, 11, 4, --- (unchanged)
Arpeg. A: 140, 1.16, 20, AT1, 3 (unchanged)
Arpeg. B: ON, 0, OFF, 8, --- (unchanged)


  1. Are there any recorded examples of these? Thanks so much for sharing your process.

  2. http://agargara.iiichan.net/me/2012/04/track-272---microkorg-patch-2---ambient-pad.html

    made a track with it

  3. Thanks for the link David, great sounding track. I particularly loved the way the ambient crowd noise gave way to the lead line. Have you automated the mod wheel on the Ambient Pad patch?

  4. Yep, I automated it with an LFO (which was automated by another LFO).

  5. cool, i noticed that if you keep the mod wheel up and mess with the arp, you can get some haunting effects.

    Arp.A: 250, 1.16, 80, up, 3

    put the latch on and with three note chords you can get a psychedelic carnival sound that sounds like its in 3/4 time.