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Deep House Pad in Propellerhead Reason

Published: 11 months ago

Welcome back to another article about the Genre Deep House. In this specific article, I will be mainly focusing on Pads. While Pads in the Genre Deep house are not that common in the old school deep house songs (since they are all about making things sound like disco). During the modern days, Deep House started to lean towards the more ambient type of pads just to get a dreamy feeling into the genre itself. A deep house pad can go in different directions and angles. Since if you take an empty track that contains just a bass line, a few percussion elements it the pad drives the mood. Then you can already think about the idea that a pad is almost like the carrier of the full song. Some pads can be mysterious, others can be moving, it can also be resonating and sometimes you will need a more bright pad (to stretch it towards a more uplifting mood). This is partially why making a Deep-House pad can sometimes be a hard job to do. Because if the tone is wrong, the mood can also be wrong.

In a general context you could set up a guideline like this:

- Saw wave = Bright tones
- Triangle = Dark and deep tones
- Sine = no harmonics (binaural processing idea)
- High Pass filter = Bright (uplifting)
- Low pass filter = Dark and Deep
- Square = No
- Organs = Yes

If you take in to account the original context on how a pad used to be created then you might get the basic idea of why I am adding the last two notes on this list. Originally a pad was often created by using a real instrument but throw that through a long tail reverb effect. In the beginning, the usage of FM-piano's (or electronic piano's) was quite common. With the coming of DAWs (digital audio workstations) creating pads have changed a lot since then. Since anyone who uses an analog oscillator will often call it a "Deep-House pad".

A cool track to listen too, for instance, would be the following song:
https://www.youtube.com?v=F5plSrtDlgo

This sound touches the realm of phasing effects, the movement of the effect constantly changes during the progression of the song itself. Which makes it almost like a psychological effect if you will (most likely the reason why the song title is called "Neurotransmitting Clouds On The Secret Freeway". Makes sense.

So for sake of presentation, I will be doing a few takes on a few pads that could fit in the realm of Deep House.

The Organ Pad

This is quite a no-brainer. Organs used to be the big thing for creating pad sounds in the early 80's (Hammond anyone?). They accompany that nice jazzy feeling while also drive the tension towards a specific direction. These type of sounds can create a lot of warmth on a track when needed. However, while using an organ sound you can also make the sound a bit more dark and deep again by applying a filter. 

For the next patch (which is made in Propellerhead Reason 9.5, because of the use of players) uses this technique while also adding a bit of tonal character by using a saw wave. The initial patch (and idea) looks like the following:

Deep House Pad

The main ingredients:
- Saw wave (single)
- Multi Oscillator Saw wave (playing in the background using the Mixer balance knob)
- Wavetable Organ (just to add that organ feel to the sound)
- Filter Set to Low Pass (reduces the harmonic content of the Saw Wave)
- A lot of movement in the pad itself using envelopes
- Add some reverb to it

The patch I have been creating using this one can be downloaded as a Propellerhead Reason combinator patch using the following link:

Download Deep House Pad

Of course, you can use an organ sound more up front in case you like that idea. I would check out the NN-XT patch folder (Organs). While they may not be the best to use in this genre, it should be a decent start.

The Deep Mysterious Pad

When creating a deep pad you will probably need to have a bit more focus on the lower frequencies thus reducing most of the higher frequencies. This can also be done by using a Low Pass Filter, but the cutting range needs to be much lower. Since a dark pad often isn't about having the tonal character on the higher frequencies more or less. This type of pad can be created with using Triangle waveforms or just a wide range of sines in them. Most of the time I prefer to use something like a wavetable that just moves around a little bit (not too much). While at the same time playing with the filter while doing so.

Deep House Dark Pad in Reason

A basic patch could be looking like this. It contains one cut off saw waveform (multi-oscillator, 3rd waveform). This sounds similar as a saw wave, but with a filter already on top of the sound itself. At the same time, you could blend it with another Saw wave (dropping the octave there) just to increase the width on the lower frequencies. Make note, this may also require some additional tweaking on the Equalizers later (since we are totally hammering on the lower subtone frequencies while doing this).

The tonal character, in this case, comes from a Mixed Waves 2, where the position is moving using an LFO1 in this context. This could also be handled using a Mod envelope, or external CV controller if you like. But I think you get the point on this idea. It just moves a bit.

The filters are in this case again Low Pass filters but they are set pretty low. This cuts of most of the higher frequencies, unless you are using higher keys (Keyboard Tracking is used for this setup).

Deep House Pad made in Reason 9

The floating Pad

Like I have mentioned next to that video about a song touching the Deep House realm, one simple idea is just to throw a sound against a phaser or use a notch filter instead to move things around. This sound can also be tied up with another Filter (Low Pass Filter) just to avoid it to become too bright. The only issue you may have with using the Phaser in this context is that some frequencies might start to go through the roof while using it. So some form of Equalizing might be needed in this context.

The patch I have been creating for this setup uses a single thor patch which isn't that complicated. It uses 3 oscillators, one as a multi-oscillator set to cut off Saw (wave number 3). While the other 2 are set to analog oscillators set to triangle mode. All this combined will then go through a Phaser unit as a send effect (since this is the easiest method to control the level of the Phaser itself).

Floating Pad in Deep House

This technique should be seen as the more modern in terms of Deep House. Since it makes the sound much more synthetic (where Deep House isn't much about using a synthetic type of sounds).

Download Deep House Floating Pad

Video tutorial House Pad in Reason

In the meantime, I have set up a video explaining some of the subjects I have been touching above.

While these are just a few ideas, there are probably plenty of other options to play around with. Just experiment, feel free to comment with ideas you have yourself. And just have fun.

I will type to you guys later.

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 11 months ago

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BilC
16 Aug 2018 

BilC

Always useful, even for an aging head like mine! Even more useful for a teenage daughter just getting into sound design for her own music. (There's another generation, younger, who love making noises that work in their own new hit song.)
hydlide
 17 Aug 2018 

hydlide

this is partially one of the reasons why I make these type of articles. Some people just think it is about the quick 'press and play' and browse presets method. Which works at some level of degree. But once you start diving in what the genre is about and how to 'deconstruct' sound design and make it your own... that my friend is a whole different story right there ;)
TStrings
3 Jun 2018 

TStrings

Great

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