Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

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Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by Erotic Cabaret » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:06 pm

I'm trying to achieve that big 80s pad sound (stereo). I'm using a Prophet '08 and I only record in mono, (as the "stereo" setting for that synth is but a useless panning mechanism).

So far, I've had the most success panning the pad sound hard left and then doing another take with slightly different parameter settings (filter frequency, tuning, amplitude attack) and panning that hard left. However, I've noticed when listening to recordings of synth pads from the 80s, the panning is never quite this drastic.

Anyone know what the de facto standard for panning in such a situation? I haven't used reverb or effects so far...so any tips in this regard would be great as well!

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by aeon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:11 pm

I'm trying to achieve that big 80s pad sound (stereo).
Get a Roland SDD-320 Dimension D. That’s a very common way they did it back then.


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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by Erotic Cabaret » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:03 pm

Hmm...might not be a possibility, being a vintage piece and expensive. Any other ways using only outboard gear?
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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by th0mas » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:30 am

Stereo chorus pedal or vst

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:40 am

Splitter cables, a mixer with multiple outs, fx, multiple instances of the same track, and a little bit of thought and creativity. Any combination of these should get you where you need to go.
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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by garranimal » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:46 pm

Another great trick is to break chords into different notes that play in separate channels using two takes.

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by Solderman » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:50 pm

Erotic Cabaret wrote:So far, I've had the most success panning the pad sound hard left and then doing another take with slightly different parameter settings (filter frequency, tuning, amplitude attack) and panning that hard left. However, I've noticed when listening to recordings of synth pads from the 80s, the panning is never quite this drastic.
It's the difference in phase between channels that creates the apparent spatial wideness. Adding in a third track, pan center and mixed lower, will decrease the spatial effect. I did something similar with an Alpha Juno on a chorused patch, where the AJ's left was panned hard left, AJ's right panned center mixed low, and a seperate session of AJ left was panned hard right, slightly detuned and EQ'd with subtle differences.
Granted if you want a fixed spatial reference, detuning won't work since phase difference is constantly drifting. A chorus effect will keep two channels in out-of-phase sync from one pitch modulation source.
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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by redchapterjubilee » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:04 pm

I accomplish this with a tight delay. Original signal panned 50% Right, delayed signal 50% left.
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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:38 am

You can also have the original track panned centre (or wherever you want it panned) and run it through a delay twice, 100% wet each time, and with slightly different settings for the delay each time. I do that all the time to get things sounding wider.

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by astroidmist » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:49 pm

autopanning
stereo phaser

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by asohn » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:32 am

If you are using MIDI and voicing using both oscillators at different settings, try recording one take with only one oscillator, the next with the other, and automate panning slightly between them. Maybe try four takes and pan each pair on opposite sides of each other (although you are likely to get phase issues when it's in mono)

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by iProg » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:14 pm

Double tracking, as they did in the 80's. Create the depth and ambience with different delay buses instead of reverb!

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by tekkentool » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:00 am

The triple tracking for a wide yet centred and chunky sound is what I do on guitar!

hard panned loud track.

Quiet center track.

= Stereo but not too stereo huge chunky guitar sound.

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by tomorrowstops » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:05 pm

I do this all the time with pads my Prophet 5:

Record one pass of the progression. Duplicate the track. Shift the duplicated track forward about 80ms. Hard pan left and right both tracks. Definitely experiment with how far forward you shift the track to achieve different effects.

I use this trick on a lot of different things as well. I LOVE to hear it on single note sequences and the snare of my 707. Of course its not necessary all the time, just when the mix calls for it!

EXPERIMENT!

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Re: Making Big 80s Stereo Pads with Mono Output Synths

Post by The Geometry of Love » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:48 pm

tomorrowstops wrote:
EXPERIMENT!
... and then slap your output into mono for a minute to make sure the sounds don't totally disappear, if you ever expect your track to be heard in mono. Delaying one channel sounds cool, but you can end up out-of-phase. That's only a major concern in mono, again, but it's something to be aware of.

Sorry if I seem to just be repeating conventional wisdom, but the flip sides of these techniques merit being part of this thread. I'll never be on the radio or in a club, so I have no qualms about delaying one channel for width.

Hope this helps.
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