Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Pads Sampling Tutorial Bitwig-5.1.2

Unique Ambient Pads with Bitwig Sampler

Tutorial | Jan 09, 2024

In this video, I demonstrate an interesting technique for creating ambient pad sounds using the sampler in Bitwig. I start by recording sample material from old synthesizers and then load them into the sampler. By utilizing cycles mode, voice stacking, and modulation, I am able to create unique and evolving pad sounds with ease.

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In this tutorial, the focus is on creating unique pad and drone sounds in Bitwig using the sampler, rather than relying on preset sounds from instruments like Omnisphere. Here's a summary:

  1. Sample Creation: Start with a synthesizer (like the Korg M1) to generate sample material. Record various presets while playing a single note (e.g., C4).

  2. Sampler Setup in Bitwig:

    • Load the recorded sample into Bitwig's sampler.
    • Set the root key (suggested C4 for a pitch-down effect).
    • Switch the sampler to cycles mode, resembling a wavetable synthesizer.
    • Apply 'freeze' and scan through the wavetable.
  3. Voice Stacking and Modulation:

    • Use voice stacking (16 voices recommended) with bipolar stack spread.
    • Modulate the stack position using a random modulator set to bipolar polyphonic, with smoothing maxed out for slow modulation.
  4. Filtering and Fine-Tuning:

    • Adjust attack and release settings.
    • Apply a band pass filter, focusing on the fundamental frequency (like C3), with resonance slightly up and tracking at 100%.
  5. Additional Modulation and Effects:

    • Use another random modulator (bipolar monophonic) for scanning through the wavetable.
    • Add effects like reverb (convolution reverb with a 'supermassive' preset and an algorithmic reverb) to enhance the sound.
  6. Sampling Sources:

    • Experiment with various sources like radio VST, Eurorack systems, Diva, piano samples, or vocals. The key is to maintain a consistent pitch (C3 or C4) or experiment with fifths and chord progressions.
  7. Advanced Techniques:

    • Explore other sampling options like Synth Plant, combined with tools like Pitch Map for creative effects.
    • Utilize the inherent volume variations in different presets for dynamic modulation.
  8. Conclusion: This method quickly creates rich pad and drone sounds without extensive tweaking, using Bitwig's sampler in cycles or textures mode, voice stacking, and effective modulation and filtering.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

How can I create ambient pad sounds using Bitwig and the sampler?

To create ambient pad sounds in Bitwig using the sampler, you can start by recording sample material from old synthesizers or other sources. Then, create a new sampler in Bitwig and import your samples. Use the cycles mode and voice stacking to create movement and texture in your pad sound. Apply effects like reverb to enhance the atmospheric quality of the sound.

What are some alternative sources for creating sample material for pad sounds?

Besides using old synthesizers like the M1 or the Radio VST, you can also use the Synth Plant or even sample vocals or piano sounds. The key is to stay on one pitch or experiment with fifths or chord progressions to create tonal variation within your pad sound.

How can I add movement and variation to my pad sounds?

To add movement and variation to your pad sounds, you can use modulation techniques like random modulation and scanning through the wavetable. This can create random tonalities, overtones, and movements in the sound. Additionally, using effects like bandpass filters can help emphasize specific frequencies and add depth to the sound.

Why is the sampler a great tool for creating pad sounds?

The sampler is an excellent tool for creating pad sounds because it allows you to sample random sources and manipulate them using features like cycles mode, voice stacking, and modulation. This provides a quick and efficient way to create ambient and atmospheric textures without spending a lot of time tweaking synthesizers.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00:00] Okay, let's say you want to create an ambient track or you want to create some pad sounds,
[00:00:05] you want to create drone sounds and you're kind of bored of all your presets you already
[00:00:09] used on Omnisphere or whatever set you use.
[00:00:13] So an always interesting way of doing pad sounds in Bitwig is to use the sampler.
[00:00:19] And to create some sample material I use sometimes old synthesizers, let's say here the M1,
[00:00:28] Cork M1 still in demo mode, so I start here the demo.
[00:00:33] But all we need is basically here the browser and some presets and we record this into rewind.
[00:00:44] And I'm pressing here basically just a note of C4 and skip through the presets here.
[00:00:51] [Music]
[00:01:09] You can do as many as you want.
[00:01:11] [Music]
[00:01:20] Something like this.
[00:01:22] And then you take the sample and put it into the sampler of course.
[00:01:28] Let's create a new sampler here.
[00:01:29] We can delete the first M1.
[00:01:32] We limit here the range of that file.
[00:01:35] We right click and use the root key.
[00:01:38] It's C3, probably use C4 here so it's pitched down a bit.
[00:01:43] Then I switch this here to cycles mode.
[00:01:46] In cycles mode it works more like a wavetable synthesizer.
[00:01:50] Put freeze on here.
[00:01:52] We can scan through the wavetable kina.
[00:01:54] [Music]
[00:02:05] There are some gaps between that.
[00:02:08] But it's not important because we use now here a voice stacking.
[00:02:13] 16 voices.
[00:02:18] Stack spread and use minus one to plus one so bipolar.
[00:02:22] And then we spread out here with the position.
[00:02:25] [Music]
[00:02:28] Just a bit like this with a 50% use a random modulator here.
[00:02:36] Smoothing all the way up.
[00:02:39] Make it pretty slow.
[00:02:40] Use bipolar polyphonic. That's cool.
[00:02:44] Then we just modulate this here by a bit.
[00:02:47] You can see the modulator doesn't work when we pull this down for some reason.
[00:02:51] I think that's a bug.
[00:02:52] So we need to update here this.
[00:02:56] So now it works.
[00:02:57] [Music]
[00:03:10] Okay. So now that it moves here across the spectrum a bit differently on each voice stack.
[00:03:16] We can also use a bit of release here.
[00:03:20] A bit of attack.
[00:03:21] And we can use a band pass.
[00:03:24] Actually use the center frequency of C3 here.
[00:03:27] Resonance a bit up and then keep tracking 100%.
[00:03:32] And with the band pass we basically cut some low frequencies out.
[00:03:36] And some higher harmonics out.
[00:03:38] And we put the focus or the accentuation basically on the fundamental frequency here
[00:03:44] with the band pass filter.
[00:03:47] [Music]
[00:04:01] So this already gives you a nice pad sound.
[00:04:03] [Music]
[00:04:09] And on every position you get a kind of random tonality or overtones.
[00:04:13] [Music]
[00:04:26] So you can use here another random mod.
[00:04:28] Bipolar monophonic this time.
[00:04:33] Smoothing all the way up.
[00:04:34] Also slow.
[00:04:35] Go back to 50%.
[00:04:37] And then use basically this random modulator to scan through the wave table here automatically.
[00:04:42] [Music]
[00:04:56] And then all you need to do is basically put a reverb on that convolution here.
[00:05:02] I use a supermassive preset.
[00:05:04] I sample these here myself.
[00:05:06] V-Lay+ just an algorithmic reverb at the end.
[00:05:12] Space.
[00:05:14] Bit of feedback.
[00:05:16] [Music]
[00:05:22] [Music]
[00:05:41] Yeah and you can create pad sounds with this pretty easily.
[00:05:44] So you don't need to use the M1.
[00:05:47] Quark M1 synthesizer.
[00:05:48] You can also use the radio VST I showed you in some of my videos.
[00:05:52] Or your urex system if you have one.
[00:05:56] Or maybe something like something like Diva or piano sounds.
[00:06:01] Piano samples.
[00:06:02] Or you sing something yourself.
[00:06:05] So some vocals.
[00:06:07] Random vocals with some different overtones.
[00:06:09] The important part is basically that you stay on just one pitch.
[00:06:14] Maybe C4, C3, something like this.
[00:06:17] You also can try out something like fifths.
[00:06:21] Maybe that sounds good.
[00:06:23] Or maybe even some chord progressions.
[00:06:26] If you want to stay in a scale or something like this.
[00:06:30] So yeah.
[00:06:31] This is basically the easiest way of creating pad sounds with a sampler.
[00:06:35] I really like to do this just to sample random sources.
[00:06:39] And then use the cycles mode or even the textures mode here.
[00:06:44] To create nice little drones.
[00:06:49] [Music]
[00:07:17] So instead of M1 I sometimes use even something like a synth plant.
[00:07:22] I actually do a lot of stuff with synth plant lately.
[00:07:28] So put a rewind after that.
[00:07:31] You maybe use something like pitch map.
[00:07:34] Let's just use one note here.
[00:07:41] Randomize this here.
[00:07:45] [Music]
[00:07:47] And use C3.
[00:07:49] [Music]
[00:07:55] That's maybe not the perfect sound.
[00:08:11] But this one here, the first one is kind of cool.
[00:08:14] [Music]
[00:08:16] And because of the pitch map we stay basically in the pitch here.
[00:08:22] Let's see how this sounds.
[00:08:25] [Music]
[00:08:27] [Music]
[00:08:54] You can see sometimes here the sample is a bit quieter and sometimes a bit louder.
[00:08:58] You get basically for free some volume modulations with that.
[00:09:03] So you don't need to modulate your the volume to get you know some kind of nice movements in there.
[00:09:09] It's basically just baked in already.
[00:09:12] Because some of the presets are changing volume, have different volumes or have different envelopes and so on.
[00:09:17] So my opinion the sampler is still the best way of creating pad sounds out of
[00:09:24] thin air without you know tweaking forever on some kind of synthesizers.
[00:09:31] Just use the sampler, sample some random sources.
[00:09:34] Use texture mode and cycles mode here with voice stacking.
[00:09:39] Then use nice reverb at the end.
[00:09:43] And then you have basically a nice pad sound, drone sound at the end.
[00:09:46] Just in no time.
[00:09:48] Okay that's it for today's video.
[00:09:50] Thanks for watching.
[00:09:51] Leave a like if you like the video.
[00:09:52] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:09:53] Thanks for watching and I'll see you probably tomorrow.
[00:09:57] Bye.