If you want to inject some motion and mystery into your pad sounds, why not fire up Padshop 2 and enter the matrix?
In last month's introduction to Cubase 10.5's Padshop 2 synth (https://sosm.ag/cubase-0320) I explained how to turn your own audio samples into basic pad sounds with only a few of the synth's Grain Oscillator controls. Those sounds were usable enough, but also a little 'static' for some tastes, and Padshop 2 has plenty of options for injecting more interest and movement into the sound — and this time, I'll explain some ways to do this using its modulation section.
If you're new to rolling your own synth sounds, modulation can seem a rather mysterious thing. At heart, it's actually a really simple concept: you use one control or parameter (the 'modulation source') to change one or more other parameter (the 'destination') over time — the mystery probably stems from the sheer number of options modulation can open up! So where do you start? Well, thankfully, Padshop's modulation system (enhanced in v2) is easy to use, and is centred on two fairly conventional approaches: a 'modulation matrix', and a streamlined MIDI Learn/parameter assignment system.
I'll discuss some examples below, and you'll find accompanying audio examples on the SOS website (https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/cubase-padshop2-workshop-0420-audio).
First, decide which synth parameters you want to modulate. As with any synth, most filter and effects parameters offer plenty of potential, but for those with...