Ambient Pads

Two different albums of ambient pads now available! One geared towards live application, and one geared towards live application, prayer services, and ambient backgrounds. Both will work for either though. All 12 keys are there. If you’re going to be playing in Oriental quarter tone modes, sorry…I can’t help you.

  • The new ambient pads, Water: Music for Meditation, are meant for live application, prayer services, meditation, and personal listening. They run seamlessly in the background of a contemplative worship time, prayer setting, or a more reflective time of worship. In a band setting, they kill the dead air in between songs, allow fullness when the full band is playing, and cover up dead spots when it’s just vocals or acoustic. These are available for free on my Bandcamp site for all 12 mp3′s, plus two contemplative compositions for almost 100 minutes of soft ambient, meditative music meant for prayer services, simple enjoyment, live band applications, and the lot.

Water: Music for Meditation

  • The latest, Bridge (Ambient Pads III), are meant mostly for live band and worship situations. They kill the dead air in between songs, allow fullness when the full band is playing, and cover up dead spots when it’s just vocals or acoustic. These are also free, as is all my music, on my Bandcamp site.

Bridge (Ambient Pads III)

  • If you like them, I also have a couple albums of ambient/post-rock compositions, songs, and film scores.

Albums of Ambient Spirituals

The pads can go on your ipod and laptop; just select ‘repeat’, set your preferences to ‘crossfade’ at about 6 seconds, and they will almost seamlessly loop back on themselves. Run an 1/8″ to 1/4″ inch adapter from radio shack out of your laptop or ipod, and then run the 1/4″ cable into an amp, direct box, or house system. Any song that stays relatively within the key will be able to play on top of these when they are mixed properly into the background. They just create fullness and ambient space. (Download both sets, double this setup above, and switch between the two on the fly for a really cool effect.) A full demo can be seen here:

Worship, Come Thou Fount, & Ambient Pad Tutorial

I hope these can be of some good use in worship services and elsewhere. Cheers!

In Christ,
Karl

83 thoughts on “Ambient Pads

  1. Hello Karl, good stuff.
    Your ambiance-post backwhile was already helpfull & inspirational. Got a Boss RC2 with 11 save-slots, so i could cover almost all keys, therefore it would be pretty sweet if you could keep on the good work. Greetz from Germany

  2. I’ve following this web for quite sometime. It’s been helpful for my own growth as an electric guitar player in the worship setting.

    And definitely, these pads are a ton of help..!

    Blessings..!

  3. Sam–no worries, bro. Glad you’re enjoying them!

    Larry–no problem. And I might do some minor versions if there’s enough request for them. However, I never use minor versions live, as they tend to stand out a bit too much. So I always use the relative majors, and they seem to sit better. So, G is used for Em, D is used for Bm, etc. I’m sure you know all this because of you’re ‘J/K’, haha. But I wanted to mention it as I’m sure others may have the question.

    Mark–you’re welcome! :)

    Alec–thanks. I’ll try to get all the keys out there soon, if the response continues. :)

    Felix–right on, I’m glad they can be of some use. :) And I don’t know why I haven’t had your blog on my blogroll. But it’s there now! :) Cheers!

    • Yeah, I was kidding, but seriously… this is some pretty-standup work. All kidding aside, my respect level for you just went up a notch. Thanks for the hard work there buddy.

    • Okay so I might need some further explantion here. Sorry I’m a complete newb when it comes to this stuff. Can anyone give me the rule of thumb? Thanks

  4. Larry–no problem. Good to hear you’re enjoying them!

    Cam–awesome! It really encourages me to hear that these might be able to have a hand in enhancing worship environments at other churches! :)

    Golovelive–no problem! :) I’m glad they seem to be working out!

  5. Hey Karl,

    Great, great stuff – thanks so much. I cannot wait to use them in our next services.

    Please do more of them!!!

    Marco

  6. Since I won’t be able to try these live for at least another week, the best use I’ve found for them so far is studying for midterms with them playing the background! =P

  7. Hey can you post more ? this is really good :D btw i love your blog and i think i’ve seen you over the guitar praise blog, remember me ? polly not lol my username is, Bannahz well anyways can you possibly make more versions like a E?

  8. Marco–thanks, bro. I will hopefully have a couple more done tonight. :) Hopefully.

    Matthew–well, awesome! I’ll have to do some multi-track recordings then, and market them as brain music. haha Like, ‘Baby Mozart’, except without the whole genius thing. More like, just turn on a delay pedal and there ya go. hehe ;)

    Don–lol

    Ben–ya, I notice your posts quite often over there! Very cool site. And thanks for the kind words. I’m doing my best to have ‘E’ up by this evening. :)

  9. these are fantastic! thankyou SO much. Before, I was forced to nearly strangle our piano player into playing even a little synth, but now, we’re both happy!

  10. Breitryan–haha No worries! Glad I can help keep keyboardists and guitarists friends! hehe :)

    Mark L–thanks for the kind words. Cheers!

    Ben–thanks! :) I’ll try and get some more up tomorrow.

  11. Karl these are fantastic dude.

    My only concern is the threatened looks I’m going to get from my keyboard guys if I bring these along.

    I’m thinking I might load these into my Digitech Jam-man – just have to work out exactly where and how to introduce that into my signal chain as I’m not going to do the 2 amp thing..

    I don’t suppose you’ve got one in B that you could upload in the next 24 hours? … otherwise I might have to try and convince the rest of the band to change the key of one of the songs just so I can sneak it in… :P

    Thanks again mate – love your work as always!

  12. ok – i have me a volume pedal (Boss Fl-50L) with low impedance input to handle MP3 player. In solo practice they work beatifully – i am taking them to band prac tonight then sunday service this weekend… Time to unleash them on the good people of Perth! I am just going to run them into a DI and then in to the PA with appropriate EQ’s. Karl – is there a rule of thumb as to how often you use these? 2 songs a service… all the songs? only the mid/slow paced ones?

    i really do love them!

  13. Baggas–thanks! And if you’ve got a keyboardist who actually ‘wants’ to play pads instead of piano, then you are truly blessed! lol

    And the amp vs. direct box for these things is interesting. They’ll be clearer and technically sound better through a direct box, but they’ll be warmer, darker, and blend into the background more when mic’d through a good tube amp. So it just depends on what you want. The difference is subtle, though.

    And I was planning on recording a couple this morning, so if I do get a chance, I’ll make sure B is one of them. :)

    Cam–so glad to hear they’re working, and I hope they do well with the band. :) As for when to use them, I pretty much use them in every song unless it goes out of the key a lot, or if it was written to be a very sparsely orchestrated song. And of course, if I’m playing with a huge band with a couple guitarists, two keyboardists, and acoustic guitar, etc…I barely turn them on.

    So basically I just listen, and if things start to sound muddy, I pull back on the volume pedal. And then I pull the volume pedal all the way off if the song jumps out of the key or is meant to be sparse. :) Hope that helps!

    Eric–thanks! Glad they can be of some use! And if you want, you should be able to import the mp3′s into garage band, so that you can add drum loops and click. :)

    Baggas–two of you are in Perth? That’s awesome!

  14. Wow… you have done a lot of work on this lately…. nice.
    I think if you did a F, F# and Bb, that would pretty much nail everything anyone in guitardom will ever do!

  15. Hey Karl, just wanted to say thanks again for these, and for putting up the B pad. That went perfect with “Blessed Be Your Name” although I had to force myself not to sing “You give yourself away” in the bridge :)

    I used them for a couple of songs this morning and it also took our communion music into a completely different place – this beautiful unstructured, amelodic ambient zone with me just playing some simple lines with oodles of delay (of course), and our keyboard guy throwing some nice chordal stuff… it was so sweet that I decided to not sing our planned post-service song and we just kept jamming over the pad for another 10 minutes instead…

    So cheers mate! Your guitar is being heard in church half a world away in Perth :-)

  16. Larry–thanks. Yep, I need those three keys, and then Db for those who actually sing in the original Tomlin keys (definitely not me, haha), and Ab for those who want Wickam’s wailing (in a good way) down a notch. hehehe And then on to some overdubs in case people want ones that can stand alone. :)

    Baggas–brother, that is so encouraging to hear that these are adding in some small way to the worship of God at other churches. I’m literally so glad that they are working for you! :)

  17. Hey Karl, just wanted to say I’ve been following the site regularly for a LONG time now and these pads are amazing!! I’m a worship leader at my church and I’ve found a use for them every Sunday since you’ve put them up! You’re right, it’s an awkward killer. I’m trying something different with them though and still trying to figure out if it sucks tone or not. I play them on my Blackberry that’s either in my pocket or on a keyboard nearby and bluetooth it onto my board where the volume pedal and direct box are. Normally when I play music through this bluetooth device I have, then plug it in physically and compare it, there’s VERY little difference in high end OR bass response. Have you tried this at all? Any thoughts?

  18. Well baggas, make that two churchs halfway around the world! I gave them a solid workout yesterday also in Perth WA! I was wondering how much i would use them and worried i would over use them… but in the end just used them for every song!!
    The pad was in the right place of the mix – i could see a few muso’s noticed it and look for the synth or the extra person on stage but most people didnt notice i dont think whcih is great! But there were alot of favourable comments about the music on the day… so they noticed but didnt notice that they noticed…
    I really enjoyed the way they joined songs of the same keys – gave me time to switch capo but continue the feel that was created in the last song… Also i really liked how it would come back in the mix when we cut back the instruments for a last chorus etc. It worked really well with my MP3 player and volume pedal. brilliant!!

  19. Paul–thanks a ton! I’m so encouraged and humbled that these can actually play a small part in enhancing the sound of the worship music at other churches. And I totally agree about them helping to kill the awkwardness. Especially if you need to say something, or tune, or change capo’s, or if the pastor cuts his ending prayer short before you have a chance to pick up your guitar. haha

    As for the mp3 player/blackberry/ipod thing, I’ve seen professional bands run loops through ipods. It’s surprisingly good-sounding! I think in their base construction, these portable mp3 players are probably made up of the exact same engine and parts that the sound output of a laptop is made up of. They can just be smaller because they don’t need to run a hard drive and accept dvd’s. :)

    Cam–that’s so encouraging, bro. That’s how it is with me, too. You get a lot of people liking the music more, but they’re not sure why. Then you get the musicians coming up going, ‘Ok. How’d your three-piece sound so full?’ And I’m glad they’re sitting well in the mix…it’s always a struggle recording these because I’ve got to have enough harmonic interest for them to attract attention at low points of songs, but they also have to be simple enough to fade during high points. Honestly, it’s really encouraging to know people are using them in worship. Cheers, brother!

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  22. Thank you Karl. Your pads are beautiful. I’m helping a friend do a short film on a young girl and am using some of your pads and they sound amazing with the story. we had a few friends make some original soundtracks but the director likes your stuff better!

    i’ll definitely have you credited in the film with your permission.

  23. David, thanks for the kind words! And please, feel free to use the pads however you like. Just remember me when your film goes to Cannes and gets big and famous! :)

  24. Hey Karl, Please forgive my incompetence, but I can’t seem to figure out how to download the free Ambient Pads you offer. Can you help?

    Thanks, Randy

  25. Randy, no worries. Just click on the ‘Ambient Pads free downloads’ link towards the beginning of this post. Then, on the subsequent page, click on the ‘Music Page’ link. Once you’re on the next page, you can then click the little down arrow next to each free pad, and it should download automatically to your computer. Let me know if that works. Have a great evening!

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  28. does this make sense?: using an ipod into a volume pedal and then into a delay (any cheap-ol one will do) and then out to a DI/amp etc.? the delay would help fade the sound out naturally between songs when i’m switching the key of the pad? sorry karl if i’m repeating something you’ve already suggested!

  29. Great idea, bro!! :) I’ve done it with a phaser, too…or you could run it into a loop sampler, and then reverse the loop whilst the main one is still going…haha For tweakers (you know what I mean), we could make whole rigs! hehehe

    Sorry I got excited by your find, bro. Awesome stuff! :D

  30. Karl, just wanted to thank you for all the work that you put into these pads. We used one this past week and it really made a HUGE difference in the song set! It was a real blessing.

  31. Hello Brother In Christ Karl ! :-)

    I am on staff and principal keyboardist and Ableton slave driver at my church here in Tampa, Florida (very very hot here),

    I subscribed (i hope) to your Blog and Liked you on your FaceBook page cause I like your casual laid-back attitude and charm relating about your musical ventures,
    philosophies etcetera…

    After hearing your awesome ambient loops on your Blog site, I was wondering if you would send them to me for use at my church ?
    I think I read that there are 12 of them in 12 keys ?

    I can use .wav or aiff files whatever you can do. I would LOVE to use them !!

    Here is my 2 FB pages:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Synthmandan/111466379050?sk=info

    And,

    http://www.facebook.com/synthmandan

    In His Service,

    Daniel
    6/7/2011

  32. Hi Karl,

    Thought you may like to hear your “F pad” used in music… Just wacked it in the background of a song i wrote a few weeks ago sitting on a beach. Came in about 20 mins, music and melody in 5! Recorded straight away into a laptop with a lapel mic – its very low fi but i think i will just leave it this way… http://www.box.net/shared/pkztnbzlz7

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  34. Just wanted to say thanks for these. I totally forgot to tell you this, but about 6 months ago we had our school “Praise Night”, our bi-annual worship team led (only the students) worship night, it was our best one yet!! I used these pads when people were coming in and during transitions between music and the speakers, helped things just gel together nicely without getting in the way of things. Kinda of like a keyboard player during “those songs” where you don’t notice them, but when they’re gone it’s just not the same song anymore. Thanks very much!

  35. Hey Karl.

    I am the lead guitar and loop designer for my youth group. I heard your pads used for worship one time and I would like to know if you could send all 12 to me.

    I plan on using them this weekend so I could use them as soon as possible.

    I’m not sure If you got my Email, but if so, I’d like to apologize for sounding impatient.

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  37. Question about these pads. What tempo did you record these at? I know there isn’t a ‘tempo’ per se, but I am trying to launch them in Ableton live but it is making the audio sound super choppy and weird…

    • For anyone seeing this that had the same problem as me, I found a solution.

      Once you import the tracks, click on one of them in session view. Along the bottom there is a box on the right (sorry, I don’t know the names of the boxes). It’s the one where it shows you the track waveform. Directly to the right of the waveform are a couple of buttons and knobs, one of which says “Warp” and is probably highlighted. Turn off Warp and it should be good to go.

      I know I’m a noob @ Live and millions probably know about Live warping, but I just figured it out, so here it is for those of us just figuring it out.

      peace

  38. Thanks, everyone!! Sorry, I missed all these comments.

    And there literally isn’t a tempo…I didn’t record these to a click whatsoever. The delay times is about 60 bpm, so that may be a good starting point, but I’m not sure why Ableton isn’t able to simply import atempo tracks. ??

    Sorry about that!

  39. Karl, thank you soo much! Actually put it to use today. As a drummer its kinda hard to initiate something that’s not originally my duty, but my teammates loved the idea and the sound of it :) You’re awesome!

    -Henry

  40. Hello Karl! :)

    I have been looking everywhere for ambient pads to play during worship at church. As a the lead guitarist, I sometimes lead worship alone with no piano and need something to play in the background so it won’t sound so dry. I was wondering if you could send all 12 to me. It would be such a blessing to our youth’s spiritual relationship with God. :)

    Have a nice night.

    Marysol

  41. Hey Karl. I got your pads a few months ago and I just wanted to let you know they have been a huge help at my church. They add so much to our worship. They are great during time of reflection and communion. They really help with transitions. Thank you for these they sound awesome.

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  43. What apps are you guys using these to loop and crossfade on your iphones / ipods? So far the best thing I’ve come across is djay, but it’s not as simple to use as I’d like.

    I found that built-in music player on the iphone doesn’t crossfade / repeat very well.

  44. if you toss em into Ableton you can transpose them easy enough? I’m excited to give this a try…I’m getting into Ableton right now but may get these early and run through iPod. I love the way worship leaders are all about sharing their stuff to benefit many and bring others into a more meaningful time of worship…it’s how it should be. Brilliant!

  45. I’m really starting to think about these :). Would this be a solution for between songs that require a key change? I noticed earlier someone mentioned using delay to. Although I’m a long time musician, 30 years, and am an avid home recorder, pad stuff and ambient fills are totally new to me.

    But I think something like this would be perfect for the church I just started leading worship for. I could afford to buy them with the music budget just no clue if I could find a way to make them work between songs of a different key.

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  49. The blog owner writes posts on a semi-consistent basis, in our case usually once or twice a week, and that content is available to the public to read and comment on. If you become a free member, you also have the option to save your created header.

  50. I seldom leave a response, however i did a few searching
    and wound up here Ambient Pads |. And I actually do have 2
    questions for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it appear like
    a few of these remarks come across like they are left by brain dead individuals?
    :-P And, if you are writing at additional places, I would like to keep up with
    everything fresh you have to post. Could you list of every one of your shared pages
    like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  51. Hi Karl,

    these are fantastic.

    In the video, on your ipod/iphone, did you set the ambient track to repeat itself, or was it one long track? Is there a way, on the ipod, to set the track to repeat and have it cross over itself so that there is no gap? I’d hate to fade out the end of a song and find that the ambient pad is also finishing and there’s and awkward gap for a few seconds while the track restarts.

    Any advice on how to overcome this would be gold.

    Thanks, and all the best,

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