Which synth for deep and lush atmospheric pads - Dune3, Zebra2 or Largo?

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I have all three but never really used them much, and generally my pad making skills are somewhat lacking (there's not so much room for lush and big pads in psytrance).

But I'm now seriously getting into atmospheric breaks subgenre where deep and lush pads and textures are an essential part of the sound. So I think I need to give them another chance, but I'd prefer to concentrate on one of them, learning all three in-depth would be too much.

Some exemplary tracks where I really love the pads and textures (won't give the exact timemarks as these pads are basically everywhere)



Maybe there are some good preset packs for these synths with similar kind of pads to get started? On any other synth I should consider? (except Omnisphere, it's too expensive)

You may think you can fly ... but you better not try


patch handling in largo can be a bit of a PITA but the synth itself has some useful features for sound design, particularly for subtle modulation in pads etc: the key is to not max out the oscillator levels as they go into the filter and then to use the different filter drive to bring out different sounds. the fm implementation is pretty good though there isn't much in that you can't do with zebra.

if you want to work with imported wavetables and customise them, dune has the edge. with the vocal pad in the first example, I'd probably think about using dune for that as it's probably going to be easier to find a source wavetable to import and work with (largo tends more towards "singing robots"). zebra's good for tweaking waveforms and for setting up complex patches where you get a lot of oscillator interaction.


Dune and Zebra. Dune is easier to use but Zebra is very deep and complicated but you could get great sounds out of it, depends what you like more. :)


I just had a listen to the first track...

From what I heard in the first 2 minutes there are, apart from one or two very simple pad type of sounds you can do with every subtractive synth, in first place vocal beds with lots of filtering and reverb (most likely not made in any synth) and effect sounds with a very long reverb tail...

The general workflow isn´t that different to all the filler sounds in Psytrance...

I would go nowadays definetely with a modern Wavetable synth á la Serum or Vital... something which gives you the ultimate flexibility to create evolving atmos and pads... imho nothing can beat these type of synths when it comes to movement...

For me either Dune or Zebra (even if they are capable of these type of sounds as well) are too limited in terms of importing audio and editing the wavetable...


There are many way which lead to Rome, but, I would say Largo and Dune are very well suited for such sounds. Dunno about zebra, simply because I only ever used Zebra CM. Should be fine as well though.

What I love about wavetable synths is how easy they make it to get moving sounds when modulating the wavetable index. Instant movement, and lush-ness.

Of course, I'm quite biased towards Largo, so, first of all, I'd recommend that, because it's great for pad sounds.


you can do that stuff with all 3 i think, i would reach first for rapid / mpowersynth or msoundfactory cause to me these deliver a sound that is better balanced and more suited in really high quality specialy the melda ones, more dense but tight at same time and well balanced tonaly compared to some of my other synth , but you can get great result with dune zebra and largo for sure , just use the one you enjoy the most programing and have fun ! :D

programing well suited fxs also might matter even more than the synth , lot of these sound are probably basic patchs very wet

wavetables are very good for evolving athmosphere , it might not be needed but if you can use their shape as modulators that can be really nice also , for fm , lfo .. but i think some of the patch in these audio are like leads patch more thn athmospheric evolving ones , leads with polyphonic and slow attack release and reducing the rate of modulations i would first to that..i mean i would first take some suited leads as initial starting point as to me there is no need to make very evolving athmosphere there, or expect for the intro.. bu it s more sound that bring tension that matter
Last edited by kobal on Thu Nov 18, 2021 3:29 am, edited 2 times in total.


I like the 2nd video more, but it is also a problematic! Because I don't think it should be Dune or Zebra! Forget about Largo! But it might be any "good sounding" synths.

If I want to do something like the 2nd track, I would think of using Massive X, a good analog (or emulation) synth and a Vocoder/synth like Razor or Rocoder (from Rob Papen). I also might use Absynth for those strange backgrounds and whatever synth I find it useful (could be anything!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQotkj9 ... f6&index=1


Omnisphere (even though you said don't mention it)

It has the best pads i've heard.
Don't trust those with words of weakness, they are the most aggressive


Thanks everyone for the replies!

I start to think that may be a question of sound-design/processing/arrangement rather than using a specific synth.

In psytrance everything is clearly separated in the mix and each sound is heard as such and that's the approach I'm used to. But these tracks seem more "wall of sound" kind of thing, the pads blend with the delay tails from the stabs and the vocal bits and everything is drenched in reverb which creates the sense of "lushness". Probably the indvidual sounds from these tracks in isolation wouldn't appear that complex or impressive at all.

Considering both tracks have been released in 2003, I wonder what were the actual synths the guys might have used (presumably hardware).
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try


yes even on nord lead that is kinda simple it s great to make these kind of patch..even if some synths are more suited offcourse


Largo's Attack envelope is too exponential for pads. Not good.


I’ve been very impressed by Equator2 pads. Very impressed. Maybe you should give it a try.
Please don’t read the above post. It’s a stupid one. Simply pass.


The other , is Zebra or Dark Zebra, I like the pads from that. Some really nice ones in Lethal too.
Don't trust those with words of weakness, they are the most aggressive


Dark Lights wrote: Thu Nov 18, 2021 7:29 am Largo's Attack envelope is too exponential for pads. Not good.
I just tried to find a nicer way to say "nonsense", but, I couldn't find any.

Apart from it being nonsensical, you can always modulate the attack stage of the envelopes via the mod matrix, to make them more "linear" or whatever you are looking for.


My favorite outsider synth is Diversion by Dmitry Sches. I guess it will be updated to v2 and released by Plugin Alliance at some point. Good or bad, I'll let others' decide.
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