What’s the “secret” we’re talking about?
Using your phone to play backing ambient keys pads!
Now yes, you 100% can use other setups like a keyboard or Ableton, and they definitely have their place and are way more scalable, but your phone is a perfect solution when it comes to filling up the empty spaces in your mix with ambient keys pads.
You don’t need an expensive keys setup with MainStage, Omnisphere, and all the other go to worship plugins. All you need is your phone!
So what’s the big deal of adding ambient keys pads to your mix?
Having an ambient pad layer in your mix is a wonderful way to create that warm worship atmosphere in every worship environment that you lead in, despite the environment. It’s especially useful in sets where you are missing an electric guitar player or a keys player and the mix desperately needs that additional layer. It’s also INCREDIBLE for acoustic sets!
This is something I use regardless of if there is a full band on stage or not because it makes the mix way more full!
Here are 2 incredibly simple ways you can use your phone to add backing ambient keys pads into your set.
1) Worship Pad Loops
Worship Pad Loops is a collection of 20-minute long ambient pads in every key (both major & minor). Just select the key of the song and Worship Pad Loops will stat playing a warm beautiful ambient pad that will fill up every mix it’s in.
All you have to do is drop the files into Apple Music, Spotify, or whatever media player you use, create a playlist that reflects the key of the songs in your setlist, and in seconds you’re ready to go! At church, we run an aux cord input line to the drummer for them to cue each song.
The great thing about Worship Pad Loops is that they can scale with you should you ever want to integrate them into a tracks rig setup.
For the next 48 hours they are available to you at 50% off! Click here to take advantage of this incredible offer!
2) AutoPad app
Another great solution is the AutoPad app. It is a simple user interface that lists out all 12 major keys. From there, all you have to do is tap one of the key names and voila your pad is playing. You can even make simple setlists within the app too! With 10 different pad sounds, pad effect controls, and other additional features, this is an absolutely incredible and easy-to-use option.
The only downside is that if you ever wanted to integrate these pad sounds into a tracks rig setup like Ableton, it would take some tricky backend setup. For an easy solution with a tracks setup, you would still need to purchase additional pad sounds, like Worship Pad Loops, or calibrate a plugin to generate the sound you’re looking for.
BUT if that’s a bridge you’d rather wait to cross when that time comes, the ease of AutoPad is so worth it in the meantime!
One trick to use pads in an even better way…
Something that I always ensure takes place, whether it is by someone at the soundboard, or whoever is running the pad from their phone – make the pad darker by bringing down the low pass filter in quieter moments and in more dynamic moments, make the pad sound brighter.
This helps the bright shimmer of the pad not be distracting during the low moments of a song. Plus, it creates new elements during different parts of the set, which only more so helps your team sound way better and keeps the pad from getting redundant!
I can not express enough how massive of a difference it makes to add intentional layers like this to fill up your mix.
Not only does it sound great, but it creates a comforting layer for people to lean into in our times of worship.
They’re powerful and we think it’s silly that worship teams think you need an expensive keys setup with a midi controller, MainStage, Omnisphere, etc. to achieve it. It’s really as simple as plug in your phone and go!
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- The Secret to Mastering Any Worship Song
- Keys Rig Rundown: Gear & Software
- The 9 Best Keyboards for Worship
- 5 Tips for Practicing Difficult Parts