What is your ambient setup?

Hi all :slight_smile:
I have been slowly going towards this “style” of vibe more and more.
As much as there is a topic called “What is your techno setup”, I am eager to read what other users have in their arsenal for this type of music.
Recently got a NDLR and this has pushed me even further in that direction.
I also noticed this as (as a drummer) I had nearly always started any projet by building drums first. This has now totally changed, to the point where my TR-8 and DT do not serve that purpose anymore. Not an issue with DT (to the contrary, it actually led me to granular…).
Anyway, really looking forward to hear what you are using :slight_smile:


NDLR and Pigments!

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This is an interesting topic, although ambient - like probably any genre - can mean so many different things to different people. Like one time I thought I’d written a helluva pop/indie/idm song and my friend, thinking he was saying a compliment, called it “a nice ambient track”. Didn’t like that comment, because IMHO ambient at its worst is the laziest sort of music there is. Literally any half-assed idea through a cavernous reverb can be labelled ambient.

As to my, ehm, ambient setup, all roads lead to Rome pretty much. Octatrack is always the mainstay, and I feed it pretty much anything from the rest of my setup and go to town with the samples. Analog Four, Peak, Quadraverb, a lot of piano, strings (VSTs from Spitfire and Felt Instruments)… But I’ve also made some ambient on the Machinedrum. Anything goes.

Some time ago I was even more into this (somewhat Hainbach-inspired) sound design-y kind of approach and had a Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus and Sidrax, as well as the Lyra-8. Those were instant ambient machines! In the end it came down to me wanting to create stuff that I could layer more easily with some synth and piano overdubs, and tuning C-L instruments and the Lyra was a bit of a PITA for me. They were also way too expensive for what I was using them for.


Love it…

Roland JV1080 rompler
Korg Volca FM
Ample sound cloud drum vst
Strymon Bigsky
TC electronic HOF2


That one just knocked me out of my chair!!!

Is this one a good one?
I have been on the fence between this and/or another MS70CDR.
How would you describe it?
I am actually going through a reflection path at the moment: although my synths collection is not that much of a collection, I am starting to seriously think in investing more in hardware effects. On the list:
Empress Reverb
Meris Polymoon/Ventris
Specular Tempus
Although I am at a loss here: impossible to test these in a shop around where I live…

Yep :slight_smile:
So far I had mainly been using it with hardware synths (Deepmind12, AS-1, MiniNova, MicroFreak, Digitakt and TR-8).
This last weekend I started building various templates in Reaper with various tracks/VSTi. Massive, Prism, Kontakt, Analog Dreams, Reaktor…
I think I just answered my own question here :slight_smile:
I have to say that NDLR is the best bit of gear I have bought this year (along with FMR RNC).

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There is so much, which can be used … not only the infamous drowning everything in reverb … :wink:

Example: Have an interesting sample, send this to a granular processor like Clouds, find a sweetspot, apply some slow motion LFO and interesting modulation sources, and let it play for hours …

Did this with a patch consisting of Assimil8or, Supercell, Pamela’s New Workout and a grain of Maths. If the sample and the setting of the granular processor is choosen well … a dream of never ending changing sound … :smiley: … TBH I also added some reverb as well … :flushed: :shushing_face:

BTW … ever tried “tape-loops”? It’s working also in the modern digital world … :wink:

Take a sample, copy it, make the second a wee shorter, set both to looping and start both synchronised and wait … works well with more than two also :wink:


Are you referring to out of phase à la Hainbach?

:grinning: I say that because I’ve gone that route many times. You know, start with an easy chord progression and then start with the overdubbing madness. Add reverb and end up with a wall of sound that doesn’t speak even to me who just created the damn thing. Then again, nothing wrong with noodling which in itself can be very immersive and soothing.

About the reverbs you asked… I’ve HoF2 (sold) and Empress Reverb, Oto Bam and Alesis Quadraverb. ( had Polymoon which I think is more of a delay but I didn’t like that one at all.) HoF2 and QV are good value for money, I think. Having Bam and Empress Reverb is more of a luxury thing but I dooo like my reverbs.

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What I am after

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Exactly! He did some great videos on the old-school technique with real tape and reel to reel machines.

Beeing very lazy myself I found that Assimil8or can do such things and much more and invested in one unit. It’s gorgeous. If the sample is of good quality, even slow it down 8 octaves creates smooth sounds of another world …


Had seen a video on YT (Loopop I believe) demonstrating it with Digitakt… Which then led me to granular… Which makes me GAS a GR-1…

If you aren’t shy of modular, Clouds or Supercell could be very interesting, because we can modulate so many parameters.

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Talking about (tape) loops… Did anyone try any of the three Hainbach plugins he’s released this year? Wires, Fundamental or, what probably piques my interest the most, Gauss.

I’m not a huge plugin guy, so I haven’t tried them yet but Gauss is certainly on my short list of things to try.


Each decent sampler should be able to support this. My first take was on Octatrack, loved it, but it took two complete tracks. Ableton is also a good choice and easy to set up for this.

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There wasn’t a name fo this back 40 years ago. We used to call it ‘Elevator’ music. :slight_smile:


Haha, fair enough! Seriously though, I think that, on the surface level, there can be a fine line between music that takes none of your attention and music that takes ALL of your attention.


Srsly I don‘t really understand all that hate and negativity towards certain genres. I am also not into Goa but I see some folks getting like 20K worth of gear, immersing themselves into the most complex crossmodulation techniques and esotheric approaches to…well, to produce Goa.

I have a lot of respect for the time, effort and research they put in these tracks and at the same time I would never really listen to these tracks.

However I think that the label ambient has become some sort of a refuge for all who rather like to have a way easier step inside the realms of sound production than many other genres. Therefore the first ambient patches are not cheesier or dumber than most 4 to the floor banger ideas that most of us did when we opened a DAW for the first time.

So long story cut short: There is some serious stuff and many subgenres in ambient.

I love labels like Touch or Gruenrekorder, which both have artists amongst them who really do some brilliant and complex stuff. I also like that they often reveal the process behind their production, which often involves complex fieldrecording techniques.

In that sense my most favorite field recording equipment follows this path:


  • 1 Sounddevices MixPre 10 II
  • 2 LOM Uši Pro Stereo Mic Sets
  • 1 LOM Geofón Mic
  • 1 SOMA Ether


  • Eurorack majorly built around IME Modules, Assimil8or, QPAS & Mimeophon
  • iPad with majorly Amazing Noises / Apesoft spectral mangling & feedback apps
  • Custom IR‘s fed into a Convolution Reverb (mostly Audiothings Fog Convolver)
  • OTO Boum

The one thing that appeals to me in Ambient music is there is no ‘hook’ line as in other types of music. Having some sort of disorder where i cant get a song out of my head for days, to the point it literally does my head in, i find Ambient perfect for listening to.

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