How To Use Pads In Worship (Podcast Ep. 25)

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You’ve probably heard about worship pads, but why are they important?

Pads are a great easy way to fill out your sound and make your team sound more professional.

And, you don’t need any special sort of tech, need to be on in-ears and you don’t even need to be on a click track to use them.

Check out episode 14 where I talk to Jake Gosselin at Churchfront.com about introducing tech into your ministry. We talk a bit about pads there.

But I wanted to deep dive into this subject.

So that’s why I’m going to answer all the common questions about them.

Read my full pads tutorial here.

What are worship pads?

Pads are pre-recorded musical tracks which are used as ambient sound

They sit underneath your existing band and play throughout the entire song and between songs

If you want to hear an example of pads, listen to the first verse of Beautiful Name by Hillsong. You’ll hear a keyboard-type sound come in for a few seconds before Brooke Ligertwood starts singing. Then you hear it continuously play on the same note throughout verse 1. This pad is playing throughout the whole song, however when the other instruments come in you don’t notice it consciously.

So, you might be surprised that you can quickly, cheaply, and easily incorporate this same type of sound that Hillsong uses into your worship ministry.

Why use pads?

Pads add to your sound and fill quiet gaps within and between songs. Plus, they don’t require an extra instrumentalist. A singer or instrumentalist can run pads as well. It’s like recruiting another worship team member that never needs to practice and is never late for rehearsal.

Pads fill out your sound and cover awkward dead air between songs. They also add depth within songs, especially if you have a section of a song, or the entire set, where just one instrument is playing

What equipment do I need?

Something as simple as a cheap smartphone will work. It takes almost no computing power to run pads as they are simply an mp3 sound file that any phone, iPad, tablet, or computer can run

You don’t need an expensive iPhone. The cheapest android device or off-brand smartphone will work great. Have an extra phone laying around? Use that.


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How do I get pads onto the phone or device?

To get the pads onto the phone, all you need is to be able to transfer files either via a USB cable, wifi, or cell network.

You can download pads from a pads creators such as Coresound Pads (Use promo code DEEPER for 20% off your purchase.)

How do I hook them up to the sound system?

All you need is a 1/8 inch connection that goes into the headphone jack of your phone.

If you have a newer iPhone you’ll need some sort of dongle since Apple did away with the headphone jack in its never-ending quest to make you buy dongles.

From the headphone jack, the other end of that cable should be a ¼ inch instrument cable. Or you can have a headphone to instrument cable adapter. Basically, you are converting from the headphone type jack which is 1/8 inch to an instrument cable like the kind you plug into a guitar, which is ¼ inch.

You plug the instrument cable end into a direct box. Then run an XLR or mic cable from the direct box into the sound system, just like you would a guitar, keyboard or any other instrument

Then the soundman mixes in the pads with the rest of the music in the house just like any other instrument.

Just make sure that the soundman knows there are pads. Some sound people don’t realize the pads should be mixed in the house mix (so the audience can hear them). They figure there’s no instrumentalist doing it so it must not go in the house. Explain what pads are to your sound person.

Do they need to change chords or tempos with the song?

Pads are one consistent sound usually the root and maybe adding some of the 5th of that key. It does not need to change chords when the song changes chords.

You have a pad for every key, so no matter what song you’re doing, you play the pad in that key and it sounds good throughout the whole song.

There’s no beat or tempo to pads, so they go with songs of any tempo or BPM.

Do I need to program anything?

No, you literally just plug in and play the sound file. You do not have to program chord changes because they play the same general sound throughout the song.

How do I play them?

You can download any music player app for a phone or computer. Some pad producers create their own apps.

For instance, Coresound Pads has created Pads Live, an app that has all the built-in functionality you need to run pads. (You can use 20% off by buying the pads at Coresoundpads.com with promo code DEEPER, then unlocking them in the app. Promo codes don’t work for in-app purchases.)

Can I use them if I just have one instrument on my band?

Yes, in fact, this is one of the best applications of pads. You can have just one instrumentalist in your band and pads will fill out the sound and make it sound like you are more than just one person playing.

Can I use them if I have a full band? Does my keyboardist have to quit?

As in the Hillsong example mentioned earlier, yes you can have a full band. You don’t need to fire your keyboardist.

Now your keyboardist can concentrate on adding other flavors to the sound instead of laying down a pad. Now you have a machine that can do that.

Do you get weird stares when you have a pad running but no one is up there actually playing them?

No, people will probably just think it’s a guitar effect or something the keyboardist is doing.

Most people won’t think anything of it and those who do notice it will think it’s cool.

Where do I get good pads?

My favorite pads are Coresound Pads. They sell many different types of bundles with various sounds in all 12 keys.

They also have a free trial bundle so you can try them out before buying.

I’ve found that Coresound really takes pads creation seriously.

They don’t just have someone hit a key on a keyboard and hit record for 20 minutes.

These are thought-out pads with just enough variation throughout to make it interesting, but not enough to clash with what you’re playing. These pads have sounded good behind all the songs I’ve played them with. They are created by a worship leader.

Coresound also has created their own app which takes the guesswork out of finding a player that can do crossfades and fade in/ fade-outs.

So the icing on the cake is a 20% discount by using promo code DEEPER.

Bottom Line

All in all, I use pads every week.

It’s the simplest tech you can introduce at your church even if you think you are not a very techy worship team or congregation.


Learn To Lead Worship Better

Are you looking for a resource that will help you get started leading worship or improving your skills?

Check out the book “Learn To Lead Worship In 14 Days.” It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day handbook that can launch your worship leading journey in as little as two weeks.

>>  Get this valuable resource by clicking here.

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