If I wanted to make ambient song of a small city, for example, it'd hardly take me more than 20 minutes to gather all the samples I need. Then it'd be about setting the mood for what I want, using synth lines and stuff, which isn't particularly hard, especially when you're familiar with the mood you're going for. At this point, it's just mixing/mastering to have a track.
If I tried to make an ambient track about Timbuktu, though, it'd be much much more difficult. First of all, I have no idea what Timbuktu sounds like. More importantly, other people don't have any idea what Timbuktu sounds like, so even if I knew, replicating those sounds wouldn't necessarily remind everyone of Timbuktu. That, and getting field recordings would be hard, and I don't have any sample banks for the buddhist bells or anything. Nor do I know the mood I'd be in if I was in Timbuktu. Or the mood other people would be in.
You can see the dilemma. Making ambient music of subjects that you're familiar with can be easy. Doing the same with subjects you are not familiar with, or better yet, subjects that don't even exist in real life can be exceedingly difficult.
A couple people mentioned a program to stretch stuff.
I did a tutorial on Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch a while
back, which can make awesome sounding ambient stuff
if used on the right material. It's freeware as well.
Is ambient music making is tough or easy please share your views.
I think you might have misjudged the elegance of your question. Alas, if you haven't realized it yet, you will soon come to terms with the fact that almost no good songs (regardless of genre) are ever created without putting a sizable chunk of effort into them.
Is it easy to make lazy, uninspired ambient? I would say yes. Just raise the attack and release of some smooth synths, and reverb the shit out of said synths. Bang some rain sounds over that shit as well. Bitches love rain.
But if you want to understand the production of good ambient, you first have to listen to a lot of ambient. Ideally you would want to have a passion for it, and that's also true for all other genres. Over time, you'll build a taste for ambient, which is virtually the little snippets you observed while listening, that resonated most with your personality. This will most probably be the fundamental shape of your sound. The rest, I think, is up to these factors:
1. How much time, effort you put into the production
2. Chance. You will always randomly stumble upon a lot of your coolest ideas, sadly
3. Caffeine (among other substances) intake
Yes all good advise IMO. It may be worth putting in some time experimenting to. I'm not sure what kind of ambient you want to make as I dont know the ref you mentioned earlier. That being said I would recomend playing with what you have befor getting any expensive gear/software. You may find that computer based sequencers aren't for you, so it may be worth trying out a few trial DAWS.
Me personaly, when I'm performing Ambient sounds I don't use a computer generally. I use an MPC 2000 an old fostex HDD multi track and effects etc. When I start writting I might use Ableton or Reaper to put together quick sketches using field recordings and filters etc. I use the software more for other kinds of music I make so they aren't just for sketching, but for ambient thats how I work.
Abletons audio routing options are fun to play with. Reapers cheap and the learning curve isn't to bad.
Currently Listening To:WORK still.. has it been this long Long
I'm going to chime in here and suggest the program Audiomulch (sorry if someone already mentioned it.) It's brilliant for ambient/drone type stuff. Once you start patching things together you can generate some awesome ambient sounds, or as I've seen suggested, looped bits of field recordings + effects can definitely result in some awesomeness. I would definitely at least check out the demo and see if it is something you like.
I like using ordinary sounds with tons of feedback delay, reverb and the likes to create pads. Stand-alone and for re-sampling. As for glitchy stuff, I love Live's ability to completely mess up sampled audio by stretching, pitch-shifting and generally just mashing sound. Slicing that into midi, adding distortions, gates, flangers.. There's a lot that can be done without expensive gear.
I just happen to like Guitar Rig's effects section.
It's not hard to make something that SOUNDS like ambient. It's much harder to make something that IS ambient. The first 10 or so tracks I made are nothing compared to my latest project, that took at least 2 months to finish, essentially trowing things away. I tend to overdo the effects, like a child using all crayons in the box. Lately I'm experimenting with Miles'Tones VST, jazztrumpet, wich is excellent...
This is really good initial advice. I love making ambient music, dont use Reason much but i know that i should!
The only thing i'd add is location recording. I cant stress enough how much it adds to the atmospheric quality of music, which is what ambient is all about.
Best of luck!
As Gurusoul already mentioned, be sure to add some field recordings (adds an extra taste to the whole background). I use Ableton 8.2.2. for all of my projects (that includes drum and bass, house, ambient & chillout projects). What is great about Ableton is that everything is easy and you have a clear overall look of what you're doing.
Now lets get to the main point, VSTs. Be sure to buy Absynth (and if you wanna get seriously in this, be sure to buy Massive too). 2 best VSTs on the field to get your music as pro as hell. Either you can try finding various free VSTs which might help ya a lot but not as much as Absynth or Massive will.
Tips & tricks: try recording your own voice, then play with the pitch and put it like...ummm...let's say -12/-18 for an instance. Add a decent reverb on it and dry/wet ratio should be something like 30/100 (this is just an example!). Also try to add some filter to play with various frequencies (EQuick is the best on the field, it also has stereo controller from 0 up to 200 ). Try to add some effects like a bit of overdrive or distorsion to get higher frequencies (~16-20kHz). And just continue to play along with the sample.
Do not let your song be too monotone...don't think you've finished the track if you've put 5 sounds and 1 pad in it...use lots of samples. Awesome songs take hell a lot of work.
Check out the STS line of vst plugins, such as STS 26.. Not in the studio right now.
PsyBOX is fantastic (I did beta testing and did some demos of it, check out my Soundcloud: ether trogg > endless sound)
There are some great tips on this thread, I would say overall, modulation and automation changes are key.
1. Get an old casette player.
2. Slap your penis on some guitarstrings.
3. Transfer the recording to your PC (how you do this exactly I don't know).
4. Download PaulStretch and plonk the recording in there.
5. Stretch the fucker out by 1000%.
7. Voila, artsy ambient music!
But yeah, I agree with the idea to lock this. There isn't much new on the second page, apart from trolling and names of plugins with zero description. And you know, advice that is in no way related to the topic, yet nonetheless manages to be the most contributive post on the page.
The demo of Absynth allows you to randomise and mutate the settings, which is an easy and quick way of creating unique sounds. You can also run sound into it as an effect plugin. You can bounce down during the 30min demo period.