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  1. An electronic circuit designed to attenuate the output of a device by a given amount. For example, some microphones have so much output that they can overdrive the input stage of many mic preamps. To prevent this, mic designers will include a switchable “pad” on the output stage of the mic, attenuating, or reducing the mic’s output by 10 or 20 dB. While many devices have built-in pads, it is also possible to purchase external pads, which plug in to a device’s output and reduce its level.

  2. A sustainy, “wash” or fill sound, usually used as harmonic background material in a musical arrangement. Arrangers often speak of using a “string pad” during a passage; this would be a section of strings playing long, sustained chords behind the melody. With the advent of samplers and synthesizers, other types of sounds have also become common as pads; just about any sound that can sustain can be used as a pad these days!

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