How to Sample in Ableton
Generally speaking, most digital audio workstations (DAWs) share many similarities (stages, drum samples, piano rolls, equalizers, and so on), but there are enough nuances to make Ableton, Logic Pro, and Pro Tools just different enough. Depending on the version you’re working with, there may be a few bells or whistles missing, but the main concepts are there.
The staples of any digital audio workstation include creating samples, loops, and beats. Out of the box (or just downloaded), any DAW will allow you to create these building blocks of music production. In this blog, we’ll cover how to sample in Ableton Live.
How to Sample in Ableton
After opening Ableton and pulling in the audio track you want to sample from to the arrangement view, zero in on the part of the song you’ll be taking the sample from. Hopefully, you’ve familiarized yourself with some of the standard features of the software. If not, take the time to understand what’s available to you in Ableton–a “learning to walk before you run” situation.
You’ll first want to apply a timewarp to the song, changing the original tempo of the song to one that matches Ableton’s tempo. Drag and drop your time markers at the start of where you want to sample as well as the following bars of the sample and at the end of the sample. You will then move these markers to the downbeat.
Using the Ableton metronome, check to make sure the song now matches with the Ableton tempo. Once that’s been synced, you can change the tempo to whatever you’d like. Change the warp mode to Complex Pro and change the pitch of the song with the transpose feature. No matter what you want to do, the sample will play in the tempo you’ve chosen.
Once those parameters have been set, copy and paste the sample elsewhere on the stage. This way you can keep the previous steps if you want to go back and go in a different direction. While working on your sample, remember to mute the original.
You’ll want to consolidate your sample at this point. Use the slice mode to send the sample to a new MIDI track (you’ll be able to create slicing presets once you become more familiar with Ableton), choose where the slicing will take place, such as every ¼ or 1/2 note. This will chop the sample up into even midi notes.
Experiment With Your Audio Sample
You can now play with those different pieces with the MIDI controller or keyboard if you have one of those. Now you can play around with those different audio clips and create something entirely new. The more you understand how to set up your audio files, the more versatile you’ll become when creating samples.
Learn How to Sample in Ableton From the Pros
Sampling in Ableton is just one of the building blocks every hip hop, EDM, pop, or rock artist should know. But Ableton is so much more than that, used by audio engineers and music producers around the world to create entire playlists, sets, and albums. Once you learn all of the capabilities of the DAW, you’ll produce samples, loops, and beats with ease.
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