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

Recording Connection extern hired at mentor's studioAfter 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.

If you’re considering a career in audio engineering or music production, what better way to learn the intricacies of Ableton than with someone already using it for a living? The Recording Connection Ableton Electronic Music Production Program gives you the inside track to making music for a living.

We pair you with a recording professional in their real-world studio where you’ll find out how music is made today. Our mentors have years of experience and have worked with some of the biggest names in the music business on both sides of the studio glass.

Unlike videos, message boards, and tutorials, you’ll get a one-on-one sound design education from an industry insider, live and in person. Get immediate feedback, answers to your questions, and the tricks of the trade that will give your music career a solid foundation. Why spend years at a university or trade school (and be saddled with all of that student debt) if you don’t have to?

Our programs last from six to nine months and our tuition is much less, too. Not to mention all of the real-world experience you’ll gain working with actual artists instead of other students. Best of all, you’ll be cultivating relationships with those already in the industry AND receive job placement assistance for a year after completing the program.

Amplify Your Life

Our students gain experience, develop opportunities to network, and learn how to make music the right way. Many move on to find work with the mentors they externed with or find jobs at other studios based on the recommendation of their mentors. But it all comes down to you and how hard you want to work for it.

Do you have the drive, determination, and direction to see a music career to fruition? Apply today and take that first step.

Get your music production certification and build your music production and audio engineering skills by learning with an industry professional near you.