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Making Sampled Instruments In Ableton Live

Ableton Live Tips & Techniques
By Len Sasso

Screen 1: Eight Antidrum sounds are captured in an audio clip, which is then sliced in Simpler to create a kit with triggers starting at C1.Screen 1: Eight Antidrum sounds are captured in an audio clip, which is then sliced in Simpler to create a kit with triggers starting at C1.

We look at how to capture and reuse third‑party samples in Live.

If you're using third-party sound libraries, it's often a good idea to capture the sounds you've found and edited for posterity in one of Live's sampling instruments. The small effort required makes it much easier to locate and reuse the sounds at a later date. The strategy is different for capturing one-shots, loops and layered sounds, and it also depends on whether you plan to apply individual effects processing to some of the sounds. I've used the Ensemble presets from Native Instruments' Antidrum Machine for my examples, as they map all available articulations across the MIDI keyboard, and that's what you're most likely to encounter in other third-party percussion and sound-effects collections.


The first step in capturing sounds from an instrument is to sequence the MIDI notes that trigger them. (You can skip this step when you're starting with audio files rather than an instrument, but you'll need to edit the audio files to capture just the sounds you want.) Keep the MIDI notes equally spaced and far enough apart to keep one sound from spilling over into the next. You will also need to adjust the note lengths for sustained sounds. If your source instrument is velocity sensitive, you may want to fine‑tune the sequence by adjusting MIDI note velocities. The final step is to render the result to an audio file. The easiest way to do that in Live is to Freeze the instrument track and then either Flatten it, which overwrites the original instrument, or copy the Freeze file to a new...

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Published April 2019