Hip-Hop in Ableton Live: Sampling 101 | Professor SentZ | Skillshare

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Hip-Hop in Ableton Live: Sampling 101

teacher avatar Professor SentZ, Your musical side is your best side..

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Install Instructions

    • 3. Drum Loops

    • 4. Drum Slices

    • 5. Melodic Loops

    • 6. Melodic Slicing + Chopping

    • 7. Resampling

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About This Class


Cover all the core aspects of sampling in Ableton Live to make hip-hop. Students will learn to warp and loop drum breaks, slice drum breaks to drum racks, warp and loop melodic samples and melodic chopping. We'll also cover resampling yourself, so you can experiment further. By the end, you'll put together a beat using nothing but samples, and have a whole new tool-set to reference as a producer.

Meet Your Teacher

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Professor SentZ

Your musical side is your best side..


With over 15 years of experience with production and DJing, Cliff "Professor SentZ" Callender has worked with everyone from Run the Jewels to Smoke DZA. A former Dubspot instructor and author, SentZ prefers a no-nonsense approach to teaching, so you can learn quickly and spend more time being creative.

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1. Welcome: you guys, Professor. Sincere. Welcome to sampling one on one and able to live over the next couple of videos. We're gonna be talking about some of the core elements when it comes down to using samples in your production, from slicing drum brakes to chopping melodic content to re sampling your work to push your progressions further along. 2. Install Instructions: Okay, guys, I've made a couple of packs that have to be installed, unable to under the hood for you to properly follow along with the tutorial content in your homework assignments. So before you start anything, download this attachment. The sampling 101 course materials installer dot lp, and you're going to double click on that. And this will prompt you to select in a destination to unpack the materials. You're gonna want to unpack this. And what ever folder you normally savory able some sessions in. So you know how to find it in the second. Okay, so I'm just choosing and my documents folder I have been able to in session's folder all of my files ago, and I'm going to select that folder. All right, now, once that's been installed, you're going to head over to your able to in session's folder. And now we have this new project sampling one of course materials. Double click that double click, and that will open up in life. All right, so you'll now have this session in front of you. And this is where will install the actual plug ins into lives engine. So you want to navigate in the browser to the user library and then go to defaults and then to slicing. And in this folder we're going to drag these two devices so that live recognizes them under the hood. So you literally just go to the drum slicer and drag that into this folder. It returned. I'm gonna overrate that. Have it already. Same for the sample slicer. Grab the device Dragons that the slicing folder and hit Return and you'll see later on when we do some functions with slicing committee. That you'll now have. These two selections is options to help you slice up your audio. All right, let's get to working with some samples. 3. Drum Loops: in order to properly loop a piece of audio unable to live. Nine, we have toe warp the content that we're working with. So we have a drum brake that we want to look properly. We have to loop that drum brake. Here we have funky drummer by James Brown and this war box being unchecked lets us know that this isn't a warped sample yet, So it's playing at its natural speed with all of the timing drifts that you would get with a natural drummer way. Want a loop this section go. But before we conclude this, we have to warp it so that it properly sinks toe lives, master tempo. So that's done down here. The first thing I'm going to do is enable warping. And then let's zoom over here. But and what we need to do is dictate a first downbeat or that first kick of the bar and let able to know what that is. So let's give it a listen and dictate that come looks like it's this transit here, So we want to tell a lie that this is our first downbeat weaken right click that transient that live set up and hits set 1.1 point one here and that lets live know that this is the first downbeat that we're working with now. In orderto work this properly, we want to align up the down beats and lives. So let's get that second down. Be to sit properly. I think it's here. Let's give this a listen. Yep. So this is our second downbeat. This should be lined up properly on to here on our ruler. So I'm going to double click this and drag it over. I'm actually still holding while I drag now, so I let go, and I'm going to double click again. And that is just the timing for the rest of this song. Based on that timing, we may have to still do some nudging, but that should make our work a lot easier going down the line if we have toe warp a big sample, so that should line up. Well, go Looks like this third down beats a little bit too forward now, So it's moved that back a hair. And now that this is all perfectly worked up, we should be able to highlight this section and hit command L, which will create a loop brace. And that should Luke perfectly a pre play it back, go okay, and this loop braces on the clip. If you notice an arrangement, View Live is just going to play that loop over and over again and said it going to the different sections of the song. Go now. That's a bit confusing. You can kind of clear up some real estate by right clicking and hitting crop sample, and that will crop this sample down here to dictate what we're seeing up here, basically omitting everything that was the left and the right of the marker. Now the cool thing about this being warped is that we have independent control over the tempo in the pitch of this sample now, So we're at 107 b. PM's let's just Lupus section of this really quickly on way should now be able to change the speed of our section without it adjusting the pitch Go, Let's go faster, go, go way! Also have control over the pitch. The transposition go and live has a few different warping engines that you can choose from based on what type of content your warping complex and complex. Pro tends to be okay for most of your work, but if you're working with percussive things, Tryout beats mode. If you're losing some of the transient punch when you start to change tempo or pitch, it's very subtle. What? We got a little bit more punch back, especially at the lower transposition. Okay, and if you prefer to work in session of you, you can do all of the same warping we just date in session of you. Or you can choose to do it an arrangement. Do you copy the section that you want when it's had to go over the section of you? I will just pace that right in here. Now I can launch this clip and add other clips on top of it with the controller, like able to live, push. 4. Drum Slices: Marley, moral is often credited as the producer that changed us from sampling just loops to sampling single drum hits from records. He was working on a remix project, and when he went to sample of vocal in a sampler, he accidentally caught a bit of an open snare and a light bulb kind of flashed. Marley realized he could grab individual drum hits from classic records and make his own drum grooves out of real sounds, and sampling was changed. To this day, Live makes that process a lot easier to do, and something that I often tell new life producers is that there is usually a couple of ways to get to the same end result in live. So today we're going to use the same break and talk about four different methods of slicing that break into individual drum hits that you can see it to use the library so you have custom packs of live drum sounds. Okay, so in each of these cells we have the same sample. The first method involves just dragging and dropping a sample to a drum rack. So let's play this real quick so we have a loop sample, but a lot to the tempo. I'm just going to highlight over to the strum rack and dragged this audio to a cell. And now we have this audio alluded on a pilot that we can trigger off. Now, that's great if we want the entire loop. But since we want to work with individual hits, we're gonna use the playback markers to define the region. So let's move this end, play head all the way over here. And this should stop just after we get the first kind of transient done. Okay, So for certain drum samples, you may have to do a fade out or fate. And you have those knobs here and now you have all of the standard transposition controls that you would. All right. So if you wanted to continue to grab other individual slices from this break, I can use option, click and click on the cell and drag, and that'll make another copy on the adjacent pad, and then we can just adjust our start ending time. So if I want to grab this little hit here, just move that in time. Move that start time. We're all set now. Another Ah, quick technique. to talk about. If you want these two notes to cut each other off with these pads to cut each other off, I'm gonna open up the chain view again, clicking right here. And then we're gonna open up the show or hide input output section. All right. And here we have our choucroute. Now, a choke group basically says any pads that are on this group will cut each other off if they're hit. It's often used to cut off high hats if they're closed and open. But I often just put brakes on the same choke groups so they can kind of cut each other off and give you a jungle feel. So I'm just gonna highlight both of those and hit option before I click. And then a sign both of these to the same church group in this case, 16. So now thes two pads will cut each other off. Okay, so that's the first way of working with sampled content, sampled drums. If we want to slice things to a drum rack, let's get rid of that really quickly. The next three or more automated thinks the lives tools. So rather than doing any of the initial processes on this loop, we're going to right click and use the option called Slice to New Media Trap and with the sliced new media track Dialog box. This is where we dictate the three different ways that we're going to be working with the rest of these loops. So we're basically telling Able tend to create a slice or create a pad based on a parameter . For this first example, I'm going to use the time signatures that able to have. So if we create one slice per quarter note, Mableton will tell you this current clip is eight beats long. So you're going to get eight slices. The other part of this equation is slicing presets. So there's some built in slicing presets. Enable 10 that you can use. I actually prepared one that I think will help you out a lot in this process. But you're just gonna go to sense drum slicer, and that will give you some nice handy macros for working with these drums when we're done . All right, I'm going to preserve warp timing in this case just so you can hear with that Sounds like and hit OK, and now we have a drum rack that has those eight slices that we made and those air perfectly lined up because this audio was warped properly. So and Abel 10 is even gone a step further and lead out of sequence that has all of those notes laid out. So if you wanted to play that lead back perfectly again, you could Okay, so that's another way to slice your audio. The third method is really useful for drum sounds and forgetting some experimental types of slices. Again, we're gonna go back to slice to new media track. And rather than create one slice per quarter note or any other time signature we're gonna use transient transients refer to these kind of peaks and audio that are the beginning of a drum hit or a sound. So that's why this works really well with drum loops because those transients air very defined. All right, So again, we're going to use a slicing precept. We'll use thesis Enstrom slicer. This time I'm gonna take the warp timing off and hit OK, and again I mentioned that this method of slicing tends to be a bit more experimental, so you get kind of Jews in between transients and in between groups that you can use for a beat. And just like before, able 10 has gone through the process off, laying those slices out in many notes, so you can get a perfect loop if you need. As you can see compared to the first example, there's a lot more chops to play with. So I like using this method of trapping when I'm working with abstract sounds and working with found sounds. If I throw things around my room, for example, and record it, you get a lot of really cool PLO sieves that you can use for foundational like rhythm elements of your track. All right, and the last method is usually my favorite just because I like to have more control over things, and that's manually slicing. So when we talked about warping audio in the last section, we use wort markers and move the audio around toe fit a grid better. In this case, this sample is already perfectly looped, but we're going to use the wort markers to tell live where we want our pads to start at. So there's a built in war marker at the beginning already. I'm actually going to correct that. A little bit of that. And then I'm just going to drop wort markers on different transients that I like. So I like it here like that snare here, the second tape here. That's enough for this example. So we have 12345 different wort markers were not doing any shifting or any warping. The timing's going to stay the same. Then we're going to use that same process sliced the new mini track. But here, we're going to create one slice per warp marker, all right. And again, live tells you this will yield a result of six slices. We're gonna change this back to send strum slicer, and you can't experiment with some of the other sampling presets or slicing presets that are built into live there really, really fun to play with. And our years have been trained to hear these sounds and a lot of commercial records already. So I encourage you to experiment with those This drum slice of that I made for you just maps you with some of the basic parameters, like attack, decay and transposition. And I think that's really important for you to learn. So we're going to change this again to sense Trump slicer, uh, tear up the work, marketing and hit OK, And just like before, we now have a drum rack that only has the sounds that we dictated since those overlapping on each other again, we can go into the out section like this ship. Click here. It's open the whole list. I'm hitting option all of those in the same choke group, and now all of these drums cut each other off accordingly. OK, so that's four quick ways you can go from a drum loop. It's a slice content enables in live nine and one more thing before we go once you have it from rack set up. I always encouraged to rename this whatever you want and hit Save one of Lives. Greatest features is that user library of content You can start to put together your own life packs because the next time you open up a track, if you want to use the strum rack, well you have to do is drag it over. And also, if you're a push user, it'll show up in your browser to, and that's really helpful to not have to look at the computer screen to load up your trump kids. All right, so we're going to switch the focus from drums to melodic content. This is my favorite part of sampling. We'll be right back. 5. Melodic Loops: looping melodic content is pretty much the same processes looping a drum brake. So let's take a look at this example really quick and talk about how we need to get this prepared. Okay, so this is live music. Clearly we don't have a steady grid. This temple is going to fluctuate. So in order for this toe loop properly, we have to work. So just like before, let me actually start by copying this to a cell used command. See the copy command Vita paste. And the first thing going to do like we did before is designate a first downbeat. So I believe that's here. It is correct. So we're going to right click and you set 1.1 point one here that puts down a wart marker and designates this as our first downbeat. Now we have to do is find the next downbeat and start to get this loop organized. Looks like it's here and again just to count out the downbeat chicken here. 21234 to 3. 1234 to 2. So that's how you know that down beats properly lined up. The 3rd 1 it's here. So let's line that up, too. And if you've noticed, as we worked this sample, the audio quality's changed a bit. If you take a look down in our warping engine, we have beats highlighted. That's usually the default in live were clearly not working with the drumbeat. So whenever you're working with melodic content, go in there and change to either complex or complex pro. If your computer's a bit slower, you may want to stick with complex, Complex Pro is way more taxing on your CPU, but the audio quality will improve quite a bit now. We should be able to highlight a loop section from 1 to 3. Command L and this should look properly. Ah, now that that's properly timed, I can again change the tempo or change the pitch independently. Ah, so a quick technique just in terms of arranging full songs out. A lot of times, I'll start with a warped sample at its original pitch. I'll duplicate it and then maybe I'll take the transposition down five semi tones here, so you have to variations. Okay, 6. Melodic Slicing + Chopping: if you understand how to start slicing up drum loops than you already pretty much understand how to slice up melodic content. We're just dealing with pitch and some more timing issues, so it tends to be a bit more complicated. But let's follow the same techniques that we use for drum loops and slices on melodic slices. So the first method to get your sample content from a full melody to a slice would be the dragon drop method that we talked about before. We have this audio on this clip. Here we have a drum rack loaded up here, so I'm going to do is drag this audio onto the stream rack. Okay, on, just like before, it's gonna play back the entire sample. So we just wanted to get a small one shot or a stab or a little piece of that. We just change around marker and again. This is where zooming and those feed tools really come in handy. So we're ready for the next slice. Hold option and drag that over, and then we can just set another start in and marker for the next place. So let's say we want this segment here and just like before, probably want to go into your choke groups. So these pads now cut each other off. Okay, so that's one method. Let's get rid of the strum rack Really quickly. Talk about the next method, and that's slicing. Be a time. If you remember, this sample was warped Way ended up warping it, so it fit perfectly on a grid. I went ahead and work the second half of it. Okay, so since the sample is perfectly warped, we can use time divisions like we did it without drum brakes. So I'm going to right, click and use Sliced the new MIDI track, and here we're going to create one slice, Let's say per quarter note and again Live will tell you how many pad you end up with. I will be 16 and just like before, there's some great built in slicing presets. I've created one for you. It's attached to this lesson. It's called the Sense sample slice, and the main difference with this slicing engine is that I've automatically mapped the envelopes some of the filters and most importantly to me, out of the box. All of the Children apps are assigned to the same. So all of your pads will cut each other off without you having to go to each step and enabling that and the choker. So we'll hit. Okay, and we get a drum rack and the cool thing about this preset. Like I said, everything is macro mapped. So if I adjust the pitch on my Mac Cruz, it'll lower the pitch on every single step. And not just the act of one. That's another way to slice. The next method is is becoming one of my favorites, actually, Um, and that's that more experimental method of slicing via transient. I find that with certain melodic music when you're sampling and using this method, you get some really weird divisions, so we're going to use sliced the new media track. Once again, we're gonna create one slice per transient, and this is where alive gets the dictate, which hits a deems important. Um, push. Users can do this with a bit of sensitivity to their control, but you don't have to have a push to to do that, just a heads up and then the slicing preset again. We're going to use sense sample slice. I will preserve the work. Timing hit. Okay. And now we have way more slices than we did before. They've been dictated by able turns engine. So all those little in between tones and again Because we have everything Macro map, you can adjust the pitch. The attack. Okay, so on and so forth. All right. The last thing I wanted to discuss was manually slicing this up. So for this last so we actually have the unworthy audio. And I wanted to show you that just like when we were dictating which drum hits we wanted to keep, we can do the same thing with melodic audio. So if you if you play a piece of audio and say, Hey, I want that peace, that peace, that peace and that's it, you can dictate that. So it's hit play that said one that to be the first downbeat. We're not even gonna warp this. Let's just pick our spots if I like this like this, like this, like that. So those are the pieces that we like. We're going to use the same process, sliced a new MIDI track. We're gonna move this from transient toe wart marker. We sat down work markers. We want to make one slice per work marker used the sense sample slice. And on this example, I'm actually going to take off work to timing. Ah, lot of chops nowadays have warp timing on, and we've lost this quality of kind of tape pitch. Um, we're basically raise or lower pitch, and the time gets longer or shorter, and that's a cool tone for chopping off pieces. I think that's the texture that's like kind of lost in current hip hop, so we're gonna keep that off. And now, when we have our news slices way, lower the pitch, it'll actually take that sample longer during out. Conversely, if you raise the pitch, things happen real quick. So if you like the old diplomats, heat makers sound, for example, and you're not getting that with work timing. Take the work timing off and then go up a couple of 77. So those Air four really quick and really expressive ways to cover samples and able to lad nine 7. Resampling: So the last thing that I want to talk about before our final assignment is re sampling and re sampling is all about sampling yourself. This is really helpful from a creative standpoint, because you can take ideas that you flushed out and then start to treat them like sampled audio and do things that you wouldn't normally be able to do with your instrumentation. Um, live makes it again easy to do this in a couple of different ways, like they always do so In this particular example, we have a roads and a move sequence and a drum brake, and we're going to assume that we wanted to re record the sound of the roads and the move. Okay, so firsts play this example. Let's say I wanted to combine the audio of these two sounds and treat them like a whole new sample. So the first thing I'm going to do is used command T to open up a new track. This is an audio track, and then, in this audio from section, we're going to change the selection to re sampling, and what this basically does is feeds an input of whatever live is playing into this channel so it could be recorded. So in order to avoid a feedback loop, I'm going to meet this channel really quickly. I'll enable record. And now if I hit record here, it will start to record the audio from these two tracks. Okay, so now we have the solo. This an audio version of all of our plug in information. And since this is sampled audio, we can then chop this up waken change pitch. We can change work modes. So when you talk about getting really weird textures, if you're trying to bring variation to your song, it's a great way to break down elements and be able to treat them like sampled audio. Another quick way to do that. If you're only working with one instrument, let's just say we wanted to bounce down this road track while you have two new is right click that track and hit Freeze. This will create an audio version of this track and then hit flatten and now we have the exact same bounce that would have been played back. This was still a VSD, and this is really useful. If your computer has been bogged down by your plug ins. This will get the plugging out of the way, preserving the raw audio for you to work with. Ah, so hopefully you now have a couple of different ways of approaching sampling. Both. When we're talking about drums and melodic content, we're going to jump into our final assignment and see just how ready you are to dig.