Sampling 101 - Updated for Ableton Live 11 | Professor SentZ | Skillshare

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Sampling 101 - Updated for Ableton Live 11

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Sampling Single Notes

    • 3. Sampling Drum Hits

    • 4. Warping and Slicing Breaks

    • 5. Simpler's Slice Modes

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About This Class



Sampling is one of Live's strongest features. In this course, I'll walk you through various ways of sampling drums and melodic sounds for any genre of music. Need a copy of Live Lite? You'll learn how to get it for $4!

Topics Include:

  • Navigating Simpler
  • Simpler's Slicing Modes
  • One-Shot Melodic Sampling
  • Sampling Drum Hits
  • Warping and Slicing Breaks
  • Filter Modulation
  • Plus More!

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. Intro: Welcome to sampling 101. We are enabled to live 11. My name is $0.06 and I am absolutely stoked to show you some of my favorite sampling workflows using live. Now before we get started, if you're one of the students that took the course in Live 9. Thank you. Had a 1000 plus students go through that course. It was amazing they go through your projects, your comments, your reviews, and see that things are working out for you. Able to really expanded things in lab 11. So we have a lot of stuff to talk about, but I just wanted to take that time off for it to extend a thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I met everything to see you go through that first course. And before we go forward, let's talk about what you need. First things first, you're going to need a copy of Ableton Live 11 live as a lot of versions, all you need is a copy of live light. And if you don't have it already, There's actually a really cheap way to get it. It comes bundled with a lot of hardware, a lot of software. One of my favorite new apps in the beat making market is an app called Koala sampler. It's available for iOS and Android mobile devices. It's a couple of bucks. And it's cool because it includes a license for live light. So if you don't have it already and you're thinking about getting live, but got this course first, grab koala sampler. I'll link to it, and it comes with that license that you can use. And it will include all of the tools that we're going to talk about in the class. Samplings made a lot easier if you have a midi controller. But I designed this course so that you can go through everything if you don't own any external pieces of gear. So what is sampling? I think it's important to define that before we dive into it. Sampling is the technique of digitally encoding music or sound and then reusing it as part of a composition or a recording. So capturing a digital piece of audio, then repurposing it for something else musical. Notice that definition doesn't say you have to do it from vinyl. You have to do it from music from this time period and music from this genre. It doesn't even have to be music. The point is if you're taking a piece of a recording and then using it for something else, you're sampling. So don't worry about any of the weird artificial rules on sampling that you're John remind put in front of you, capture whatever audio you want and translate it to whatever you want. That's the beautiful part about this creative process. The main tool that we're going to use is simpler. Simpler is a software sampler. And despite the name sounding simple, it's actually really, really extensive. If you look at all the features and we're going to dive in and out of this thing. But you realize it has more than any of the sampler, is that all of our favorite pioneers of music were able to work with the features and this software or the light years beyond anything your heroes probably had at their disposal. And I always try to remind people of that because it's not that obvious when you look at it. It's a pretty plain, kind of boring looking plugin. But it does more than your favorites. It does more than your heroes ever had the chance to do. And so take a second and be grateful that you have it as it's who'll be grateful that you're a musician and the climate that your end. And also use this as an opportunity to really push boundaries forward. Think about how much artists like square pusher, DJ Premier, we're doing with these early rudimentary samplers. And now think about how much you can do with this one. And when you sit down to work on your next composition, really force yourself to use this tool to its full capabilities. You'd be surprised what those artists could have done if they had this much at their disposal. So why limit yourself? 2. Sampling Single Notes: Okay, first thing we wanna do is chop a melodic note. We're going to take a piece of melodic audio and zoom in on a little tiny snippet of that audio and turn it into something that we can use as an instrument. So the first thing we need to do is load up simpler. I hit Command F to search in Ableton. And then we just double-click to load up an instance of simpler. And now I'm going to go to a sample I have for this course. This is something I grabbed out of Splice. I will link to it in case you want to use it and follow along and makes the whole process a little bit easier. So we're just going to click at the preview. And we'll drag and drop that here and talk about lives layout. Now the first thing you see is the sample itself is now sitting in this sample view. If I hit a key on my keyboard controller, you can see the sample playback. We can play it back at different pitches. It's already really, really fun to do. But let's take a look at the simpler interface itself as we play with this sample. So there's a lot of sections to talk about. The main sample window we have gained for your volume, you can adjust the start and the length of your sample. Important things. Talk about the voices. This dictates how many simultaneous notes you can play. We have six voices enabled, so we can play six notes or this sample at the same time. There's a warping section. We're going to talk about that in a little bit. You can always adjust the start and end point of a sample by dragging these markers. So let's actually zoom in on a much smaller piece of the sample to work with. So let me play this back in here where we got I like that, I like that second section here. There's a lot of movement. It's a long sustained tone. Just move in a bit. And let's grab the end. Like that. Just to make this easier to see, I'm going to right-click it and we're going to crop this sample. Cool. So now makes it a lot easier to see what we have going on. So let's look at the other sections and simpler and talk about them really quickly. In the lower left we have a filter section. It defaults to a clean low-pass filter, but you've got all these different types of filters shapes to play with. You can also change the circuit types so the clean filter is really transparent. But these other filters emulate some of the classic hardware filters that you might find on some of your favorite keyboards. They also introduce this Dr. section and that add some distortion to the signal. I use this quite a bit in order to give sounds more character and also make them sound like they're older, it's really big. And the lo-fi community, if that's something you're into, let's take a listen to what that sounds like. So I'm going to engage some low-pass filtering you some resonance. And now let's send some and drive into this circuit. We're getting volumes. I'm going to lower the volume here. It's really destroy this thing. Change the filter type. Very, very different sounds. We didn't change any of these settings, but especially when we get to this last ladder circuit filter here, sounds very, very different. So play with these different filters and your sample's see what makes the most sense. You can change the slope of the filter here to a lot of fun stuff to play with. So let's set all this stuff back to default. We also have an LFO section. When I explain LFO to people or a low-frequency oscillator, that's what this stands for. I describe it as an invisible hand that's turning a knob up or down based on how you set up your LFO. So in order to really see this LFO section, Let's open up the controls. This is another look of simpler. We've now got a visual view of our filter. If you're more visually minded, you might like that. And now we also can see the LFO section. So we have a sinewave LFO. And this is basically saying, turn that hand up and down in a steady up and down motion that emulates this wave. Now by default, the LFO isn't going to anything. So we don't hear any movement on anything. But if we assign this LFO to any of the parameters here, they'll start to move based on how the LFO is set up. So let's say I send this to the pitch. We should in theory here, the pitch of this sample go up and down. Really, really fun stuff. You can change the speed of the LFO here. This is the rate. And you can also have that based on time divisions if you switch this, and now it's just a division of your tempo, BPM. So quarter note, 16th notes, et cetera, et cetera. You can change the shape. So that was a sign. If you go to a square wave, a square is more like an on-off switch. So it'll go to a high value and then a low value without sweeping through things. This is what this sounds like. And that's one of the cool slope types that works really well with time-based divisions because you can have it go up and down with the beat of your song. Let me just run this metronome so you can hear I'm talking about see how it's going in time with the beat. Really, really, really fun stuff. Especially when you get like longer samples. You can kind of make them more rhythmic without worrying about anything else, or were without worrying about the triggering things. The other photo section is also really handy for creating movement for a piece. So you can assign it to a panning. You're going assign it to the filter. Just sort of really, really cool tool for sound design and for adding movement and character to any of the samples that you play with. So that's the LFO's section. We also have an amplitude envelope section or the ADSR section of this sample. If you work with synthesisers before, you probably have worked with the ADSR section. It works just like any other volume modulation. So you can adjust the attack, which is like the starting point. If I want this to glide into the sample versus completely triggering at full volume, I can raise the attack and you'll hear it fit in. Right now the sample stops as soon as I let go of the button. If I raised their release, it'll ring out. Traditional ADSR envelope also has some really cool additional features here that I like to use. The spread is really neat. You're basically making two voices that are slightly detuned. And so it makes everything sound wider. Check this out. Goes down to like mono and then it starts to spread. And you can adjust the panning here. You can add some randomness to your panning. That's always really fun for movement. You can transpose the sample, so bring it up or down. You can even introduce some glide or portmanteau. And when you do that, instead of jumping to the next pitch, it like glides live to the next pitch. You hear it pick up and ramp up to the next pitch. Really, really fun sound to play with. And last thing that I've been using a lot more lately, you can go to the mode section next to the amplitude envelope, and you can set it to a few different things. So by none it works as a standard on envelope. But if you set it to loop, it triggers the amplitude envelope multiple times based on how your loop is set up. You said it's a BTE. You can adjust the rate of that here. And now we've got that attack section getting cycled off and 48 repeats. These really, really cool cycling sounds by playing with us. So play around with the modes and the amplitude envelope too, especially when you're experimenting a lot more, just leaves you with a lot to play with. Now let's go back to sample. If we look over to the left, we'd been in classic mode this whole time. This is the classic mode for the sampler. We're going to talk about slice mode later. It's very, very unique, so it's going to have a dedicated section. But the one-shot mode is something I want to touch on really quickly. And this is mainly used for percussive sounds, for drum sounds. If you look, we no longer have a full volume envelope. It's a much more simple layout. Instead we have a fade and option, fade out option and a transpose. And being a one-shot sample basically means it's going to play the entire thing through. Great for drums, you usually don't want to cut off a drum sound at any point. So when you're working with that kind of content, though it into one-shot mode. Now before we move on to chopping up some drums, one last thing we'll talk about, as you noticed, I was able to play multiple notes. Said that port a mental off so I can better explain this. Turn the glad off. So this is just the octet. If you noticed the high octave plays a lot quicker than the low octave, does, that makes sense? When you play a sample at a higher pitch, it goes through it quicker. And it's just how the rules work and make them. But live has a cool warping feature that allows you to make all of these notes last the same amount of time no matter what the pitches. So if we go to this lower right section here, I'm just gonna enable warp. And I'm also going to change this from beats to Complex Pro. We want to, this is our warp mode. We want to keep that on what the material is. So if you're working with drum sound set, it's a beets. And it'll set up labs warping engine in a way that works better with drum sounds. If you're using complex material like full songs or melodic content, usually complex or Complex Pro is the way to go. Complex Pro is preferred, but it takes a lot more your system resources. So you may need to scale back to just complex if you're having hiccups. But now, play at the same time. Check this out before I warped them. If I played them at the same time. See how the low note takes longer. Now with a morphed. They play out at the same time. By courts. By octaves. Super useful for making lush soundscapes and taking sustained samples and layering them on top of each other. So that's simpler. Working with simpler and melodic content. We're going to move on and talk about how you can start to chop up some drum hits in your programming. 3. Sampling Drum Hits: So the next thing I want to talk about is chopping a drum hit. So instead of starting with simpler, I'm going to load up a drummer track. So I'll just hit Command out to search and dragging or drum rack and it's alive. And drum racks are basically pads that can contain lives devices. And let me actually show you something really quick. So if we wanted to chop up a drum brake, this is a break I got off track lib. We can drag this audio and though it on this pad. And I, you might think that the audio is just sitting on the pad, but in actuality, a Live devices sitting on the pad. If you look over here, this is just simpler. This is an instance of simpler. So whenever you drag a piece of audio into these drum racks, you don't have the audio directly nested onto a pad. It's actually a simpler device nested into the pad. I could even go as far as Option drag this thing out. And now I've got the drum brake on its own track and its own Simpler device. So I think that's really important to point out you can throw any instrument onto the drum rack. And anytime you're dragging audio straight over, you're just making a simpler and putting it onto a rack. Cool. So now we have this sample loaded onto that bank. Now I obviously don't need this whole thing. I just wanted to grab maybe like a kick and snare from this. So here's a nice little handy trick, especially from when you're working with big samples. If you click this carrot right here, you'll get an expanded view of your waveform helps out a lot. Let's get rid of our browser to. So now I'm going to zoom in a bit. Let's say I wanted this kick. Now let's actually get the little hi-hat rhythm there to. A lot of times when I first started chopping my drum hits, I would try to focus just on like the kick or just get the snare. And something I learned from a lot of the, OH jeez, was to grab those little flaps and fills and ghost notes and the air after the notes. Because it allows you to add a lot more shuffle and rhythm into your drum samples. And when you play them back and they have those ghost notes or they had a little bit at air, it just hits different is sounds way less computerized. And when you hear like when you hear a lot of lo-fi beats that feel like they have all these groove. A lot of that is because the sample, the hits contain those little ghost notes. So let's zoom back out. I'm going to go to the end of this sample. And we're just going to move that over and highlight just what we need. So I just want that content and that's hard. It will get the last piece to just get that. Cool. So I'm gonna go ahead and crop this. It's already set to a one-shot sample by default, and that's exactly what we want here. I can even fade out a little. Make sure we don't have any clicks. And that kick is good to go. Now let's do the same thing and that's fine. And a little snare sound or a rim sound is on. No, so let's drag another instance of the sample over here. So again, I want to grab the snare hit, but I also want to get those little, those little hi-hat notes. So grab the end of our marker here. So now I have a kick. And notice I didn't even in crop the snare here, I kept the whole waveform. You can do that. You can throw a whole track and, and just keep that little section. Or you can go ahead and crop this if you want, just for housekeeping. Imagine that was just the kick and the snare. And we didn't include those ghost notes, like listened to the rhythm we get from the ghost notes. Super cool, way more texture. One last thing you may wanna do, especially when you're working with drum sounds is enabled choking. And choking basically says, if this sample is playing and it's in the same choke group as another sample. They won't play at the same time. And that keeps sounds from playing on top of each other. It's great for cutting out things like hi-hats. You need to do that. Just go into the chain list and then go into this little section here, the hide input, output section. And this enables choke groups. So now if I enable one as the CHO group for both of these samples, they'll cut each other off. And that's super-helpful for drum sounds. Can't have forearms as a drummer. So choker sounds to make them sound a lot more natural. We got ourselves a kid. We got ourselves a snare, we got ourselves a little melodic sample. We've got enough here for a basic track, but let's keep going and talk about some more. 4. Warping and Slicing Breaks: So we briefly talked about warping, but I want to dive into it a little bit more and talk about chopping up a drum brake. So using the same drums that we have before, instead of putting this on a simpler channel, I'm going to drag it directly to the Arrangement View and put the audio on its own track. And what we wanna do is create a perfect loop. And in doing that, we can then slice this thing down further and turn this into a full kit. So I'm going to double-click on the clip here and play things back. Now as you can hear, we're not warped, so it's not locking in with the tempo of this track. In order to do this, I'm going to go here and enable the warp button. And depending on how Live is set up, you may get a bunch of markers when you first start this or you may not. I have live set up to not auto warp long samples. And this allows me to completely control the warping of my tracks. That's what I prefer. But now what I essentially want to do is find a good loop and then turn that into a warped loop. So let's play this back. Okay, so it's a pretty straightforward one to loop. Let's say I want this one here. And let me hit Command Zero to take my snap from one bar to none. So now I can just trigger this lot easier. Okay, so what I'm looking for is a first downbeat. So when you have a afforded the floor BY, for example, is 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 3 4 three. That section, That's the downbeat that first hit the loop. And I'm looking for a kick that can be my downbeat for this loop. This one's good. So if you look up top, let live has a little transient marker set up for me already. I'm actually going to right-click that marker and hit Set 1, 1, 1 here. And that's basically telling alive, I want the clip to start here. Okay? And now let's take a look at how this sample naturally lies. So I want the next downbeat, which is here, this kick here to sit on and even division. So I've got the first kick on one, really I want the second one. So land here live makes that super easy. All I have to do is double-click. Now I've made a warp marker. And I'm just going to slide this over. And now I should be able to highlight this section here and hit Command L to create a loop. Now if you notice the arrangement view updated so that it's only going to play that loop. It also sped up. You look up here, this is just that loop running over and over again. It's no longer the full track. And now that this thing is warped and properly set up as a loop, I can even change the tempo of this session and everything will lock in place. I can also change the pitch. And this is something you can automate in real time. I like doing this on my drums. I'll change the pitch of drums in the middle of a song. It's a really cool effect. So this is great. We have this loop ready to go. If I wanted to. I could even put this on a drum rack. So I just searched for drum, opened up a drum rack and I can just drag this entire thing. So clip and the drum rack and look at what it did. It retain the entire sample, but it put a loop read around what we set up in our loop race. So if you prefer to work out of a drum rack, if you wanted to put that whole break glue bond. So one pad that you can trigger, you can now really easily do that. Another cool thing about warping these loops like this. So once you have this since a looped perfect grid situation, you can right-click it and you can use slice to new midi track. And this is going to give you some options. And then it's going to slice our audio into a drum rack. Super handy feature. So let's go ahead and select this. Now the first thing you need to do is decide what we're going to make a slice based on. So live, we'll set up one slice based on what you select here. Right now I have it set to warp marker. Let's change this. If I set this to transient, live is going to take a look at the audio. And it's going to try to find the transients is going to try to find the hard hits. And it's going to create a single slice for each transient. And the slicing preset, I'm going to use built-in 0 velocity. It's a good one that's built into live, plays all the sound samples out at full volume. And I'm going to preserve the warp timing. So I hit Okay. And just like that, live gave me, this gave me a rack full of slices based on where it thought there were transients. And you even have the ability to go in and clean these things up if you need to move things around. It's a very, very quick way, especially when you're working with drums, of just getting a wrathful a drum sounds, you pop it into live. You have a search for transients and you're good to go. You actually don't even need to warp the sample for this, but it's just really, really nice to get a bunch of percussive hits. Let's look at some of the other ways you can slice. So again, let's right-click this, go to slice to new midi track. And instead of creating one slice per transient, this time, let's create one slays per quarter note. And this is looped, so this should be pretty perfect. We're still preserving the work timing that's optional, but let's just leave it on for this sample and hit. Okay. And now we have four evenly divided slices. And again, you can adjust timing as needed in case things are imperfect. But when you're dealing with perfect audio, It's a great way to divide up your time and slice it to, uh, to Iraq. The last slice option involves some work. So let's say we had a couple of pieces here that we wanted some manually select. I'm just going to drop a warp marker on this piece by double-clicking there. Let's say I want this piece, I'm going to double-click there. We'll double-click there. I'm doing this without hearing it. It's just for a demo. Double-click there. So now we've got a couple of warp markers. So go ahead and right-click and go to slice to new midi track and change this to create one slice per warp marker. And you guessed it live will make Iraq based on those spots we chose. Super quick. When you're chopping breaks down, I think live is by far the quickest piece of software I've worked with. And one last reminder when working with these slices, again, if you need to have them cut each other off, Go to your chain list. Go here and see your input, output section. And then you can put all of these on the same choke group so that they cut each other off whenever you hit a pad and they don't overlap and play on top of each other. That's it for amazing, simple super in-depth ways to chop up a break and start to use it in a drum rack immediately. But we still have one more major sampling mode that's by far my favorite to discuss. And that's manually slicing or the lazy chop. 5. Simpler's Slice Modes: So the last sampling mode we're going to talk about today is by far my favorite. This is the slicing mode. So let's load up an instance of sampler. I love you assembler. And let's go back to our little sample folder here. We're going to load up our melodic sample again and drag that to simpler. And now in these modes, I'm going to go down to the slicing playback mode. And off the rib, you can see that Live is put down these lines. These are slices. And that's because the first setting that's defaulted is sliced by transient. And like we talked about in the previous chapter, slicing by trains is just having live, try to find where the really hard starting points are in a song. What's cool about doing this and simpler and slice mode is that you now get access to this sensitivity dial. And if you lower the sensitivity, you'll get less slices. So it's a really cool way to quickly throw a sample into a sampler, into simpler, excuse me, and then audition a bunch of pieces. So you might find that's too aggressive. You can just turn your sensitivity down a bit. Give me less pieces to play with. Sorry, I got excited there. It's cool because these are slices that I probably wouldn't pick on my own. And whenever you can have the tool dictate some of the process for you that I didn't take over. It's going to lead you to somewhere that you wouldn't have gone to on your own. And I loved that about live. I love that about kind of trusting tools to do part of the word. The other thing to call out really quick, and this is on a lot of the modes is this playback section here right now it's set to mono. So I can only play one sound at a time. You can set that to poly. And now they can pay on top of each other. You can also set this to through. And then instead of a sample stopping when it hits the end of its region, it'll keep going. So you play something else. Super useful for drone production. You want to just trigger off different slices but have a long piece audio playback. So slicing by transient is a very, very cool mode. In slice mode, I use it quite a bit nowadays, especially for drums. Now let's adjust this to slice by b. What slice by BTE does is divide the sample into even time-based division. So this sample is a loop. As such, I can adjust the divisions and it will make sense. So right now it's set to quarter notes. And it's just broken this thing down into little, easy, simple quarter note chops. You can change the division to something bigger or smaller. But the point is, is dividing this audio evenly because it's loop bubble, super useful. Similarly, you have this region mode. Now you can slice by, and it basically tells live to divide this audio into this many regions evenly distributed. So by default, it's set up to slice into eight regions. It takes your audio and divides it into eight pieces. And this is really useful when you have midi controllers. So if you have a sample and you have a midi controller that has 16 pads and that's it. And you want the sample divided over those 16 pads. You just change this to 16 regions and call it a day. You can also adjust any of these regions once they're set up. So you can have the amount that you want and then go back and adjust where they start by zooming in and just nudging the line over accordingly. So slicing by region also super handy. Now the final slice by method is by far my favorite, takes a lot longer, but it's worth it. And that's manual chopping. And this mode is exactly what it sounds like. You dictate where the slices go. And so just two ways to do this. The more difficult way unfortunately, is with a mouse. As I play the sample back and say I want this, I can just double-click there. Say I want this. Now my c know my keyboard is playing this, and C-sharp is playing this, and D is buying this. And so you can go in here and just drag and drop your markers wherever you want them. And have a full setup. Let's go clearly slices. And that's the harder way of doing it. If you ask any of the old school produces that we know and love that a hard, it's already really, really easy. But if you have the Ableton Push, which is able to sense dedicated midi controller, this is a onetime I have to bring up the push because the workflow for sampling and manual slice mode much easier. So on my push, all I have to do is hit this pad that it's reflecting 2 and that'll play the first note. And then when I went to drop, and then when I want to drop another slice, all I have to do is hit the next pad and it'll drop that slice as soon as I hit it. So check this out. So now I have ready and good to go. And what's cool is in this slicing mode, we have the same Transpose option that we had in one-shot, got all the filtering and LFOs stuff. They also met that stuff out on the push. Or you can map this to a control if you want to. But now I can go in and, and get busy. So we've got drum heads, we've got a drum loop, we've got a melodic sample sliced up in a variety of ways. This is really enough for you to get started. I could start this Luba as that sample. See how quick it is to just those some ideas together and get inspired when you start sampling. This is why I love it so much. You don't have to get bogged down so much in the theory side of things and the composing side of things. It's just a really, really fun way to grab pieces of audio and get yourself started with the production process. So we went over a lot. I hope you found this useful. I hope you're inspired to make something. Because the next step, all my old students snow. This is submit your work. Take some of these concepts, get comfortable with them, run the videos back a few times, and work on a track that involves these methods of sampling. When you have an idea that you're ready to share, share with the group so we can all review it as it same and show you what you doing great. And so next time, thank you for tuning in much. Appreciate your attention. Hopefully at least hear inspiration. Keep going forward. That's dedication, peace and love.