Slicing with Beats and Tones in Ableton Live: Step-By-Step (Continued)

Martin Delaney isn’t done slicing samples just yet, and here shows us how to really mess with our audio with some interesting slicing techniques. Check out part 1 if you missed it.

slicing samples

7. If you really want to mess with the sliced beat, go back a few steps to the original pop-up window. You could try slicing to different values, but also try the slicing presets that are available.


8. Note also that the drum rack features eight Macros at the front – with controls including Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release, Start Offset and so on. These are of course reassignable but they’re good starting points.

9. Push users will find that all of this – from loading to slicing to processing – can be done from the controller without having to touch the computer at all, if that’s how you like to work.

10. Moving on from beats, let’s try some tones. Track 2 contains Simpler, with a 1-bar sample loaded. Play it from your pads or keyboard – not very interesting. Select Slice Mode, now only C1 triggers it.


11. Choose Slice By Region, and choose 64 (the maximum). Now you can play the slices across the keyboard again. Drop Arpeggiator in front, set Style to Random, Steps to 4, rate to 1/32.

12. Use Cmd-g to put the Simpler into an instrument rack. Then drag the audio clip in track 3 called ‘Short’ into the instrument rack’s drop area, creating a new Simpler.

Working together Enjoy the hardware vibe of Push, and the flexibility of software from Simpler. It’ll take you through the whole process from hitting ‘record’ and capturing a sample, to slicing it however you want, adding effects, and playing it from the pads as a either a drum part or an instrument.

13. Configure that as the first, but use an odd number of regions. Pan chain 1 all the way to the left, chain 2 all the way to the right. Send some more notes through.

14. The notes and Arpeggiator are triggering both chains at once, and you should be hearing different sounds and rhythms in each ear. Experiment with different numbers of regions on each side.

15. If one sound is dominating the other, adjust the volumes in the chains or in the instruments themselves. For more left/right excess, put an Auto Pan at the end, after the rack.

16. With small enough regions and short Arpeggiator and Auto Pan note values, the two tones almost merge into a single new sound. You can save the rack as an instrument preset.

17. Instead of – or as well as – Auto Pan, try Live 10’s juicy new Echo, that’ll give you delay, reverb, and some great sonic degradation tools under the Character tab.

18. This is an activity where I’d definitely use movement to keep the sound evolving – maybe rather than clip envelopes, I’d try using Live 10’s LFO MIDI effect on the Arpeggiator’s rate control.