This is something I was going to make a video for, but am having issues with my screen capture software, so I decided to write it up and use screen shots. I think this will be a VERY useful tutorial for a lot of my readers since it is something that helped me out a great deal.
I got Ableton Live Intro recently when I purchased a nanoPAD2 controller because it came with a 50% off coupon for Live. Since my job (being a blogger, youtuber, musician) pays kinda low, lol, I could only afford the Intro version of Live. I prefer not to pirate and often don’t mind being limited when I work, since it usually makes for more interesting ideas anyway.
Anyway, one of the things I wanted to do with Ableton was to be able to import a loop, then chop it up into slices and drop them into the drum sampler for easy finger pad playability. I watched many tutorials that made this look as simple as can be with Ableton’s “chop to midi” feature. But lo and behold Live Intro has no such feature :(. I was pretty disappointed, and actually kinda pissed off, because that was really the main reason I wanted to use Ableton Live. I wasn’t going to give up however and found a really great workaround that is not only easy, it does nearly the exact same thing and works in Ableton Live Intro (probably Live Lite too, but I don’t have it to test).
So here’s what you’ll need:
A windows based computer running Ableton Live Intro (or Lite)
Wavosaur (a free wave editor that kicks ass and can be downloaded here)
A looping source (song recorded from vinyl, downloaded from the interwebs, or ripped from CD, if you still do that for some insane reason)
Step #1. Open your sample material in Wavosaur then highlight your loop region. Make sure you get an even loop. If you play it back while selecting the loop area, Wavosaur will keep looping playback and makes it easy to get something on time. Make sure your loop is an even numbered loop, like 4 or 8 beats. Once you have the right loop area highlighted, press Ctrl+t and it will crop the loop.
Step #2 Click on “tools” then go down to “BPM calculator”
Now put in the number of beats for your loop. If you selected an 8 beat loop, put in 8. You see the BPM change below when you change the number of beats in your loop. This is how Wavosaur determines the BPM for your loop. Once you have the BPM, remember it or write it down (the exact number, don’t round off).
Step #3 next click on “tools/Slicing/Region/Set Marker At BPM”
Now take that BPM you wrote down and put it in the BPM field. The measure field will depend on how long you want your chops, usually 1 is okay, but if you want longer chops, you can put in 2 or 4.
Now look at that! You’ve got an evenly marked loop! But it’s still one big loop, so that’s not going to help us yet, but almost done!
Step #4 Click on “file” then “export/export all regions”, select your save location (probably a loop folder you setup in Ableton) name your file then click Save. Now it will have save all the chopped samples inside the folder you selected!
Step #5 open up Live Intro then create a new drum sampler track. Browse to your sample folder where you exported the chopped loops. Highlight the first chop, hold down shift then click on the last loop, selecting all of the chopped samples you just made then drag them all at once to the C1 position on the drum sampler. Step #6 After that, click on the two things I’ve circled in the drum sampler to reveal some hidden features.
The first thing looks like three lines with dots on the end, then the second thing is a circle with i-o inside it.
Step #7 Look at the new area that opened up in the drum sampler, where it says “choke group” set them all to the same number. This is essential for achieving that MPC type feel for the pads, so when you hit another pad, it will cut off the first one and the samples won’t overlap. If you want some samples to overlap, just don’t put them in a choke group, or put them into a different choke group. You can make some samples cut off with some and not with others if that’s your goal. But for now, just set them all to #1.
Step #8 Lastly, set your BPM in ableton to the same BPM as the loop. This is optional, but will be an easy way to test the chops. Now start playing your pad controller and have fun! If your pads have a delay, make sure you have an asio driver selected in the Audio settings for Ableton and the buffer is set to the lowest possible setting without glitches.
That’s it! now you can arrange the loop in anyway you like using your midi pads until you come up with the ultimate beat! After you do this 1 or 2 times, it becomes quite easy. If you were wondering about the midi file part, this really isn’t needed. All the midi file ableton creates is the original loop still in its original order. You could just as easily drag your un-chopped loop back into Intro if you want the original one, or just play it in the correct order on your pads.
Anyway, I hope that helped! Enjoy sampling!