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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > May-18 > SLICING WITH BEATS AND TONES IN ABLETON LIVE


Slicing a sample can involve anything from simply chopping a beat, to creating wild swarms of randomised noise. Martin Delaney tries both!

Slicing audio is a vital part of the sampling workflow. Even though we can time stretch audio quite freely, the process of slicing it gives us different ways to dig deeper and manipulate the material. This can be something as simple as slicing and rearranging a drum beat, right up to chopping field recordings into tiny slices and using randomisation and effects to mix them and spray them out into a whole new structure. Live has the necessary tools to slice audio any way you want with Simpler and Sampler, and it’s an enjoyably mouse-free experience for Push users.


From now on, all of our Ableton Live tutorials will be based around Live 10, and that goes for any demo material we supply as well. After all, 10 is the current version, and if you don’t have it already, you can always try the demo, which is fully functional for 30 days (system requirements for Live 10 have been bumped up from Live 9, so check before you download).

We begin by slicing an acoustic drum beat; this can be more or less a one-step operation, although there are plenty of customisation options available. Our source beat is very straight, being programmed in the first place, so it slices easily. In the real world, not every drum loop is like that, but it’s possible to customise the slicing results and manually edit the start and end of each slice – they’re all contained in Simplers, after all.

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