Creating an instrument from a sampler in Ableton Live

Creating an instrument from a sampler in Ableton Live

Today we are going to learn how to create an instrument using Ableton’s Sampler.

The Sampler is a fantastic tool in Ableton Live, capable of manipulating the audio file in detail so that we can create cool and outstanding sounds. Even a single note can be a source of stunning results in Sampler.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to load samples in Sampler to create a new instrument.

  1. Open a new instance of Sampler in a midi clip:


2. Open the ‘Zone’ tab of the Sampler so you can drag the audio samples:


3. I will create a new bass instrument by loading four audio samples in Sampler. In Categories > Samples choose the audio files from the Core audio library by dragging and dropping them to the Zone screen:


Notice that the most sample’s file names have the sample’s pitch. It is extremely useful since we don’t need to spend time figuring it out.

Sampler has six tabs with several sound editing options. When you load a sample, Sampler displays by default the ‘Sample’ tab. In this tab, we can set parameters like sample start and end, pan, reverse mode, loop option, crossfade, etc.

4. The next step is to adjust the root key of each sample so they can sound in their proper pitch. Sampler has by default the sample’s root key set in C3:


Without this procedure, each sample would be transposed to C3 instead of being placed in their proper key.

5. Let’s set the Key Zone of each sample in the Key Zone Editor. The green horizontal line indicates the octave range of each sample. I want to narrow it down to just one octave per sample, according to their pitch:


Now, the set of samples will play from C1 to C5, consecutively. It means that Pulse Bass C1 will be active from C1 to B1, Pulse Bass C2 will sound from C2 to B2 and so on.

6. You can set additional parameters, like amplitude and filter envelopes and filter type:


7. As well as Modulation:


8. Just like any Live instrument, you can also add effects. Just go to Categories > Audio Effects and double click (or drag and drop to the effects window) the effect you want to add:


Remember that you can create a rack with the sampler plus the effects, so you can add layers of other instruments and also use the macros for mapping parameters to your controller:



9. When you’re done with the editing, you can save the new instrument to the user library so you can use it in any project. Remember that you can save the rack as well, with all macros and effects settings:


That’s it! Live’s Sampler will make possible to create either simple or more complex instruments in a user-friendly interface.

Happy productions!