How To: Sample Any Sound From The Internet and Create a Unique Drum Rack

In today’s video tutorial, Mad Zach teaches how to capture any sound from a number of creative sources and use those sounds in a playable Drum Rack or Remix Deck. You’ve probably heard clever samples from famous memes and movies, so today we show you how to get some creative snippets of your own. Watch the full video and download the free tools you’ll need after the jump! 

Sampling should be something that every performing DJ and producer give a shot – because you’ll be surprised (like I was in the video) at some of the crazy things you’ll uncover. Of course, this is all just a modern emulation of crate digging for samples, but without the trip to the local record store. This is in no way meant to replace traditional methods of getting samples – digging in the crates, using synths to make your own tones, or even recording instruments and your voice. It also is not a surefire way to get super high quality sounds. Finally, there are a lot of rules and laws about sampling, especially if you plan on making money off of the samples.

Traktor users: This same technique can very easily be applied to Traktor Pro 2 (which is also super fun because then you can scratch the samples with control vinyl!). Simply drag the recorded music files straight into to your Remix Deck or regular deck in Traktor. One more tip here – if you set your Music Folders in Traktor (in Preferences>File Management) to include your Audio Hijack folder, you can have Traktor automatically import new sounds you’ve sampled every time you open the program!


Here’s the basic steps that I outlined in the video above, available here for easy reference!

  • Download + install the free trial of Audio Hijack Pro (Mac only- Windows users see notes below)
  • Under “Quick Record” select “System Audio” for your input
  • Create a custom recording format (WAV, 44.1 kHZ, Stereo, 16 bit)
  • Press “Hijack” and then “Record”
  • Play sound to sample
  • Press “Record” again to stop
  • Load into Ableton or Traktor
  • Rock it!

Windows users: We’ve had good experiences using Free Sound Recorder in the past to record a PC’s system audio, but be aware that not all soundcards allow this ability. Apparently Free Sound Recorder now installs a crappy toolbar to your computer, no good! Instead, Sascha and DonmecZ in our comments have suggested a way better solution:

Sascha: For Windows: Enable the ‘Stereomix’ and use Audacity (free) or any other record software.

DonmecZ: Just to add, Stereo Mix is found in: Control Panel/Hardware and Sound/Manage Audio Devices. And in Audacity: Select The Input Source “StereoMix” and click the drop down menu under the little microphone and select “Start Monitoring” Voila… Adobe Soundbooth is mega wicked for this “Sampling from Youtube” ish cus of its ridiculous amount of effect presets. Good Call. Cheers Sascha 🙂

Obviously you can also simply route your audio out right back into an input, but if anyone has additional tools to recommend, let us know in the comments!


Did you know that you can get the drum rack in this video for free? 

Mad Zach is a maverick controllerist and producer, focused on bridging the gap between production and performance.

Follow Mad Zach on: Facebook SoundCloud Twitter YouTube

ableton drum rackaudio hijack proContestin studiointernet samplingmad zachsamplingthe ring
Comments (107)
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  • Christina M Kaniclidou

    Can someone help me and tell me how legal this is according to copyrights? Thanks! x

  • Simon

    This guy just opened my ears.

  • Bo

    Hej Mad Zach (other people),

    i can’t find audio Hijack

    for windows.
    what to do?!!??

  • Austin Frandsen

    For pc users you can also simply use audacity to record from other programs by selecting your stereo mix, just make sure you have it enabled on your computer through the sound control panel and happy sampling.

  • Brad

    How is that step-up bass line done?

  • Dj OiA

    whats the problem ?? windows user like me can just download an mp3 file from youtube and just edit it in a record software like mixcraft or cuebase and then to save it as a wav file ,its that simple …

  • alex bell

    swear to god my phone rang too… i still have hope if your not dead zach :/

  • Jacob Allen

    awesome vid, so useful. Just thought I’d say that I found some robot voices using the terminal in mac. open terminal, type say -v “hello world” to try it out. You can use a bunch of different voices. Type man say into terminal to read about it!

    Quick question for Zach – this can’t be accomplished using an audio interface by routing sound from a computer into an audio interface and then from audio interface into ableton somehow? Thanks!

  • Max

    Hey man, awesome tutoral !! I was wondering how i could get that drum rack you used in this video, I would love to see what you actually did and understand how to play with it 🙂 Thanks man !!

  • Guest

    could I do the same with midi fighter classic?

  • Guest

    Can I do the same with the midi fighter classic?

  • yaazd

    hey can some one please help me
    when i press hijack i get this message-
    Please include the following information when contacting Rogue Amoeba Support.
    Domain: AudioHijackKitErrorDomain
    Code: -536870195
    NSLocalizedDescription: System? Audio Source Error
    NSLocalizedRecoverySuggestion: We were unable to capture all system audio. The System Audio device could not be set as system default output.

  • djelsee

    you just blew my mind!

  • john

    i read your other thread about leagal issuse. is this legal? or people just dont care. i want to do this but im just not sure. is it okay if you just taking parts here and there and not the entire song?

  • Jesse Herr

    thank you for not considering PC users -your neighborhood PC guy

  • DJ ReggNice

    High quality tutorial. Thanks for the knowledge

  • Saieash Mohanadas

    Looks awesome – but where can i download the samples that you used from? Thanks

  • Fehkd

    Can anyone help me out and tell me how to get my MF classic working with ableton. Thanks.

  • EXPO

    bro. brrooo! can you please send me this soundpack (i registered but a few days later then the newsletter went out so i didnt get this one.) I SPECIFICALLY want it because of the that echoed out water-drop percussion sound that you say is “sci-fi movie sounds” that plays right at 4:26 of this video. i almost sampled it off this video but it has some other sounds in the background. ever since i was a child, i was destined to use this sound in a beat. if you send it to i will be one step closer to fullfilling my purpose in life. thanks dude. by the way this video is awesome. I was too was sampling the universe thru the internet by using soundflower and recording and sampling directly into maschine. way f#c%ing harder. keep up the vids man, they’re also mad entertaining. mad zach for president.

  • Morgan Ganem

    That was a great video! I’m def using that for my club set coming up.

  • Connor

    “I’m a little shaken up, but we’re gonna go ahead and put those samples into the drum rack anyways…”


  • Guest

    I happen to now, noisia designs their own samples, from scratch. Don’t want to diss zach, but stealing original samples isn’t very creative and disrespectful to the artists who made them if you ask me.

  • Anonymous

    Nice work MadZach

  • Anonymous

    I have been doing this for the past 4 years, but on windows using Fox Audio Recorder, and from time to time Audacity.

  • Matt

    Wow thanks! Been looking for something like this.

  • Cody Carroll

    can this be done with reason as well? just wondering

    • DonmecZ

      I have Reason 5, unfortunately, the only way I was able to record internet audio was to take a physical cable and route the audio output into the line input. For an internal soundcard I use a 35mm male to male, I think guys in the states call it a 1/8th inch male to male. And for my external USB soundcard I used a TRS (1/4 inch) out the monitor output, and convert that into RCA dual and put that in the Input. Both ASIO and MME drivers worked well. Then to Actually record I used Kong Drum Designer’s Sampler and Booya… Snipets ready to be compressed eq’ed verbed etc. and triggered with a pad controller… Hope this helps Man 🙂

  • Benjamin K Pipkin

    One more reason I am wishing I had gone with a MF over the F1

  • Thomson van den Bakaj

    I’ve found another software ages ago called soundflower by cycling74 – for free. It creates an virtual in/output. So just choose the output of your mac to soundflower and input to any recording software you want to use (eg. Ableton). link below

  • Mike Kim

    hahah awesome tutorial. nice subtle placement on the avicii ad. cracked me up

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    • Mad Zach

      thanks for sharing lol

  • Andrew Frame

    MAD ZACH, DonmecZ thank you for sharin your knowledge

    • DonmecZ

      Words up homie! been actually sampling from youtube for fun since like 2008 😛

  • Pam

    For those who hasnt have “Stereomix” (such as myself :^) in Windows – there is prog, called “i-sound recorder”. Its free and it can record from audio output of your sound card DIRECTLY. I am recording from VCI-400 EGE and everything seems OK )))

  • David De Garie-Lamanque

    nice! thanks for telling me where Noisia get a lot of their cool samples! now if i could only wrap my head around they make their basses so aliiiiiiive…

    • Zentrix

      Distortion + Stereo FX (chorus, phasing, stereo delays) …also sweeping notch filters.

  • Dj React

    Mad Zach I’m assuming after you record your samples you can rename them to stay organized. This is pretty cool and a great alternative to using wiretap. Good stuff

  • Ben

    I ve used mp3mymp3 with no issues

    • DonmecZ

      Yups! mp3mymp3 is awesome too… I just only used when I was rocking windows XP but ever since I upgraded my studio, I moved to windows 7 and could not for the life of me get it to work the way it did back in my XP days… But it works like a Pro,
      Fo SHO tho! Truth 🙂

  • J.bald

    For users who are not rocking OSX 10.6 amd have to download an earlier version of Hijack, what would be the file of choice since wav is not an option? AIFF perhaps? I wish I knew more of the spec details on different audios. Love your work MZ!

  • renofr

    And how about simply routing you ‘Audio from ‘ in Ableton Live? I mean you choose ‘Internal Recording’, you put your track on Off to avoid echo and just hit record on a sample slot. You’ll have your sample as a clip! No need to use an external software in such a case.

  • renofr

    And how about simply routing you ‘Audio from ‘ in Ableton Live? I mean you choose ‘Internal Recording’, you put your track on Off to avoid echo and just hit record on a sample slots. You’ll have your sample as a clip!

  • renofr

    And how about simply routing your ‘Audio From’ in Ableton Live? I mean you can avoid using an external software either on a Mac or a PC. Just choose ‘Playback Recording’ and hit Record in Ableton Live, you’ll have your samples as clips !

  • Mitch

    Girl in the video: “You will die in 7 days.”
    Zach: “F*ck..”

  • DJ.B.Wick3d

    yeah now tell me the software equivalent for PC instead of Mac for us PC users!!!

  • Brian

    I wish I knew about using Audacity like that a few weeks ago. I needed a small dialogue sample from a YouTube video a few weeks back and used Keepvid to record, opened the file in Adobe Premiere, trimmed it down, and rendered out as a WAV. It worked, but took a bit of time. Live and learn I guess.

  • Jon

    Mad Zach youre a beast this is dope and so fresh! I was just wondering how to get this to work for traktor? any clue?

    • Mad Zach

      yeah, just follow the same steps to record the sound, then create a “favorites folder or crate” for music/audio hijack pro, or just drag the files into traktor, set some cue points, and rock out!

    • Mad Zach

      yeah, just do the same thing I did in the video but instead of bringing into ableton, drag onto a deck in traktor and set some cue points

  • Justin Shaw

    Great video! Enjoyed every second of it. Very creative approach to kick starting a session and brainstorming! THANKS ALOT! *Liked & and Shared* Keep it up!

  • Aaron Peipert

    I cannot use the stereo mix function with audacity when trying to use this method. I understand how to enable and select it as an audio input. It just does not work for me.

    • DonmecZ

      I sometimes have a problem with it too. Personally I have two audio devices, the PC’s internal, and my external USB soundcard. The only way Stereo mix will work is: if the internal soundcard is the only device outputing the sound. so what I do is I have 2 sets of speakers: Cheap Polk Audio tiny tweeter like PC speakers from 1999 :p and those are connected to the internal soundcard output (the PC line out) And some M-audio Monitors connected to the external USB soundcard. Now, if I wanna sample of the internet, I have to disable the external sound device in Control Panel/Hardware and Sound/Manage Audio Devices. And only let the audio come out the internal device. I then go to audacity and select the output as the internal device and the input “StereoMix” …and, taaaa daaaa… So yeah disable anything else you have outputing the sound for you and only let the internal device handle the output… the shitty part being that I have to switch devices and listen through tiny and weak speakers, but what I do is I have placed shortcuts for ‘hardware and sounds’ in my rocketdock (or desktop) for easy access and I also use a really cool VU Meter windows application that has the old school needle meter 😀 (its free) to monitor the input level just cus I am a vintage nerd like that :p I hope this helps man… Cheers!

  • tr4gik

    hey zach .. whats with the spoon next to the MFPRO …. XD

    • tr4gik

      i also lol’ed so hard when your phone rang … lmao.

    • Mad Zach

      you know, for serving up the main dish


    Mad Zach~Thanks for this. However I worry about your advice to younger producers to sample primary (note one-shot) sounds from audio-streaming services like Spotify (e.g. the James Brown break). If you use those sounds on the main tracks (drums for instance) you get terrible quality results once you mix and master. The bitrate quality is terrible from audio streams….all beware! Your final track no matter how well arranged will most likely sound muddy in the mix.

    • Mad Zach

      Hey DJ CNTRL, yeah I totally agree, which is why this is in no means my primary method of getting samples or making tones (as I stated in the video) but, it is a very accessible technique, does not require any special equipment, and you can’t find horror movie previews on vinyl unfortunately 🙂

      • Diggin_Delish

        I beg to differ regarding finding horror movie previews on vinyl. Quite findable… just requires some hard work.

        • Mad Zach

          okay you’re right, please let me know when you find one so I can buy it off you 😉

          • Warwolt

            use whatever sources you want. Hifi is overrated, you don’t need a 24bit 48000 audiochain from beginning to end. This clinical way of producing wasn’t introduced until quite recently, great and classical EDM was made with relatively dirty equipment for well over 20 years, so if you find a great sample on youtube or spotify, hijack that shit.

          • DonmecZ


      • DJ CNTRL

        I figured that was the intent; Just wanted to offer perspective 🙂 Cheers

        • Ryan Glassman

          Just two things I was thinking about, from the perspective of an internet-era producer:

          1) We’re broke. I’m 19 and in college; what little money I make from DJ gigs and whatever job I can find goes right back into new DJ equipment, new production tools, and, you know, food and stuff. Building a vinyl collection is expensive and takes a long time, so it’s sometimes not an option for kids like me.2) Vinyl isn’t what we know. Very few of us grew up listening to vinyl, buying vinyl, DJing on vinyl. For many of us, those sound bites that we hear and want to use are on the internet. Prime example: Skrillex’s “YES! OH MY GOD!” Other examples: Doctor P & Dillon Francis – Music Is Dead, and Funtcase – Mattress Punch.
          Also also, as long as your mix isn’t too heavy on the low-quality samples, and as long as you’re not using them to anchor your mix (say, as the primary kick drum or whatever), your mix quality should come out just fine.

          • DonmecZ

            All Truth here. Bless!

  • D.Hansson

    i really liked this tutorial, you’re a genious!!!

  • Randyman

    PC peeps: Audacity is your tool to grab samples in this way.

  • Jim

    Mad Zach, did you ever play an instrument? Just asking because you are good at playing the midi fighter two handed and that seems to be the biggest thing I have to practice. Just wondering if you played piano or something in the past. Great vid BTW, lots of funny stuff and good info.

    • Mad Zach

      hey Jim, yes I played guitar for 15 years and also keyboard, drums, bass, & kazoo 🙂 But I was always a “tapper” in school drumming with my fingers on my desk, its its own skill in and of itself. Just keep practicing, you’ll get it!

      • Jim

        Damn, I knew it. All those years I wasted playing Xbox I should have playing guitar instead. If you guys ever invent a midi fighter with thumb-sticks I’ll destroy with it! Until then I’ll just keep practicing 🙂

        • Fehkd

          Xbox Midi Fighter? Shut up and take my money

  • Scott Nelle

    That was kind of incredible. Rock on, Mad Zack!

  • neetlejuice

    sup with the spoon at the end? and is that a lighter? lol…

    • TheNonWho

      thats a mic

      • Mad Zach

        a yogurt mic

  • Blak Majik

    I’ve been using Audio Hijack Pro for a few years but I LOVE it! Great tips!

  • Blak Majik

    I’ve been using Audio Hijack Pro for a few years but I LOVE it! Great tips!

  • rustlingleaves

    hahaha Madzack is a funny guy XD
    great vids and tips

  • Slippage

    Since I run on a Mac and use MAX4Live I run Soundflower ( ) which creates a virtual output device that lets you pipe any sound that is coming out of your computer into Live. I like it because it keeps me in the DAW and you can even pipe from video games or other sources you may come up with. You don’t need M4L but I think you need to install the Max runtime libraries or whatever.

  • eric

    wow! this was a great tutorial and a really nice beat in the end – did you use any fx on the recorded samples afterwards?

    • Mad Zach

      just some eq, compression, side chaining, and maybe some reverb? Not much really…

  • Sascha

    For Windows: Enable the ‘Stereomix’ and use Audacity or any other record software.

    • DonmecZ

      Just to add, Stereo Mix is found in: Control Panel/Hardware and Sound/Manage Audio Devices. And in Audacity: Select The Input Source “StereoMIx” and click the drop down menu under the little microphone and select “Start Monitoring” Voila… Adobe Soundbooth is mega wicked for this “Sampling from Youtube” ish cus of its ridiculous amount of effect presets. Good Call. Cheers Sasha 🙂 -0ne

      • Jim

        Just a quick tip, if you don’t see the “stereo mix” option, right click in the empty area and choose to show all devices. The it will show up.

        • KLMbits

          for me it still doesn’t show up :/!
          I have a TOSHIBA Satellite i300 form 2007

    • centomila

      Unfortunately, stereomix isn’t available with all audio drivers :(.
      I’ve installed free sound recorder without all the crap and toolbar

      • Guest

        And i’ve already uninstalled because i can’t change the source. What a horrible piece of.. software.

        • Anonymous

          grab a program called “JACK AUDIO” windows/linux/mac… you can route the audio from your interwebs directly into ableton

  • Pillow

    People in online reactions on are complaining that free sound recorder installs an annoying toolbar without asking consent. Does anybody know other programs that get the job done for Windows?

    • Spacecamp

      We’ve updated the instructions with how to get the master StereoMix monitoring working, but it doesn’t work for all soundcards :/

  • Fede

    With VLC ( you can save everything it can open, including youtube videos, mp3 streaming, … on any platform.

  • RSDJ KayPlaya

    so you’re just gonna make it look that easy huh?! Thanks for the tutorial!

  • DJ And Another

    I do something similar for my visuals for my VJ sets. I use keepvid to download them and then edit them how I want.

  • DJ Peter Lo

    There’s so much subtle humor here layered between awesome tips. Thanks, MadZack!

  • Austin parker

    Besides being totally funky that was also super fresh and has got me in the sampling mood and I want to watch the ring