Mad Zach: Sample Slicing With The Ableton 9.7 Simpler

Mad Zach is back with another new video from his studio. This one takes a closer look at the brand new slicing features in the upcoming Ableton Live 9.7. Being able to quickly chop up a sample based on transients unlocks some powerful new creative possibilities! Get inspired by today’s video.

Slicing With The Ableton Live 9.7 Simpler

What Is Slicing Anyway?

Slicing is when you chop a sample up into sections so that you can play each little part of the sample on its own pad or trigger. Slicing has its origins in the classic sampler – the MPC, and has been around for a long time. In fact, most of your favorite classic hip hop tracks were probably made using some kind of slicing technique.

The most quintessential hip hop beat-making technique is to slice up a part of a song (i.e. an old vinyl), slice up a break, and fuse the two elements together, reconfiguring the rhythm and re-contextualizing elements from the original track.

Mad Zach’s Take On The New Ableton Slicer

Coming from an MPC background, I was curious to see how Ableton would implement the concept of “slicing.”

I found the new slicing features in the software to be effective, quick to work with, and capable of yielding great results. Slicing lends a pretty specific workflow, but I would definitely imagine integrating the new features into my daily practice.

The main ways in which I see this being useful is for chopping up breaks, or looking quickly for interesting one-shots within a longer sample. Since I’m recording studio sessions with synths and drum machines a lot – and then manually chopping up bits, I think this could save me a lot of time turning long sessions into neat collections of useful one-shots. It also worked really well when chopping up an acapella or “drumless” sample because each slice can be used musically, and isn’t cluttered by percussion.

The home run here for me is that once you’ve got your slice points worked out and envelopes set, you can easily port the slices to a drumrack and use the individual slices each in their own simpler.

About The Different Slicing Modes

  • For breaks or any kind of rhythmic focused material, you’ll probably want to choose transient mode” This will create a new slice at each transient (or drum hit), so you can make sure to capture each beat. Of course, you can always edit the slices after Ableton auto-detects – the markers Ableton places are great starting places, but sometimes need a bit of tweaking. If you have Push, the process becomes more tactile and intuitive.
  • Beat mode allows you to alternate between quantized divisions, allowing you to move freely between 1/16, ?, ¼, etc.
  • Regions will create a fixed and evenly distributed division based on whatever number you implement. For example if you select “8” – Ableton will create 8 even divisions.
  • Manual mode is perfect for getting creative with your slices. My favorite part about manual mode is that you can create new slices on the fly while the sample is playing.

Get more details about the upcoming version of Ableton Live 9.7 in this announcement article

Ableton Push 2 + Suite Bundle is $400 off in the DJTT store. Only $999 here for a limited time 

Have your own techniques for slicing up samples? Let us know your secrets in the comments. 

ableton livemad zachSamplersimplerslicingtransientsTutorial
Comments (17)
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  • Vader Trackerz

    just an advice mad zack for faster end better rearrangement
    create an audio track and take your sample in, right click on it and choose convert rythm to midi

    now you have the midi arrangement of the audio clip

    create a midi track and use the simpler with the same sample, and now use the midi clip created just before in the same way you use it in your video with the simpler


  • Mauro Amilibia

    I love this shop. Everything in it is totally cool. Serious!! and Mad Zach is absolutelly georgeous!!

  • Heavie486

    I promise myself when I traded in the push 1 for push 2. I was going to learn as much as possible and I did the same thing again. I fooled around with the software and controller for a week and went back to my maschine studio. I’m a little disappointed with myself, being a Mpc man since the 90s, but some how I fallen in love with maschine since version 1.x

    I own a lot of sampler groove boxes in my time and certain groove boxes just don’t inspire me. For example, love the Roland MC909 and the Fantom X, but no love for the MV8000. Love the MPC2000 and 5000, somewhat the 4000, but never got into the Ren and still trying to get the feel for the MPC Touch. Even after watching all the videos on YouTube. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the work flow of Push and Ableton to inspire me to fool with it for more than a week. Maybe one day.

  • CUSP

    This is a great function for live performing DJs. I’m more familiar with Maschine, but this seems just as good.

  • Viikk

    Nice demonstrations Mad Zach !

    I made the trade from the Push 1 to the 2, and I will never regret it with the new slicing possibilities.
    I’m in the Beta program too, and the new functions added to the Push are just awesome.
    The more the updates are coming, the less i touch my mouse to play with Ableton and manipulating sounds.

  • m2lawren

    Great tutorial. Hopefully Mad Zach finishes the beat. The vocals are intoxicating!

  • thundercat

    The Push 2 slice implementation is pretty cool but it still feels like Maschine Studio has the edge here when it comes to rapid slice/duplicate/resample/rechop etc… The whole ‘convert’ workflow seems somehow a little slow, also something about working with duplicating across drum rack pads seems slow too. I guess we are just talking about seconds here though and maybe just coz i’m more comfy with Maschine from using it longer than P2… anyone else have a similar experience?

    • Unreallystic

      It is just seconds, but seconds add up…and seconds can be longer on slower systems, and when resources are low it can become more taxing depending on what you ae working with, causing you to mix down more and more things to audio. I still just have my Push 1 – won’t get a 2 until I release some material (gift to myself) but this is one of the main things I am looking at – I’ve only recently started sampling, and the way it is ‘now’ in Ableton w/ Push 1, is actually kind of frustrating for me (am I missing something…no manual mode?). – I just want to load up the sample, place my points and put them on the drumpad where I want, instead I have to load it up and go through way more steps than it feels like it should take. I’m just shocked its so many steps.

      • BoomDraw

        In Ableton don’t you just play your warp markers, right click and slice to drum rack? After that it’s a simple drag and drop to get which sound on whichever drum pad you want.

        • Unreallystic

          Depends entirely on what or how I am sampling. Markers never seem to be where and how I want…and its more work getting them there, than it would be to just manually slice.

    • nox

      Meh. You’re not wrong, but IMO it’s a small price to pay for how much functionality the Push has. They’re not designed to do exactly the same thing, although they do intersect.

    • Lylax

      Maschine’s UI is horrible. it does not match up to Ableton w/ Push 2.