Use ableton live to chop samples like an mpc


I get a lot of folks asking me about how to use ableton live like an mpc.

Specifically how to play your chops so they cut each other off.

I also cover how to make your own custom presets for when chopping samples.

If you want to chop and automatically add fx and such, you can do it.

Ableton is dope!

lemme know what you think, and share this!

leave me a comment.


  1. Absolutely essential tutorial for MPC hedz! Great job as always St. Joe.

    Question – Say you already had your samples chopped up already. Do we have the ability to just open up the made preset and manually insert our own chops thus taking on the preset values? Is this done by just opening the preset like a regular drum rack in the midi track?


    • Thanks homie!

      Yep, if you watch in the video, remember the first part where I made a preset for the simpler with my desired settings? If you
      drag that do the “dropping samples” preset folder, every time you drop your chops into the drum rack they will have those settings.

      I haven’t found out how to make them automatically go into the same choke group yet if you already have your slices, I will work on that and
      see if it’s possible. But you can def make them oneshots automatically.

      • @saintjoe, hey whats up man thanks for the video ima rookie to this program i just have one little queston…

        how do you put a whole song on ableton and then chop it up?

        iv been usen fruity loops this last year and learned allot about it but ableton is all new to me…

    • Actually, you can just make a new preset. You will have to open a new drum rack, drag your onesthot simpler or an empty simpler to each square, and make your settings. So what I did with one square, setting the choke group and release, just do that for how many samples you’d typically have pre chopped. Then save it as a preset. On the right hand corner of the drum rack is a lil “floppy disk” if you click that it will save your preset and put it under the drum rack folder in instruments. Anytime you have samples already chopped, just use this and when you drop them in they will take on those settings.

      Same thing applies, you can put fx and whatever you want on these presets and drag them in. It’s not as automated as the slicing preset, but it’s pretty quick. You can make it after you make your slicing preset.

      Just press ctrl and drag the first cell you setup to all the other ones, if you usually use 16 just drag the same one to 16 cells and they will all take on those settings.

      lemme know if I need to do another video…actually, I think I will. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

      • Bro! I can’t thank you enough! I just finished chopping up a sample and have it all layed out in my pads ready to go. The editing in the simpler is like having an MPC chop screen on crack. You can really get down and dirty with these samples in live. Can you tell i’m excited?? LOL! Thanks again fam. Lemme know when the new vid is up.


  2. Cool video! It’s features like this that stopped my buying MPC’s!

    I did buy an MPC5000 earlier this year but returned it to the store. It seemed more like a remake of the Alesis Fusion workstation than an MPC and very buggy. I’m surprised Akai haven’t gone down the NI MASCHINE route to be honest. I see they’ve just released a Special Edition version of the MPC2500 in Japan. Not sure which countries are getting it yet. It looks a lot like the 2500LE that Akai made for Guitar Centre stores in the U.S. last year!

    I saw your tweet on Live Intro too – I agree 100% – great way to get into Ableton for the money.

    • Thanks bro! yeah man, there really are tons of options out here, ableton with a dope midi controller is a monster setup, throw maschine in the mix and it’s really game over.

      I too am surprised akai hasn’t done something like maschine, maybe they’ll get with ableton and come up with something similar! I’d def get that one lol.

      Live intro is nice man, to be able to get into live for that price is crazy…with multitimbral vsts you can still get past the 4 instrument limit, not to mention you can use 8 ableton instruments as well.

      64 audio tracks and unlimited midi? That’s crazy man.


    • hahahahaha!

      that’s whasup man! I hope to get my hands on suite one day lol…it’s a lil steep right now. But I’m glad u got it man, you will LOVE it, it’s absolutely the best production daw around in my opinion, it just works.

      let me know if you need any help and I’ll see if i can help ya out! And I’ll try to point the Ableton folks in this direction so they see what u said and gimme my royalties hahaha or a sticker…mousepad lol, something lol.


  4. Clean and concise as usual Saintjoe. It’s crazy, it’s like Drum Racks are TOO dope.
    I love Battery, Guru and Redrum but with CPU always an issue I might just work with
    Drum Racks. You’re right about Live Intro, I hope mad people cop it if only for Drum Racks. If I didn’t already have Live I’d pay a hundred just for the Racks. Hope you do more tutorials, you’re nice with em and I think these ones that bridge the hardware mindset with software are what a lot of people look for.

    • Thanks alot homie! I try to bring it how I would like to get it ya know? That’s what this site is all about…I know millions like me man, that think like me and work like me.

      I don’t want folks to miss out on all the good stuff because no one took the time to explain it to them and SHOW them.

      Drum Racks are crazy, really, it’s so quick to slice and chop in ableton man, just right click and choose the size, done lol.

      I’m just trying to keep it going man!

  5. Thanks for sharing the knowledge. I’m one of those people that take hype and product claims with skepticism and appreciates seeing some real world application that’s close to how I would like to use a program. With Intro coming out, I think it’s time for me to get off the fence and get into Live even with it’s limitations. I wonder if Ableton would create a LaunchPad/Intro bundle…hmmm?!

  6. Thnx again for providing an alternate take on how to get things done. I plan on getting Intro for now before putting out the $$ for the full version.
    For those who were wondering about Live’s latest controller, I had a chance to get up close w/ Novation’s LaunchPad and have to say it made using clips soooo smooth & swift it was ridiculous. Being I’ve never used Live before, the relationship to the clips on screen made thing a lot more intuitive and fun. I felt like a lil’ kid hoarding all the cookies as others in the store looked like they wanted to get on (Not! wait your turn..*lmao*). Not only that despite what some have said on other sites the pads are not as unforgiving as stated. Given they’re not Maschine/MPC/PadControl quality but good for their intended use. It was still comfortable to bang out beats/rythms. So if velocity isn’t an issue (my guess is you could add automation later) it gives you an 8×8 grid to work with, nice for an expanded drum rack, synth or NI’s Battery via automap. Is it worth $199, hmmm if you do gigs w/Live yes however for those of us that “don’t” get paid for a venue then you may want to be patient for the price to drop (who knows it may go to $150 over the next few months).

    • No doubt bro, thanks for checkin. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the launchpad, for my tastes I think I’m gonna go with the apc 40, I just need a real hands on control of ableton, not just clip launching. I like the faders and knobs and other stuff lol.

      Live intro is dope, live is dope by itself, intro is a powerful option at a great price, let us know when you get it.

      • @saintjoe, does ableton live intro come with a sampler ? i was trying to chop up a song from itunes and it said i couldn’t do it. Would i need to buy another version of ableton just to sample tracks? Is there an alternate way to do this? Please help .

          • @saintjoe, Thanks for the speedy reply ! and yes your correct about not being able to create custom drum racks on live intro. So i would need to have abelton live 8 or suitte to chop up , warp and slice tracks ?

            I’m looking to buy an Akai MPD32 or an Akai MPK25 to make things alitte easier with ableton . i heard it comes with ableton live lite , does this come with a sampler to slice up tracks? Sorry if these questions are stupid i just really want to know so i don’t break my computer out of anger lol. I really wanna sample tracks.

            • @Jonathan, no problem fam. To my knowledge, you will need to have at least the full version of live 8, you don’t need suite but either live 8 or live 7 to be able to slice into the drum racks.

  7. can you only chop samples with f.e. LIVE 8 or can you also chop them with the basic Ableton Live Intro??
    Sorry for asking again, if its mentioned here somewhere πŸ˜‰

    And how many VSTs are you able to insert into Live Intro? Is it limited?
    What about the rewire-functionality?? does it work with reason f.e.??

    really thinking about getting the LIVE INTRO version…its only 99€ here =)

    thanks my man!!! appreciate your effort and help!!



    • No doubt

      yes you can chop like this in intro, you can use 4 vst instrument plugins and 6 vst fx plugins.

      It can use rewire too

      it’s a great deal, and with multitimbral instruments, you can really do some damage, some plugins allow multiple midi tracks to be sent to them.

      • thanks for the quick answer!

        then i think i found a new program to combine all sequencers / plug ins / instruments into one “giant bubble of creativity”… πŸ˜‰

        iΒ΄ll buy the intro version next week! i think the money is worth it!!

        just stumbled across here..iΒ΄ll definetely will bookmark it!


        • Intro is definitely a great deal, I know I can do pretty much whatever I need with it, only thing I wish it had was the external instrument device, I really like to use that for working with multi timbral plugins, but other than that, everything else is there.

      • i figured it out. i never set the choke to 1, so all of my samples were not cuttin over each other.

        next task: make it so that the samples play at full level when i let go of the key. when i let go the sample fades a lil bit. when i stay pressing, the level stays full..

              • Yo, I’m having crazy difficulties figuring out how to use Ableton like an mpc. I’m trying to use my controller for multiple tracks, but it seems to only work for one track. And it’s the track that I have the drum rack on. How do you use the drum rack for multiple tracks? Man! I understand how powerful the program, but I just need someone to help me through this thing for real!!! If anyone can help hit me up!

                • I’m not sure what you mean by multiple tracks? You mean use the controller to control multiple tracks at once? Because if you working on one track at a time you’ll just move your focus to the next track and enable that track, then your controller will work with that track.

                  if you want multiple drum racks with the same sounds on different tracks just ctrl+drag the channel and it will duplicate it. Or you can right click then duplicate…it will let you copy the same drum rack to different tracks if you like to work that way.

                • i added u but dont see u…

                  For folks in New York City, Ableton will be at TEKServe on 23th and 6th. Ableton Day at Tekserve…I will be there

                  Ableton Day at Tekserve Wednesday, February 10, 1-5 PM

                  Whether you already own Live or you’ve only seen your rock-star friend making music with it, come the Pro A/V Room to demo the new Ableton Live 8 software. Sam Walker from Ableton will be on hand all afternoon to show you what’s new and answer all your questions. Just drop by anytime between 1 and 5 PM to speak with him. ABleton

  8. I gotta mention one BIG ass thing about ableton live. Joe you might have heard of this.

    Warning: When you warp audio samples to match your song tempo, then you chop them up for whatever reason it still uses the OLD tempo. so it won’t be on beat.

    The work around is to record the new track into a new clip. then you chop THAT sucker up.

    Let me know yall if u get me …

    This was a big stumper

  9. Thanks for the very helpful tutorial I’m new to Ableton Live 8 πŸ™‚ not new to the music.
    I been on it for like three weeks straight so far its real good very fast work flow for software. I got to learn this program!! this is the New Age Thanks for all your help peace.


  10. This is a great post Saintjoe..loved it. I’m using Live with Launchpad. My question is how do you record the samples that are being triggered from launchpad or the Apc into a track in live. I must have the routing wrong. Any help with this is greatly appreciated.

  11. yo that was dope man hey can you make a video on how to get separate audio channels for each midi channel in a multitimbral multiout vst like Kontakt or Emulator x or sampletank

    • @mehdo, thanks for watchin, checkout the video I did on Maschine sending midi to Live’s sequencer. I setup each group to send it’s own audio on a different channel, it’s the same for something like kontakt, etc.

      you just use the “external instrument” device in live, and set it to send midi to a specific channel, and receive audio from a specific channel.

      The audio routing depends more on the plugin than live.

  12. Damn, you don’t even know how much time you saved me! I just got the AKAI MPD32 which doesn’t appear to have the “Voice Overlap Poly” in it – was driving me bonkers. I like to use that feature when putting down some drums, especially on the hihats. Your tip for using the Simpler with the release on it solved that REAL quick. MUCH appreciated.

  13. There is no slice to midi function in ableton live intro, sad to say.
    If you know something different, please feel free to share, but as far as I kno, that is one of the limitations. Is there a work around to get samples sliced?? Peace Aaron

  14. Hi! I understand everything. But when I went into my library and went to defaults to look for “Dropping Samples” It wasnt there. Idk where it is and I cant find it. Do you know where it is? Or what I’m doing wrong? Or any possible ways to set up One-Shots?


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