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Creating beat mashups with Live

Editing the volume envelope on an audio clip in Live
If you have  a lot of  audio loops laying around your hard drive, then this tip is for you. You can be more creative with drum beat loops by splicing and dicing them instead of just looping them over and over.

  1. Open up Ableton Live, and use one of the the file browsers in the left panel to browse for some loops. This works great for drum beats.
  2. Drop several loops into their own audio tracks. Let’s start with 4 or 5 for now.
  3. Double click on one of the clips and you’ll see a waveform display at the bottom of the screen. To the lower left of the waveform is a tiny “E” buttom, which shows you then Envelope Editor. Click that, and then click the now-visible Volume button (right under the Transpose button).
  4. Now right-click on the waveform to choose the grid size. Select any resolution you want (1/8 or 1/16 is a good start) and press Ctrl + B or Cmd + B to turn on the pencil, and start drawing on the volume envelope. This is a great way to take out parts of drum beats that you don’t like. Try leaving just the kick or just the snare , or maybe just the hi-hats.
  5. If you want to isolate just the hi-hats, another way to do this is to add an EQ and cut the low frequencies. Another fun thing to do is mess with the transpose envelope to pitch certain hits up or down.

    Keep doing this to all of the loops/clips. Now when you play them together simultaneously, you should have a drum beat that is a mashup of many different loops.

  6. Now if you want to record all these beats together to create a single loop, the easiest way to do this is to create a new audio track and make sure the “I-O” button on the right is on. Now turn monitor to “off” to avoid any feedback issues, then change the “Audio From” to “Master”. Arm the track with the red button at the bottom of this audio track, make sure all your tracks are playing, and then click record (either in the session view or the arrangement view). Let it loop once or twice then stop recording. Now you should have a clip that is a recording of your mashup beat.

One Response to “Creating beat mashups with Live”

  1. 020 says:

    Thanks a lot for all these great tutorials! Really helping the aspiring producer out.

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