A-002 – Ableton Introduction – Sampler

During our last Ableton Live workshop not only did we start learning the ins and outs of Ableton Live’s powerful “Sampler” but we were graced with a digeridoo performance from Everett Stone dartmouthian


Sample Zone Editor – Unfolded into it’s own window above the main Sampler interface’s Track View, the Zone Editor is used to map samples across key, velocity and sample selection ranges.

Sample Layer List – All of the individual samples belonging to a given instrument will appear in this list and are referred to as “layers”. Very large multi-sampled instruments may contain hundreds of layers!

Key Zone Editor – The Key Zone Editor allows the user to assign samples to ranges of MIDI notes (ex.MIDI Note# C1-C2 could trigger sample layer #1, while D2+ will trigger sample layer #2).  *By default, the key zones of newly imported samples cover the full MIDI note range.

Velocity Zone Editor – The velocity zone editor allows the user to determine the range of MIDI Note On velocities (1-127) that each sample will respond to.

Sample Select Zones – The sample select zone editor allows the user to assign a data filter to any combination of sample layers. When a midi note on signal is received, only the sample layers within the active sample select zone will be triggered. *The editor has a scale of 0-127, similar to the Velocity Zone Editor. Above the value scale is the draggable indicator known as the sample selector. (it sounds more complicated than it is).

Sample Tab – The playback behaviour of individual samples is set within the Sample tab. Most of this tab is dedicated to displaying the waveform of the currently selected sample.

Pitch/Osc Tab – This tab contains settings for the dedicated Modulation Oscillator and the Pitch Envelope.

Filter/Global Tab – Within the Filter/Global Tab, Sampler features a polyphonic filter with an optional integrated waveshaper. Also contained within this area is the Global Volume Envelope that defines the articulation of Sampler’s sounds with standard ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) parameters.

Modulation Tab – The Modulation tab offers an additional loopable envelope, plus three LFOs, all capable of modulating multiple parameters, including themselves. Each LFO can be free running, or synced to the Live Set’s tempo, and LFOs 2 and 3 can produce stereo modulation effects.

MIDI Tab – The MIDI tab’s parameters turn Sampler into a dynamic performance instrument. The MIDI controllers Key, Velocity, Release Velocity, Aftertouch, Modulation Wheel, Foot Controller and Pitch Bend can be mapped to two destinations each, with varying degrees of influence determined in the Amount A and Amount B sliders.

ADSR – An acronym that stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release and is a means to replicate those respective elements of a sound.It is especially used in sound designing with electronic music instruments.

Envelope – in musical sound, the attack, sustain, and decay of a sound. Attack transients consist of changes occurring before the sound reaches its steady-state intensity. Sustain refers to the steady state of a sound at its maximum intensity, and decay is the rate at which it fades to silence. In the context of electronically synthesized sound, the term decay is sometimes used to refer to a drop in intensity that may occur between the attack and the sustain phase, and in such cases the time it takes for the sound to fade to silence is called the release. (https://www.britannica.com/science/envelope-sound)

LFO – Low-frequency oscillation (LFO) is an electronic signal which is usually below 20 Hz and creates a rhythmic pulse or sweep. This pulse or sweep is often used to modulate synthesizers, delay lines and other audio equipment in order to create effects used in the production of electronic music.

Modulation – An inflection of the tone or pitch of the voice; specifically : the use of stress or pitch to convey meaning.

(Download Ableton 9 Manual)


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