Getting Creative With Sample Packs

We’ve all been there, you just bought a new sample pack and the amount of content is a little overwhelming or doesn’t quite fit in with your style or musical key.

Well worry no more, we’re here to explore different ways of getting more longevity from your collections and showing some cool ideas on how to process, re-sample and create new sounds from your latest sample packs, especially when using Loops In Ableton Live.


Download your FREE Ableton FX Racks ~ HERE


Re-pitching in your DAW

This is probably the most simple but definitely the most useful.  Try nudging the sample around by a semi-tone until it fits into the key of your track.

The whole chord progression or sample might not be quite right but you never know what you’ll find.  There might be a little nugget of inspiration that triggers the next idea.



We all know about side-chaining sounds but when was the last time you reached for the humble gate?  Here’s how you can create amazing rhythmic sequences that breathe new life into uninspiring pads.

1.Create a ‘trigger channel’ that includes a new MIDI or drum pattern that will trigger the gate.

Note: This can be completely different to the kick but make sure they sound good together - we're using MIDI channel and a kick drum in this example.



2.Turn off the trigger channel and load your gate of choice onto the channel with your pad sample on it.


3. Set the external input to your ‘trigger channel’.


Adjust the setting as you see fit - we're making sure the threshold allows sound to go through but still gets affected by the gate.

Here’s a brief overview of what the settings do:

Attack – The time it takes for the gate to open letting noise in
Threshold – The level of the signal coming in needed to trigger the gate.  Adjusting this effects how sensitive the gate is.
Hold – How long the gate stays open for
Release – How fast the gate closes.  Slow times make things sound a little smoother but you might loose some of that aggressive choppiness so it’s worth playing around with this.


Re-sampling sounds has to be the king of all processing options.  This combined with the numerous of options built into most DAW’s samplers the world really is your oyster.


For this tutorial we’re going to create an ethereal pad from a vocal sample.  Here’s how:

  1. Load the vocal sample into your sampler of choice – We’re using Ableton Sampler.

2.Set The Envelope for a long attack and release in the 'Filter / Global Section':



  1. Set the locator accordingly and set the sustain mode to ‘loop’.



Don't forget to check out our latest Vocal sample packs and try out these skills today!


2. Increase the ‘Cross fade’ amount to create a smoother transition as the sample loops.


3. Add your choice of FX to taste. This is what we went for:



Tip: Try listening to the difference in outcome between the ‘snap’ mode being on and off.  This dictates the speed at which the samples are played back.  The higher the note the quicker the loop will play back at.


Playback Speeds

Instead of warping all the time why not pitch the sample then start writing at whatever tempo fits the new length of sample you created.  This little adjustment can make you think about melody in a completely different way and is always worth experimenting with.


 Warp Modes

If you’re not quite getting the sound you’re after try playing with the different Warp Modes.  Ableton has given you a few tips on what they think you should use them for but we love experimenting and abusing these ideas.

Texture Mode –

This setting really comes into it’s own when a sample is pitched.  Tweaking the Flux & Grain Size dials can get some amazing results and really add a unique to any uninspiring samples.

The Beat Mode is extremely useful for creating choppy elements and is something that we covered in more detail in our Ableton Tips blog post.   This mode can also be used on complex drum loops simplifying them and providing you an instant loop variation as well as more room in your mix.


Slice To MIDI

Instead of getting choppy why not turn your samples into an instrument using either the slice to midi feature of ‘slice mode’ in your sampler of choice.  In Ableton we’ve used the ‘Simplers’ slice mode to add slices to our piano sample.  We can use our keyboard to trigger the sections of the chord progression in a new order of our liking.  True MPC style.


Tip: Take note of the sensitivity and slice marker position if you’re getting clicks or too it’s chopping off certain notes etc.


To help you on your Ableton path we've also created some amazing Ableton FX racks for Ableton 9 & 10 - You can download them HERE