Organising Your Samples In Ableton Live

Managing your samples in Ableton can be the difference between staying positive with a great creative flow or going crazy and throwing your computer out the window.  No body wants to lose their favourite kick or struggle to understand where their samples live.  In this article we show you how to overcome said issues.


Ableton Browser Window

The browser window is Ableton’s ‘control hub’ and houses all the important bits like Plug-Ins, Samples, Instruments (And racks) and all third-party software.  You’ll also find ways to navigate to your samples.


The Browser section is broken down into 3 main components:



New to Ableton 10, these are folders which you can freely assign samples, plug-ins or instruments to.   In this example I have 3 folders for my favourite plug-ins (EQ, Compressions & Delays) then 4 channels for my favoured samples.

To re-name these folders just right-click and press Rename’ (Short Cut ~ Cmd+R)



Organising Samples in Ableton_AbletonCollections



To add sounds to these just choose your favourite sample folder / individual sound or your favourite plug-in and press the corresponding number.  For me it would be:

EQ – 1

Compressors – 2

Delay – 3

Vocals – 4

Leads – 5

Keys & Melody – Drums – 6



This section houses all of your plug-ins, MIDI Tools, Ableton's in house samples, Audio effects like EQ etc and Max For live Tools.


Places:Now this is the important bit as this section is fully customisable.  The ‘places’ section includes Ableton's default packs but we can freely add folders to this for our favourite sample packs.


Organising Samples in Ableton_AbletonPlaces



Click the ‘Add Folder’ button which will direct you to your finder.  Here you can add folders and be as broad or specific as you like.


This is what I included:

Sounds I Like – Includes things, samples and ideas that I stumble across and quickly save into a folder that’s in my Dropbox.  It’s shared with my long term collaborators so we can both be adding little samples that take our fancy when we’re not working on music.  Great for inspiration.


Main Samples – This goes to my main samples folder.  It includes all my packs, Reaktor instruments, Kontakt libraries and things of the sort.  A master folder of everything that’s important to my writing.


Touch Loops – This links to all the Touch Loops packs.


Old Sessions – This links to all my old Ableton Sessions.  Sometimes if I haven’t saved a preset or drum rack to my ‘Collections’ section I can easily get to the channel and import the sound without leaving Ableton.


Make sure you check out our extensive collections of Ableton Live Sample Packs and put these skills into action!



Sample Playback


When auditioning sounds to use in your tracks Ableton has the great ability to play back your samples in time with your sessions.


With your session playing, just click the sample of your choice in the ‘Places’ area.  Ableton will wait until the next bar starts then begin playing your sample in time with the track.


Organising Samples in Ableton_SamplePlayback_Ableton


If this sample sounds great then just drag and drop the sample into your session within a blank audio track.


Note: If you haven’t created a bank audio channel just drag the sample to the bottom of your session and Ableton will create one for you.