How to Load Samples & Clips Into Ableton

by Seamus IslwynUpdated September 22, 2017
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Many music production sample packs include both audio samples and MIDI clips. A sample CD might, for example, contain audio samples of a drum set or piano as well as MIDI clips containing drum patterns or chord progressions. Ableton Live supports both audio samples and MIDI clips. This digital audio workstation's level of integration with Windows means that you can quickly browse for samples and clips on your hard drive or CD drive, drag and drop them into an Ableton Live session, then use them in your productions.

Click the "Start" menu button. Click "All Programs," "Ableton" and "Live." Click the "Live" program icon to open Ableton.

Click "Create," then either "Insert Audio Track" or "Insert MIDI Track," depending on whether you want to load an audio sample or a MIDI clip, respectively. By default, Ableton starts with one audio and one MIDI track loaded -- add as many additional tracks as desired.

Click the "Start" menu, then click "My Computer" to open Windows Explorer. Navigate to the folder containing the clip or sample you want to load.

Click and hold the sample or clip. Press "Alt" and "Tab" simultaneously to switch back to Ableton. Drop the sample or clip into the audio or MIDI track to load it into Ableton.


Use the Windows Explorer Search box to quickly locate the sample or clip that you want to load. Hold "Ctrl" while loading a multi-part MIDI clip to drop all of the parts onto the same MIDI track. To move a clip or sample to Arrangement View, click and hold it, press "Tab" to switch views, then drop it into a track.


If you load samples from a CD, then remove the CD, Ableton will no longer be able to locate them. Use the "Collect All and Save" feature in the "File" menu to prevent this.


Photo Credits

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About the Author

Seamus Islwyn has been writing for radio, print and online publications since 2003, covering subjects from independent Canadian music to automobile smuggling in the Balkans. His work has appeared in the "Tirana Times" in Albania, and he also composes and produces electronic music. Islwyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from McGill University and a certificate in radio broadcasting from Humber College.

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