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Ableton Live Quick Tip – Expanding Your Drum Rack


In my time with Ableton Live software, one of the things I’ve learned with the free-form program is that everybody’s process in the program varies on their own creative process. It’s one of the more interesting elements because it opens the doors for a complete catalog of styles that can be used to make music in the program. Here’s one of the quick tips I learned in regards to expanding your drum rack to create a more extensive group of sounds to play with.

Drum Rack + Sampler = Drum Rack 2.0

Ableton’s Drum Rack is essentially the standard for when you want to program drums and have a group of sounds to work with.

Ableton Live Drum Rack Tutorial

Typically, when you load a sample into the drum rack, it will open an instance of Simpler with the sound file you’ve chosen to work with.

Drum Rack Sampler Tutorials

While there’s a robust catalog of effects you can use in Simpler, you’re still limited to just that sound. Instead, loading Sampler into the Drum Rack gives you the capability of building sounds on top of one another in one “pad” essentially. In Simpler, we can turn one sound into a plethora of textures, but if you want to add more than one sound into the mix you’re going to have to look for more than the Simpler to accomplish that.

Ableton Drum Rack Tips

When you open up the “zone” arrow in the sampler, you can load groups of sound into the area above the sampler that appears. It’s all drag & drop, which is pretty convenient, and from there you can pick each individual sound to build upon its FX in the sampler. Even though the samples are in the same “pad” they will operate independently when you start doing sound design; it opens a whole Pandora’s box of techniques you can use to build some unique instruments.

Ableton Drum Rack Tutorials

From here, clicking the “Filter/Global” section will take you to your volume, ASDR envelope, and other various selections of effects you can use. Also, the yellow speaker and grey S you see next to every sound give you the option to solo or mute sounds in your sampler through the drum rack. Through this, you have the ability to load up essentially an unlimited amount of sounds to layer and build upon to create something unique.


With this quick tip, you can see how easily expansive Ableton’s programs become when you combine them with one another to make new results and find new techniques. Artists are doing this every day and there’s a very active Ableton community sharing projects & techniques that will expand your production style and technique for the benefit of your sound, along with the ability to streamline your process to create dynamic and effective soundscapes quickly.

Keep experimenting with ideas in the program, because there are so many different ways to create something truly unique in your Digital Audio Workstation. I hope this tip helps somebody out looking to expand on their drum rack techniques, if you guys find this useful stay locked into ProducerSpot.com for more tricks and techniques.

Also check: Ableton Live Tips: Improve Your Workflow

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