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Sampling Audio

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Transposing a Sample While Keeping It Synced to the Project Tempo

Sometimes you hear a recording and fall in love with the sound of an instrument. Unfortunately, the instrument is playing a melody that doesn’t work for your song, or you have a better idea for what you would have done, if only you could have access to the original instrument. That’s exactly what sampling can help you achieve.

In this exercise, you’ll sample an arpeggiated bass synth and turn it into a Quick Sampler instrument, making sure the arpeggiated notes play at the song’s tempo no matter what pitch they’re transposed to.

  1. In the Loop Browser, search for Alpha Matrix Bass.

  2. Drag Alpha Matrix Bass to the empty area at the bottom of the track headers, and choose Quick Sampler (Original).

    A new Alpha Matrix Bass track is created, and Quick Sampler opens with the Alpha Matrix Bass loop loaded.

  3. At the upper left of the waveform display, click the Classic button.

  4. Play different keys on your keyboard.

    The root key of the sample is C2. If you play a C2, you hear the original pitch and speed. If you play a note above C2, the sample is pitched up and sped up. If you play a note below C2, the sample is pitched down and slowed down. Let’s make sure the playback speed doesn’t change when playing different notes.

  5. Below the waveform display, click the Flex button.

  6. Play the project from the beginning, and exactly on the first downbeat of bar 5, play and hold down a C2 note, and then try playing other notes on downbeats.

    All notes play at the same tempo. Because the Follow Tempo button next to the Flex button is on, the arpeggiated notes play at the project tempo and are in sync with the Throwback Funk Beat 01 drum loop.

    Let’s create a short loop section so that each key triggers only a small section of the original Alpha Matrix Bass loop.

  7. Stop playback.

  8. Below the waveform display, click the Loop mode pop-up menu, and choose Forward.

    The yellow loop markers are displayed, and the waveform is yellow.

  9. Above the waveform display, click the Snap pop-up menu, and choose Beat.


    With the loop markers snapping to the nearest beat, it’s now easy to create a loop that has an exact number of beats.

  10. Drag the loop end marker to Beat 3.

    The loop keeps repeating the same four notes on the same pitch. With this type of sound, and because you’re synced to the project tempo and snapping to the beat, there’s no need to add a crossfade. It’s not easy to play melodies. A fun effect you can play with is the pitch glide from one note to another.

  11. In the Pitch section, drag the Glide knob up to around 170 ms.


    When you play a note, the pitch slides from the pitch of the previous note to the pitch of the new note, creating a nice portamento effect. You may notice a clicking sound on the attack of the notes you play. Let’s remove it.

  12. In the Amp section, on the envelope display, drag the Attack handle to about 6 ms.

  13. Record a simple bass line over four bars, starting at bar 5 after the intro.

    Don’t stray too far away from the original C2 pitch, or you may get too many artifacts in the sound of the samples and the glide effect may ruin the sync of the loop. Quantize your recording in the Region inspector, and edit the notes in the Piano Roll until you’re happy with your bass line.

  14. To complete this new song section, loop the Claps and Alpha Matrix Bass tracks until bar 13.

You’ve sampled and looped only a short slice of a bass Apple Loop to turn it into a software instrument that you can play on your MIDI keyboard, allowing you to use that bass sound to play your own melody. Imagine the vast array of opportunities now that you can sample from any Apple Loops or other recordings, and then turn them into instruments to use in your own productions.

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