You’ll be glad to know that all of our Ableton drum loops work really well in Ableton Live. The best file format to use for Ableton would be the WAV loops but you could just as easily use the Apple Loops if you prefer, either way it doesn’t really matter which file format you choose.
When you import a WAV file into an audio track in Ableton Live it automatically defaults to the ‘WARP’ setting which means that the loop will be stretched to fit the current song tempo.
You can switch this off easily by just clicking on the ‘WARP’ button. This will remove any time stretching of the audio file and will play it back at its original tempo and key. If the native tempo of the loop matches your song tempo this is the best option to go for because the sound quality won’t be degraded by the time stretching algorithm.
How to Quantize Ableton Drum Loops
All of our Ableton drum loops feature live performances by real drummers. That means that the beats won’t always fall perfectly on the measures of the bar. That’s the nature of live recording with real human beings and it helps to give your drum tracks a live, organic feel that you just don’t get with sequenced drums. Sometimes it’s possible to sound too perfect and programmed.
By what if you need to shift a drum hit to a different position so that it lines up perfectly with your guitar riff or custom song rhythm? That’s where the sheer power of Ableton comes in.
To start with, download this drum loop and load it into any audio track in Ableton, here’s a preview.
Once you’ve loaded it into Ableton, double click on the loop in your track view and it should open the AUDIO properties panel to look like this:
You’ll notice that your version probably has the ‘WARP’ button enabled by default. For now switch this off and set your song tempo to 170 so that it matches the tempo of the loop. When you hear it play back it should sound nice and clean with no time stretching artifacts.
Now Lets Quantize this Drum Loop
Let’s say you want the drums to sound more rigid and perfect with less of a human nuance to the groove. To quantize the beat so that all the hits land perfectly on the beat you need to now enable to ‘WARP’ function so go ahead and click on that button.
You should now see some hip points on all the transients in the waveform of the loop. Simply click on these transients and move them to grid markers which resemble strict measures in your bar. They look like this:
By default, the time stretching algorithm that Ableton uses is the ‘Beats’ option which you’ll see in the same column as the ‘WARP’ button, just a little lower down. Try using some different algorithms to hear the difference in sound.
You’ll also hear the perfectly quantized drum groove if you lined up all the transient hit points perfectly with the bar measures.
Now Lets Change the Groove and Re-Sequence
We’ll assume that our song requires a slight change in the drum groove so that it matches our bass line or synth groove. Download this drum loop to hear the change we made to the basic rhythm of the loop. Here’s a preview:
It’s quick and rough but you get the idea. So how did we do this? All we did was simply shift the transient hit points on a couple of the snare drum hits to different places in the grid. You can see in the image below exactly where we moved the hits to create this rhythm.
Now You Try
You’ve seen how easy it is to quantize and re-sequence a drum loop in Ableton. Why not grab some of our drum loop downloads and try your hand at this easy and fun technique?
If you prefer to sequence your drum loops in Garageband check out our drum loop downloads over at Macloops.