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How to Make Custom Slice to MIDI Presets in Ableton Live

This video and the below text are extra materials selected from Soundfly’s online mentored courses: The Art of Hip-Hop Production and Beat Making in Ableton Live.

As one of the course creators here at Soundfly, I get the chance to write, test, and play around with a lot of the lessons to make sure there’s tons of good info on every page. One realization I had after finishing up our latest course on hip-hop production was that despite how powerful Ableton Live’s Slice to MIDI feature is, the presets weren’t giving me exactly what I wanted.

So I decided to make my own. In the above video you’ll see how I do that, but for a little bit of context:

Here’s what I wanted to improve…

Firstly, I wanted each pad (or key) to play the entire slice, and not require me to hold anything down. I also wanted to keep the slices from overlapping — especially when chopping up harmonically dense material.

I also wanted to do some coarse and fine tuning. Samples aren’t always perfectly in tune, and I wanted a quick way to grab and tune the entire set of slices. I also wanted a way to grab a global filter, adjust the attack, and release of all the slices at once to have a bit more control.

You can accomplish all this and more by creating your own Slice to MIDI presets, and it’s really not that tough. I hope the video helps you get a sense of how you can do this yourself and adjust the parameters so they’re just right for your own purposes. Give it a shot, and happy chopping!

Learn tons more about hip-hop beat making, production, and history in Soundfly’s new mentored online course, The Art of Hip-Hop Production, and get one-on-one feedback on your work for six weeks with a Soundfly Mentor. What are you waiting for? Preview the course for free here.

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John Hull
John Hull

John is Head of Production for Soundfly. He’s directed, produced, filmed, and edited more than 50 online courses, including courses made in collaboration with major partners like Carnegie Hall. Collectively, his videos have over 1.6 million views on YouTube. John's background is in engineering, composing, and mixing. However, the love at the molecular level for all these things is synthesis. He's produced music for ads for major commercial production houses for major brands and has mixed major film soundtracks, such as the indie hits Experimenter and King Jack.