Exploring Impulse Instruments in Ableton Live
One of the benefits of using Ableton Live is the software instruments that come packaged with the various versions of the program. Let's take a look at Impulse, a simple but surprisingly powerful drum machine that's included with every version of Live 9. So I've already got an Impulse preset loaded on this first track. And if we look at the instrument across the top, you'll notice that we have eight squares, and those each hold a sample. If I click on the little Launch button or Preview button I can hear the sample that's loaded in that slot. (audio playing) Now, these samples are mapped to the keyboard starting at C3.
So, let me record-enable this track and I'll play middle C or C3. (audio playing) And then D, (audio playing) E, (audio playing) and so on and so forth. (audio playing) So those are mapped from C3 to C4, only using the white keys. Now, as I hover my mouse over one of the slots, there are a couple of extra buttons in addition to the Preview button. The one on the left is the mute button, and the one on the right is the solo button. Now as I select each of these slots you'll notice that the parameters below change.
So, I have individual settings for start time and transpose. I can use a filter and I can use pan and different volume assignments for each one of the eight slots. The last three controls over on the far right are global for volume and transposition. Now if I want to audition and load an impulse preset, I'll need to go into the Instrument category in the browser down the Impulse. And if I click the triangle there I can come in and I can see the various presets that are available. So I'll chose the first one, and then I'll click the Preview button to hear that.
(music playing) Now, if that's the preset that you want, you can load that onto a track by clicking and dragging it onto the track into the drop files and devices area. Or you can simply just hit your Return key and that loaded it on this second Midi track that was available her because there was nothing on the track. You can also create a custom drum instrument, so let me undo that and this time what I'll do is I'll drag and drop. The default impulse instrument and when that loads you'll notice that there are eight empty slots.
So, let's go find some samples. So, I'm going to go into the search area and I'm going to type 808 and lets go down into the samples category and I see a bunch of samples that all have 808 as part of the name. So, let's grab a kick. I like the claps, I'll put that on the third slot and like the hi-hats as well, so let me get the closed hi-hats and put that on the second to last slot and the open hi-hat, I'll put on the last slot.
And then let's do a different search, let's go 707. I like this snare. And then we'll grab a couple noises here's one that I found earlier. And I'll finish with this last one. Now you may wonder why I chose those. If you end up using any of the MIDI drum clips that are part of Live's library, it's likely that the notes are going to be mapped to certain keys based upon the conventions that they've used.
And with Impulse, that typically means that, the kick will typically be loaded on C and the snare and alternate snare will be loaded on D and E. Then the next three slots are usually used for tom-toms or noise types of sounds, so that's why I chose this two sounds here. And then last, they'll put hi-hats type sounds on the last two slots. Now, if I click the last slot, you'll notice that this link button appears in the lower left-hand corner and that allows us to link the last two slots because you wouldn't want your open hi-hat and your closed hi-hat ringing at the same time. So, if I trigger number eight here or the open high hat and then follow that immediately by triggering the closed high hat, as soon as I do that it will actually choke or terminate the sound from the slot eight. Now, if I decide I don't like any of these particular sounds or I want to swap them out for something, I can click a slot, and then, click the hot swap button, which will take me back into the browser, and allow me to search and find other kick sounds.
Same thing here if I want to change the snare, I can go into the snare area and maybe I want this snare 707. So (audio playing) if I double-click on that it exchanges that sound. Now, last 'm going to right-click on this first empty clip slot and I'm going to insert a MIDI clip. I'm just doing that because I want to show you in the sample editor that when the fold button is engaged we actually can see the names of the eight samples that are loaded into Impulse. If I disable that you can see just the normal piano role and the notes. So in addition to drum sounds, Impulse can play back any audio file. When you're working with impulse presets and clips don't forget to experiment and see what else you can come up with.
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