Join Rick Schmunk for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring Simpler, part of Ableton Live 9 Essential Training.
Simpler is another software instrument included in all versions of Live 9. It's a sample player that incorporate the filter, LFO, and pitch parameters of a basic synthesizer. Let's take a look and see how it works. So let's start by loading a preset. I'm going to go into the instrument category and choose Simpler and open that up. And let's go down to the pad category. And I've got a couple presets in there, so I'm going to drag and drop this first one onto the first MIDI track. and when that opens up, I can see that I'm actually inside a rack.
But if I look over to the right, I can actually see the sample player. I'll start by saying that Simpler is a single sample player, and the first preset that I show you actually has this thing that says multi-sample mode. Many of the presets that come with Live have been tricked out by the designers at Ableton. And they are actually multi sample presets. And when you look at the player you'll notice that we don't see the sample displaying where it normally does. So what they have done here is they have actually locked that particular part of the preset.
And we can't get in and adjust those particular parameters. Now if you own Live suite, you also own Sampler, which is a multi-sample player device. And if you go up onto the title bar of Simpler, and right-click, you can actually send the preset from Simpler to Sampler. Let's do that. So now we actually see the sample that's part of this particular preset. And we have access to all of the different presets that are available in Sampler. And this is a fully functional Sampler. We're actually going to talk about Simpler, so I'm going to go ahead and let's scroll over here.
And select the rack preset, and then I'm going to hit my delete key to get rid of that. Instead let's grab an empty Simpler and I'm drag that onto this first MIDI track. We'll notice here that there's no sample loaded. So, I'm going to do a search and let's look for a piano. So, type that in here and I'll go down to the samples area and you'll notice that we've got a bunch of different grand piano samples. So let me just grab middle C, one of the C threes. And I'm going to drag and drop that down into the drop sample area of Simpler.
So I chose C3 because the default mapping location for a sample when you drop it into Simpler, is actually middle C or C3. So I've got the track record enabled. Let me play C3 on my piano here, (audio playing) and we can hear the sample. Now as I play up the keyboard, Simpler is going to transpose the pitch up, and if I go down, it will transpose it down. Now let's just check out what happens as I go up the keyboard (music playing). Now you'll notice that that sample sounded pretty good for about the first third or fourth.
But as I started to get beyond that, as it transposed and stretched that sample, it started to sound less and less like a piano. And more and more like a harpsichord, for example. The strength of Simpler is not really in transposing a single sample across the entire keyboard. Let's take another look at a use of this. So let me select that and delete that. And I'm going to go back into my instruments area, and I'll get rid of that piano search. And I'm going to grab another empty Simpler and this time but let's do a search for let's say 808. And again I'll go down to my samples area.
And I'm going to grab this kick 808 and I'm going to drop that on this track, and then, let me find a snare, 808, here's one. And I'm going to ignore this MIDI track, I'll hover it there for a second so that the device view opens up. And then I'm going to go down here and I'm going to drop that sample in the Drop Instrument of Sample area. And notice that only doesn't load that sample but it actually put it inside of a Simpler. And I'll do this one more time. I'm first going to grab another Simpler and let me just drag and drop that out here in the drop files area.
And then I'll go back into my search and do 808 one more time. And I'm going to grab a closed high hat. Here we go, there's one. Then I'll drop that down here. So now now I've got three tracks with three Simplers playing different drum samples, and I'm going to create just a very, very simple pattern. So I'm going to go on the first track here, the kick track, I'll right-click on the first slot and I'm going to insert a MIDI clip. And I'm going to trim that down so that it's only a one beat clip. I'll turn on my Pencil tool.
And I'm going to click in a C3. (audio playing) So I can just loop this kick playing on all beats. Then I'll go to the snare track. I'll right-click > Insert MIDI Clip. I'll trim that one down to two beats long. And again, I'll click in a C3, but only on B2 for the snare. And for the hi hat, I'm going to go ahead and do a different search here. I'm going to look for the groove file. So .agr will get me all of the different groove files. Let me pull down, and let's get a 16th note one. And I'm going to just grab one of these.
Now remember that these groove files are actually MIDI files. And I don't have to use it as a groove template, I can actually click and drag that and put it on right on a clip slot and use it as MIDI. So let me drag and drop that on the first hi hat slot. So we'll see that I've got that there as a MIDI clip and if I go out of my Pencil tool, you'll notice that we've got the MIDI notes. And looks like this particular one, all of the velocities are about the same. Let me delete that, I'm going to try a different one. Let's listen to this. (audio playing).
Okay, I'll try this one. Yeah, there's a little bit of variety in this one. So, I'll stay with that. So let's check out and see what this sounds like. (music playing). So right off the bat, I'm not really particularly in love with what my hi hat sounds like. So I'm going to shift-tab, so I can see the various devices and one of the things that I'm going to work with is the release and sustain on that, so. Let's stop all the clips, I just want to listen to the hi hat real quick.
And I'm going to play this hi hat as I work with the envelope of that particular sound. (audio playing) So you can see how you can use the envelope detect a case sustain and release to actually shape that particular sound. So let me stop that one. Last but not least I want to show you that on this kick track, one of the things that you can also do with the Simpler is to layer the sounds. So I'm going to right-click the device and I'm going to choose Group. And what I've done is just create a rack here, and if I go to the chain list I can see the kick 808 there but, I also gives me the ability to add a different kick in.
So now if I do a search for kick, and I go into my samples area, I can see all the different kicks that are available. And I can go ahead and just grab one of these. Let me preview one just to hear what it sounds like. (audio playing) Okay, let's just say that's good enough. And I'll click and drag that down into the chain lift. And now I've got two Simplers that are going to make a composite kick sound. And I can set the parameters of each one of these to shape the sound.
In the end, I can create a very complex sound using two or more samples for a single kick. And they'll all trigger when I hit C3. Simpler is a simple device, but at the same time, it can be very useful, and with a bit of imagination, it can solve many musical problems.
- Choosing the right gear to use with Ableton
- Setting audio and MIDI preferences
- Optimizing performance
- Loading, playing, and moving clips
- Exporting clips and devices
- Recording and overdubbing MIDI
- Quantizing with grooves
- Editing pitch and note duration
- Understanding EQ and filters
- Recording real-time automation
- Looping audio
- Creating beats with Impulse
- Creating drum racks
- Introducing Max for Live