Sample chopping is a powerful production technique used by some of the biggest electronic music producers in the music industry.
It’s an art form where producers take existing audio samples and slice them to create unique and interesting sounds.
Whether you’re an aspiring producer or a seasoned veteran, learning how to chop samples can help you take your hip hop beats to the next level.
In this article, we’ll cover all aspects of sample chopping — from finding source material to mastering advanced techniques — so that you can start creating your own unique beats and sounds today.
So grab your laptop (or hardware sampler) and let’s get chopping!
But before we begin, be sure to check this free training on sample selection. It reveals a simple test that identifies the perfect samples in 30 seconds or less (ignoring this lesson could ruin your beats).
Now, let’s get started.
What is Sample Chopping?
Sample chopping consists of chopping sections of audio into multiple slices, and arranging them in a new way.
It’s an incredibly powerful technique for producers of all levels, and it can help you create unique and innovative sounds that will stand out in the music industry.
Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of chopping samples in your beats.
Why You Should Learn How to Chop Samples
Chopping can give your music a totally unique sound that will set it apart from the crowd.
It adds variety to your tracks, giving them more depth and complexity than just a single sound source. It also helps to create complex arrangements and transitions between different elements of the track. And finally, it’s an incredibly efficient way of producing music; with sample chopping, you can get incredible results in a fraction of the time compared to starting from scratch!
Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get started.
The most important tool you’ll need is a sampler.
A sampler is a slice tool that allows you to store and manipulate audio samples. You can use either a hardware or software sampler to chop samples, but the key is to use a sampler that supports multi-track audio mapping.
A MIDI controller is also key, as it gives you precise control over the sample parameters while you’re creating your track. If you’re using a hardware sampler, it should already include pads to control the samples. But if you’re using a software sampler, then it’s a good idea to get a MIDI drum pad or keyboard to help you program your samples.
Finally, a good set of headphones or studio monitors will help you hear all the nuances of the sample so that you can create the perfect sound.
With all these pieces of equipment in hand, you’re ready to start chopping samples!
Now, let’s take a look at some of the software and hardware options available to get you started!
Software and Hardware Options
Software such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio are great choices when for chopping samples. They provide plenty of features and tools to help you get creative with your samples.
Additionally, hardware samplers like Akai’s MPC or Native Instrument’s Maschine offer an intuitive interface and tactile control over your samples.
No matter what software or hardware you decide to go with, the important thing is that you have fun experimenting with different sounds and coming up with creative ways to use them in your music.
Be sure to choose a tool that you will use consistently. With a little bit of practice and dedication, you’ll soon be able to chop samples like a pro!
Setting Up Your Workstation
To make sure that you have everything set up correctly, start by gathering all of your software and hardware tools together.
For example, if you’re using Ableton Live, Logic Pro, or Pro Tools for software production, make sure that they are all properly installed, running on your computer, and have their respective sampler plugins installed.
Additionally, if you’re using a hardware sampler like an MPC or Maschine, ensure that it is connected properly and that all of the settings are correct. Refer to the owner’s manual for help setting it up correctly.
Finding a Source Sample
Before you can chop samples, you’ll need to find them first.
With so many samples to choose from, this can often be a daunting task. So how do you find that perfect sample?
The best way is to start by searching for sounds with a specific purpose in mind. Think about what type of sound would fit your track and search accordingly. You can also explore different genres and artists – you might find some unique sounds that can work really well in your project!
Once you’ve found some potential samples, spend some time listening to them and deciding which ones are going to work best for your track. From there, you can get creative with your sample chopping and start crafting something special!
Techniques for Chopping Samples
Let’s chop it up!
Here’s how to manually chop samples in your sampler:
In the sample editor, start by cutting sections of the sample that stand out to you — this could be vocal snippets, drum hits or other elements. Keep in mind, the more slices you create, the more complex your beat will be.
Once you’re satisfied with the slices you’ve created, map each slice to a unique MIDI region in your sampler.
You should now be able to trigger each slice from a different region on your MIDI controller or keyboard. All you have to do now is program your own pattern in your track.
By arranging your samples in different ways, you’ll be able to craft creative sounds that will help take your track to the next level. So grab some samples, fire up your workstation and start chopping away – who knows what awesome beats you could come up with!
Chopping Samples Automatically
Some samplers come with a “Slice Mode” – the ability to chop samples automatically. If you need to work with a sample quickly, or you’re a complete beginner, this might be a better option.
Be sure to use a sampler with the ability to automatically detect slices in audio. (The built-in samplers in Ableton Live, Logic Pro and FL Studio support this functionality.)
To use this feature, make sure your sample is loaded into your DAW, and then select the Slicing mode in your sampler. Slice the audio based on a single beat or note in the sample. This will break your sample up into individual slices with a consistent duration.
From there, you can rearrange the order of these slices, delete ones you don’t want, or even add new notes in between them. You can also use this feature to create new rhythms and melodies using only one sample!
Experimenting with slicing mode is an excellent way to make unique sounds that no one else has ever heard before.
Chaining Patterns Together
Once you’ve chopped your sample, you can experiment with chaining different patterns together.
This technique can be used to create longer, more complex rhythms or melodies without having to load in multiple samples.
To get started, take your sample and rearrange the order of these slices into a new pattern. Once you’ve got your pattern how you want it, you can then create new patterns and chain them together by arranging them onto a new track.
This will create a larger, continuous pattern that loops seamlessly — perfect for creating something new and exciting. Have fun experimenting with this technique and see what kind of music you can come up with!
Tips for Sample Chopping Success
To get the most out of your chops, there are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind.
Most importantly, practice the basics of sample chopping before attempting to create complex beats. Start by finding a sample that you like and experiment with simple chopping techniques to give it shape and texture.
Once you’re comfortable with this, try slicing the sample up into smaller pieces and using syncopation or reverse slices for unique rhythms.
As you gain more experience, gradually increase complexity as necessary — but mastering the basics first is key! So take your time, have fun, and enjoy the journey!
Mastering the Art of MIDI Programming
MIDI programming is an essential skill for any aspiring digital producer. It takes time and practice to become proficient, but with dedication, you can take your MIDI programming skills to the next level.
Learning to program MIDI is important because it allows you the freedom to experiment with your arrangement like a musician. Instead of using your mouse and keyboard to program your slices, you can play them in real time.
Take the time to practice using your MIDI controller. A good way to learn is to use a service like Melodics to build your skills and coordination. With the ability to play your samples with your MIDI controller, you’ll be able to create your beats faster and effortlessly.
Advanced Strategies for Chopping Samples
Once you’re comfortable slicing samples and programming them into your beats, you can start experimenting with different techniques and effects to see what works for your project.
For example, try using syncopating or reversing your slices to create interesting rhythms. You can take things even further by layering different samples together or experimenting with time-stretching and pitch-shifting.
Finally, don’t be afraid to go outside the box when it comes to processing your samples. Effects and filters are powerful tools for transforming sounds, allowing you to manipulate the tone, texture, and dynamics of your samples in unique ways.
For example, adding some reverb or delay can help to create a sense of space and depth in your mix. Or you can use EQs and compressors to shape the frequency spectrum of your sound. And don’t forget about distortion — this effect can be used to add grit and aggression to any sample.
Experiment with different effects and find out which ones work best for your project!
Learning how to chop samples and master the art of MIDI programming is a rewarding journey.
With dedication and practice, you can take your beats to the next level. Start by getting familiar with sample chopping — cutting up samples into smaller pieces and manipulating them — and experiment with different effects to give your sound shape and texture.
As you progress, layer samples together or time-stretch and pitch-shift them for more complexity.
With patience and perseverance, anyone can learn to chop samples like a pro!
Avoid This Common Mistake…
The last thing to remember is this:
You can learn all the skills, tactics, and tools in the world…
But nothing will save your beats if you choose the wrong samples.
Too many producers struggle because they try to make beats with limited inspiration. This causes them to force sounds that don’t belong.
That’s why it’s crucial to dig for the right samples.
This training shows you a simple test you can use to uncover the perfect samples in 30 seconds or less.
It’s perfect for sample-based producers of all experience levels.
Don’t miss your chance to overcome this common mistake.