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Apple Loops Utility: Create Apple loops from audio files

June 3, 2008

OBJECTIVE: Convert AIFF or WAV files to Apple Loops format.

BACKGROUND: Apple’s Apple Loops format adds metadata to files that allows them to conform to arbitrary tempos and pitches. For example, a 100bpm Apple Loop in the key of E could loop in a sequencer project in the key of C at 126bpm.



1. Open the file you want to convert to an Apple Loop.


2. Click on the Tags tab and enter as many attributes for the file as possible. Make sure Looping is selected.


3. Click on the Transients tab. The object is to have a transient marker for each transient in the file, so slide the Sensitivity slider to the right until most, if not all, transients have a marker.


4. To add a marker if there’s a transient the Sensitivity slider didn’t catch, click above the transient next to the other marker handles. (To remove extraneous markers, which can happen with high sensitivity settings, click on the marker handle and press the keyboard’s Delete key.)


5. Test how the loop responds to tempo changes by varying the tempo slider and clicking on the Play button.


6. Test how the loop responds to key changes by clicking on the key field and selecting a different key.

7. If the loop doesn’t stretch well rhythmically, experiment with transient marker placement. When you’re satisfied with the results, click on Save. Done!


  • Proper setting of markers is an art and a science. Sometimes a file will stretch better at slower tempos if there’s a marker at the end of a note to define its end point. 
  • The more precisely a marker lines up with a transient, the better. Zoom in or out on the waveform display by using the handles on the ends of the scroll bar below the waveform screen.
  • Simple files with strong transients (like drum loops and bass parts) are the easiest to loop. Practice with those first.
  • If the file has a regular beat (like a 16th note high-hat pattern), you can often just select the desired rhythm in the Transient Division field (e.g., 16th notes) and you don’t have to do anything else with the markers.
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