Ableton Live 7: Fun With Slicing And Dicing

OBJECTIVE: Deconstruct an audio file into individual slices, and then apply editing options to alter the file in various ways. BACKGROUND: Live 7 allows dividing an audio file into slices. You can then edit each slice with respect to placement in a loop, filtering, envelope characteristics, and much more.
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  1. Right-click on a clip (Mac, Ctrl-click) and select “Slice to New MIDI Track.”
  2. Select the slicing division, typically 1/8th or 1/16th note, then click “OK.”
  3. Live creates a MIDI track. Call up the MIDI Note Editor to see a chromatic series of notes representing each slice.
  4. To edit the loop, change the pitch and/or location of slices, as well as alter slice velocities, in the MIDI Note Editor.
  5. Click the newly created MIDI track’s “unfold” button to reveal a mixer channel for each slice. You can now mute or solo individual slices, change their levels, etc.
  6. Live also creates a device chain for the loop, which has macro controls for the Simplers used to play back the slices. As one example of editing fun, turn down Sustain, and vary Decay to create more percussive slices.
  7. You can also show the Chain List to select individual slices, then use Show/Hide Devices to change characteristics of the selected slice (e.g., add filtering, LFO, envelope response, etc.). Cool!


  • In step 2, Live won’t allow more than 128 slices (for example, with a 32 beat long file, you can do a maximum of 1/16th note slices). If slicing exceeds this limit, set a lower slice resolution, or select a smaller region of the file for slicing.
  • In step 5, remember that the controls affect individual slices, regardless of whether you’ve changed their positions or not.