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Ableton Live's Simpler | Overview of the Small But Mighty Sampling Instrument

Ableton Live can do a lot, but one of its most reputable aspects (besides, of course, the Session View and live performance in general) is its sampling ability. Whether you own Live Lite, Standard, or Suite, learning how to use Simpler is well worth your time.

Ableton Simpler in Expanded Form

So, what even is Simpler?

Simpler gets its name from its comparison to Live Suite’s Sampler. Think of Simpler as a SIMPLE sampling instrument. Simpler is a fab place to start your journey through the world of sampling, but also an awesome tool for those with experience who need a quick, easy, and reliable way to manage their samples.

Getting Started with Simpler

In my opinion, the easiest way to get a sample imported into Simpler is to SIMPLY drag the audio file you want to sample into the device tab of any audio track and Simpler will open with your audio file loaded in!

Next, we’ve gotta pick which part of our sample we want to… sample. Simpler provides three modes for selecting sections of samples and playing them back. These modes are...

Ableton Simpler in Classic Mode


  • Polyphonic by default (allows you to layer the sample into chords)

  • ADSR envelope to shape the sample's amplitude over time

  • Option to loop a specific part of the sample so that it can be held out for longer if need be.

Ableton Simpler in 1-shot mode

1-shot (one-shot)

  • Plays back the length of the sample regardless of how long the corresponding midi note is held

  • Simplified envelope

  • Best for drum hits and “one-shot” samples such as phrases or percussive elements

Ableton Simpler in Slice Mode


  • Non-destructively (not affecting the base sample’s audio file) slices sample so it can be played back in parts

  • Automatically slices based on transient based on auto slicing mode selected

  • Allows for manual customization of slice

If you are familiar with Ableton, you probably know that it is also quite respected for its audio warping abilities. Simpler has this warp function built into it! This makes it easy to ensure that the sample you are working with is aligned with the beat.

Controlling Your Sound

The Simpler contains a “controls” window which can be toggled on in the upper right hand corner of the plugin. These controls feature

Ableton Simpler Modulation, Envelope, and Filter Controls


  • Choose from high-pass, low-pass, bandpass, and notch filters, each with the option of a 12 or 24 dB slope.


  • Choose from a variety of LFO waveforms to modulate your sample

  • Ability to adjust attack, pitch, pan, and filter of your LFO

ADSR Envelope

  • Adjust the attack, decay, sustain, and release of your sample over time

So, yeah! Those are the basics of Simpler; it should provide you plenty to play around with!

For more music production tips, tricks, and inspirations, visit my YouTube Channel.

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