Ableton Live Simpler masterclass

The star attraction of Live’s much-discussed 9.5 update, back in 2015,  was the revamped Simpler, redesigned to deeply integrate with Ableton’s Push 2 controller. 

Before the update, warping could only be applied directly within audio clips, but it’s now a key feature inside Simpler too – activate Warp and a clip’s timing information is retained, meaning your stretched clips will play back in time with your project. 

Cosmetically, it’s been given a visual spruce-up, with its layout streamlining the Live/Push experience significantly. You can even pop out its main waveform display into the main Device View via a right-click menu option.

As well as a facelift, warping integration and the addition of several analogue-modelled filter types, the updated instrument now features a trio of separate sampling modes, switched between via the three buttons on the left of its display. Let’s take a closer look at them…


Simpler’s Classic mode is for sampling and playing back ‘regular’ melodic and pitched instruments with up to eight voices of polyphony. This mode works like any traditional soft sampler, with controls for sample playback start/end, sustain looping and an ADSR amplitude envelope as standard.


Switch to the monophonic One-Shot mode, designed to trigger drums and short samples, and the sound will play right to the end of its length, no matter how short your triggering notes are. The ADSR amp envelope is swapped for simplified fade in/out controls, and looping is also deactivated.


Slice mode is for chopping and playing back individual sounds within a loop – eg, the separate slices of a breakbeat – either monophonically or polyphonically. Adjust the slicing sensitivity to reduce the number of slices, use Pad Slicing to punch in custom slices and Nudge to fine-tune each segment’s start point.

Check out more Simpler tutorials over the next few pages and master this simple, yet very versatile sampling tool. 

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