What is Audio Resampling and How to Do It in Ableton Live

Audio resampling can have two meanings, depending on the context. One, (and not to be confused with oversampling) it can refer to changing the sample rate of a clip of audio. In the context of multitracking, sampling, and in Ableton Live, we can use audio resampling to print audio from our set to a new track. Let’s talk more about audio resampling and how to do it in Ableton Live (though note virtually all DAWs have this functionality).

Why Use Audio Resampling

Why would we want to resample our audio in the first place?

audio resampling

First, it’s based off of a concept of classic four or eight track recording when track space was at a premium. Nowadays we can create seemingly limitless tracks in our DAW to accommodate all of our audio.

The Beatles spent most of their recording career utilizing 4 track machines. They used a very rudimentary form of resampling to take three recorded tracks, get the balance right between them, then “print” those three tracks on to the fourth track. They then had those original three tracks to work with again and record more instruments, vocals, etc.

While we don’t have track limits like that in our digital workstations, CPU demand can be at a premium. All of the plugins which make up your mix start to tax your system’s CPU and memory with some more than others.

I use Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3 on occasion, and certain presets that I’ve put together using the processing within the plugin consume over 10GB of memory. My old computer struggled having this much open in my set to the point that I had to open a drums only set with the plugins, then bounce and import it into my actual set for the song.

Using resampling you don’t need to open or keep a separate set – you can print everything to one track simply by hitting record.

Best of all, it prints those tracks with the effects from the plugins baked into that new clip of audio.

I do this on vocals occasionally which have pops, clicks, mouth noises, etc. on them.

Izotope’s RX 10 is a great way to clean these up, but it’s a resource hog. With resampling I can print that track with the change and delete the old track with the heavy load plugin, instantly freeing up a ton of resources for the rest of the mix.

Sometimes I’ll use RX 10 to resample just a section or bar of a vocal I want to fix, resampling that bar to a new track, then pulling that bar and seamlessly replacing the problem section before deleting the plugin on the vocal which is no longer necessary.

Let’s also not discount sometimes you just want to pull a little segment of a clip for easy isolation without having to bounce and import the track.

If you’ve got a drum loop and you just want its kick sample, you can use resampling to record just that kick sample to its own track in seconds.

You can use this to print audio fast to chop it up or further process it all within your DAW without worrying about changing the original track, as well.

There are plenty of applications for audio resampling, so let’s cover how to do it.

How to Do Audio Resampling in Ableton

Again, I’m utilizing Ableton Live as that’s my DAW of choice, but this can be done in a similar fashion in your DAW, as well.

Step 1 – Create a New Audio Track and Set “Audio From” to Resampling

The first step is simple enough, create a new audio track in your set.

You may want to color code it and label it in such a way that you can easily find what this is meant to be later. Speaking of organization and timing saving in your set, check out my tutorial on how to make a mixing template.

In the session view, click the window on that track just beneath “Audio From” and select “Resampling” which will be near the top of the list.

audio from resampling

If you play your mix, you should see the fader just beneath “Resampling” lighting up. This is because this track is ready to record everything which is playing at the moment.

Step 2 – Arm the Track and Select Which Tracks You Want Captured

Click the “Arm Recording” button on the new resampling track so that it’s ready to record any audio we feed it.

Now we simply solo the tracks we want captured on that resampling track. I mentioned a number of applications for using this technique a moment ago.

If we just want the drums, solo the drums. If you want the intro of the song to maybe reverse the whole thing with some reverb and other effects into the actual intro of the song, just play the set from the beginning.

Keep in mind that again, this will print ALL the effects of those tracks to that new track. Exactly what you’re hearing is what will be on that new resampling track, just without the actual plugins on the track.

Step 3 – Record

All that’s left to do is hit the record button. Remember that this will start recording from whatever spot you designate on the timeline.

Let it record for as much as you need. When you’re finished, solo and play back your new track to hear the magic of resampling!

You can then chop up this track further, add additional processing, and generally use it however you want to enhance your mix.

Audio Resampling Tips

  • Audio resampling refers to printing audio from one or multiple tracks along with their plugins all within your DAW.
  • Use audio resampling to save system resources by removing the need for heavy load plugins, save time, and pull samples to further manipulate without disturbing the original track.
  • In Ableton Live, simply create a new track, select “Resampling” under the “Audio From” menu, arm it for recording, and play back any tracks you want included with their effects on that new track.
  • You can then chop up that resampled track, add effects, do whatever you want with it to enhance your mix.

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