Defining how many bars an audio sample is, without warping the audio

Greetings friends,

How can I define how many bars an audio sample is, without warping the audio?

(I need the initial unaltered audio sample to be the basis of the entire Live project; from which all other relevant parameters are derived. Tempo, etc.)


I noodle on guitar/bass until I come up with something I like, then I hit R in Audacity (for quick & easy no-frills recording) and record whatever I just came up with, for however long makes sense to the piece. (Hit Space to stop recording. Hitting R again instantly starts recording a new track.) Eventually, I multi-export the current batch of song-seeds as wav files.

Next, I drop one of these wavs into a clip in an audio track in Ableton to use it as the seed for a song. The idea is to trim it to a nice loop-able section and then jam along to that loop, on other armed tracks with whatever other instruments I'm feeling at the time and start to build-up the song around that initial seed.

I can get the trimmed sections of audio to loop perfectly, but Live will often claim it's some bizarre number of bars. (Live, like most DAWs doesn't seem to love poly-rhythms.) I've tried numerous things to advise Live the clip is actually 16/32/64/whatever bars long. Everything either results in the audio being warped, or Live not measuring its bars whatsoever.

I've tried pre-trimming the loop and then listening to the sample in VLC while using Live's TAP button to pre-set the Tempo before bringing the sample into Live, and this looked promising - it caused Live to call this particular clip 16 bars, but when I hit Play I notice it had altered the speed of playback of the clip..... (even though I have Live set to not Auto-Warp Long Samples.)

It should be a simple matter of telling Live to take a clip which is a set length of time, and divide it into a given number of bars - and then auto-adjust the Tempo of the song based on this sample.

I know I can very manually play with the Tempo to have it play-back as the right speed, but I would always know it had been messed with and is no longer in its natural state... I want the audio to have always been left alone and have the DAW conform to the music - not have the music conform to the DAW.

I feel there absolutely must be a simple way to do this, but I've been searching for two days now and am getting very uninspired. I completely re-read Chapter 9 in the manual, as well as jumping around various other sections in the manual. I've done numerous searches in this knowledge base and on google.. This is such an obvious technique to use to write, I feel this has to be easily doable, so I apologize if the answer should be obvious. If this is not currently possible in Live, Ableton really needs to look at adding it in a future version.


Many thanks!


DRCarter 3 years ago | 0 comments

2 answers

  • [daw] Ableton staff
    202 answers
    238 votes received
    2 votes

    Hi there,

    Thank you for posting this here. 

    To make it really quick: There is no such feature in Live currently. In order to achieve this desired goal of setting a selection to an x bar loop, you would need to make use of warping and manually altering the tempo of the clip or the session. 

    We recently introduced a feature grasping on this idea, but this is based on an analysis of the transients in your clips and gives you predefined results. 

    If you right-click on a selection within an audio clip, you will see the context menu entry called "Warp as x bar loop", where "x" will be the suggested number from Live. 

    I doubt that this feature will fully suffice your needs, but it might be a step into this direction. 

    Let me assure you though, that I personally share this feature wish with you since I started to use Live, and I will make sure to forward this internally once again. 

    Let's hope this will find its way into Live one day and thank you again for your contribution. 



    3 years ago | 1 comment
  • LSasso
    2 answers
    2 votes received
    1 vote

    "The idea is to trim it to a nice loop-able section and then jam along to that loop."

    It's not a single step, but I think this will do what you want:

    1. make sure Auto-Warp Long Samples is OFF in Live's Warp preferences.

    2. drag the clip to the beginning of a track in Arrangement view.

    3. set Live's time signature if necessary and then manually adjust Live's tempo until the clip is close to the right length in bars and beats. (As long as the clip is not warped, the clip and timeline stay locked and both move relative to Live's bars/beats grid.)

    4. in the Clip Viewer turn warping on for the clip, mouse over the end of the clip, click on the pseudo (gray) warp marker that appears and drag it to the exact right bars/beats grid position. 

    5. set Live's tempo to the clip's tempo as shown in the 'Seq. BPM' display and then turn off warping for the clip (optional). 

    Hope that helps,


    2 years ago | 0 comments

You need to be logged in, have a Live license, and have a username set in your account to be able to answer questions.

Answers is a new product and we'd like to hear your wishes, problems or ideas.