Sampling: Using Sampling for Sound Design & Production
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Sampling: Using Sampling for Sound Design & Production

Using Ableton Live and Reason, we will learn how to craft sounds using any synthesizer to make amazing beats and tracks.
Best Seller
4.6 (48 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,735 students enrolled
Created by Jason Allen
Last updated 9/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $35 Discount: 71% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Design amazing sounds using any software
  • Work in Reason to understand sampling
  • Work in Ableton Live to understand sampling
  • Create any sound you can imagine using whatever software is at your disposal
View Curriculum
  • This course uses both Reason and Ableton Live, but is designed to work on any software (or hardware) platform. So no matter what software you are using, this class will guide you through how to use your samplers.

In Sound Design Fundamentals: Sampling, we will examine the essentials of Sound Design using Ableton Live and Propellerheads' Reason software and focusing on principals of Sampling. We will explore three fundamental topics:

  • Using samples for generating sounds, and the legal implications of sampling (And two pro tips for avoiding all the legal issues)
  • Using samples to generate new sounds through manipulation and synthesis
  • Using samplers to control drum sounds and sequence dynamic drum patterns.

This classes uses the same system I've used for years in my college courses for teaching sound design: Identify and master the 4 main pieces of any synthesizer (or in this case, the sampler), and you will be flying when you first approach any other unit in the future.

This system keeps the technical jargon to a minimum and gets you making your own sounds quick.

J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.

He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:

  • "Dr Allen does it again with his music theory for electronic musicians series. This course really opened up everything I learned from the 1st section and now I understand more about the composition side of things for music. I highly highly recommend this course to anyone!!! Really opened my eyes to many things I wasn't aware of."
  • "The Best Teacher ever, who makes you understand the ins & outs of Music Theory by all mean without giving what you don't want to know."
  • "I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going thru this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me."
Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for anyone interested in making their own sounds to enhance their productions.
  • This course does not go into complex terminology about sampling, so it is ideal for students just starting out (or needing a refresher) in sampling and sound design.
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Curriculum For This Course
29 Lectures
Overview & Key Concepts
4 Lectures 19:13

Welcome to the class! In this video we will give a quick explanation of what we will be covering, and how we will be covering it.

Preview 03:16

In this video we will talk about the similarities to synthesis, and talk about the main tools we will be using. (Ableton Live and Reason)

Preview 05:38

In this video we talk about the legal issues around sampling, and, more importantly, how to aviod them entirely by using free, legal, samples that you can find online with one simple trick.

Preview 07:12

Just like in synthesis, we have four key elements that we need to learn to identify when we approach any sampler. In this video we will find and discuss these key elements.

4. The 4 Elements to any Sampler
The NN-19 Sampler
4 Lectures 36:57

First, we will poke around the NN-19 and see what is here, especially looking for our four key elements.

Preview 14:27

One of the most important concepts that separates a sampler from a synthesizer is Keyzones and rootkeys. In this video we dive into these topics using the NN-19.

Preview 10:51

Here we will start from scratch and make our own instrument using the NN-19 Sampler.

Creating Instruments with the NN-19

The first of many preset deconstructions! We look at one of the presets in the NN-19 and pick it apart to see how it works. Hugely informative!

Preset Deconstruction No. 1
The NN-XT Sampler
5 Lectures 38:46

We start the same as before: Poking around and see what is here. Looking especially for what is familiar from the NN-19, and what is new.

Interface Overview

We already know what Keyzones are, but what about Velocity Zones? We couldn't do them in the NN-19, but we can in the NN-XT. So we will look at them here.

Keyzones and Velocity Zones

In this video we will get a little more indepth with the modulation and filter parameters to add some texture to our sounds.

Modulation & Filter Control

Here we will start from scratch again, and design an instrument that uses samples to create a dynamic sound with multiple keyzones and velocity zones.

Creating Instruments with the NN-XT

Again we will pick apart one of the presets, this time in the NN-XT to see how it works, and how it was designed.

Preset Deconstruction No. 2
The Ableton Live Simpler
8 Lectures 26:09

The Ableton Live Simpler interface works a bit differently than our Reason samplers, but all the same stuff is there, just laid out differently. (Plus some more things!)


When we work with drum sounds, we use a lot of the same elements, with a few differences. In this video we will examine those differences to work with drums.

Making Drum Sounds

From scratch! Here we will start fresh and use the Ableton Live Simpler to create a unique sound.

Designing Sounds in the Ableton Simpler

Here we go again: Another preset deconstruction. This time using the Ableton Live Simpler.

Preset Deconstruction No. 3

Live 9.5 came with a newly updated Simpler. Here are a few of the new features of the New Simpler.

UPDATE: The Live 9.5 Simpler

The 9.5 Simpler has three main modes. First, we will look at the "classic" mode.

Live 9.5 Simpler - Classic Mode

The second new tab in the 9.5 Simpler is the 1-Shot Mode.

Live 9.5 Simpler: 1-shot Mode

The last, and most powerful, new mode in the 9.5 Simpler is the Slice Mode.

Live 9.5 Simpler: Slice Mode
The Ableton Live Sampler
2 Lectures 19:02

Diving right in, here we will walk through the whole device and see how it works. Get comfy for this one!

Interface & Walkthrough

Last one! Here we deconstruct one of the presets in the Ableton Live Sampler and see how it works, and how it was designed.

Preset Deconstruction No. 4
1 Lecture 01:51

Where do you want to go next? Some tips for going deeper into sampling and other music ideas.

Parting Thoughts
Bonus Videos
5 Lectures 33:41

Lets check out Ableton Live's Sampler. This is a grown-up version of a Sampler, but has a deceptively simple (looking) interface. The key to its power is hidden in the "zones" tab, which we will look at next.

Using Ableton Live's Sampler

In most sampling instruments, you will be working with more than one sample. This is how you set up a sampler to hold multiple samples, and make really expressive instruments with it.

MultiSamples and Zones

In this section I'm going to open up a orchestra library sample pack that I have, using a Sampler. Its got about 300 different samples in it, so lets walk through how they are triggered.

An Orchestra Library Example

I've been asked a lot about preparing individual samples to go into a sampler. A great (free) tool for that is Audacity. I have a separate class on Audacity, but here is a quick overview of how it works. 

Bonus Lecture: Preparing Samples with Audacity

There is so much more to learn!

Bonus Lecture: Discount Offers & Mailing List
About the Instructor
Jason Allen
4.6 Average rating
6,736 Reviews
38,857 Students
65 Courses
Ph.D / Ableton Certified Trainer

J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.

J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He is a co-founder and owner of Slam Academy, a multimedia educational space in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative net-label for new music.

J. has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.

If you run into him on the street, he prefers to be addressed as J. (as in, Jay.)