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How To Chop A Sample

Posted by Ms.Tris Beats On May - 22 - 2008

So you want to make a beat using a chopped sample.There are several ways to go about doing this. Some producers may take a huge loop and add some drums, however this is not the way seasoned producers make hits. In some way or form you’ll have to chop the sample. What is chopping? Splitting the sample or loop into smaller sections to be loaded into your hardware or software sampler…This process allows greater control over arranging the sound waves, and leaves room for your creativity to blossom.
Step 1
Find a ..**ahem**..royalty free sample :-)… Load that into your editing software. If you are using a hardware sampler, the basic concept will apply, but you’ll have to work inside your machine. I use this method for both hardware and software because it’s more precise, and a lot faster.

Load sample into editor

Step 2
Find the section you’d like to work with, and zoom in

Find Section

Step 3
Select a small loop. The size of the selection will vary. I usually use a 2 to 4 bar loop. The smaller you chop the more arrangement possibilities. After you get the hang of it, try using 1 bar loops and see what you can make.

Highlight Loop

Step 4

Make sure your selection is highlighted at “Zero Crossing”. Zero
Crossing means in alternating current; which would be your waveform, the zero crossing is the instantaneous point at which there is no voltage or no sound is present. You’ll have to zoom in close
to be sure you are highlighting the loop start and end points to zero crossing to avoid pops and clicks.

You can see in the picture above, “zero crossing” looks flat on the screen, and the green represents the actual sound wave. I have zoomed in to highlight my loop to be sure my loop start and end are at zero crossing.

Step 5
Continue to add cues or export each loop
Continue to cue or export loops
If you are using an editor which adds cue points, you can continue to highlight the loops you want adding markers or cues. In Adobe Auditon the cues can be exported seperately or saved in the file for use in software that detects them like the Fl 8 slicer. Name the loops/cues so you can easily identify them later.
Another way to seperate your loops is to export/save each selection manually as you go along. It is best to make a folder for the beat, adding a subfolder for your chops. This keeps all your loops with the beat file.
Now that you have your “Chops”, you can arrange them using your soft sampler, hardware, or even your multitrack program. If I’m using an Mpc, I put each chop on a single pad. I may have 16 or more small 1- 4 bar loops loaded into the Mpc. Here is where the term ” Flip the sample” begins. Now,I am able to play the chops from the pads on the Mpc and flip or rearrange them to my liking.

There are tons of videos showing this procedure. I show an example in ” She Makes Beats Vol1.”
My First Short..”She Makes Beats Vol.1″…just a quick tutorial showing how to make a sample based beat using your own composed sample. Directed and filmed By Brad Willard
**MsTris does not endorse views of the “Mystery Producer” 😉


Here is another easy one I found for todays topic.
Joe D Law: Choppin a sample with Audacity

He’s using editors basically for the same reason I do..Need an editor? Joe D used Audacity which is super loaded for a free program. It even has Multitrack recording. Pick up a copy here> Audacity .

@ Storm: Picture of chop between boxes.

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12 Responses to “How To Chop A Sample”

  1. storm says:

    Good post. I’m still trying to understand what is outward and inward zero crossing.

  2. Ms.Tris says:

    Hey Storm..Thanks for coming through…Step 4 explains zero crossing and here is the Adobe definition:
    Zero crossing

    A point in time where a waveform crosses the zero amplitude line. To make edits sound smoother, place them at zero-crossing points, thus avoiding abrupt changes in amplitude that cause pops and clicks.

    …..So outward means your program will try to detect the zero crossing going ” away” from the start and end of the waveform, and “inward” means your program will try to detect the zero crossing going toward the start and end of the waveform

  3. storm says:

    Thanks for the post. These are very helpful tips indeed. I’m starting to get it now. I was playing around with Adobe’s zero crossing options trying to get those clicks out the end of my chops. When I zoom in all the way, the wave shows up as a line connecting boxes. Is that what you mean when you said the zero crossing looks flat on your screen?

    I was sampling a complex loop with full instrumentation and vocals, so would that make it harder sometimes to get rid of the clicking and popping at the end of the chop? I was messing around with that “adjust right marker to the left / right” from the zero crossing menu while manually moving my cue points and listening to the chop.

  4. Ms.Tris says:

    You are getting it indeed. If you are seeing the dots then you have zoomed in very close. You will see the dots in a flat line , then begin to rise or dip below the “middle” (amplitude) line with the attack of the sound wave. The zero crossing would be right before the first “raised/ lowered dot”. You have to find this at each end of your loop to ensure you avoid clicks.
    The more instruments and vocals may make it more difficult, but you should at least be able to come close to a zero crossing. If you stay as close as possible to the most “flat” area at the beginning and end of the loop, your drums and percussion will probably drown out any clicks at such a low volume. Look above, I added a picture of where I chopped a loop in between the boxes.

  5. storm says:

    Thanks for the info and for taking time out to explain this in clear detail. Very helpful indeed. You should some more tutorials on chopping and looping when you have time.

  6. Ms.Tris says: are very welcome, I plan to do more with samples very soon… stay tuned and come back often 🙂

  7. storm says:

    Most definitely! Now if you could do a tutorial about time stretching and changing the tempo of one loop to match another, that would be great and I would definitely propose! 🙂 I’ll definitely keep checking back!

  8. Ms.Tris says:

    @Storm 🙂 lol, I got ya…this is actually what I wanted, some suggestions from readers on tutorials they’d like to see. I’ll put this down and email you when it’s up. It may be this week or early next week…great idea thanks

  9. hey there, love your site and your beats. I know you mess with fl studio some and was wondering how to get out all the clicks in my individual chops within slice ex. that zero crossing method seems a bit restrictive to me in some ways, even though I will definitely try that in the future if possible. slice ex has declick in/out but that seems to do absolutely nothing so I assume its for clicks native to the sample and not the chops. I can bury them in the drums for the most part but it still annoys me and I really cant find a whole lot of info on the topic for some reason.

  10. Ms.Tris says:

    Hello thefreshpeddler…Thanks for the love! Within slicex you can zoom in as far as possible then add your marker. Its basically using the same process. You want to add your chop where there’s the lowest to no volume of sound. Other elements that cause clicks are loud snare sounds. You can lowering the volume on each snare in the sample often helps as well… let me know if this works

  11. Aura in hiphop says:

    I just wanted to start by saying this is a great article. It really helpful and informative. Thanks for making it. I have two questions:
    1) How can i watch the first video in the article? Since the video is private.
    2) Wouldnt a person be better off with a midi controller, If they are going to chop sample on a computer. (I was just curious because I want to try a mpc out. Right now I using a computer to chop and a mpd to controll the sample from there.) Thanks.

  12. Hey @Aura thanks much for the comment. The first video is private on youtube 🙁 I forgot to remove from post. if you add me as a friend on youtube: MsTrisBeats I can send the link so you can view :)…
    What you have is great for working with samples on pc. The mpd is a midi controller, if you mean a keyboard/piano type midi controller its all in personal preference. I like using both. One reason is… say I have chopped a sample into 36 pieces. Id have to switch through pad groups on the mpc etc. to play all the samples. If I play the samples using the midi keyboard I can map them and play all the samples with the keys without switching through pad groups.

    Now the mpc is a piece of hardware most producers love it or hate it. You can go to guitar center and play around with the demo. being as though you are using the mpd you’d probably like it. But what you have is fine…

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About Me

Introducing Ms.Tris Beats a Hip Hop Producer, Artist,and Blogger from Baltimore, MD. Currently producing for a host of Maryland\'s hottest Mc\'s, and artist from all over the country. Her music is in demand to the who\'s who in Baltimore Hip hop. Please enjoy your visit as Ms.Tris takes through her musical journey of production, hiphop and life....



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