[Draft discussion] Chopping / slicing audio in the Sampler

This seems like an overdue feature, that many samplers have had for a long time. Right now, the ways we have to slice clips are either slicing to multisample, or making a setup in the grid that divides 1 by the amount of steps, and assigning that to the play position. Slicing to multi sample is inconvenient, because you can’t easily change your slices after you have created to multisample. And you don’t get the feel you have when doing the “lazy chop” method. Auto dividing the loop within the Grid is a pretty nerdy process, and you are stuck to grid divisions, so it doesn’t work for slicing un-quantized beats.


I’m hoping it’s not a lazy update if they go that route, it needs to out do Ableton, IMO I’m expecting play through features with ADSR and elite time stretching

I feel like slicing in combination with all of Bitwig’s sampler’s other features would already make it stand apart. In my opinion, I think just getting the option to add slice points within the sampler is a good focus for “sample chopping”. Maybe adding stretch modes should be another topic.


I think the sampler should either make a new instance of a clip or reference a clip when a clip was used as sampler contents.

Currently a clip drag into the sampler results in a raw sample instance. It would be handy to have beatgrid / beatmarkers and sample chopping in there together. However I would not duplicate clip editing functionality but either link back to a clip reference for editing or enable inline editing within the sampler.

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In case anybody is curious about how to auto slice within the sampler in The Grid, I just uploaded a video showing how you can do it. This method slices by beat divisions. So, it won’t work well with off grid beats. But, it’s a workaround that works. In this tutorial, I am triggering the slices with sequencers in The Grid, but you can also convert midi to do it as well. It is a bit tedious to setup, but once it is done, you can save it and reuse it easily. It works with multisamples too, so you can automate the sample select for various loops, and it will slice between them in time.

Also, here is a much much simpler way to auto slice loops in the sampler to beat divisions. This way is triggered by midi:

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We should describe the feature requested in a self-contained form. If we say “like Ableton”, then only those familiar with Ableton’s sampler will know what we are talking about.

I’m not an Ableton user but I have an MPC (see Chop Mode), so I guess here we are talking about…

  • Lazy chop. That is, play the sample and then slice it pressing different pads or keys to get each slice assigned to that key.
  • Threshold. Automatic slicing based on volume levels in the sample.
  • Region. Automatic slicing of the sample in a defined number of regions.
  • BPM. Automatic slicing based on tempo.

Is that it or are there other ways of chopping to be addressed?

Each of these ways of chopping has its own development complexities, and I think they should be posted in separate requests.

Also, a question. The initial chopping is just the beginning. Usually you want to polish the beginning and end of the samples to hit the exact points you want. Some times you want to cut from the beginning or the end of each sample. Sometimes you want to keep slices contiguous to each other, just moving the boundary in the timeline. Does Bitwig’s sampler already support these features? If not, I bet they would need to com with any chopping mode implemented, otherwise users might be less happy than before having a chopping mode.

I think your bullet points basically sum it up. To me, the general idea is that the sampler should allow us to have a slicing mode, where we can add slice points either manually, by tempo, or by transient detection. These slice points would create multisamples, similarly to “slice to multisample”, only we wouldn’t be commited to the initial slicing, because we would be able to easily add, delete and nudge slice points. Plus the whole process would happen within Sampler. Another important thing is that we should be able to see the points right on our waveform in Sampler. Currently, you can’t see all the slice points on your waveform in Sampler, so it is hard to tell where they are. Lastly, being able to add slice points with a midi controller will give us the “lazy chop method”.

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Alright, we have everything we need to complete this draft.

@Biggo, are you planning in integrating this information in the description? If not it’s fine, @andrei_olenev could take over (if he has time and interest) or I could.

I would be happy to write a new description. I’ll work on it tonight.

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I just rewrote the description. Let me know if that works. Thanks.

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Thank you @andrei_olenev!

After thinking and playing a bit… Isn’t the lazy chop the only feature that is really missing?

The slicing itself can already be done in the arranger in multiple ways (onsets, beat grid, and beat markers). Then you can slice to multisample or (probably even better for choppers) slice to drum machine. Once you are there, you can adjust each slice (drum machine even provides a full sampler for each slice).

What is the advantage of doing all this inside one sampler, when the functionality is already available in other places, and the result is the same? Or put in a different way, why should the Bitwig team put developer time duplicating inside the sampler functionality that is already available?

What seems to be really missing is the lazy chop feature. I was hoping that a shortcut would create cuts on an audio file while playing it in the arranger. If this functionality exists, I couldn’t find it.

Given that “play” and “knife tool” already exist, implementing a shortcut for cutting slices on the fly doesn’t sound that complicated. And clearly simpler than the full chopping implementation inside the sampler.

So I would go for a feature request about lazy chop only. I can see a future for that. Unless I’m missing something, I think the re-implementation of slicing features inside the Sampler has way less chances of happening.

Thanks for the feedback @icaria36 . However, I think that “Lazy Chop” isn’t the only advantage of having slicing within the sampler, and I also don’t see how “Lazy Chop” would even be possible without slicing in the sampler, because you need to be able to trigger points in the sample with midi notes to do “lazy chop”.
I hear what you’re saying about us already being able to slice using “slice to multisample”, but it is much more tedious to use. Adding and removing slices, as well as nudging them is a lot more difficult in Bitwig’s sampler, than samplers with slicing modes, because every time you add or delete a slice, you need to adjust the slices around it, and remap the slices. Nudging is difficult, because the slices aren’t linked. It is alot more difficult to tell where all your slices are because you can’t see them all placed across the sample at once. You can only see the location of 1 slice at a time in the sample edit window. On the sampler itself, all you see is “multisample mode”. It would make much more sense to see the sample on the sampler window, with all the points on it. For me, the whole process is so tedious, that if I need to adjust my slice points, I just go back to the original audio clip, move the transient markers, and redo “slice to multisample,” rather than trying to adjust them inside of Sampler. And, since Ableton import was introduced, I find it also easier to just slice in Ableton’s sampler (simpler), then import it to Bitwig. I prefer not to use Ableton at all though. Overall, I feel like the workflow of slicing is much less intuitive, and less fun to use than built in slicing, especially when you want to experiment with moving around slice points.
I know you mentioned that it is a bit redundant having 2 methods of slicing, but there are many things that have multiple approaches. Ableton has both options. And, since Ableton added the slicing mode to “Simpler,” I think it became the preferred way for most producers to slice in Ableton, even though “Slice to Midi” is still an option.
Anyway, that’s my opinion on it. Let me know what you think.

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Ok, convinced. I am just trying to put ourselves in the Bitwig team’s feet.

I will make another iteration on the description, and maybe then it will be ready to be promoted to #features .

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I hear what you’re saying. I hope slicing works outs though. Slicing is probably in the top 3 features I would really love to see. I think it will especially help for people making the switch to Bitwig from other DAW’s where slicing in the sampler is already available.

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I have made a full pass to the description. Is it ok?

I suggest we stick here to the existing slicing features in the arranger, making the case for their availability in the sampler. This covers everything except lazy chopping, which doesn’t exist anywhere in Bitwig. For the sake of not cramping too many things in one request, I suggest we create a separate one for this.

Hi. That all looks good. I think that a dedicated slicing mode might be a better way though, than simply incorporating the “slice to multisample” feature into the sampler. The current multisamples are good, but one thing that is missing though, is the visual aspect. I think it is important that we see the slice points placed along the sample, instead of just seeing the generic “multisample mode” on the sampler. It’s hard for me to imagine that would work without a “slicing mode”. That is how ableton has it. Ableton has multisamples too, but slicing is it’s own mode. I don’t know how you would be able to work with slicing directly on the sample, and add/delete slices without remapping, on multisamples the way they are. So, in my opinion, a dedicated slicing mode would make sense, or at least some way to specify that slicing is happening, so you get the proper visual layout. But, I think that would be tricky, because they would have to adapt multisamples to work with the slicing features, rather than just making slicing its own thing.

As for Lazy chop. If you think we should leave it out, we could just wait and see if we get slicing in the sampler, then request lazy chop. It doesn’t really make sense to me to be a topic of it’s own right now, because it wouldn’t be possible without having slicing in the sampler, so until we get that feature, lazy chop wont work. I assume they would include it if we get slicing, because it is a pretty common feature.
Let me know what you think. Thanks.

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I guess something in the description is unclear, then. I am not suggesting to incorporate slice to multisample. The description is only saying that all the slicing options you have in the arranger should be directly available in the sampler. It includes everything you say. The difference is that I don’t think we should spend much (or any) energy defining how exactly this should be implemented. If the Bitwig team agrees on the problem and the features to be implemented, they will surely have opinions about the design of the implementation.

How I imagine this is: you double-click the audio wave in the sampler and then you get basically the same screen you get when double clicking an audio event in the arranger, with all the slicing and adjusting features you have in the arranger. When you are done, you just return to the sampler instrument. If you want to edit further, double-click again…

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That makes sense. I think the thing that confused me is the main title. To me, it makes it sound like we are asking them to integrate “slice to multisample” into the sampler. I think something like “slicing mode within sampler” might be better. Let me know what you think.

And as for lazy chop, if we do want to mention it here, you could just add it to the “manual sicing” bullet point.

Maybe something like:
-manual slicing via mouse or midi triggering (lazy chop)

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OK, I have tried to clarify the title and the description.

In the spirit of keeping requests simple, I think the lazy chop needs to go as a separate request. Here the case is simple: these features are already well implemented in the arranger, please bring them to the Sampler as well.

Well, not really. Imagine that you have a 20 seconds sample, you drag it to the arranger, you press play, and then every time you press the Lazy Chop shortcut, it created a Knife tool cut. This is lazy chop in the arranger. Then you can fine tune the end points, select all, and drag it to the sampler or the drum machine. Enjoy your lazy chops. :slight_smile: Not perfect but better than now, when there is no way of douing this (that I could find).

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If you think we should leave Lazy Chop off, that’s fine. We can wait to get slicing in the sampler first. I still don’t think it would work in the arranger, because part of slicing with lazy chop is that usually you hit the pads while nudging the position with a knob to get the timing right. If all there was was basically a midi assigned knife tool in the arranger, you could get initial points, but to me, that seems like it would be missing part of what makes Lazy Chop useful. I’m fine with just leaving it off of here until we get slicing.

One thing though, that I think is still missing from the bullet points, is the visual feedback in the sampler window. To me, being able to see all the slices at once, is pretty crucial. If they implement slicing, just like it is in the arranger, we would still be dealing with the same multisamples, and wouldn’t really have a dedicated view for slicing, like we would if we had a dedicated slicing mode, like in other samplers.

I’m cool with the title being however you think is best. If it was up to me though, I would make it just “Chopping / slicing audio in the sampler”, and leave off “just like in the arranger”. The reason being, is that I would really like to see a dedicated slicing mode. It is hard to imagine how they would adapt “slice to multisample” to really fit with a typical slicing/chopping workflow.