Extracting Audio Slices from any Beat and Converting them to Midi

How to extract timed audio slices from an existing drum beat and converting them into Midi data to use in your beats.

Beat Construction


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As technology moves forward more and more specialised processes emerge and one such process entails taking a commercial beat and slicing/chopping it into smaller drum element segments and converting the segments/slices into midi note information and using that information to trigger new beats using your own custom drum sounds.

The beauty of this technique is that you can take any commercial beat and substitute your own drums sounds in place of the drum sounds within the beat. You can then edit the new drum beat to taste by changing note lengths, altering quantise grooves, switching the order of sounds within the beat, slow or speed up the beat and so on.

The old school technique of sampling a beat and then chopping it up into slices and using the chops/slices to create a new beat had limitations in that listeners would still recognise the original beat as the sounds used in the new beat were the same as the original. This technique negates that as any sound can now be used in place of the original sounds and even the beat can be edited to sound completely different YET maintain the timing and velocity information from the original beat.

In the video I use a Timbaland commercial drum break and import it into Steinberg’s Cubase. I show you how to determine the key of the audio snippet by using Cubase’s Beat Calculator. I then guide you in how to use the Hitpoint Detection Tool to create slices that are synced perfectly to the BPM of the beat. I show you how to convert these audio slices into midi notes and how to position each midi note to line up perfectly with the original drum beat’s drum elements. I then show you how to use a soft-sampler, NI’s Battery in this case, and trigger new drum sounds using the ripped midi notes sequence. I finish up by showing you how to adjust the velocities of each midi note so as to make the new drum beat sound natural and not mechanical.

Plugins used in this video:

Steinberg Cubase

Native Instruments Battery

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Extracting Audio Slices from a Beat
  • Converting Slices to Midi Information
  • Using Threshold and Sensitivity
  • Understanding Transient and the Timeline
  • Understanding Quantise Sub divisions
  • Working with Key Editor
  • Working with the Grid
  • Linking/Setting Quantise Values
  • Adjust Note Lengths to Quantise and Grid
  • Using Soft Sampler for Importing and Managing Drum Elements
  • Note Placement Practices
  • Tips and Trick