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eSampler

Welcome to our Support Center

The eSampler is a fully functional video sampler. Drag audiovisual clips into the sampler and produce video beats and melodies, trigger videos live, simulate video scratching or use it in ‘Video only’ mode to visualise your own sounds.

Adding the eSampler to your Live set

To add an eSampler to your Live set just drag the eSampler plug-in from the EboSuite plug-in folder to a MIDI track. An eSampler can only be used on a MIDI track. You can use up to 127 eSamplers on one track using a Drum Rack. The eSampler can be used in both Arrangement View and Session View.

Loading a sample

The eSampler accepts many video codecs, like H264 and ProRes, but the Hap video codec is preferred, since the eSampler is typically used for advanced video triggering and the Hap video codec is optimised for that. You can convert the loaded video sample (region of the clip) into the Hap codec within the eSampler using the File Region Editor.

Video/audio files of any duration can be loaded in the eSampler, but the audio track will be ignored of samples longer than two minutes (and an error message will be shown). Samples longer than one minute will trigger a warning message. We recommend to edit long files to short samples to save memory space. You can do that with an external video editor or by loading a video on an audio track in Arrangement View or Session View and set the start and end marker before dragging it into the eSampler (read the section below for more detailed information about this) or you can use the File Region Editor to shorten (or lengthen) the loaded sample.

There are four ways to load a video/audio file into the eSampler:

  • Drag a video file directly from the Finder into the drop zone of the eSampler.
  • Convert a video file with EboSuite’s eConvert plug-in to the Hap of Hap Alpha codec and then drag it from eConvert’s interface into the dropzone of the eSampler.
  • Load video file into an audio track in Arrangement View. Make sure an eArrangement plug-in is loaded on that track. Edit the start and end point to select which part you want to load in the eSampler. Simply drag the video clip into the eSampler’s dropzone. This is a great way to cut a video file into shorter video samples to save memory.
  • Load a video file in a clip slot of an audio track in Session View. Make sure an eSession plug-in is loaded on that track. Edit the start and end point to select which part you want to load in the eSampler. Simply drag the video clip into the eSampler’s dropzone. This is a great way to cut a video file into shorter video samples to save memory.

Video files without an audio track

When you load a video without an audio track in the eSampler (or a video longer than 2 minutes, so the audio track will be ignored) a warning will be shown in the interface. Plus, a grid will be shown in the audio waveform display to give feedback about the zoom level and postion of the start cursor.

Go back to the original source video file of a cropped video clip

You can easily go back to the original source video file of a cropped video. Just drag the file name from the eSampler’s interface (in the audio waveform section) to a clip slot in Session View or on an audio track in Arrangement View. This will load the original longer video file with the start and end markers set to the beginning en end points of the sample. This way you can easily adjust the start and end point of the cropped video sample or cut another video sample out of the longer video file.

Trigger video samples

After loading a video file in the eSampler you can trigger this video sample with MIDI notes from a MIDI clip on the MIDI track that the eSampler is loaded on (or a track that is routed to this track (see the Ableton Live’s manual for more information about MIDI routings)) or with an MIDI keyboard, drumkit, Push or any other MIDI controller that sends out MIDI notes.

When only one eSampler is loaded on a MIDI track, the eSampler will be mapped to the entire keyboard of your MIDI controller. Use Ableton Live’s MIDI effects to change this mapping. Using a Drum Rack you can assign multiple eSamplers to different keys and key ranges.

Zoom in/out

There are two ways to zoom in and out on the audio waveform display:
1. Use the + and – icons in the audio waveform display.
2. Command-click in the audio waveform display and move the mouse up/down. To move the zoom area move the mouse to left and right.

The zoom level will be shown next to the – and + buttons in the display. When the mouse pointer is positioned on the audio waveform display, the time (in ms) of the beginning and end of the zoomed area will be shown in the upper corners of the display. Click the – – button in between the -/+ buttons to reset the zoom level back to 0.

Editing Start point

There are two ways to change the start position of a sample: 1. drag the ‘Start’ dial (hold CMD for finetune)
2. click in the waveform

Pitching and tuning

Turn on tuning to be able to play a melody or to (fine)tune your sample’s pitch. When changing the sample’s pitch the playback speed will not be affected. The eSampler is equipped with various playback options to manage pitch sound quality and CPU usage. The different modes are:

Pitch modes:  

  • Tuning off
  • Basic
  • Monophonic
  • Rhythmic
  • General
  • Efficient
  • Granular

Quality modes:  

  • Basic
  • Good
  • Better
  • Basic + Formant
  • Good + Formant
  • Better + Formant

The ‘Formant’ Quality modes will result in a more natural sound when pitching voices, but are more CPU intensive. The ‘Efficient’ Pitch mode will is the least CPU intensive mode, but introduces a slight latency in the audio.

Note: when Basic, Monophonic, Rhythmic, General or Efficient mode is selected Loop Start can’t be changed (and therefore will be the same as Start).

Granular mode

When Granular mode is selected the audio of the movie file will be split into grains, opening up new ways to creatively manipulate the video sample. Control playback speed in real time and control the grains of the audio file separately. The interface of the eSampler will unfold, revealing the grain controls, when Granular mode is selected. The grain controls are:

  • Grain size – Control the size of the grains in real time. This will have great effect on the sound of the sample. A small size will result in a harsher, glitchy sound.
  • Grain Overlap – This will make the sound smoother
  • Stereo Spread – Grains will be spread out of the stereo spectrum, creating a rich, full sound.
  • Position Randomness – This will have great effect on the sound of the sample. Large numbers will result in a noisy, but rich and full sound. Small numbers will result in a smooth sound in combination with a large grain size. In combination with a small grain size a small position randomness will result in a very noisy sound.
  • Maximum number of grains – More grains will make the sound smoother, but CPU usage heavier.
  • Number of grains used – More grains will make the sound smoother, but CPU usage heavier.

Note: when Granular mode is selected Loop is disabled.

Granular Mode – Tutorial (version 1.6)

Speed

Use the Speed dial to control the video sample’s playback speed in real time. When tuning is disabled, changing the speed will also affect the pitch, similar to pitch bending. When tuning is enabled, changing the speed will not affect the pitch, similar to time stretching. When tuning is enabled the minimum playback speed is 0.1x the original speed and the maximum playback speed is 3.5x the original speed. This speed value is combined with the speed value determined by the warp markers. The combined value can not be higher or lower than 0.1x or 3.5x the original speed. This can lead to unexpected behaviour. When tuning is disabled the minimum playback speed is 0 and the maximum playback speed is 3.5x the original speed.

Warped video

If a warped clip is dragged into the eSampler the warp option appears (this will not appear when you drag a file from the library or finder). A copy is made of the warping information that is stored in the .asd file at the moment of dragging. Engaging warp means that it will time stretch the video, so that it plays according to the current tempo (please note that changing the tempo while a note is held is not supported yet). Tuning must be on to enable the timestretch/ pitching engine, and the tuning mode that is chosen will affect the sound (and cpu load) of the warped result.

Playback modes: Normal, Loop, OneShot, Slices

The eSampler has four playback modes, which can be selected using the Playback mode dropdown menu:

  • NormalPlayback
  • LoopedPlayback
  • OneShotPlayback
  • Slices
  • Normal Playback – Samples will play without looping and stop when a note off message is received. Note: warping is only possible in this mode.
  • Looped Playback – When this mode is selected a portion of the loaded sample region is repeated. The start of this region is indicated with the LoopStart parameter and the loop end is determined by the LoopLength parameter. The LoopStart cannot be changed during a note, it is applied at the start of each note. The LoopLength can be changed immediately if the LoopStart is zero, otherwise it is also applied at the start of the next note (the label of the parameter will become grey if it cannot be applied immediately). The LoopLength and the LoopStart can be set by changing the parameters with the mouse or by dragging the triangles in the waveform view. You can choose between three Loop Modes which determine the range/values of the LoopStart and LoopLength parameters:

    • Absolute: This allows you to set the Loop parameters in milli seconds with a maximum of 2000 ms.
    • Relative: The value of the Loop parameters is now presented as a percentage of the available time. This means that changing the start time will change the LoopLength (and that changing the LoopStart will also change the LoopLength)
    • Synced: In this Loop Mode the LoopStart and LoopLength is linked to the current tempo (please note that changing the tempo while a note is held is not supported yet).
  • OneShot Playback – When this mode is selected the note length is defined by the Duration parameter instead of the note off message. The grey area in the waveform display visualizes the duration time (see below). The duration time can be edited using the dial or by dragging the end of the grey area. Duration time is defined as a percentage of the sample’s area between start point and sample end. Note that when Legato is enabled, samples loaded in different eSamplers (in a drum rack for example) will cut each other off, which is useful for different applications (finger drumming for example).

  • Slices – When this mode is selected the eSampler will create multiple start points (slices) and map these slices to different midi notes (from C1 and up). You can always manually add/delete slices by Alt+Clicking in the waveform.

Use the ‘Fill Slices’ button to create slices. After clicking this button a menu will appear, offering five ways to create slices:

  • Analysed – EboSuite will analyse the current audio buffer and create slices automatically using the sample start as the start point of the analysis.
  • Transients – Transients in the audio file, detected by Ableton (and stored in the .asd file), will be used to create slices. Note: you need to edit the transients manually and store them before EboSuite can use them. Read below how to do this.
  • Warp Markers – The Warp Markers stored in the .asd file a reused to create slices.
  • 1/4 Beats – Slices are created on every 1/4th beat, according to Live’s current overall BPM setting. Slices are created from the sample start point.
  • 1/8 Beats – Slices are created on every 1/8th beat, according to Live’s current overall BPM setting. Slices are created from the sample start point.
  • Clear – When you select this option, all current slices are deleted.

When the slices are created you can add more slices or delete slices by Alt+Clicking in the waveform.

You need to edit transients manually and store them before EboSuite can use them to create slices. This is due to the fact that Ableton doesn’t allow direct access to the transients unfortunately. To edit the transients load the video on an audio track and open the sample section of the clip editor. When Warp is enabled, the transients are visible above the audio waveform. Ctrl+Click on a transient and select ‘Delete Transient(s)’. Deleting a transient and pressing ‘Save’, will update all current transients in the .asd file so EboSuite can use them to create slices.

Playback will stop automatically when the end of a slice is reached, even if a MIDI Note Off message has not been received (‘the key/note is still pressed’), unless ‘Thru’ is enabled. When ‘Thru’ is enabled playback will continu until a MIDI Note Off message is received (‘the key/note is released’).

When ‘Gate’ is set to ‘Trigger’, playback will continu until the end of the sample even if a MIDI Note Off message is received. Playback will only stop when an other MIDI Note On message is received (another slice is triggered).

When Legato is enabled, audio and video playback will be stopped when another eSampler/eSimpler is triggered in the same Drum Rack. When Legato is disabled, audio playback will continu and video playback will be interrupted when another eSampler/eSimpler is triggered in the same Drum Rack. Video playback will continu when the interrupting sample finishes before the earlier triggered sample is finished (see ‘Playing multiple videos on one MIDI track’ below).

Note: when slicing is enabled, tuning is automatically disabled (including the granular playback mode). Currently sliced samples can not be tuned.

Each slice can have different settings for 11 parameters. This means that you can have, for example, a different gain, speed, panning, pre-roll and freeze-time for each individual slice. This gives you much more creative control over the slices. For three parameters (Tune, Speed and Gain), these settings are relative to the general setting (added/subtracted). The other parameters will overwrite the general setting.

Press the Follow button to enable Auto Select. When Auto Select is enabled, an incoming MIDI note will select the slice mapped to that note.

When the Preview Slice button is enabled, slices will be triggered (played) when they are selected. Use the < and > buttons next to the Preview Slice button to select the previous or next slice.

Slice editing

  • Click on a slice to select a slice
  • ALT-Click in the waveform to add or delete a slice
  • CTRL-Click near the selected slice to move it
  • CMD-Click+vertical drag in the waveform to zoom in/out
  • CMD-Click+horizontal drag in the waveform to move through the waveform

Adjust the analyser for automatic slicing

Use the eSamplerAnalyserSettings plug-in in the Tools folder to adjust the way the eSampler slices the sample automatically. Read more about the eSamplerAnalyserSettings plug-in in this section of the manual.

Quick-tip (version 1.6)

Use 1/4 and 1/8 Beats slice modes to play long video files

In Live 10 the eArrangement plug-in can not be used, making it difficult to use long videos in a composition. But you can use the 1/4 Beats and 1/8 Beats slice modes to play long video files more easily and to do basic video editing (like you are use to with videos on audio tracks in Arrangement View). Place 1/4th or 1/8th notes chromatically in a MIDI clip. When the clip is played the slices will be stringed together to form the entire video. When you start clip playback half-way, the video will start half-way (like videos on audio tracks in Arrangement View) and not from the beginning.

Copy and duplicate parts of the clip to do basic video editing.

You can adjust the beginning and end of the clip, because Live remembers the notes before and after clip start/end.

This way you can use EboSuite and all its realtime effects and mix features in a more conventional ‘video editing’ way.

Pan

Change the panning of the sample’s sound by dragging the ‘Pan’ dial.

Gain

Change the gain of the sample’s sound by dragging the ‘Gain’ dial.

ADSR

The eSampler is equipped with an audiovisual ADSR. Changing the ADSR values with the corresponding ‘ADSR’ dials will change the Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release time of the velocity of the sound and opacity of the video simultaneously.

Vel to Opacity

When ‘Velocity to opacity’ is enabled the opacity of the video will change simultaneously with the velocity of the incoming MIDI note (and therefore the sound).

Env to Opacity

When ‘Envelope to opacity’ is enabled the opacity of the video will change simultaneously with the ADSR’s velocity shape.

Legato

When ‘Legato’ is enabled samples will continu playing until another sample is triggered.

Video only / Audio only / Audio+Video

In ‘Video only’ mode the sound of the sample will be disabled, in ‘Audio only’ mode the video of the sample will be disabled. ‘Audio+Video’ mode is the default mode. When a video file without audio track is loaded a warning will be shown and the eSampler will automatically switch to ‘Video only’ mode.

Freeze

Use the Freeze dial to freeze the last or first frame of the sample when playback is finished. The last frame will freeze when the dial is set to a positive value (freeze 0 to 1000 ms). When the dial is set to the maximum positive value the last frame will freeze indefinitely. The first frame will freeze when the dial is set to a negative value (freeze 0 to 1 second). When the dial is set to the maximum negative value the first frame will freeze indefinitely.

Note: ‘Env to Opacity’ should be disabled to see this

VOffset

Use the VOffset dial to change the synchronicity between the audio and video track of a sample to correct an error in synchronicity or for artistic reasons, like to focus on a certain action or to add variation. Use the dial to delay or advance the video track -1000 ms. to +1000 ms.

PreRoll

When PreRoll is enabled a note with velocity 0 will play back the sample with an altered start time. The time defined by the PreRoll dial is subtracted from the sample’s start time. This will make the sample start at an earlier point in the video clip, showing the events leading up to the original sample start. This is very useful to show a sample in its full context. When the dial is set to 0, PreRoll is disabled. When the dial is set to a value higher than 0, PreRoll is enabled and notes with velocity 0 will act as ‘PreRoll notes’.

Example: When a hammer hits a log, the impact sound starts at the moment that the hammer touches the log. Therefore it is obvious to set the start point at this moment in time. But visually you will lose a vital part of the visual: the hammer heading towards the log. By setting a PreRoll time and adding a note with velocity 0 before the original note, the events before the original note are revealed. The hammer will move towards the log (PreRoll note) and then hit the log (original note).

A PreRoll note plays back the visual part of the sample only, not the sound. Try different PreRoll times to find the right visual effect. If you choose a high PreRoll time, but place the note close to the original note, the visual effect will get more ‘cartoony’ and a visual rhythm will look more ‘snappy’.

Pre-Roll – Tutorial (version 1.6)

Racks

Up to 127 eSamplers can be loaded into a Drum Rack. Load an empty Drum Rack and fill its pads with eSamplers or right-click on the titlebar of the eSampler and select ‘group to Drum Rack’ to create a Drum Rack (read more about Drum Racks in the Ableton Live manual).

Recording

The eSampler (and eSimpler) has the ability to record video live. When a recording is made, the video is automatically loaded into the eSampler and ready for use immediately. A great feature to make a live performance a real live experience.

To record video with the eSampler, at least one eVideoIn plug-in needs to be present anywhere in the Live Set.

Note: do not add the eVideoIn plug-in on the same track as the eSampler. The eVideoIn is a video source as well, so that might cause issues.

Recording – Set ID

An ID is automatically assigned to the eVideoIn plug-in. This ID is used to connect an eSampler to the eVideoIn plug-in. This way, multiple eVideoIn plug-ins can be present in the Live Set (connected to different cameras), connected to different eSamplers (and eSimplers).

On the eSampler set the ID to the ID of the eVideoIn you want to record from. Press the button next to the ID number box to set the ID to the ID of the eVideoIn plug-in added to the Live Set last.

The ID on the eSampler can be changed live with automation or a controller, so an eSampler can record video from any eVideoIn plug-in at any point in time. The ID of the eVideoIn plug-in is taken from the position of the track in the Live Set. When the track is moved to another position in the Live Set the ID changes. The ID on the eSamplers/eSimplers will automatically change as well in that case.

Recording – Record folder

Drop a folder in the ‘Drop Record Folder’ drop zone in the eVideoIn plug-in’s interface to select a folder where all recording of that plug-in will be stored. If no folder is selected, recordings will be stored in the recordings folder in the EboSuite plug-in folder.

Note: The eVideoIn plug-in creates a ‘tempRecordingFile.aiff’ file in this folder automatically. This file is necessary to make recordings instantly, so please don’t remove this file.

Recording – Manual / Automatic

When the Manual/Automatic switch is set to Manual, recording is started and stopped pressing the record button manually or activating it with track automation or a controller.

When the Manual/Automation switch is set to Automatic, recording is started and stopped with the record button on the eVideoIn plug-in the eSampler is linked to (with the ID). This way, multiple eSamplers/eSimplers can receive a video recorded with the same eVideoIn plug-in.

Recording – Quick-tips

File Region Editor

Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the eSampler’s interface to reveal the ‘File Region Editor’. Use this editor to increase or decrease the length of the loaded region of the current file, while maintaining the start position and other settings. You can also use the File Region Editor to convert the currently loaded video sample (the loaded region of the source video) to the Hap video codec.

Decreasing the length will free up RAM. This is especially useful when only a small part of the loaded file is used in the composition and you need to free up RAM space to load more samples. This makes it easier to work with lengthy video files in the design phase of the composition process, giving you the flexibility to try out different start points in a file. In a later stage, when it is clearer which portion of the files will be used in the composition you can easily remove the unused parts.

You can also set the region in point before the beginning of the loaded region by entering a negative value in the number box. This will increase the length of the region. Increasing the length will reveal the events that are happening in the parts of the file that were not loaded initially. This makes it easy to search for other parts of the file that might be interesting to use in your composition.

Use the number boxes to set the new start and end point. Clicking the Load New Region button will reload the file with the new start and end time. Clicking the Load Complete File button will load the complete source file. In both cases the start time and other settings will not change. Because the parameter settings remain the same, changing the file region will not affect the composition, except for the behaviour of the OneShot Duration and the loop length in Relative Looped Playback mode, since the length/duration in these two cases is related to the time between the start point and the end of the file.

File Region Editor – Convert to Hap

When the Convert to Hap button is pressed, the eSampler converts the currently loaded video sample to the Hap video codec. This will create a new video file next to the original video file on your harddisk. The eSampler will automatically replace the loaded video sample with this newly created Hap encoded video file.

We recommend you to convert video samples that you use a lot, use for advanced video triggering or combine with many other samples simultaneously. The Hap video codec is optimised for live video and therefore will offer you the best performance and reliability in EboSuite when you are using a Solid State Drive (SSD). You can also use the eConvert plug-in and the AVF Batch converter to convert videos to Hap. Read more about video codecs in this section of the manual.

File Region Editor – Tutorial (version 1.6)

Now, press the ‘Link’ button. This will trigger the eSampler (1) to ask you to select an eSampler (2) to link to. Navigate to the eSampler (2) you want this eSampler (1) to link to. When you’ve selected this eSampler (2), Ableton will jump back to the linked eSampler (1) and the button will now show the option to break the link, ‘Unlink’.

This eSampler (1) will act as a slave to the eSampler (2) you have linked it to (the master). The master eSampler (2) will now send all incoming MIDI triggers to the slave eSampler (1). In the slave eSampler the Tune, Speed and Loop dials/pop-ups will be disabled. The slave eSampler will use the Tune, Speed and Loop settings of the master eSampler. Click on the Show Master button to move quickly to the master. Use the Tune Offset number box to change the slave’s tuning relative to the master. You can link any eSampler on any audio track with each other.

Load in RAM

When Load in RAM is enabled the video will be loaded into RAM and playback from RAM instead of streamed from harddisk. This is particularly useful when harddisk speed is limited and therefore is causing problems when playing multiple large video files simultaneously (like Hap encoded videos).

Playing multiple videos on one MIDI track

A Drum or Instrument Rack enables you to use multiple eSamplers on a single MIDI track. When triggering multiple eSamplers at the same time on a single MIDI track, the sound of all video samples will be audible, but only the video of the last triggered sample will be visible. When a sample is triggered while another sample is playing, the sound will be mixed in with the sound of the first played sample, but the video will interrupt the video playback of the first played sample. When the second sample is stopped while the first sample is still playing the video of the first sample will be visible again.

Quick-tips

Make video beats with the eSampler

Make a video melody with the eSampler

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