Creating Custom Multibank Drum Racks in Ableton Live

Do you want a massive arsenal of drum samples available at your fingertips in real time, anytime you need it? Noah Pred shows how to create Multibank Drum Racks in Ableton Live that'll blow your mind.  

Requirements: Live 9, Sampler

Ableton Live's various Racks allow for all sorts of flexible routing and sonic manipulation, and the Drum Rack in particular has become a familiar sight for Live users since its inception with Live 7. Not only can you build and save your own custom drum kits, but you can place incredible effects chains not only on the entire kit, but on each individual drum sound as well. Using a clever combination of Sampler (available with Live Suite), Instrument Racks and Drum Racks, we'll examine how to create a monster drum kit with 128 easily selectable drum sounds on each individual Drum Rack pad. With a total of 128 pads available, this means you could in theory create a Drum Rack with over 16,000 samples, all sensibly organized and available in real time.


The first thing you'll need to do is navigate to the Drums folder in your browser. 

pic 1

Bring an empty Drum Rack into your set by simply double-clicking the Drum Rack icon or dragging it into your set, or onto an empty MIDI track. 

pic 2

Next, navigate to your Instruments folder in the browser and bring an Instrument Rack onto an empty pad in the Drum Rack. 

pic 4

Last but not least, in the same Instrument folder of the browser, grab an empty Sampler and drag it into the empty Instrument Rack you've placed on the Drum Rack pad, right where it says 'Drop an Instrument or Sample here'

Noah Pred is a Canadian record producer, sound designer, technologist, DJ, and Ableton Certified Trainer living in Berlin, Germany. Releasing dozens of records and touring extensively since the '90s, he currently teaches a wide variety of techniques for stage and studio at the BIMM Institute. For more information, please visit: http://... Read More


Great piece thank you. Is there a way to set up groups inside the drumrack using the 128s? I'd like to sidechain and process lets say only the bongos, open and closed hats and not the kicks and snares how do you go about?

if you select the chains you want then right click group you can get a group in a rack and apply fx only to these chains.
Absolutely love this idea and have been setting it up for the last few hours. However, I've added all my kick sounds to the sampler, I've distributed them evenly but can't get them to play. My selector control doesn't actually do anything and theres nothing coming through when i play the pad on the drum rack
Any ideas?

Want to join the discussion?

Create an account or login to get started!