How to Loop in Ableton Live

You can easily set up a loop in the Session View and Arrangement of Ableton Live to loop any recorded audio tracks or samples you put on the track. Looping is a top feature of Ableton and a big reason why many DJs like this DAW.

My name is Donovan, and I’m a long-time musician, producer, and all-around audio enthusiast. I have over a decade of experience working in recording studios and have built several home studios. I have first-hand experience with Ableton Live. 

This post will show you how to loop in Ableton Live. I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to setting up a quick loop in the Session View of an Ableton project and provide you with some other valuable tips and tricks along the way. 

Let’s get started. 

How to Loop in Ableton Live: A 7-Step Guide

There are a few different ways to go about looping in Ableton Live, but in my experience, using the Session View and Arrangement View together is the easiest way to make it happen quickly. I’ll stick with that here, but I will also briefly touch on some other methods. 

Follow these steps to loop in Ableton Live using the Session View: 

1. Create a new Live Set in Ableton Live or open an existing project. 

2. Make sure you have at least one audio track set up in your set, but using at least 2-4 is a good idea for a basic looping project. You can create a new track by going to the Create tab at the top and then choosing Insert Audio Track.  

3. Now click on the Samples tab under the Collections window on the left of your set. This will open up a bunch of samples you can drag onto an open audio track and work on looping.  

4. Choose one of the samples here and drag it onto an open Clip in one of your audio tracks. 

5. Double-click on the Sample track when you have it under your audio track to open up the Arrangement Window at the bottom of your Set. 

Double-click here to open the Arrangement View and start looping

6. Now you can get to work setting your loop points and other parameters of your loop. Most of this adjustment will occur in the Loop Brace section, which is the small orange bar above the waveform of your sample or audio track. 

You can adjust the start or end of the loop by moving the sliders at either end of the Loop Brace. When you do this, you’ll see the audio shaded out that won’t be included as part of the loop. 

Trimmed Sample for looping using the sliders

You can also make the same adjustments to the sample for looping by adjusting the start and end points in the window on the left. You’ll see that the numbers in these boxes mark the same sample or loop length that the sliders are set to. 

And if you want the audio to loop, you need to make sure that the Loop Button is turned on, or else it will just play once and not on a loop. 

7. Repeat the steps here as many times as you want to get multiple tracks set up with various loops. You can also loop several different samples on the same track. It just depends on your creative flow and what you want things to sound like.

Additional Tips

Keep in mind that looping is one of the main creative aspects of using Ableton Live. It might seem like a really simple feature, but there’s actually quite a bit you can do with it once you have enough samples or recorded audio. 

This is just a basic look at how to get a loop set up on a track. Once you have things in place, you can make endless adjustments and additions to add depth and character to your set. As any good DJ knows, there is a lot of magic in a good loop. 

Practice makes perfect if you really want to get good at looping in Ableton Live. Getting a few measures of music to repeat is cool, but getting many of these to line up in a bumping track is what it’s all about. 

Final Thoughts

Setting up a loop in Ableton Live is pretty straightforward, but there are a ton of settings adjustments you can work on once you have the loop in place. This is another essential skill that anyone using this DAW should know. 

Play around with the built-in samples in Ableton to use for your loops, but also consider using live recorded tracks. A good combination of both of these can lead to an awesome track or live set. 

Do you have any favorite loops or samples to use with Ableton Live? Let me know in the comments below. 

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