I wanted to apply the groove of a downloaded kick drum loop to my own kick sound. The plan was to convert the loop’s audio, which happened to be in stereo, to MIDI and then simply hot swap the instrument with my own kick. Unfortunately, what I saw was this:

enter image description here

I figured the problem was related to the stereo nature of the audio file, so I exported it in mono and then returned the file to my session. To my surprise, converting the mono audio file to MIDI gave the same result.

My backup plan was to extract the groove from the audio file to use with my already-programmed, beat-matched kick pattern. To my dismay, the extracted groove did not contain any velocity information, as my kick pattern, despite being “committed” to the loop’s groove, remained the exact same.

How can I go about lifting the groove/velocity information from the original audio (which for some reason is divided into three separate slices when converted to MIDI) in order to improve my own MIDI kick pattern?

For additional info, here's what the original drum loop looked like prior to exporting:

enter image description here

I appreciate any and all suggestions.

Per @Todd, here is what the Midi notes look like within the drum rack device (the "active" hits marked with red circles):

enter image description here

I swapped in Ableton's 707 drum rack, which I like, and I routed all hits to the same instrument (Kick 707 1):

enter image description here

The resulting sound works (it grooves just like the loop, but sounds like the 707--success!), but I still feel on edge not understanding the mechanics at play.

Note: Isolating the slice with the most velocity information, as evidenced by the varying shades of pink, resulted in a far quieter, incomplete sound. I'm also just noticing that "F#1" seems to be relatively uniform in width and shade whereas "D1" and "Slice 1" differ in shade and width. In the case of the first hit, "D1" is empty.


Update: I confirmed that I am (and have been) choosing the "drums" option. See here:

enter image description here

  • 2
    From the waveform, all the kick hits look almost identical. Do they also sound almost identical? If so, then from a midi perspective they all have the same velocity. Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 1:24
  • 1
    It looks like there is velocity information in the top screenshot. Am I misunderstanding something?
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 1:26
  • Also in your second to last paragraph, you wrote "groove/velocity" as if the two are related. According to the Live manual, grooves only include timing information, and midi velocity has nothing to do with the timing of notes or hits. Velocity is usually mapped to intensity, AKA loudness. It doesn’t look like the groove feature in Live will apply velocity/loudness contours to a clip. Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 1:28
  • Oops, looks like my last comment is wrong, they just only mention velocity mapping further down the page. Did you make sure to set the groove parameters appropriately, especially the velocity amount? See: ableton.com/en/manual/using-grooves Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 1:32
  • @Edward no, I just am not articulating myself well. Why are there three separate hits per kick? Is that a problem or no? It's just not the format i'm used to.
    – 286642
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


Looking at the comments, I think your real question is:

Why are there three separate hits per kick?

I'm pretty sure this is because of the way Live analyzes and converts audio to MIDI. The two MIDI note events are possibly Live's attempt at figuring out what instrument(s) are playing. If it's a bright kick sound in the recording, Live might have interpreted that as two kit pieces hit at once, like kick and high hat or even floor tom and snare. The "slice" MIDI notes should be playing the slices of audio taken from the actual audio file.

If I were in your shoes, I would consider this a successful MIDI conversion because the timing and velocities are there. I would copy the MIDI clip and delete two of the rows of hits and leave only one row - probably the row that has the most appropriate velocity data for the groove I want. Then I would convert the edited clip to a groove.

One thing that would help understand what the three MIDI notes are is a view (screenshot?) of the drum rack, sampler/simpler, or whatever device or virtual instrument Live has inserted on the track. Then you can see for certain what each of the MIDI notes triggers.

  • I think this is likely it, though I don't use Live, so I don't really know. I wonder if there's a more suitable midi conversion algorithm than the one they used? It shows two note names, as if it's trying to determine harmony.
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 2:56
  • @Edward Thank you--perhaps i'll look at my settings for options concerning MIDI conversion algorithms (I don't know if there are any options, but i'll check). I think you're right on the money w/ that.
    – 286642
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 22:47
  • thanks for the answer @todd--I have added info to the OP per your answer. interested to hear your thoughts!
    – 286642
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 22:48

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