How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity

4th May 2010 | 15:09

How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity
Getting started

Step 1: There may be times when you want to cut a drum sound out of a loop, so you can use it by itself for constructing your own loops. An audio editor can be employed to isolate the hit from the rest of the loop and clean it up. We’re using the free Audacity, which you can download here.

How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity
Choosing a loop

Step 2: The first thing you’ll want to do is find a suitable drum loop - clean sounding loops with well-spaced hits and very little reverb are usually easiest to work with. Load your drum loop and observe where the peaks and dips occur in its waveform.

How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity
Choosing a hit

Step 3: Play your drum loop through a few times and notice which peaks correspond to which drum sounds - you’ll usually find the snare on the second and fourth beats of the bar. Highlight each snare hit by dragging the mouse over them, then play each one individually to hear which hit sounds best in isolation.

How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity
Deleting before

Step 4: Once you’ve located your snare hit, delete all of the unwanted sounds that come before it. Highlight everything to the left of the hit, leaving a tiny bit of space before it, so that you don’t chop the attack portion off, and press Delete.

How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity
Deleting after

Step 5: Next, locate where the snare hit ends - if an additional sound, such as a hi-hat or kick drum, comes in before it’s faded out naturally, cut up to this point. In the same manner as the previous step, highlight and Delete everything you don’t need after the snare hit has played out.

How to cut a drum hit out of a loop in Audacity
Final cuts

Step 6: You should now have your isolated snare drum roughly cut out of the rest of the loop. Zoom in and clean it up, deleting any unnecessary noise on either side of the snare itself, so that the sample starts cleanly and ends before any other noises occur.

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