Two ways of sampling Youtube and other sounds into Maschine

Here’s a question I’ve heard a few times, and that I’ve asked myself before. ‘How do I sample sounds from Youtube (and other arbitrary sources online) to use in Maschine?’. Well, here’s two short walkthroughs in case you’re on a Mac. You will need to ‘listen in’ on the sounds output by your system and theirs two ways of doing this. You can either set up your preferences yourself, or use an app that handles it for you. A popular, free alternative that requires some manual work is Soundflower. This app is limited in that it will actually route any sounds, system wide, that your Mac produces, including system messages and what not. You can think of this app as holding a mic up to your speakers and just recording what ever comes out of them. There are other non-free alternatives such as Audio Hijack and Wiretap that have a richer feature set and more options, and I will cover Hijack as well later in this article. For now let’s start with Soundflower.

Method 1 – Soundflower

Soundflower basically appears as a sound device in your audio preferences which means that just as you can configure your mac to route all sound to the internal speakers or an audio interface (I use the Scarlett 18i6 from Focusrite), once installed you can set up your Mac to route all sounds to Soundflower instead. If you haven’t already, download and install the app, then open your System Preferences – Sound dialog and select Soundflower 16ch as the output device.

System Preferences – Sound w. Soundflower

Now all sounds that you would normally hear on your speakers will be routed through Soundflower instead. This has a minor draw back. Since no sounds are played through your speakers anymore, you cannot hear what you are recording. Fear not, you can configure Soundflower to pass through the sound to your speakers again. To do this, start the Soundflowerbed application in the Soundflower folder in your Apps directory, click the Soundflowerbed menu bar icon and choose the output you want to listen through from the list that appears.

Soundflowerbed, allows you to ‘monitor’ the sound.

Did you follow along this far? Good, now that all sounds are routed to the Soundflower ‘device’ its time to put this new found knowledge to use in Maschine. Start by creating a new Project. In Group A, Sound 1, select Sample from the drop down menu under the triangle in slot 1:

Select sampler to create a new sample

Next open up the sample edit view by clicking the Sample view button:

Open the sample edit view. (third icon on the bottom)

Now we need to make sure that Maschine is listening to the input from the Soundflower ‘device’. Open up the Audio / Midi settings dialog from the File menu and choose Soundflower 16ch as the input device:

Set Soundflower 16ch to be your input device.

Next you’ll need to find the input channel that Soundflower is routing sounds through to the Sampler. In the Sample Edit view there’s a dropdown that allows you to choose the input channel the Sampler is listening to:

Configure the input channel

Make sure Ext is selected and search through the Input dropdown until your input meters start moving. Now you can sample any sound from your computer into Maschine.

Method 2 – Audio Hijack Pro

Hijack won’t allow you to sample directly into Maschine, but there are some strong advantages to this method anyway. First of all, Hijack is not free, but the limited test version works just fine for samples under 10 min, which should be sufficient for most of our needs. Hijack allows you to record only the audio that comes out of a particular app, instead of all sounds system wide. This makes it a lot easier to get a clean sample, and generally provides for a cleaner workflow.

Audio Hijack UI

Start by installing the app and starting it. You’ll notice that it runs as a stand alone app. Next, select the Quick Record tab and choose the application you want to record from. For Youtube you will want to select a web browser, such as Safari or Chrome. Next hit the Record button. For some versions and apps, Hijack will need to close the app once and then restart it before it can capture sounds. Once the app has restarted, start the playback of the sound you wish to sample. Hijack will automatically start the recording when it detects an incoming ‘signal’. Once your done, hit the Record button again, and the sample will be saved to your specified folder.


So, which method is best? I’ve found that I prefer to work with the Hijack app, since it gives me a sample file that I can easily work with in any app such as Live and Maschine. You don’t get the luxury of staying within the Maschine interface, but on the other hand it doesn’t require you to mess around with the system wide sound input/output settings. Also, as a final note keep in mind that IP rights regulate what you are allowed to sample and not.

Links from this post:

[Applies to Maschine 1.7]

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