I thought about how I can improve my way of using Renoise and especially its mixer, which was left virtually untouched by me before.
Isn’t it easy to end up with a lot of tracks, not knowing what the hell is going on in your song? Eventually you might decide on trying to clean things up, but find yourself going back and forward in the song trying to see what can be removed or not. With several group layers signals are getting routed thru several EQs and effects, making it difficult to make any big changes to your mix. I’ve just lost track, and the lack of structure becomes a threshold in itself to working on the song.
Here are some general suggestions and a song template that I made to keep things tidy, and possibly easier to mix. Be aware that I am not very good at mixing, but I am learning to get better.
1) Use groups as “buses” at the top level - PERC, KEYS, et c.
This can be very convenient when mixing. By sticking to this hierarchy, you will quickly be able to change and optimize the levels of the main elements in your arrangement. This might also be a good place to glue things together by using EQ and compression one final time before the mastering.
2) Let the mixer be your main tool for overviewing the hierarchy of your tracks.
The mixer provides a better overview than the pattern editor for keeping track of… tracks. It also provides you with a very fast way of moving DSPs and editing parameters when carving your mix. The nice overview in the mixer will alert you if things are getting too messy. Don’t neglect it, as I have done />
3) Keep minimum information in newly added tracks.
When adding a new track - remove the fx column and all vol/pan/dly columns. This might look strange to you before getting used to it, but helps a great deal in avoid having a lot of unused columns later on. Add new columns exactly when they are needed. This helps in forming a better approach in general.
In this template, I have set up a “channel strip” on the main buses. Adjusting the main levels will be easy. The buses are very visible by using the background blend. This will also help a lot when navigating in the pattern editor. Also, being able to quickly minimize some groups for focusing on one element is perfect for me. (I am using a gainer instead of the PostFX fader, as I want to be able to automate this).
To the far left, a dry track for line in has been added. This is for trying out leads and harmonies on my synthesizer connected to line-in.
To the far right, I’ve added a track named “STORAGE”. This is a place to put commonly used effects or use as a ‘backup’ place for DSPs or note data. I prefer this to browsing the DSP list for common tasks. In the mixer: dragging the dsp while holding ctrl will make a copy of it. Very convenient in this case.
Feel free to share your ideas on how to improve the basic workflow and structure when composing and mixing with Renoise!
My template can be downloaded at http://www.swapper.se/temp/joule-template1.xrns