A Few Questions

After many months, I feel I am finally getting to the point in Renoise where I am able to efficiently make the music I want to make. However, I have a few questions that I would hope to get answers to, so that I can take my renoise use to the next level. For these questions, I would prefer to have an answer that uses Renoise, but if necessary a third-party application recommendation (Mac) would also be appreciated. I am dedicated to my craft, but at times I am also inexperienced in my craft. I seek to improve so that I can make better music and teach others how to make the music they want. My background is software, so I might sometimes think strangely about creative process, I hope you understand. Thank you in advance for your engaging in a discussion with me.

  1. I really like the idea of 09xx, and using the loop as an instrument. However, that loop still needs to be extracted from a larger song (in most cases.) What are you using to slice the loop out of the song?

  2. When I press “z” it plays a C note. That is, it plays a C note when I use one of the built-in samples. What are you using to “tune” your samples so that “z” is C?

  3. When I write software, we use “version control” so that we can go back to a previous version of the software. Does anyone use this with Renoise so that they can go back to an earlier version of a song or branch for remixes? Please tell me about your experiences and present me with advice.

  4. I have used built-in samples to construct melodies. I am interested in now trying this with virtual instruments. Are there recommendations for soft-synths to start with? Free and pay suggestions are both welcome.

  5. What are your Renoise “Best Practices”?

  6. Besides using Renoise, how would you recommend I learn more about Renoise and making music? Tutorials, books, forums, blogs, all are welcome.

If you help me, I will report back with my experiences. Then together we will have made a document to help more people.

Thank you.

Audacity is relatively simple little program for sound editing. But you can do it directly inside the renoise too. Renoise sample editor can record samples, so you can record from turntable for example, and remove the parts you don’t need.

I personally use guitar tuner:

It is connected to my mixer and works perfectly. (Also note that not every guitar tuner works well, you need chromatic tuner with good range, some guitar tuners can only tune E, A, D, G, B notes in guitar range).

Most people tune samples by ear, play it together with a sample you know to be in tune, and correct the frequency until you hear they are matched.

There are also some VST tuners available.

I personally just save backups from time to time with different “version number”. People (including myself) have been play playing with an idea of writing a version control for XRNS, but so far I haven’t seen any implementations.

Use the enter key to preview a single line, useful for “debugging” complex patterns. (Just like debugger stepping) :)

Some video tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/user/LearnRenoise

Read the renoise manual @ http://tutorials.renoise.com/

Thanks for the response!

Do you have a recommendation for VST or AU tuners? Do I have to be as careful with these as with a “real” one?

For public version control, maybe use http://github.com/ ? I think Google has a solution also. I am just not sure about things that involve binaries.

I have read the renoise tutorials and watched the videos. I was wondering what the next step is? Maybe something about sampling or electronic music in general that I then apply Renoise to?

Thanks again.

Tuning tip: you can load a VSTi and a sampled instrument into the same slot. (Try it, it works.) Since your VSTi is probably tuned correctly already, now you just listen to both sounds at once and tweak tuning on your samples until they’re no longer dissonant with the VSTi. Then, set the VSTi back to ‘None’.

Hi and welcome to the Renoise forums.

about 2:
your question did me think that you are not aware of the existence of sample properties panel:

through this, you can tune and finetune samples

about 3:
into Renoise preferences panel, you can define how Renoise should automatically performs backup of songs. See here.

try Crystal VST, it’s great, it’s free.

I take it you mean “How do I sample?” As suggested by Suva, Audacity is good, and free. But I use Amadaeus Pro on my Mac, not free. You could also always just record into Renoise and use the built in Sample Editor. Garageband and Logic are standard staples on the Mac, too.

Renoise files are encapsulated in ZIP files. In my experience, storing binaries in version control is frowned upon. Instead, make backups like you would normal files? Maybe in the future Renoise will allow files to be stored in a directory, making the ZIP encapsulation optional, then I can see the purpose of using something like SVN. But for now, it would just be a backup system with too much overhead. Wrong tool for the job IMHO.

Good times.

In my experience you learn the guitar by playing it, not reading about it. Replace the word guitar with Renoise. Some URLs you should have in your arsenal:

Good luck.

Oh, and for 2), since you are on a Mac, Garageband has a Tuner in the latest version.

ha, that would be really awesome!

To clarify, I think my question is less “how do I tune” and more “how do I know if I am in tune?” I suppose I could just learn better pitch, but really I need to gurantee a 440A is a 440A and not a 439A, especially if that sample is the basis for all notes. Do you have thoughts on this?

Not sampling as in recording, but more: I have a whole song in FLAC and I want one bar of it to be used with 09xx. Is the built-in sample editor good for taking 3 seconds out of 3 minutes?

Built in sampler is actually pretty damned good although it does have a few quirks to get used to and a couple of minor limitations. I personally use SoundForge (although I believe it’s not available for Mac) as Renoise needs everything to be in RAM and I do a lot with long recordings/mixes and sometimes need to be able to work on one side of a stereo recording separate to the other.

you could sample whole chunks of songs within Renoise by highlighting the desired section within the pattern editor, then Render Selection to Sample - viola! whole selected area is now a sample in it’s own right. I don’t know if you are using the paid for version or the demo, but Render Selection to Sample is such a brilliant function it’s worth paying for.

To follow-up:

  1. Renoise can work to chop up the sample before playing with it in 09xx. Also Audacity, Suva, or Amadeus Pro can be used to pre-chop th efile.
  2. Renoise can be used to fine-tune a sample. However, in order to tell what pitch a sample is, we need to bring in a 3rd party tuning application. Some 3rd party applications have been recommended for tuning. These applications seem good for saying “this i a C note.” However, I have not seen one where I feel it is helping me tune to the exact frequency of a particular note. Does anyone have any further advice on techniques or tools fo precisely tuning a sample. Maybe even thoughts on what “Good enough” is in terms of tuning.
  3. Version control in Renoise is difficult because of the fact that the file format is a zip container and that Renoise uses lots of binary elements. I still think finding a modification or plug-in for popular version control systems to deal with the Renoise zip would be useful. While not all aspects of version control would be useful or applicable to renoise sounds, I think the ability to track a sample or song as you evolve the sound(s) and make branches for remixes or effected samples would be incredibly useful. In addition, the nature of version control allows for notations. You can have a tree that starts with a sample, and the main tree begins by cleaning up the sample and removing extra hisses and normalizing the sound. Then you branch off at a particular point and begin to tweak the reverb for sound, all the while notating settings being used so that you can merge and do regressions of these effects. The same can be done for songs. Some people will find this useless, but I think others will find great utility in this. I think it would be very helpful for long-running collaborative web projects, as well as teaching technique by saving iterations of the process. I have a lot of experience with version control with software, so if anyone is interested I would be happy to help in this project. AUtomatic saves are useful, but this is very different from that.
  4. A few free soft-synths have been mentioned. I feel there are probably a lot more free soft-synths and paid soft-synths that have not been mentioned. Also, no one really explained why they were recommending a particular soft-synth. Seriously, what are your “go-to” soft-synths and why?
  5. This question was barely touched. How do you organize your samples, instruments, and effects? What are good methods and pitfalls to avoid while developing your workflow? Naming conventions? Just in general, what are good “best practices” for developing music in Renoise?
  6. Using renoise is definitely a good way to learn Renoise, I concur. However, I don’t think there is one person here that learned making music, electronic music, and music with renoise in a vacuum. There are books, blogs, forums, and articles that one can go through to become a better electronic/tracker musician. For a dedicated person, what syllabus would you develop for them to follow?

I wan to note that I really appreciate everyone’s help and advice so far. However, I want to push for a bit more information, as it will be helpful to me, but I also think all of this information will be incredibly helpful to anyone who is new to renoise or electronic music and has read the manuals, played with renoise, and such, but really wants to find a way to get to that next level. Thank you in advance, this is a great community we have here.
Chris