After a week playing with Renoise, I’m saying bye. But before doing that, I had decided to write this post. It may help to bring some new ideas to the table, or not. This is a not critical review, a rant or a wishlist. My points here are about functionalities or ideas that I think could be useful to Renoise as a software and company. Please bear in mind my lack of knowledge on Renoise too. Also, this is about the software. I had no intention to offend anyone or make it personal.
I’m not a coder, I’m a wannabe musician that just bought his first digital piano. I know nothing about music theory or composition, but I just want to play and have fun. I’m also a Linux guy, and I’m really happy the Renoise has its Linux version. It’s a big thumbs up! So, with no more delay, here are my points about Renoise:
The tracker nature of Renoise didn’t scare me at all. Yeah, it’s weird for those used with a time linear type of DAW (is this the correct term?), but you can get used to it. However, I see a lot of room for improvement here. IMHO, the “tracker nature” should not stop you from evolving. Plus, Renoise is not a “pure” tracker anymore, right? No, I’m not asking for piano roll! I’m talking about not to be held back by puritan thoughts/ideas just because “it was how it worked in Amiga and MS-DOS”. Honestly, that is not an excuse to keep something from evolving. For example. I don’t see a reason for the use of the hexadecimal system. Sure, Amiga had to use back there, but Renoise doesn’t have to, right? Keeping the “tracker spirit” it’s a very flat reason for that. Making everything decimal will not make your music better or worse, but can improve Renoise user-friendly for new users. Why? I think that If you need a calculator to set up your tracks, there is something wrong here. For me, a tool should not be in the way of the task that was proposed to solve. As a musician, I want to make music and not to learn a new numerical system. Donald Norman in his The Design of Everyday Things talked about affordance. Renoise could use that to improve its workflow, UX and so on.
I’m not sure who’s Renoise target public. I hope it is for everyone, and I really mean, everyone. The idea I have reading forums and posts out there about Renoise, is that people think of it as a hardcore DAW for advance users. If that’s your goal, great. You achieved. If not, we can try to change that. As I put before, being a “tracker” is not the issue. The issue is when you don’t break down layers of difficulty, just because it was how it was conceptualized 40-30 years ago. Renoise can and should expand its user base. Go after average people and not only “advanced users”. Make it easier for the 16 years boy/girl to start using Renoise from day one.
From a marketing perspective, a lot can be done. How you position yourself matter. How people see you matter. Put user first. An easier DAW, documentation, videos, tutorials, how’s to and so on. If you want to have YouTube flooded with videos about Renoise, like Ableton and FL have, you definitely need to increase your user base. But for that to happen, we need more people to use Renoise and for that, we need a more appealing DAW.
IMHO having that reverse-sidechaing-with-automation-push-in-to-vst3-bus-master-sender-mixer will not help any musician to create the next billboard hit. Neither breaking down the initial barrier. Why not focus in bringing the Renoise to the mass? You can do that without losing your identify, but some adjustments are necessary. I think Renoise is technically superior to many DAWs, it may just need some new perspectives from outsiders.
There are other ideas that I could be laid out here, but I’ll save your time for now. Of course, all the above may be BS if Renoise is comfortable where it is now, and there is no way/desire to make any changes like the above. If that’s the case, please just ignore this post. But, if you think Renoise can somehow benefit from some of these ideas, I’m willing to help.