After a week with Renoise, is it time to say goodbye?

Hi @taktik,

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Cheers,
Castle

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My friend Renoise is like any other new software you encounter,it does not adopt to you ,you must adopt to it and spend some time to learn it.You spend one week with Renoise, thats clearly not enough time to develop a workflow and feel comfortable.I advise you to spend more time on it and soon things will make sense.I am using Renoise for 3 years now and i dont have a clue about hexadecimal but my tracks come out ok,you dont need a calculator to use Renoise.

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Some words from me, the “tracker boy”.

Don’t worry, you didn’t. Everything’s cool, mate. :slightly_smiling_face:

You don’t need a calculator to set up your tracks, it’s very simple. You just have to calculate a little if you’re using special things you can only do with a tracker, and I’m primarely thinking of pattern effect commands just like delay. This system has so much more to offer if you’re getting into it. You can do crazy beats and stuff you couldn’t do like that with any other DAW.

I started using a tracker when I was 12 and I think it’s especially for beginners way easier to learn than a common DAW like Cubase, Ableton and so on. If people really think it’s for “advanced users” I assume it’s because they’re used to a layout like the common DAWs which most people are using. They even didn’t try using a tracker, so that’s why they think it’s for adcvanced users because of its look. In my opinion it’s ideal for beginners, because it’s absolutely logical and you’re not getting overwhelmed by millions of knobs and buttons.

You’re right, it’s superior to many DAWs. New perspectives are always a good thing. But so far users who are new to a tracker are always calling for a piano roll and visible waveforms while playing the song, which is simply fundamentally unnecessary and it doesn’t fit to a tracker. It feels like they would like to change the whole concept, because they’re used to another concept. And to make that clear, I don’t say you’re doing that. :wink:

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that’s a lot of text for very little content, if i may say so.

here’s the essence which i was able to gather from the four points you listed:

1.there is no reason for renoise to rely on the hexadecimal numeral system (anymore).
2.renoise should be more accessible for less advanced users.
3. make renoise more appealing to more people.
4. make adjustments to renoise in order to increase its popularity

besides point 1, these are very vague statements and suggestions that leave the reader with a lot of room for interpretation behind.

but let me try to comment your points as good as i am able to:

to 1)
renoise uses hex values for INS#, VOL/PAN/DLY and FX columns. In these columns, you can enter values from either 00-80 (0-128) or 00-FF (0-255). That means, by entering these values in decimal, you would need one more digit in up to four different columns multiplied by the respective number of note columns / tracks used in a song.

or put in another way: in order to input the same amount of information, more horizontal space would have to be taken by that information compared to sticking to hex. so the reason behind this is not elitism or the disinterest of “pushing things forward”, as t would actually make things worse and offer no benefit at all.

to 2.-4.)
these points all feel pretty similar to each other and you don’t make specific suggestions on how to reach the allegedly desirable goals mentioned.

it should be clear however, that a tracker will always be a niche way to compose music digitally. it just doesn’t make sense to how most people visualize music and tonal events in general.
working with colorful bars instead of numbers will always be more appealing and less abstract on first sight. there are also some obvious workflow up- and downsides for both sequencing approaches and i have to agree that for most music produced nowadays, a combination of piano roll and audio track sequencing does have the upper hand. have you ever imagined how “fun” it would be to sequence the recorded audio of your band or even an orchestra with renoise? it’s simply not made and meant for that job, but it’s still a very wide spread usecase.

good luck on finding the right tool and all the best for your future music projects.

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Funny this …cause i remember when those new-fangled daw-things came out, was using ft2 back then.

And one thing i remember feeling was that those new programs were all about “buying your music”; like
you would purchace ‘machines’ and hook them up via midi and they would write your music for you.

Then those same two compaines invented SDR’s and VST’s (think thats what they were called) so
they could get in on the whole people ‘buying stuff to make their music’.

Still to this day i sort of feel like if you’re gonna buy all this stuff to make music why not just hire a band;
cause that’s a easy workflow innit.

what a self-entitled tosser

You’ve barely said hello…

if you believe a week’s use of a piece of software gives you the right to dictate to its creator how he should do things i reckon you have a huge problem

try contributing to the userbase first, make yourself helpful, spend YEARS like most of us working with the software and getting to know it so that your input actually has some foundation

so full of assumptions and opinions, yet zero value to add.

no you aren’t, you’re willing to dictate

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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.

agree.

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.

agree.

But for that to happen, we need more people to use Renoise and for that, we need a more appealing DAW.

agree.

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.

agree.

I’m a Renoise user since 2004. And it’s my favourite software program.
It’s the ONLY software program I open every single day.
And I totally hate the fact it’s such a “niche” DAW.
We’ve got a very good userbase… with users being loyal the to program, giving advice… making the software better with tools… But sometimes… I’m just a bit scared the whole Renoise development will stop because of bad sales… And this topic describes the problem. Renoise can be a more user friendly daw. Plus, people need to see development. more updates, more bugfixes… implement tool ideas…

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A week is not good enough. I say, push it.
However. For a week, It seems like you have found a decent amount of “shortcomings” for your own expectations.

  1. I partly agree with the hexadecimal statement. I guess it can be taunting at first. But. It’s very easy to just have a cheat sheet, if you are used to decimals. Either tape it to your monitor, or keyboard for reference. After a while, you will adapt, and the cheat sheet can go.

  2. A tracker, will always be a tracker. And that in itself might seem “advanced”. Renoise in itself does not intentionally try to be “elitist”. It just caters to the ones that see music in a different way. Because they are used to it, or because they just like the workflow. Thank god we have this alternative in 2021.

  3. Both youtube and this forum are great sources for howto’s. This page also cater an enormous amount of tools you can add to Renoise. Making the possibilities of this DAW almost endless.
    Do you have an idea for what would make Renoise more “appealing” to you, or a wider user base?

  4. There is shortcomings in certain areas. But. Other DAWs have shortcomings too. Like working with samples. Renoise can do things other DAWs only can dream about. However, they can overcome their shortcomings with Redux. But then again. I guess the learning curve of Redux might be steep, for a user that is not already familiar with trackers.

I would NOT like to see Renoise change the way it works. It would defeat the purpose of the whole software suite. However. New functionality is always welcome. And then you can either choose to embrace it, or ignore it and go on with your day.

I do not agree, nor understand why some Renoise users are so stubborn when it comes to suggestions like a ‘pianoroll’, ‘track recording’ and other features that most other DAWs have. Those are ‘shortcomings’ in Renoise that might be THE reason some people wont use it.

Take Logic Pro as an example. The pianoroll have always been the editor window. However. Some of their userbase have asked for other ways to edit. And now, it also features a built in step sequencer. Per said userbase request.

Wow. This rant might be the reason why “new” people have a problem adapting to Renoise.

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you cannot ‘create flute’… you can either sample it yourself… or use a plugin which contains flute sample library…

That sounds like the problem of your basic understanding of genres (music in general)… In other DAW you would have to do the same… unless you want 1-click-solution… it’s not a problem concerning Renoise as a tool…
… after all, you do not open Ableton and ask yourself - why it doesn’t show you how to do counterpoint… or do you?

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Im not new to a tracker and calling after Pianoroll too. :slight_smile: I startet tracking on Amiga500. First Noisetracker with song format, later Protracker with mod format. That not the reason why i call for it. The reason is, that entering accords in renoise is much more efficient and easier with it for users that not own a physical midikeyboard. Ecspecially for complex accords.5. or 7. notes same time. And only because there would a pianoroll in, nobody is forced to use it. if you more prefer to hacking in the accords over trackcolumns, nobody will prevent you. :slight_smile:

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This whole thread is a reason “old” people have a problem adapting to the new internet. Full of entitlement and self-aggrandising know-nothing over-opinionated people looking for attention and someone to hold their hand and wipe their arse. This isn’t twitter, even though the discourse platform tries to mimic that horror show. Yes, i remember the old forum software and still miss it.

I have plenty of points of criticism i could make about Renoise, all of which come from decades long experience of using the software, memory of times when development was more active, memory of what has changed along the way, and frustration at the current lack of updates or any idea what’s going on, which has been the case for more than a week, try two+ years. The difference here is that i’m not going to start posting 4 topics in under a week proposing to tell @taktik what to do with his software project, even with my background and knowledge.

I wish he would just open source the whole thing tbh so moaners and ‘people who know better’ wouldn’t have a leg to stand on for asking somebody else to sort it out for them, they could just be pointed to the source repo and told ‘learn to code buddy’.

This person isn’t here to spend time to learn patiently, to ask questions and look for help from experienced users, he’s here to tell us, the ones who are familiar with the software, and even its creator, that he knows better than us after a week how the software could be changed and improved. This is not something to be encouraged in any way, and i am actively standing against that behaviour.

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As others say the HEX system may be a bit of a hurdle for a beginner but once you realize why it’s still smart for a tracker you should get on board with the concept, using it simply minimizes the amount of typing which is what a tracker is all about, so if anything Renoise marketing should promote how using HEX is something magical that saves you from many thousands of superfluous keypresses :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Spend a few minutes learning Hex, it’s not hard.

There’s a section about HEX in the manual:
Tracker Interface - Renoise User Manual

They’ve even made a video about it:

I am all for enticing new people into the world of Trackers but Hex is an integral part.
Personally I think the pattern matrix is where a completely new concept could be introduced that would help both beginners and advanced users.

Renoise is easy once you get how the concept of a tracker works, you really just need to get over the initial learning period, but keep at it for longer than a week and you’ll love it if it’s in you, but if you’ve stopped being curious maybe you should move on.

At least we got Side-chain now and it’s great :slight_smile:

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I mentioned a cheat sheet earlier. The Quick Start Guide for Renoise (PDF) have one that is easy to understand.
HEXcheat

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Facts! :+1:

Keep calling, maybe one day you’ll get heard. :wink:
I still don’t see any reason for a piano roll, and furthermore I still don’t see any advantage making complex chords with a piano roll compared to a common pc keyboard. What’s the difference? You just have to know which notes fit together and there you go.

There’s some truth in here for sure. But I wouldn’t imply bad intentions to him, he just didn’t get it. How should he after one week? I’m using Renoise for almost 10 years now and I’m pretty sure that I only know a fraction of it (but I know everything I need to know, that’s for sure). The great thing about Renoise is that you can use it in several ways, depending on how you would like to work with it. It’s a total different story if you’re working primarely with samples than if you prefer working with VSTs, if you combine both or if you’re also using hardware. But you never should try to change its concept! And first of all you have to understand before making suggestions for improvement.

100% correct.

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If you can’t count to 16 in hex , but you do feel the urge to write a wall of text without even TRYING harder to get into renoise , then no renoise is not for you
1

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After reading the last four words of the topic title, I have a Bocelli/Sarah Brightman song going round and round with that like octave leap in the melody…

Knipsel

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These kind of conversations are one reason why i still live in the 90’s - when things were simpler and people were easier to communicate with.
This stuff is making me feel disconnected and sad.

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The reactions to this topic though… Maybe be rational about it and stop the lame pseudo-elitism? Feedback from new users should be valued, as most people become more or less home blind to what they’re used to.

Adding the option of dec instead of hex would require columns that are one digit wider, but would also make it more accessible to beginners. It would only be a “simple” conversion in the presentation of patterns. A checkbox in the preferences that, perhaps, wouldn’t be that hard to implement.

Admittedly, it would also threaten the very foundation that we stand on. Let’s leave it to the devs to decide our fate.

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So, let’s say that happens and now there’s an option to switch from hex to decimal.

It wont be long before some bright spark will start asking why the numbers only go from 000 to 255.

It’s not elitism to ask that people make the same effort to learn something that we all did. We didn’t do it on sufferance, but because we were genuinely interested. Everyone here got used to it, even if it seemed strange at first. I’m talking from experience. But if you add the option to not have to learn that ‘difficult’ thing which seems such a huge barrier to entry, then people soon enough wont bother at all, because they’ve been given the option not to. This will lead to a loss of knowledge and competency. It’s a 100% guarantee. Because new users will come in with a lower requirement for entry, and will rarely, if ever decide to step ‘backwards’ to learn the old standard.

And then you find you have lowered the barrier-to-entry enough to allow in lots of people who will not develop an attachment to the software in the same way, because the experience of working with it was made so easy for them they can take it or leave it, and the core concept and user interest is diluted because of it. Right now, whenever i have seen mention of Renoise elsewhere it’s pretty much someone acting as an evangelist for it (not in a culty way, but out of love for the program).

I’m trying to say it’s ok for something to be niche and off-putting. The people who make the effort with it will end up in love forever. And that’s fine!

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