Ambient workflows?

Am new to Renoise and am on demo, saving up for a license. Interested in making ambient music. Still have to learn and develop proficiency with Renoise. Could someone, singular or plural, share some ambient music workflows? I saw one Youtube video which is nice, but feel there perhaps are many ways to make ambient. Tips and tricks are welcome. Do not have sample packs, but have no objection to making my own or using what Renoise gives.

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Renoise is not a usual ‘ambient’ sequencer. I use it for mostly microsound/lowercase music, but have composed plenty of ambient tracks with it. The issue I have is that I will not use VST/AU plugins with Renoise. That’s my preference, I use plugins in other sequencers, but I prefer Renoise to simply manipulate audio files.

Can one make ambient in Renoise? Sure.

Look into all of the styles of ambient music. I prefer Renoise to make ‘still’ ambient music. This type of ambient music is a branch off of microsound/lowercase, and tends to benefit from non-movement of the synthetic sounds, and movement from the clicks and pops/glitches. This is one version of ‘still’ ambient that I worked on (with video).

If you’d like to work with VST/AU plugins, there are several free that would benefit you greatly for making more traditional format ambient music:

Surge XT, an incredibly versatile synth that can synthesize sound in so many ways, and has beautiful skins

Emergence, a fantastic granular tool

Renoise is an excellent sequencer and sample manipulation tool, but it does take some getting used to, and finding workarounds for the typical ways that music is composed.

As for sample packs, it really depends on your skills as a sound designer. Renoise has plenty of Tools that allow for sound generation, and there are growing pile of sample generators online; from waveforms to percussion to various synthesizers of abstract sound. The free stuff is so good nowadays, that a professional work/sound can be made from them easily.

Finally, as far as mastering goes, I do not know your skill set as a sound-engineer, but there’s fantastic free plugins that’ll do a decent job, and cheap professional plugins that do very well, also. Depends on how good your mix is before you master it. Renoise is REALLY good a creating a great mix - it’s so clean that the what you put in is what you get from it.


Renoise works great for making ambient, both zero beat/drone ambient and stuff with beats and melodies.

I use it, both with vsts only and samples only (remember autoseek! :slight_smile: ) – or a combo of them both. I have also used Renoise as a tool for playing 100% live.

Unlike many others I do everything in Renoise; squencing, mixing and mastering. What works for me might not be the ideal workflow for others though. It’s all a matter of taste. Good luck!


What kind of ambient do you want to make? It’s such a broad term, hard to make a meaningful suggestion without knowing what you want to do.


So for ambient I would recommend a few programs from my friend Boris.
His work is perfect and I’m glad to be able to help with beta tests.
More here.

The other things I know and use are things from Giorgio Sancristoforo.
Coincidentally, there is a summer sale :slight_smile:


So many nice replies here. Am not sure what kind of ambient to make. Start, see what happens? I (try to) look at making music the way a cook might at food, “what ingredients and tools do we already have?” and from there, try to make a dish. There is a nice ambient demo track ( “Abrupt” by Phobium) and workflow I observed. The youtube video showed someone manipulating instrumental fragments into nice ambient drones.

Am looking/listening to what other chefs here are cooking up, very nice! I wish I could private message some about yummy dishes! I like to see what other ‘chefs’ are cooking and how s/he does it.

So many Renoise tutorials are around beats, and that’s fine. We need to start somewhere.

A possible companion program is something called ‘Supercollider’, though free, its real cost is a steep learning curve.

That said, some of the suggested supplemental tools here look interesting and will look those up. Thank you!

Don’t overlook the renoise tool, PadSynth… Lots of lovely timbres to be had there

And yes, supercollider definitely has a learning curve! I imagine it’s more straightforward for those with a coding background

@ikhider you might want to check out my tutorials, lots of unconventional synthesis methods in stock renoise there


love the pad design on the No Boring teaser - what did you use for that?

Glad you asked, I’m happy to push the sample generators that Ryukau creates!

The trick is to eliminate most of the options it provides and switch the center drop-down menu to ‘Additive’. This particular sample generator is just incredible, and utilizes the functions in the PADSynth algorithm (also present, yet different than the PadSynth | Renoise)

I’ll also just go ahead and post this here: The MOTHERLODE of Sample Generators - #19 by Neuro_No_Neuro

In any case, the PADChoir waveforms output perfect, loopable samples. No work involved. But, they will take a lot of care to caress the sound into something that doesn’t drown out the mix. For this type of challenge, somebody suggested creating a simple HP/LP filter combo. I put it in a Doofer. This’ll take out the bottom end/top end of the sound, and allow for quick sculpture. The rest can be attenuated via volume. it’s more ‘brute-force’ than an EQ.

HP-LP.xrdp (4.3 KB)


Ah perfect Perfect. I was thinking additive - can definitely hear a load of partials in there. I never spent enough time with padsynth so its about time i dug into Ryukau’s version.
Thanks for sharing the knowledge and for the bonus generators reckon ill have sone fun with animalese ahaha

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I’m not disciplined enough to have a consistent workflow, so I can’t offer any guidance there. But sometimes, being able to poke around in examples (like the great demo songs included with Renoise) can be very educational/inspiring.

(Not a plug, I promise.) You can download the source materials, including .XRNS files, for my first solo LP “Accumulator” here: Accumulator Remix. Any VST instruments I used were rendered to samples for these files, and I only used Renoise’s native effects, so you shouldn’t need anything beyond these files.

For drones and slowly evolving sounds, I’m a huge fan of Renoise’s LFOs. Sometimes I’ll just put a sustained note or chord in a track, add some native DSP effects, then play around with some LFOs which automate a handful of the effects parameters to see what happens. More than once, that inspired me to explore a certain direction, eventually refining the sound with intentionally-calibrated LFOs and/or automation curves.

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You can totally do ambient.

Slow tempo, long patterns, arranged into even longer pattern chains.

Use LFO modulators to auto modulate parameters - use modulators to modulate modulation parameters.

Put delays and reverbs in send tracks.

I think you can safely start with the built in samples. Or record something on your own.

Workflow will depend on what kind of ambient you’re doing, so once you figure that out, I recommend you set up a template with your go-to synths and effects, signal chains, etc, and use it as your default template so there’s minimal time spent adding that stuff when you’re in the creative zone.

I’ve made a lot of ambient in Renoise, mostly in the Brian Eno style of having loops of different lengths play back repeatedly so that they change over time. This album is all Renoise:

For that stuff, I used all samples from VST’s. The samples were generated in Renoise, and I used all of the cool modular aspects of the sampler to play around with the sound. I kept the bpm at 60 for every track, it didn’t really matter because the samples weren’t time stretched or anything, and then I had the line speed set to 1 so that a full pattern of 512 lines took something like 15 minutes to play through.

I’ve also made a lot of “live” ambient in Renoise, where everything is played in by hand, and for that kind of stuff, I found it was good to turn off the quantization and to set the line speed pretty high, so that each pattern of 512 lines zooms by in a second or two. This is so I could record modulation live without the resulting MIDI data sounding skippy. If you try it out, you’ll hear what I mean.

Just keep playing around with different ways to get the result you want. Listen to the kind of ambient you like and try to imagine how it was made, or even go looking for interviews from the musicians where they might talk about their process. After that, it’s all a matter of trying different things out and paying attention to anything that you happen to do almost every time you make a track. Those are the things you should add to your template or should memorize the shortcuts for.


Service Model has a solid ambient workflow Service Model - "Ashes" - Ambient Tracker Music - YouTube

I don’t use Renoise exclusively, but it has been one of the tools in my audio manipulation box for ambient, experimental and/or whatever sounds. It’s playing a much bigger role since I discovered the Composers Desktop Project tool - CDP Interface | Renoise. There’s a lot there and it’s finicky, but there’s some absolutely wild sounds to be found.

Otherwise one of the things I like to do is to chop up audio using sample commands, ignoring the grid or quantization, transients anything like that. My basic starting move is to skip through a sample using sample commands, S00 to SFF on evenly spaced lines, starting out at 256 lines to keep it simple and easy, maybe reverse it, and then usually expand it to 512 lines. And then I will set the sample play mode to continuous and add an envelope so that each ‘chop’ overlaps with the next. Then I’ll play with the BPM and do whatever until I get something I like dialed in. Usually I’ll go pretty slow, sometimes all the way down to 20 BPM. I might randomize the Sxx commands, or use the reform tool to rearrange the pattern - Reform | Renoise. Adjust various parameters to taste. I find that it’s a good way to find interactions between notes, textures, etc. in a piece of audio that wasn’t there before.

I did this Eno rework using the above technique, among other things. I also used Melodyne and Bitwig, I don’t think I used anything else, but I established the basic idea in Renoise.

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