Before I Buy...

I was introduced to the program because of Venetian Snares’ Vache video (alliteration much?).

I tried the demo, saw videos about workflow, checked out the PDF file introducing me to the program, but I’m still left with these questions:

What are the pros and cons of this program compared to other music software (i.e. Cubase, Ableton Live, Reason, etc.).
What is the general learning curve for this program for someone who knows nothing about music(or, alternatively, how long did it take you to be able to work with Renoise)?


Oh, and I didn’t put this in the beginner’s section because I only have the demo so far.

I’m not even sure there is a good answer for a question like this. This is just a huge question, massive! Basically comes down to you doing research, and demos, and accepting the fact that it is perfectly normal to own and use more than one DAW.

You can wikipedia any of these things… It should be part of your research.

I will say, “I have used Cubase, Ableton and Reason, and my favorite of these tools mentioned is Renoise.” I’ve decided that, “I’m really not happy with the recent turn Reason has taken. What use to be a simple synth rack, with great samplers, and cool effects, is now a weird full fledged DAW with its own plugin format, and hardware devices slowly and surely appearing. Live version 8 was a terrible failure… I did not upgrade my v7 license, and I’m afraid I’m not interested in Live v9.”

Cubase is a fantastic program… but if you have no idea what you are doing, IMHO… You will get a more solid foundation to build on, by starting with Renoise first.

depends on your goal. just keep in mind that your favorite producers, have been producing for years, and years… I think its up to you how long it takes to, “get the feet wet.” with hard work, eventually you will reach intermediate music production. many years to expert… If you work hard.

I suggest you to try the demo longer; you are not obliged to buy the software without having tested it thoroughly.

about MIDI recording issues, Renoise has a MIDI quantize function which can help improving the quality of the recording.

the learning curve of course varies from person to persone: somebody finds Renoise to be the easiest Way to write music, some others find it completely counterintuitive.

Basically, this. ^

Are you picking your first DAW, or have you used other DAWs as well? If you haven’t tried other DAWs, make sure you test a few of them as well!

@kmaki Yeah, this is the first DAW I’ve been able to work with; everything else seems a tad expensive for me and I’m not the person that would pirate anything like that.

@everyone Thank you for actually taking the time to respond and give valuable advice. I really appreciate it.

Have you seen cockos Reaper? I’ve not used that, but from what I gather it presents a more ‘traditional’ DAW in style of say, Cubase. And the pricing policy is very reasonable.

Yes, almost forgot: the one thing renoise has too is the community. :) It’s good. Don’t know the situation with other DAWs on that.

Pros and cons:

Pros: Renoise is best if you want to program your ideas. Put down notes, hear how they sound, tweak this and tweak that.
Cons: Renoise is not so good if you want to record stuff. Either played on midi keyboard or from live instruments.

There are basically two ways of making music with computer: programming and recording. Which one is for you depends on your background, and tastes and vision and skills and what else.

If you want to make music mostly by programming, then renoise is one of the best options. If you are more of a guy who prefers to record himself playing on keyboards or pads, then there are better options. For example Cubase style stuff. They are either very bad or very very bad for proramming though. :P

I knew nothing about music when I started, and I spent almost 2 years fulltime on it now, well, with a lot of other things of course too. In the beginning I’ve installed and tried FL Studio (still like a lot), Cubase, Ableton for some months, then Renoise on the side, and since I’ve bought Renoise about 5 months in it’s become my most used application. It’s also the one I could afford which can be a prime factor or plus.
Back then, I used Live the least because I could not get used to the interface… Now if you put me behind a computer screen with full fledged Live I’ll have a hit loop in half an hour. So the second plus for me is when you learn to do something, or create a certain sound, in Renoise, you’ll know what’s happening and you can learn doing the same thing in any other app quicker. Later I installed a newer version of Live temporarily and made a drumkit out of synth instances in minutes.
A pro and con at the same time is that you can do so many things by keyboard operation, you’ll get to the point where you gonna be annoyed by other apps’ pure mouse oriented control. If you have a midi keyboard this is probably not a point but there are programs out there without a ‘pc keyboard piano emulation’ thing.
Another plus is the scriptability, you can add functionality that’s missing with tools available from the Renoise website. Almost all of these are free of cost.
Renoise got a lot of features, discovering most took a month or two at least for me, and to get most important keyboard shortcuts in my head a month or two more (tip print the keys.xml). It can also be a con but just check how everything works, see how your own workflow is and how it changes, load up a few samples and tweak them… explore.
It runs on windows mac and linux.
The song files never have file dependencies (only possible VST dependencies).
Built-in sample editor.
Cons, well, there’s some quirks still that you have to learn to work with, like sample-based instruments not having a portamento setting, and other luxury stuff, but you can 0Gxx to glide note and you’ll get used to it. Only one line of automation with lacking recording (line quantization of automation recording), it can be difficult to keep the overview or supervision. But once you get used to being able to route LFO/envelope signal to each and every parameter in the whole program, well you won’t wanna let go.
Anyway right now I’m thinking, Renoise is good for learning how electronic music production works as well, and stuff that e.g. Reason has is really luxury for me now. If I had the money right now I’d buy Reason too, it’s nice to jam and have awesome wicked stuff in 2 minutes sometimes.
But for me, buying Renoise worked out very well, I’ve also seen my interest in programming increased making Overtune and some other tools.
My best tip is, use the demo some mo. Then just get it because it’s only 50 bucks or so.

O yeah I forgot to mention there’s cool effects in the package that other daws don’t have by themselves.

One more thing, I don’t agree wholly on the programming vs recording argument, it’s part true, but it’s more also that renoise has a different aka ‘non graphical’ way of visualizing the notes you record (yet). Also the note-offs in that respect take some time to get used to. The only thing where I think Renoise is genuinely lacking on the recording notes side is not being able to record notes shorter than 1 line (1/16th note normally). You can program them in, but not record. Anyway it’s not really a big issue.

I don’t get it.

Renoise for sequencing. Reaper for recording. Work them together in your own curious way. Covers all basses. Both affordable. Both still in development.

Patience and persistence no matter what.

I’d like to thank everyone for the suggestions and let you know that I’ll be lurking until I can get the program working to my satisfaction. :P

Learning curve was very fast for me, just a few hours until I figured out how to place samples/notes, another step how to add effects, then how to use MIDI and VSTi, and you can start creating great songs from this point (with a little creativity ;))

Renoise is great because you don’t need any skills in recording stuff or instrument playing, if you have sounds you can put them together in the most efficient way I’ve experienced yet… drum loops are so easy to create that when I try to make drums in traditional sequencer I usually switch it off and go back to Renoise. The cons would be getting the groove (with 1/3th, 1/5th notes), and sometimes I have a complex rhythm/melody in my head and it’s just difficult to place the notes correctly because they don’t work on traditional 1/4, 1/8 and so on. Also, I often use notes that hit slightly “before” or “after” the beat because they sound more natural, the best way is to live record such notes, but when I playback the recording it sound out of place and when I quantize it a little it sounds really bad… :(

To sum up, some things can be done within seconds and others will take you a long long time to get right but it’s the same with all creative programs as everyone has his own workflow and artistic feelings and one program just can’t serve them all…