Cheapest possible renoise setup? (for professional results)

zoom u-24 sound card is currently on sale for 79 eu (177.-)

  • usb + battery powered
  • build cheap

run it on my ipad, sound is ok as far as i can still judge, i m old

note the Samsung ATIV Accu Power, Tablets have partly bad values
cheap USB-Hubs like to make trouble

hey, thanks that is a great suggestion. I did not know about that zoom audio interface. Looks Ideal for my purposes and has extra features I would not have expected to get for the price ( pictures of the unit are below ).

Have you seen the panasonic toughbooks? Now that looks like its built for travelling and can take a beating…couldnt justify the price though unfortunately.

As for the samsung ativ tablet, I think you are right. It only has one usb port so I will need to use a usb hub to plug in both the AKAI MPD218 and the audio interface. Im not sure if the USB hub will need to be powered or not…I think the akai MPD218 will run powered straight from the usb port only.

I tested out how powerful the little tablet actually is by loading a renoise song with all instrument slots filled with chopped breakbeat drumkit instruments. Each instrument had 48 one-shot drum sounds inside it. Each individual drum sound had its own gainer in sample fx, and custom envelope in sample modulation…I ran a convolver on the master track.

With all this inside one song, it did take about a minute and a half to load the song, but once it was loaded pad drumming was fine…there was no latency, slow down or stutter.

I should add though that only once, when windows started running background tasks ( anti virus )…there was some stuttering and renoise just couldnt take it. I reloaded renoise and the song and it worked fine again…you wouldnt want that shit to happen in a live pad drumming situation…so I will need to think about how to set up the tablet to ensure that it will be stable during a performance…so not randomly starting a virus scan or some other background task during a live set.

Do you have any tips on how to make sure all these background processes are definitely off, a kind of ‘performance mode’ for use during a live set?

anyway here is the zoom interface you mentioned. Looks pretty damn good to me. Thankyou for the suggestion. I might go for that one…First thing I noticed about it that looks great is the separate volume dial for the headphones. Going to read some product reviews.

sry i am not up to date
always had lenovo, long driver support, also for old laptops

the mode machines usb to midi converter works with powerbank well at my akai mpd218 on a yamaha qy100
should also work at the midi port of the zoom sound card
possibly a usb hub alternative

Im seriously starting to think about getting one of these panasonic toughbooks. They look extremely solid and unbreakable ( bit like vestax pad one, but even more hardcore ), not to mention waterproof, vibration proof humiditiy proof, overheating proof…just need to know if renoise will run well on them or not. Saw one with a 3rd generation i5 processor 8GB of RAM and a decent SSD for 200 euro online. I think its just that little bit too old a processor to run renoise comfortably for big renoise only ( or almost no vst ) projects.

What about putting the computer in airplane mode while you are playing a set? Also I would make sure Windows Update, antivirus updates, etc are not on automatic mode so that you aren’t interrupted while doing something more important, or at least scheduled for times you aren’t likely to be needing the computer more.

How fast of a processor does Renoise need? Is it about processor speed or is it about having available cores/threads? I currently run it on two different 3rd gen i5s (a 3320m and 3470) and the only situation I could imagine overloading the processor would be using an unspeakable number of VST plugins simultaneously.

Thanks for the tips on turning automatic updates off and airplane mode on. Ive been thinking about the question ‘how fast a processor does renoise need to run well?’. I cant be so sure of which processor is the minimum to run renoise well enough. I need to find out somehow because Im trying to do low budget and portable as possible while useable for sample-based, reasonably large projects and live pad-drumming. On the samsung ativ tablet, which is a low performance, quite old computer ( i5 3427U CPU @ 1.8GHz, quad core, 4GB RAM ) it seems to run well even with over 100 instruments with 48 drum samples in them each. It loaded fine and worked fine even with every single instrument slot filled, each instrument having 48 drum samples ( enough for the three pad panks on AKAI MPD218 ). However it took a long long time to load. It did lock up a couple of times and start stuttering…once when anti-virus was doing an automatic scan and once when I went online to check the forum then when back to the project. I’d imagine if each of those instruments had longer samples instead of just short drum samples, the processor ( or the computer in general for whatever reason ) wouldnt be able to take it. Or another situation in which an older i5 3427U CPU computer couldnt take the strain might be if a lot of hardcore vsti’s or effects were used, or maybe even just a lot of separate effects chains in per-sample, sample fx chains…like maybe too many reverbs or something. I dont really use vsti’s that much, only for a bassline or for making samples so this kind of computer is enough for me at the moment but I would say its borderline. I wouldnt want to go lower to say an i3-third generation.
On the other hand, if I was only loading a drumkit of three pad panks in at once to drum with the MPD218 it would probably load and be playable even on a 2012 netbook, one with the maximum 2GB RAM…I havent tried so I cant say for sure. Its hard to say how cheap you could go with buying a laptop only for renoise. If you do only chiptune with single cycle waveforms and a couple of effects, probably a 2012 netbook is fine…depends what you do. For me I want to do some reasonably large renoise only, samples only songs and some live pad drumming.

Those panasonic toughbooks are around the same specs as my samsung ativ tablet so probably o.k without too many vsti and effects or very long samples. Having said that, it can manage a few vsti and effects, enough of them…depends how hardcore a vsti or vst fx it is.

I looked up the review of your Samsung Ativ tablet and it appears the SSD is quite fast so that shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to loading samples. Perhaps the fact that the processor is a “U” low-power variant and that the memory is only single channel have something to do with the long load times… I would be interested to try loading a sample-heavy song on one of my computers to see how they do.

While looking around on the internet I found this blog post from years ago about running Renoise on a 700MHz Pentium III laptop:

I imagine it is still possible to run a newer version of Renoise on a pretty old machine and it makes me wonder what the slowest/oldest piece of hardware I have around is. I have an i3 380m (an old Fujitsu Lifebook), an old Atom 1.6 netbook… I have an 800MHz G4 iMac but I know Renoise won’t run on a PPC processor :stuck_out_tongue:

This is one of the things that drew me to Renoise, I like that I can load it up on any piece of hardware in my house and still be able to jam out some tunes with it.

I love that about renoise too. It can run on just about any computer. I was running it on a seriously old celeron laptop until just a couple of years ago. It was running an older version, but it worked fine. Im not sure if it would still run with 3.1.

I just want to use a cheap laptop with my chopped breaks kits and drumpad to make renoise primarily an excellent drum module to play the pads and go travelling. Kind of like a high-tech bongo practise situation, but one that doesnt disturb other people when you practise at night or in a guesthouse, or in a park. also one that you can sequence songs on and practise keyboard with too. The best travel companion in a compact, portable size.

A while back I went through hong kong. They had a crazy six floor, awesome computer mall.
I was checking out a cool Fujitsu laptop at that time, probably so cheap now. If it can run renoise it may be ideal because it is so tiny…here it is ( Fujitsu lifebook as well )

The other tiny laptops which renoise may or may not run on (maybe because of the screen shape there would be some problem) would be those tiny sony vaio’s from a while back which were extremely expensive when they came out but might be just the price of a bag of groceries or something now.

Id be interested to know how much the intel atom 1.6GHz netbooks can take.
Maybe to test them, could just load an instrument with all keys having a sample about 2 seconds long…then load that same instrument into more and more instrument slots until there is stuttering…if there is no stuttering when all instrument slots filled, the netbook is probably no problem…after that could start adding reverbs to every track, every sample and so on, until stuttering. That should give a good idea of what the netbooks can handle…or multiple instances of vsti into the instrument slots until stuttering

I have most of an HP 1.6GHz netbook in my closet but it is missing most of the screws of the bottom panel and I don’t really feel like trying to piece it back together :slight_smile:

I do have something very similar handy though, an Intel Atom D2550 on a mini-itx motherboard shoe-horned into a Radioshack TRS-80. It’s 1.86GHz but the chipset supports more than 2GB of RAM so I have loaded it up with 4…and it’ll take more! I only have a 160GB 5400RPM HDD in there, no SSD so none of that quick loading. This is about as slow as what I would consider a “usable” modern machine (in the barest sense of the word, we are talking no youtube even), I compensate for this slowness by putting linux (debian) on it and running the barest of operating systems with minimal background processes.


I am new to Renoise so I don’t have any large projects to load up but I did load the “Hunz - Soon Soon” demo song as it is quite a busy piece of work. It took about 10 seconds to load and played flawlessly once loaded, hitting around 44% CPU usage at the peak of the song. The program responds instantly to key presses…the biggest problem is the teensy little cheap USB-powered speakers I use on this toy computer.

I have had a crush on the Vaio P ever since I first heard whiff of one sometime in the late 00’s. That crush has been…ahem…crushed by reports of its general slowness and poor usability combined with an astronomical price that only lately has been approaching “attainable”. There are recent-ish reviews of it that make it seem less than worthwhile ( but I think with a lightweight linux distribution and a specific use case you could really get a lot of use out of something this size.

Oh boy, I think you’re giving me GAS :wink:

I think the point I am trying to make is that it appears you can run Renoise on any old computer you can find. I would say that just about any computer that you could get for free from a relative or in an alley-way or in a dumpster could do the job suitably.

If you think about quitting music…quit music…it’s probably a nudge from the universe that someone you love needs that energy and effort way more than Spotify does.strong text

that computer you made looks cool. I thought those sony vaoi p’s would be around 40 euros by now, same as the rest o the netbooks but I just checked on ebay and they are still around 500 euros, wtf. They are 1.86GHz, 2GB of RAM same as your radioshack computer with the intel atom so in theory should load and run renoise no problem. The price is stupid, they do look cool as fuck though…

The ‘hunz-soon soon’ song is mostly single cycle waveforms, apart from the drums and vocals and only has 18 instruments. So not very heavy on the CPU to run that one. You said that runs at 44% cpu on your inte atom machine so I guess its quite likely that intel atom netbooks are probably not quite powerful enough to load 48 drum samples into a song and load it to practise drumpads, although those vocal samples were quite long so I may be wrong about that…might be the perfect little thing to use as a renoise drum-brain while travelling still.

The song has a nice subtle combo of effects :

maximizer, gainer, EQ5, EQ10, distortion, chorus, lofimat, filter, delay, bus compressor, reverb.

The per-sample fx are empty, as are the per sample modulation sets.

So, for me the answer overall is definitely a ‘yes’…that is, it should be possible to get professional results with renoise and a netbook only.

However, it will be a little sketchy and you will have to keep things pretty minimal while still just about having what you need in terms of effects.

Im thinking if you had these 48 drum sounds for the pad drumming ( 3 x 16 - 3 pad banks ): gainer, distortion, EQ10, compressor, reverb, mpreverb or convolution reverb on each of the drum samples to get them super nice with it - the intel atom 1.6GHz 2GB netbooks might start to show signs of struggling. Which is a shame because they are 40 euro second hand and cute and small, very backpackable…if it breaks or stolen, so what just replace cheaply.

On the other hand, I dont really know how the netbooks would hold up with midi imput and an audio interface…cant really say for sure.

I might break out the old celeron and do some tests and report back with the details.

Thank you :slight_smile: I still have the original Tandy motherboard sitting in the original box somewhere but this housing has been modified so much (by some bad man…me) that it could never work as it originally did. So much for the collector’s value…ha!

I think for Vaio P money you could almost get yourself an old GPD Win or GPD Pocket or maybe a One Mix Yoga, One Mix 2S, etc…one of the newer types of over priced sub-netbooks. At least they are a good deal more powerful than the Vaio P, not that you necessarily could use that power with that teeny-tiny keyboard.

I very nearly upgraded my current laptop (a Thinkpad T430 with an i5 3320m and a modded 1080P display) but after reading this thread and having a good hard think I will be keeping it instead. It seems like I probably won’t more power anytime soon and it also seems like running Renoise on too new hardware (such as a high DPI display) isn’t necessarily a good idea either.

Thanks for the recommendations for the renoise travel pad-drumming setup. I had no idea those tiny, teensy weensy laptops even existed. They look great. I am going to go and study up on those, check out the specs and everything. They are awesome ( I put pics of them at the end of this post ).

I did the ‘Hunz - soon soon’ demo song playback CPU usage test on my Samsung ATIV Tablet ( i5 3427U CPU @ 1.8GHz, quad core, 4GB RAM ). CPU reached 24% for a split-second in pattern 4, but throughout the rest of the song the CPU stayed at around 12% with a few moments going as high as 19%. I guess that means it can take roughly 3 times as much in general than a netbook (samples, renoise effects, vtsi, vst effects).

I just bought the ‘line6 sonic port vx’ audio interface today. Got it cheap for 60 euro, tested it with renoise and my beyerdynamic DT770-PROs. I am very pleased with it.

It was easy to set up.
All I had to do was download the drivers from, install them, afterwards in renoise…

edit - preferences - device settings - control panel - ( in asio4all control panel ) choose ‘sonic port vx’ - ( then back in renoise preferences device settings ) choose device - ASIO sonic port vx.

It makes such a huge difference. You can hear the difference immediately.
I loaded up some old song which I had written using normal headphones ( not flat-response monitor headphones ).
All of the bass sounds are way too quiet.
Apart from that I think I can tell the sound quality is higher as well.
Im very pleased with this little audio interface.

Great as a travel audio interface and cheap.
Has two inputs,
Aux / line in input
Guitar / Big jack input

Three outputs
L+R outputs for monitor speakers,
Can use L only to deactivate R
Heaphone output

2 side cardiod mics ( oriented in stereo AB position ),
an upward facing mono cariod mic…

a mic gain knob,
an input select switch ( guitar or big jack in, stereo mics only, mono mic only…using aux input deactivates all other inputs ) and a direct monitoring switch.

Its going to be so cool to start sampling in from ‘aux / line in’ again like I used to back in the day on MPC1000.
Couldnt do that on samsunng ativ only ( headphone and mic socket are combined ).

With the new inputs could even jam some shitty casio keyboard or guitar live over renoise songs.
Going to start with PSP-SEQ’s FM synth and do sequences from my PSP through mini kaosspad2 into renoise samples.
Then Im going to make some wavescanning samples with LittleGameParkTracker and ‘Monowave’ rom sample…PSP through mini kaosspad 2 to renoise samples again.

The only thing I can think of which may be a problem with this audio interface is that there is no separate volume control for headphones output…so the volume controls in windows and renoise are going to be controlling what comes out of both headphones and speakers if I want to hook it all up to do a live set, which I probably wont be doing anyway.

Here are the pics of those awesome tiny laptops.





Woah there, I had no idea this existed. I have a PSP Go sitting in a drawer not being used and this looks like fun! Something to play with while I wait for my nanoloop to be manufactured :smile:

That audio interface looks pretty nice, I just checked the price and it looks like you got a great deal! If I were to buy a portable interface I think I would buy the Behringer UCA222 ($43 CAD…so like 30 euro) and whatever extra cables or adapters I needed to plug. It looks like it has a headphone volume control but no mic gain, input switching, etc… I guess you get what you pay for.

PSP-SEQ is seriously awesome.
The 4op FM synth can make crazy sounds if you tweak all the parameters enough.
Its great for long drones or even nice, short, tuned FM drums.
My favoutie synth-effect combo is 4opFM with state variable filter ( you can only have one effect per synth ).

Definitely worth learning it.

Honestly, I have nanoloop as well and although I like it, its nowhere near as good as PSP-SEQ.

The only thing bad about pspseq is that it takes a long long time to save songs once you have all the 100 patterns filled ( like 3 minutes or more, the more tracks you fill, the more parameter changes per-step you add )…also has karplus strong, sounds great. The demo songs focus on using it for breaks, but if you just tweak every parameter on every step for the 4op FM synth, then refine the sound with filtering youll see what I mean. Cant recommend it enough. You can get very complex, varied things going with it.

Here I will put some links to everything you need to start using PSP-SEQ on your PSPGO straight away.

put PRO-CFW on your PSPGO first ( its so easy, like 5 minutes )

Then just download PSPSEQ from here ( its worth reading the manual and watching video tutorials )


forgot to mention you can also run it fine in PPSSPP on windows.
Its so nice to be able to lean back in an armchair with a control-pad and still be making tunes.
( inside ppsspp folder you have to put pspseq into memstick folder, then open ppsspp and load pspseq from the homebrew and demos tab )

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Hi, I made a ‘single-cycle’ sample pack ripped from monowave and EnsoniqSQ80 synths.
I think these would be perfect for the ultra-cheap renoise setups such as intel atom netbooks.

If anyone has the time it would be great for me to find out how a cheap netbook can handle loading the song files in download below ( for example, monowave song file has 255 separate single-cycle based instruments, if a netbook can deal with that and a few filters its awesome ).

Amazing!! Thanks for sharing this. is the free integer guide.

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Get a Thinkpad T440p from Ebay. Make sure it has an i7 chip in it.

Install Linux (or get windows pro from ebay),

Look for free plugins, (Variety of Sound, Tokyo Dawn Labs as well as others make super high quality free plugins. Unsure about which ones are good on Linux).

Get some Headphones. I second the DT 770’s.

Track to your hearts content. Make music, and save for a better setup.

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I got two old iMacs 3.1s for under 70euros and they both rock earlier versions of Renoise upto 2.8.
Hooked them up via midi and mixer had lying around. Double Renoise action.
No extra plugins all sample based and they run so sweet.

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