Dsp Sub-chains

We’ve been thinking out loud a lot on IRC about modularity and DSP chains recently. I for one believe Renoise’s future lies in more modularity and the emergent behavior that results in, and as such will always shout about new metadevices or modulators or routing capability. The #1 argument against this is that the DSP chains become very cramped from a UX point of view.

An example is the chorus device, which has its own native LFO. My instinct at this point, with a separate LFO device and very wide routing options; why can’t i just short-circuit the chorus and use a custom LFO waveform instead, or even a signal follower? This approach would mean every Chorus device would default to a pair of devices, an LFO and an effector.

Bear with me.

Ableton Live does this with “racks”. It’s one of the most powerful features of the way they handle effect chains, which are cosmetically similar to Renoise. The idea is to group several effects under one container, which can be collapsed/expanded on demand. This lets you create rambling effect chains as a rack, collapse it and keep your canvas clear for further work. Racks can also be stored as presets.

MaxMSP does this with “subpatches”. Max patches can become huge, rambling things, and to mitigate this it’s useful to break down the patch into smaller subpatches with a limited interface; If you’ve made your wave shaper effect, why would you want to look at all the wiring when you’re working on another patch aspect?

Additionally, when when you’re working in a live context you want to eliminate every controller that isn’t useful to you. For this purpose, Max patches have two views, one of which is a stripped down user-friendly view of your own design, where you tag which controllers you want visible and put them in your preferred layout.

Renoise could, and IMHO should, embrace this design. I’m imagining creating a chorus unit. I expand it and delete its lfo device, and replace it with a signal follower. I route the follower to the chorus LFO input. In its collapsed state, the device has tagged sliders and controls exposed. I want to control the signal follower better without having to expand the device, so i shift click sliders i want exposed, and they become highlighted. I collapse the device back down and it is given a unique name or is tagged with a character signifying it is no longer a default Chorus device (for instance it could be named “Chorus*”).
Wanting to reuse this device later, i give it a proper name, and click a save widget, which stores it to a Custom Effects table under the effect list. Later, when i want a signal following chorus, I’ll just grab it from there.

The separation of the Chorus effect is just an example and not the purpose of this post. I have no hate for the Chorus native LFO. The point is to create DSP chains that are more modular, more easily managed and stored for re-use, and to clean up the epic clutter of a complex chain and its frontend.

I don’t have Photoshop available so it’s hard to throw down a worthy sketch right now, but i hope it’s at least somewhat clear?


Are you talking about something similar to Reason’s Combinator?

If so, then yes please.

Yes. Combinators do much the same duty.
“All” competing software have this feature in some capacity.


So you mean like a DSP where you put sliders/parameters of other DSP’s, so that you’re able to control the ones necessary out of that device?

More like a DSP where you put other DSPs

Imagine being able to take a huge, messy DSP chain like this:

And group it all into a single, smaller, more convenient device, which only showed the handful of parameters you actually needed to automate:

Yes please :)

Nice illustration, hehe.

This + the ability to save your own ‘machines’ and have them appear in the dsp browser would be incredible. None of this requires any low-level fuckery with renoise’s core either, I imagine…

Just to clear up any possible confusion… I simply took several screenshots of the DSP chain and arranged them in this way to be more viewable, so I was not implying any kind of fully modular routing here. Modular routing WOULD be great, however, but that’s a topic for another thread.

Apologies to Sunjammer for hijacking the thread for a moment, but I’ve gotta ask… Matt, where are you from? I’ve never heard anyone outside of my own family use the word “doofer”, so you kinda took me by surprise there, haha.


Hahah… yeah, the doofer is the TV remote to me, as well as being a term for any sort of non-descript gadget or gizmo. The doofer - it’ll do fer this and do fer that!

Anyway, my mother’s side of the family is Scottish and my father’s side is English (from Kent). I’m guessing it’s probably a pretty common thing down south and that’s where it came from, but I grew up in the north east of England and, like I said, have never really heard anyone use it outside my family. I’ll be 31 in a few months, and I know my family have been using it longer than that. Wonder how far back that daft word goes, heh.


and another +1 for routing maxtrix-like support (edited: was “modular”)
I really really like the signal follower, but you can’t use VSTe’s with sidechain capability with the follower.
Relative Parameter projection is not the same as “da real” audio signal.


what is non-sense ? What is wrong about my statement ?
A simple “Nonsense” is somehow arrogant.

Can you send audio signals into a sidechain input of any 3rd Party VST Compressor/gate ?
Of course you can control the parameters of the VST Compressor with
the follower but it’s a completely different thing. Despite Renoise 2.5 one
still has to use complex Rewire Routing into a 3rd Party DAW to use sidechaing VSTe’s
which is cumbersome. You can do this things with Reaper/Cubase etc… But not with Renoise.
So a routing matrix (better than the term “modular”) and multichannel support (> stereo) would really be great.


What a wonderful word! :D

doofer-device +1

Airmann, I’m sorry about the curt response. I was tired. First of all, you did a complete thread hijack with a topic that has no bearing on what we’re discussing. Much like dBlue did. But i know him so he’s more easily forgiven ;)

The signal follower lets you base nearly any parameter change in any vst (instrument or effect) on a treated set of amplitudes. This is infinitely more powerful than dedicated sidechain compression. I’d like to know which sidechaining vsts you are using that don’t use it for compression or vocoding alone. As for the latter, if a vocoder doesn’t have the foresight to support left carrier right modulator setups, it’s not worth your time anyway.

But ARGH with this digression!