As far as trackers go Renoise is like a dream come true, and I really want to make it my main DAW, but there’s a fatal flaw that’s preventing that from happening. I’m hoping it’s just my own misunderstanding and that others will be able to point out what I’m missing.
Basically, I have the same problem that was discussed here (I cant get on with the pattern/song arranger) about a year ago. It’s a workflow issue in which my mind wants to create music a certain way but Renoise makes that difficult. Because I don’t have much musical experience and never played instruments, it’s especially important that the workflow makes sense to me and that I can fully understand it.
Like the person in the previous thread experienced, I also think of my patterns and pattern components (the individual track parts of each pattern) as little ideas or experiments and it would be nice to create them and have that separate from the actual sequencer, so that I can play around and test ideas and then in the sequencer arrange them in different ways. Whether that is called a “pool” or “blocks” or whatever is irrelevant to me, but it’s how I keep thinking about how I want to go about creating music. But in Renoise that can’t be done because the place where you sequence chunks of music is the same place where the chunks are created and all end up. The two aspects are all one thing, and for me they get in the way of each other.
After a week or two of thinking about this I thought maybe I was going mad and missing something very obvious, so I decided to play around for 15 minutes with another program I don’t know very well, LSDJ. Now Renoise is so much better than every other tracker in terms of features, but in terms of this workflow issue I was saddened to learn that despite knowing almost anything about LSDJ I was up and running in a few minutes. In LSDJ, you create little chunks called “phrases” and then put them into bigger chunks called “chains”, and then put the chains into the sequenced song. The phrases and chains are like test ideas or places you can try out stuff and experiment. Later on you can add them to the song or not, in whatever order and however many times you want to reuse a smaller piece. If you leave something out, that phrase or chain is still there in the background but it’s now not part of the song. That’s exactly how I want to create music. Why won’t Renoise let me do that?
And in LSDJ, the highest level of the sequencer (what in Renoise is called patterns) can easily piece together smaller chunks on a track-by-track basis. Like sequence 00 could be chain 00, chain 05, chain 01, and chain 03. Sequence 01 could be chain 00, chain 05, chain 02, and chain 04. In Renoise patterns are more a whole package (the thing you copy, paste, and alias), whereas how I think about it, they should just be places where you enter in smaller pieces that come from some pool of ideas. In the pattern matrix it would be nice to go left-to-right and up and down the grid entering numbers corresponding to chunks of music that come from some storage or experiment area.
^ I know I didn’t explain this last paragraph very well. But I hope that makes sense to experienced users.
I have a very hard time understanding why basic trackers like Octamed and LSDJ got this right when Renoise, a program that is insanely more powerful and is in active development, can’t. Hopefully I am just wrong or missing something because I’d like to continue using it.