Groove Workstations By Lionstracs

I just learned from a thread on the song forum that there’s a hardware workstation being made by LIONTRACS that has recently updated its OS software, and as a feature it will include Renoise as the main composition software. I just wanted to start a new thread to discuss it since I’m pretty interested in a dedicated/mobile renoise workstation(I also didn’t want to hijack
the OP’s thread).

Well is anyone else interested? There is a LIONTRACS representative lurking, who has told me he would be willing to answer some questions. My first few questions are:

Why use Renoise?

From the LIONTRACS website it seems that previously the workstation used EnergyXt as its Sequencer/DAW; Is EnergyXt still available for the workstations? Or will the workstations all migrate to using Renoise?

I am also interested. Getting some more info how the workstation works with Renoise in detail, how to control Renoise with the touchscreen and the keyboard controls.
A video would be great; but I asked for that already in the other thread…

First thanks to you to posting here.
PS: Englisch is not my native language, sorry when I type wiht mistake :)

About your first question: why use Renoise?
Because is one amazing Pattern sequence, Linux OS native, full remote controllable by Midi, Lua, TCP…this mean that we are able to full integrate on our LIONSTRACS OS:
Current is still integrated the Energy XT, easy to use, BUT no support at all from the developer.
We have request a lot of time how we can remote control ( except midi), they promise us to open one TCP port communication but they never made.
Not full JACK support I/O, only 1 midi IN and 1 midi out…
So, Energy XT can be used only by touch screen and mouse.

since we have also to develope another keyboard workstation with my OS system and hardware for another well know brand, after a lot of research of one professional Native Linux SEQ, we found this Renoise.
For me, what is missing in Renoise are only the Audio tracks and Piano Roll, then this SEQ tool is really the TOP! ( I see that is in developement on V: 3.0)

About the video demo, right now Ihave just standard installed and tested some features and I found also that is FULL stable, never get one crash!
I can open on the small 800x600 Groove display and recall the all loading features, patterns, transport by Touchscreen, is not the max but better than nothing for starting.
I dont have the time to leard the all features, I just want to find the all BASIC and essential features to remapping on the hardware panel control.
for that I have started to develope a totally new front panel, with the all knobs, pots, encooders that we need for full control the Renoise on Live Stage:
This new keyboard will include one LED backlight 18.5" ( 420X250mm size! )display and IRD multitouch screen, with Full HD resolution: 1920x1080 scalable.
I will soon prepare some shots pannel image and explain my idea how will be used/mapped to the all features.

Huh? No wait, you probably misread the thread in this forum about 3.0 – it’s a fun thread all about wild phantasies of users (although even some of the posters seem to be not aware of this… ;)

No it is not, that thread is totally user based (no Renoise dev is actively participating in the debate there)
Also V3.0 is a wild guess regarding the “next” version of Renoise.

Ok, here a small knobs idea specification that I have…
Based from the whole front panel:

LEFT side controls specifications:
MAIN Volumes and ON/OFF system:

POWER= press to power up the PC system and also used for log out/power off
RESET: by fast pressing, will send the midi CC reset, All note off and when you press+HOLD for 4 second will restart the whole Lionstracs OS on default.
4 digital Volumes encooders with Push switch: Each encoder will control the 4 Stereo outputs and when Push the enconder will make the Mute/Unmute. when rotate will also displayed one small GUI on display with the all volumes value status.

Here we have 8 rotary potentiometers with in top the 10 led segment BAR METER as visual value status of each potentiometers.
Bottom the potentiometer we have the 8 relative keys double LED color C1>C8 ( RED/GREEN) that can be used as Mute/Solo mode.
On master mode are used as Mute tracks.
8-16 key= will switch to tracks 1-8 to 9-16 mode
24-32 key= will switch to tracks 17-24 to 25-32 mode.
SOLO/MUTE key= switch the status of the 8 C1>C8 keys from SOLO mode to MUTE mode tracks.
C-C key= will open a new GUI that display another 16 programmable sliders midi CC controller.
INPUTS key= wil open the GUI with the INPUTS I/O connection
MIXER key= will open the GUI with the MIXER I/O connection
MIC key= will open the GUI for manage the 2 Microphones, with effects and plugins.
JACK I/O key= will change desktop and shown the Jack connection Kit GUI.

Here we have the full realtime pattern system control for live stage.
32-64 key= here we can switch Bank pattern from 32 to 64 mode, is like we will have a full 64 PADS remote control.
PAD PLAY key= this will open our PAD Player GUI, where for each key pad can be assigned one Wav-Mp3 file as shot spot.
KEY START key= this key will be used for play the all melody tracks when one chord is pressed ( arranger feature)
FADE key= when pressed will automatically FADE OUT the master volume of renoise.
HOLD key= will continue play the melody tracks when the chord on keyboard is released( arranger feature)
JUMP key= will Jump from patter to pattern with a different logical navigation ( arranger feature)
BEAT key= will change the BEAT pattern mode on Renoise.
LOOP key= will enalbe/disalbe the LOOP pattern on Renoise.
32 Markers-Patterns PAD keys= here we can recall and Jump in realtime to the desidered pattern.

RIGHT side control specifications:

Realtime mode:
PLAYER key= will recall our Lionstracs GUI with the double Audio-midi players
VIDEO key= will enalbe our double player with the LVC Video engine for play 2 Video on players.
EQ BAND key= will shown our master out 8 Audio EQ GUI with programmable presets.
V.KEYB key= will open on the display the Virtual PC qverty keyboard for input text.
COPY key= embedded PC COPY function
PASTE key= embedded PC PASTE function
DELETE key= embedded PC DELETE function
8 MODE keys= another 8 keys for recall programmable functions.

60mm big Data-browser encoder with Push switch= ENTER confirmation
FUNCTION key= when enalbe the 8 bottom keys can recall 8+8 programmable PC functions
HOT KEY = when enalbe can recall 8+8 programmable Renoise Hot keys functions.
SCENES key= when enalbe will change the 8 Renoise scenes GUI
DESKTOP key= when enalbe is possible swicth to the 16 Vistual desktop ( 8+8)

GIGA GM= enalbe to play the Giga Linuxsampler with the GM Giga soundbank mode
GIGA= enalbe to play the Giga Linuxsampler SINGLE user sound mode.
SYNTH= enalbe to play the zynsub synth
VSTi= enalbe to recall the VSTHost for play up to 1270 scenes with native Windows VST.dll
SOUNDS-BANK= will enalbe to select to the 10 Family sounds groups
ASIO-NUM= will enalbe to load and play up to 8 independent ASIO host.

realtime keyboard mode.
TR.UP = global transpose UP
TR.DWN= global transpose down
WHOLE= enalble the keyboard to play the single sound engine on whole keyboard.
COMBI= enalbe our 8 layers sounds COMBINATION manager

Players and Renoise transport.
CALL key= will recall the player mode from DECK A to DECK B ( IF Lionstracs PLAYERS are ealbe)
CUE key= will forward the audio outs to the monitors/Phones.
PLAY-PAUSE-STOP= standard transport features, for our players or the Renoise seq.
REW+FF key= pressing both the keys wil enalbe the RECORD MODE on Renoise.
VOLUME encooder= master volume for the players or Renoise, push for mute/unmute the master out.
PITCH encooder= global transpose of the players, push for recall the default setting. ( on renoise will be a interesting feature too)
BPM encooder= global BPM players and renoise changes, push for recall the deafault value.

Tha’s it… ^_^
Of course we can still define different features and label on panel.
Let me know what you there think about.

according to me, these are the pro’s of embedding Renoise into hardware:

  • it’s probably the most stable (the only stable one?) sequencer available on Linux OS
  • it’s scriptable, so manufacturers could even expand it to add some hardware-related features
  • adheres to a number of plugin and communication protocols
  • has low cost which shouldn’t affect the hardware final price too much
  • it is actively developed by a small and dedicated company so, if the hardware has success, both companies would benefit a lot

now, the bad news:

  • user base is currently limited in respect to main DAW’s, so people could simply react to the news with an “Huh?!”
  • Renoise is not the easiest DAW to learn; some people find it easy, but most don’t
  • Renoise GUI is pretty crowded and this is not what users would like to have onther controller for live sessions

some of the bad points may change in the future. let’s see how this intriguing idea goes on

for me seem also the most stable sequencer on Linux OS.
Maybe for DAW we will include also the open octave: but not sure if we will embedding on our OS.

About Renoise embedded on the front panel, do I miss some important and always used features to include?
Maybe someone there can write me down wich more Important features need on front panel and I will update the layout.

A keyboard workstation running Renoise? This is pretty awesome :slight_smile:

Renoise is pretty much a keyboard-centric piece of software, but as It-Alien points out it’s deeply scriptable - and you seem to be pretty clear about the kind of workflow that you’d like the workstation to have. So I guess the task would be to identify important workflow features that are currently not easily available from neither the touchscreen or the hardware layout.

You describe the pattern system for live usage, which I understand as a kind of global triggering system. That makes sense in a planned performance, but I think it’s important to offer a larger subset of (detailed) editing features too.
Basically, the Renoise edit-workflow would involve toggling the edit-mode on and off (as you are “rehearsing” your sounds until you enable the edit mode), and the ability to navigate precisely within a pattern (that would include vertical navigation, line-by-line and column-by-column).
Other major point of the editing workflow involves the ability to set a specific edit-step size (although, this is accessible from the Renoise GUI), and input of FX commands (here, perhaps a scripted on-screen keyboard could pop up, to allow easy insertion of those commands?).
Also, undo and redo are probably important but on a touchscreen, as they are “tucked away” in the Renoise menu (and to make things worse, touchscreens tend to be less precise along their edge).

As for the whole concept, it should be possible to implement using a combination of modified global MIDI mappings and custom scripts/tools.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions in this regard.

Hi Danoise
Thens for your good inputs.
My layout idea was first concentrate for a live stage, because when you are gig’s live you dont have the time for editing the song.
Of course we can also remapping the whole hardware panel for use under EDIT mode.
I can easy text one available key under “Renoise Edit” on the Realtime group keys:

Under the EDIT mode, we can aslo remapping all again the 32+32 patterns pads and the 8 potentiometers for a totally new editing features.
IF you think that we need some more buttons, I can add on the PCB, but honestly now is about full, I have to respect some mechanical issue and IC components to solder…

Your idea to writting one new Plugin TOOL that virtual duplicate my hardware panel can be the best idee.
This because we can already starting to configure the Renoise to the Virtual Panel and then my developer can editing for adding the TCP hardware communication with the Tool.

I will PM you.
thanks again

Very good points Danoise. Edit Step I think a +1, -1, double and half would be good to see. The 8+8 (how come 16 and not just 8) Function Keys may help a little here but I do wonder if some more should be default…

Was thinking navigation may at times be hard but if Lock Focus is Off you might get around some of this with the touchscreen? Maybe not even the force of Lock Focus mode is really needed…

Is there also USB for external keyboard for those that wish?

Is there not a arrow set (Up/Down/Left/Right) somewhere around the Data Entry knob? Seems an obvious and useful set of buttons for many areas.

Also noticed you have Deck A/B for “Liontracs PLAYERS” and wanted to check you were aware that Renoise is able to have multiple instances running at a time. Especially as this is a very useful feature already utilised by some of the people who use it for live performances.

yes, we have our double audio-midi-video players, for that I have used the CALL for recall the Deck A and Deck B
Renoise is working also with multiple instance, just tested…is amazing!

I really think now that the best way is to develope one Virtual Panel TOOL with the TCP connection with my hardware.
Then there on the TOOL you can develope, mapping, routing all my buttons, knobs, leds how you like.
Each button include 2 leds: RED and GREEN and can be turned on/off, both ON we the the Yellow color.

Small update as your request :)
Included now the arrow set and also the X-FADE deks.
missing some else? :)

Oh, you’re right about that. Those customizable hot keys should definitely help out with the more specialized actions.
For example, while running Renoise on the workstation I could imagine that each one of these buttons would open/close scripted dialogs that would help you to perform various tasks without having to remember what each (unlabelled) button actually does.
So, for instance you could have a hot-key button which stands for “copy”, and it would prompt you for the kind of copy you wish to perform (do you wish to copy the track, pattern, marked region etc.).
Another button could then represent paste, and light up once you have copied something into (one of) the clipboards in Renoise. It’s a lot of work to get this right, but I think that would be the way to go…

For the 8 functions keys give more possibility…
Om top of the 8 funcion key we have another 4 keys, where can be:
Function 1 =red colror: recall the first 8 funcion
Function 1= green color, another 8 functions
Function 2= red color: another 8 functions
Function 2= green color: another 8 functions
Hot iey =red color: first 8 horkeys
hot iey = green color: second 8 hotkeys

So in total are availble 48 functions/ hotkeys…are not enough?
We can rename the desktops chanes to hot ieys too, then we have available 64 functions

Is there a Shift type button? A lot of actions may benefit from behaving differently with a modifier type behaviour.

Shift Arrows -> Move Track Left/Right or Edit Step (Pg) Up/Down
Shift Data Wheel -> Fast Scroll/value change. Or possibly highlight/select.
Some might prefer the Mode keys (EG Function) to be set to your Red/Green with either press or Shift press, rather than toggling on pressing.
Would double all the 1-8 banks.

48 programmable keys sounds like it should give at least a fair amount of customisatable control options. So the Function, Hot Key and Scenes buttons will each be freely configurable, but say default layout would be for the Scenes to load the GUI Presets you could chose to make these set Edit Step if you so desired? (Are they what you mean by Function1, Function2 and iKey? Or am I confused?)

Working out the same buttons having different functions when a different section of Renoise has Focus is also something to bear in mind. You don’t need access to all features in all views ;)

Hi kazakore and danoise.
This functin layout is just my idea after exploring the Renoise features.
with the mechanical buttons now I’m really on limits, because I have also ti put the all IC components and ARM controller cpu…
I suggest you to download the PDF and edit the all buttons label as your better idea.
The only SOUNDS ENGINES and TRANSPORT zone+ PLAYER, VISEO, EQ BAND,V.KEYB will be used one to one from my current working OS.
All the remain buttons can be used for Renoise.
The silicon pad buttons are made on group of 4 pads, where I can CUT to 3 or 2, ONE is not possible.

Let me see how you will label with the logical the all buttons.

Edited again the front panel:
Include now close the navigation the: SHIFT, CTRL, ALT
On Players Decks I have included also the 10 led BAR Meter too, in this way is possible see the master volume, OR BPM, PITCH value changes too.
The PCB board now is full and I dont have more space for include my all components too.
let me know what you think about

Seems good :)

The only thing I think looks a little strange is the position of the 9 and 0 buttons. Do they operate with the BANK, NUM and other bank type selects in the area? Or are they still 8 (+8) banks? If the later is the case I think have 9 and 0 where Ctrl and Shift are would look neater.

EDIT: Actually maybe the UNDO should be on the right and 9 and 0 either side of the up arrow…

Only very minor and on the whole I think you’re looking good though :)

The buttons with: 9 - 0 are Inkjet of the silicon pads:
there I can not change and also I need the 1 to 0 for the 10 sounds family group on my system.
If you look my last PDF I have already edded the shift, Ctrl, Alt, undo keys too.
Important for me right now is only the Hardware buttons/kobs layout to define or I can not start to edit the schematics and board.
For the final paint graphics I have more time.