Hesitant About "tracker" Interface

hey all. i made a post about Renoise over at createdigitalmusic, and thought I should post something similar here, since you guys i’m sure would know the most about this what seems to be a fantastic program :)

i want people’s opinions on the “tracker” interface.

i’m new to tracking, but I find a piece of software like Renoise incredibly attractive. I love the days of just having the Akai sampler and Cubase on the atari, and for me this is definitely as quick, easy and attractive as that.
Renoise’s inbuilt sampler and wave editor look great, but i’m worried about the tracking idiom itself as opposed to a piano roll.

Will I regret putting in the time to learn it? will i get more than half way down the track and realise that tracking doesn’t really compliment and fit in to what i do?

Opinions from people that have gone from piano rolls to trackers? Is it worth it? Is it better?

A lot of my music isn’t entirely programmed from the computer itself. I do a lot of sampling, instruments and field recording, which i did back then with my akai and atari.

yes, i create electronic music and such, but not everything is say, as glitchy and programmed and detailed as aphex or venetian snares.

i’m more into the luke vibert, matthew herbert kind of thing.

also… i’m hesitant with the tracker interface because i like to do live takes with the sampler on my padkontrol for instance, and the thought of having delay commands everywhere seems daunting.

thanks. louis.

I’d say, the keyword in tracker learning is “enthusiasm”: it’s surely a challenge to learn if you already are accustomed to other kind of interfaces, but if the tracker interface tells something to you, if you hear a “siren voice” calling you from the rear of the monitor when you look at the pattern editor, then you will definitely not waste time learning it.

crytek is right: Renoise is definitely not for everyone and, although our aim is of course to widen our user base embracing people who never saw a tracker before, we cannot convince people who are willing to create music in no time with their mice (the hardware ones, I mean :rolleyes:).

so, welcome aboard, feel free to ask for help about anything doesn’t look clear to you, check the beginner’s introduction and give this monster a go!

WEll in the beginning it is , after a while it just becomes a second nature ,ONe thing to bear in mind is that when using a lot of chords and notes , things can get veryy cluttered …and all you see is a big cloud of numbers…Take the plung …you won’t regret it

Personally I think tracking is great but you must be aware of it’s disadvantages. As Gentleclockdivider said reading chords from tracker is difficult and needs a bit of practice. Also the thing is tracked tune is more like a program than song in musical terms. If you know music theory or play the instrument you will see the differences and will get familiar with them. If you don’t know anything about theory and start writing music with trackers, as I did, you will be confused when you will try to understand theory and stave. Intervals for example… in tracker they seem to be just a number of halftones between notes. This looks logical but isn’t true.

DId you check out the beginner’s video on the front page? Great introduction to Renoise made by one of the forum regulars, Achenar.

The only thing that could hold you back from learning renoise is a bad teacher…i’ll add to the praise of Achenar’s video and say that the front page video should get you going pretty quickly.
after that it’s all uphill.
When i first started i couldn’t stop, and the music poured from me like a thick broth, spilling all over the sonic wallpaper.
this was my face -----> :lol:

A little secret: Trackers existed back then too. Trading MOD/XM/IT files on the BBS scene predates the whole internet file sharing thing. We’ve been here all along, and we’re not going anywhere. :slight_smile:

If you’re old school, then you might want to take an old school approach. Back in the day the best way to learn was to download files and “deconstruct” them.

Renoise’s native file format is XRNS. Download the free demo, look for XRNS, and play these back to learn people’s styles and techniques.

Here are two links to get you started, there are thousands of these files out there, a dozen in the Renoise demo alone…

These two links will lead to XRNS that play fine in the currently available 2.1 demo (free download) - You don’t get all the new features of 2.5, but you do get a feel for what is possible.

Also, here’s a low-budget DIY tutorial for beginners I made. It can compliment the one made by Achenar on the front page of this site:


Have fun tracking.

Renoise makes a great sampler. You don’t have to use delay commands if you don’t want to. You could use Renoise rewired into Cubase, too. Best of both worlds.

//Will I regret putting in the time to learn it?//
If you’re interested in electronic music at all, chances are you won’t regret it. Even if it doesn’t end up being something that you use for your primary workflow, it’s great as a sound design tool, and you will undoubtedly learn more about sound production by learning it.

// will i get more than half way down the track and realise that tracking doesn’t really compliment and fit in to what i do?//
Perhaps… and that’s a risk you’ve gotta take if you want to reap the potential benefits ;)

It doesn’t take that long to learn the basics, especially with the video tutorial Achenar put together … invest 3 hours, if you’re not hooked by that point, then move on. Just keep in mind that there’s different ways to do certain things in Renoise.

Also, join #renoise on irc.esper.net for instant help :P

You will not regret it.

I’m in similar boat as you in that sense I’ve grown fed up with “big” software
like Cubase or Sonar. Renoise (especially in 2.5 version) is already fully
capable to make self contained productions. The pattern editor may be a
diffcult to grasp at first. However once you’ll get it running (even at very
basic level) it’s faster way to record, modify and have overall grip on notes.
With 2.5’ matrix it’s very easy to rearange parts… I bet that one major
update further and it will not be a contest at all.

I can say I’m very impressed by coding standard of Renoise team. It doesn’t
crash, saves in self contained files (try to load some project from 10 years
ago made in Sonar - PITA for me…), has vastly superior automation (per
pattern) capabilities. And have all major platforms covered well.
(including my favorite Linux - big thanks!)

Yeah - Renoise feels solid as hardware yet it benefits of all modern computer
capablities. Only sad thing what I’m feeling about Renoise is that I haven’t
found it earlier… ;)

Im not from the “demo” scene, Ive never seen an Atari or Amiga, but I find Trackers easy to learn. I like Ableton Live or FL Studio, but working in renoise is very fast.
The overral view of the tracks in the pattern is cool, I can see all my notes and events at the same time.

I come from EPS+Atari (running Cubase), which I later switched for EPS+PC (running Cubase). And I ended up more or less ditching the EPS after a while (getting back on it a bit lately tho, nice and dirty machine).

Anyways… I found the switch from Cubase+Hardware to Renoise to be quite easy tbh. Didn’t take me long to get the more important aspects of tracking in Renoise down. There are still some things I struggle a bit with, like overview and sounds overlapping patterns, I tend to go a bit rigid at times. The overview bit gets a nice overhaul in the new 2.5 beta tho.
With that said, I’ve more or less ditched every other music program except Renoise, well… I do enjoy some nice ReWire action once in a while and busting out the old EPS for a tune, but it’s not very often.
So I say give it a spin for a couple of days and see how it fits :slight_smile:

I started out on trackers way back with FT2 (fast tracker 2), took a break from them for a long time used all outboard gear, then jumped on the Ableton bandwagon. But I found it (Ableton) very unsatisfying… what I’ve discovered is that rewire is the best thing to ever happen. I use ableton as my primary daw, but work with many other rewire apps simultaneosly… each program is good at doing different types of things. My most common setup is to run Ableton and slave Renoise and Five 12’s Numerology at the same time… i find I’ll write a line in one program and then switch to another and build a tune that way… its very satisfying and inspiring to be unshackled from composing in just one app… and if there’s one thing that ableton is very good at is corralling/syncing material from various apps at once. (with rewire that is, midi bus sync is questionable)