I ‘met’ Renoise when I began looking for a new DAW. After 18 years of using Reason, I noticed that they were switching their DAW over to more of a plugin approach. Plugin meaning, Reason is being used within other DAWS. I do not want to work within another DAW with the DAW I already used.
Reason is also notorious for having a ‘sound’ to it. I won’t argue the topic. I hear it, others hear it, others don’t hear it, I don’t care. It was a good reason to make a switch.
I purchased it in 2017, I believe, and sat on it. I kept giving Reason another chance, and another, and another. Reason kept getting more and more synths and effects that could do algorithmic sequencing and granular sounds. Still, it just couldn’t sit right in my ears. It sounded wrong to me. I was looking to hear sounds that were clearer, like tracks I heard from sequencers done in Max/MSP and Pure Data. Just couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried. I wanted to attain a sound like Ryoji Ikeda, not his ‘sound’, but his structure. I did not want to learn how to program in those softwares.
I needed a clean slate.
Re-open Renoise, and make my own samples. Learned that I could actual MAKE them right in the sampler, and I could also generate single-cycle waveforms with Tools built for Renoise. Learned I could make hums and drones from comb and regular filters. I could tune some effects. WTF!?! I couldn’t do that in Reason. Not like this!
Then, the sequencing - didn’t make sense to me in 2017, but ‘clean slate’. Learned it. LOVE IT! It’s just so much like a matrix, I mean, it is a matrix. It’s a matrix that I type into, versus clicking on buttons. Listening to the sequencer, it’s tight, rigid, what you put in the spot is what comes out. No drag, no issues.
Keep in mind I DO NOT use VST/AU plugins in Renoise. Only Tools. Built for Renoise. The highest I’ve ever gotten my CPU meter to read on a finished track is about 12.5% That’s it.
Back to the sequencer, another reason why I really appreciate it is due to the amount of sounds I can wring from a simple single-cycle sine wave. The way I can adjust patterns, the weird little sounds I can make happen ‘accidentally’, even though it’s not an accident, it’s just a percentage of randomness. Couldn’t do that in a useful way in Reason. I’m sure it’s possible, but it just didn’t really make sense in that DAW.
I also need to give a major shout out to @Raul - he began initiating an idea for sample manipulation beyond what was already present in Renoise. He worked solidly for about a month creating this tool called ‘Sample Multi-Controller’ or SMC. I now use SMC in nearly every track I make. It does amazing things to samples via LFO that was not present before. You can’t make it yourself with any of the utilities that are available for the end user. It was made using LUA. So much work went into this Tool. I can do things that my musical tastes require. Glitches, buzzes, sample-frames, motion within a sample… Just not possible to make happen by using LFOs and other modulators without this tool.
Finally, the ‘sound’. Renoise does NOT have a sound. It’s sound is whatever you put into it, and take out of it. It’s filters, EQs, effects, etc., are all clean. Even the ones that have a specialized sound of their own. The sound is not able to be marked as ‘comes from Renoise’. Renoise gives me the opportunity to sound like I made my music in Max/MSP or Pure Data. They are clean, digital. So is Renoise.
Renoise does not crash on me, Renoise is able to be ‘skinned’, and has all sorts of color settings to adjust. It’s really a DAW made for individuality.