How to make chiptune in renoise?

So I consider myself new to renoise though I have had it for awhile. I’m trying to make chiptune inside of it but I run into problems.

First problem is that I can’t use all effect commands when I use a VST, so I guess most people use samples or make the sounds native?

Second is I can’t make a slow arpeggio at all, like the arpeggio command just goes sorta crazy. Sure I can make it a little bit slower but nothing that sounds like a pleasant chord. More something that would work on a crazy lead or some cool effect.

Would also be cool to learn how people create those chiptune sounds, be it a sample from another tracker etc.

1 Like

Aside from automation, to use the FX column to modify instrument plugins, first you need an Instrument Device in the track that plays for the plugin. The parameters that you want to control need to be exposed in the Instrument Device, then these parameters can be programmed in the FX column. Read up on the Instrument Device, Device Commands, and maybe automation for good measure.

There isn’t a built-in way to make arpeggios like that. The Axy effect command is more like an effect than an useful musical sequencer. That said, I would say it is pretty essential for chip tunes - you just have to get to know it better.

For more pleasant arpeggiated sequences, you would have to program those by hand in a pattern, or better yet a phrase.


There isn’t a built-in way to make arpeggios like that. The Axy effect command is more like an effect than an useful musical sequencer. That said, I would say it is pretty essential for chip tunes - you just have to get to know it better.

Another option I regularly use is to add an envelope to the instrument’s pitch modulation, set to ‘points’ mode, and enable looping. This is more flexible pitch and timing-wise than the Axy command, but with the drawback of only allowing one arp per instrument. (It is also very similar how you program amp and pitch envelopes into some chip trackers like famitracker.) Tends to be better for bleep bloop octave arp effects than phrases. Phrases definitely work better for slower melodic arps, but you definitely can use envelopes for this sort of thing.

@peshti here’s an example for you. It does require some other setup now that I look at it again. You have to disable sustain, enable bipolar mode, and then make sure that the timing is beatsynced. That’s a lot to remember so it’s easier just to save the xrni and use it as a starting point.
arp.xrns (4.3 KB)

1 Like

I don’t know exactly what this means or how this is done :see_no_evil:. I come from a more linear daw which is cubase but I use that for another genre. I picked up renoise since I think it looks less daunting than idk famitracker, Deflemask etc. Also it seems that trackers are the way to make chiptune. I have made some fakebit in the past which sound decent but there’s always something lacking and I think tracking will get me closer to that chiptune sound.

Hmm I don’t really know how to do these arpeggios then. I have tried doing them by hand but the notes doesn’t exactly flow over each other with a sustain pedal to make it sound like an arpeggio. The result I get is more just a note followed by another note and so on.

If you’re trying to get “authentic” or “traditional” chip tune sounds, then keep in mind that notes in arpeggios do not overlap. Each track in a chip tune composition is monophonic.

It sounds like your flavor of chip tunes goes beyond the traditional limitations, in which case you should explore phrases. In a phrase, you can add a number of note columns and each column can play different notes of different lengths. For example, to make a C maj chord, you would need 3 note columns, and on the first line of the phrase, C can be on the first column, E on the second, and G on the third. When the 3 notes play together, they make that C chord. With that in mind, if a C plays on the first line, E on the third line, and G on the fifth line, then that will each note one after the other. The notes will ring out because they are in their note column. Then to make an arpeggiated sequence, you make sure the phrase is short enough so that it loops back to the first line after the last note is played.

You should really read the manual. I shared a Youtube tutorial on the Discord server that may be of help, and I’m linking it in here as well How To Make Chiptune 1 - What is Chiptune, Expectations, Examples - YouTube

1 Like

Phrases have the added benefit of running at an LPB value independent of the song/pattern, so it’s quite easy to have fast arpeggiated runs typical of chiptune. You can also create up to 128 different phrases per instrument and access them via Zxx commands or via keymapping. Each phrase can have it’s own LPB value/speed. Phrases are super powerful and are a huge compositional asset within renoise.

1 Like

Hi and welcome on the forum!

Sure it’s possible to use VST for chiptune but Renoise can do it natively.

When I’m making a chiptune in Renoise, I use a very simple setup, I draw directly the wavesamples into the sample editor.

Here is a kind of handdrawed unprecise wave…

(it’s also possible to use the basic instruments chip sin/square/triangle… in the library with Renoise, good for a start).

For the drums I pick-up a few free-of-right drums samples from a 303 for example, and downsample these a bit. And go! :slight_smile:

The arpegio can’t sound as a chord as notes are played separately, I think the arpegio effect is perfect for oldshool chiptune arp. For a slower, quicker or more original arp, it’s better to enter all notes than using arpegio.


Hi @peshti welcome in o/

One way to learn this is to look at various chiptunes, and see what instruments, and effect commands,
can be used to create certain sounds; there is more than one way to do it in most cases.

There are places on the net with lot’s of chiptunes ready to be downloaded and enjoyed.

One site that has a small packs of xm chiptunes is
To find the xm’s: double click on ‘data’ then ‘packs’ then ‘xm’, a small download with chiptunes will start.

I’m gonna be honest, if your focus is on Chiptunes and VGMs I’d highly recommend you to try Furnace Tracker instead of Renoise. Currently it’s the de-facto standard when it comes to modern Chiptune production.

1 Like

I didn’t know Furnace Tracker, sounds good. It’s a kind of soundchip emulator. I think Renoise can do same with a few soundchip emulator VSTs too.

@peshti For a good starting point I recommend the Delux Chipshop free sample pack from Midierror.

1 Like

Renoise is honestly kind of overkill for chiptunes. You can make excellent chiptunes with free trackers like Milky Tracker, Furnace Tracker, the Pro Tracker clone, etc. They are more limited than Renoise but those are the kinds of trackers that chiptune was built on.

If you want to use the pattern effects, you’ll have to use samples. They don’t have to be looped single-cycle waves, they can be longer samples too. The arpeggio speed is linked to the line speed, I think, so you can play around with that number if you want, but if you really want slower arps, you’re better off just entering the notes of the arp manually. The arpeggio pattern command is really only for those blips and bleeps, not really for notes played in a distinct or discernible sequence.

You can use pattern commands with VST’s using some of the MIDI devices or whatever, but that’s more trouble than it’s worth. Try it and see. You’ll have a much easier time just using the automation tab in conjunction with the Instrument Automation plugin.

You can get chip sounds from literally any synth, or draw them yourself. Just sample a squarewave and go to town!


You can:

  1. Go
  2. Search chiptunes you like. Download them
  3. Open in Renoise and investigate how they are made



I gather a little collection of chiuptune instruments found in open sourced songs here:

1 Like