If You Have Any 'novation Nocturn With Renoise' Questions...

Hi all

My Nocturn has just landed on my desk at work. Will have to wait til tonight when I get home to test it out with Renoise.

From other posts on the forum I believe I may be the first person to actually get my hands on one and test it with Renoise. As such I’ll let you know how I get on, if that would be of any interest?

Also, if you have anything you’d like me to try with the Renoise/Nocturn combo, or have any questions, then I’d be happy to try it out and tell you if what you want to do works. I warn you now though that I’m not overly technically minded, and may need your help setting things up if the request is esoteric!

As I say, I hope this may help or be of interest to some people.

What I can say is that I’ve taken it out of the box and had a good look at it. It’s made of toughned plastic and seems quite soild. The crossfader has a nice action, the buttons are rubber and OK, but the knobs don’t give a great first impression. I’m sure they are fine - and on a £70 piece of gear I’m not complaining - but they have a little bit of ‘wobble’ in them, if that makes sense.

The unit is very light and compact, yet there is a good amount of space between the knobs. I think the ‘staggered’ layout of the rotaries helps here. The unit has a low profile, and will clearly sit nicely in front of a laptop.

Like I say, hope this thread will help some people.

Well, I’ve had a good evening of playing with the Nocturn. So far, I am very impressed.

The Nocturn installs really easily and it’s straightforward enough to ‘wrap’ your plug-in’s so they work with the Nocturn. You can select instruments/FX that are active in a project from the Nocturn really quickly, and obviously then edit them.

Renoise parameters - levels/pan and DSP chain parameters etc - have to be mapped via the Automap MIDI client. This sounds more complicated than it is, and again I had no problems setting these up.

The LED’s all remember their positions as you move through the pages of assignments. The only thing that doesn’t seem to work is if you adjust something by mouse within Renoise the Nocturn doesn’t update. There is then a parameter jump when you touch the relevant Nocturn knob. For me this isn’t a big deal as I can’t see me adjusting anything by mouse now!

The speed dial works although if you turn it too quickly it forces the mouse cursor to move so you lose control over the parameter. Again, not a huge problem.

Of course, I haven’t had a chance to extensively test or try out all my plug-in’s. But first impressions are very good. I like the way you can adjust the transparency of the Nocturn GUI and that you can call this up from the unit itself. You can also expand the GUI to full screen.

The other striking thing about using the Nocturn is how quickly you can get about. Moving from editing a plug-in to adjusting mixer settings to going to another plug-in is so fast, as is moving through multiple pages of parameters on a given plug-in or on the mixer. 8 knobs may not seem a lot but it doesn’t seem to matter.

I can’t wait to try out using the Nocturn live because I think it will free me from the mouse. The only slight drawback is that Renoise key commands can’t be mapped to MIDI. I have got round this by teaming the Nocturn with a USB numberpad for my laptop. Mutes and pattern navigation controls are mapped to the numberpad. I could use the laptop’s keys but having them on a seperate numberpad means I can keep all those important controls next to the Nocturn. Also, it means I’m not pounding on my laptop keyboard and potentially damaging it!


Thanks for sharing your opinion so far. I’ve been following the reviews on the Nocturn but a first person user will always be more informative.

Any screenshots you’d like to share?

I’d really like to see more more people’s reviews/advice/questions about integrating external gear (see my fumbling posts on the subject of “how dose teh mdii works? kplsthx.” :rolleyes: )

Not that Renoise requires any of it but real-life knobs and slidey thingys are really fun! :)

Thanks for reply - glad the comments were helpful!

What screenshots would you like? Ones of the Nocturn GUI mapped to Renoise parameters? I can do that.

Another function I stumbled on this morning (yep, up early to have a play before coming to work!) is the speed dial has an integral push switch. You can’t map this control, however on plug-in’s that support it you can press the dial in and turn it to flick through presets. Very useful.

I’d like to see how the transparency of the units GUI actually might look during play. An example screen of the Automap would be good as well (just to see if it’s too intimidating ;) )

Shouldn’t be too much trouble. There are three transparency settings from ghostly ‘almost-can’t-see-it’ to solid ‘can’t-see-through’. I can post examples of each. An example Automap should be fine too.

May not have time tonight due to watching the second Euro 2008 semi final, but will get onto it ASAP.

Just on the Automap MIDI side of things… it really isn’t intimidating, I promise. If I can work it out anyone can :D In the Automap software you select a MIDI channel, select Automap as the MIDI in/out, and then do the same in the Renoise MIDI settings. You can then map the controls in the same way as any other MIDI controller

  1. Bring up the Renoise MIDI mapping box (via the menu or ‘Ctrl+M’ on PC)

  2. Select the level/pan/DSP slider in Renoise

  3. Touch a Nocturn encoder

That’s it! If you want to map more than 8 knobs/buttons you just press the page +/- buttons on the Nocturn to scroll through the pages of assignments. You can have 127 assignments per MIDI channel, I think.

Interesting little unit, might be worth buying to replace my Evolution X-Session just for the automap feature.

Indeed. The Nocturn has endless rotaries which are great when flicking about from one plug-in to another, and then to the mixer etc. The LED’s on the Nocturn mean you never lose track of where you are.

I realise I’m banging on about the Nocturn but I hope it’s useful info. I’m just so pleased that a piece of gear works as promised, and for the money it is a steal. The only question for me is over the build quality but at this price I could afford a back-up.

Thanks for testing six.
Am thinking about picking one up.

Hopefully below you should see some screengrabs of the Nocturn GUI. There are three showing the levels of transparency you can set for the GUI, a full screen shot of a control map, and a full screen of a control group. The last one shows any plug-ins/mixer maps active in your project, and you can select the plug-in/mixer map etc. to edit by touching the relevant control on the hardware.

You can sort control maps (i.e. your encoder/button assignments) by four control groups: mixer, FX, instrument and user. There are four corresponding buttons on the Nocturn and when you press, say, ‘instrument’ it brings up all the instruments active in your project. Like I say, you can then press a button or touch an encoder to select which instrument you want to edit.

You can choose which groups the plug-ins go in: you can put instruments in the mixer group if you want! Any manual assignments you make using Automap MIDI can also be put in any of the groups.

On a slightly negative note… I have had another evening of playing around and I have run into some issues when using Automap with some plug-ins. I’m not sure if this is an issue with the plug-in’s or Automap. At random times the Nocturn’s LED’s and button lights would stop updating, and sometimes it would lock up completely. Also, the Automap GUI would start playing up randomly. The only cure was to unplug the unit and quit the software and start again.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t a Renoise problems as the same thing has happened in Live, Sonar, FL Studio, and Reaper (not that I use those programmes anymore - but I have them installed and so tested with them.) I have had no such problems when I stuck to using th Nocturn for straight MIDI mapping of Renoise parameters.

I will report this to Novation, do more testing, and see how it goes. I suspect the situation may be improved if I go into each plug-in and create my own custom map for each one.






Thanks, Crow! I couldn’t quite picture how the transparency would work but it seems very usable to me. A good way to cram even more info onto the screen. :)

And you’re right, the mapping looks very straigt-forward and understandable.

Hi all - hope everyone had a good weekend. An update on my progress with the Nocturn/Renoise combination…

The issue I was having with some plug-ins was when editing them the Nocturn GUI would start randomly selecting parameters.

If you see the pictures I posted (above) you’ll see the graphical representation of the hardware knobs in the GUI. When you move a knob the GUI ‘highlights’ the graphical knob and puts the name of that parameter in the top-centre of the GUI. Even when I wasn’t touching the unit the GUI would start shifting this highlighted focus around the knobs giving a lovely strobe effect! Very distracting. And like I said before, eventually it would lock up or the LED’s would stop updating.

This problem seems to have been cured by clearing the plug-in control maps and building new ones myself (i.e. clearing the assignments and then going in manually and making my own for each plug-in). This may sound like a lot of work, but actually it makes sense to do this anyway. The way Automap works is that it maps controls to the hardware by assigning knobs and buttons in the same order that the plug-in exports it’s parameters. Now, most plug-ins - especially those with lots of parameters - don’t export them in the order you’d personally want them. Also with the Nocturn having knobs and buttons you end up with parameters on buttons that you’d rather have on knobs, and vice versa. Also, there are maybe parameters you don’t need control over that get mapped to the hardware.

Once you have made a control map you can set it as the default so that whenever you use that plug-in again in any host the controls are mapped as you want them. So, it is a bit of an effort, but you only have to do it once.

Like I say, this seems to have stopped the problems I was having before. And the controls mapped via regular MIDI to Renoise’s level/pan/DSP chain controls are all still working with no issues after lots of testing.

As always, every silver lining has a cloud… and I have found another small hitch! Sometimes when you stop playback of the track you are working on, and then tweak a control, the Nocturn hardware LED’s don’t update. The GUI knob/button changes but the hardware doesn’t. As soon as you recommence playback the LED’s update and continue as normal. How much of an issue this would be for you, I don’t know. Personally, I am only ever tweaking while the song is playing.

I am going to report these issues to Novation but at the moment their support email is down and you can only phone them, which I can’t do from work.

Hello again

One quick final update on the using Nocturn with Renoise… Automap seems to work fine with plug-in’s as long as you have the plug-in GUI open as well as the Nocturn’s GUI. This stops all the problems with the LED’s not updating.

I am not sure if this is usual behaviour or not - like I said before, Novation can’t be contacted by email at the moment. It would seem to me that, ideally, you should be able to edit the plug in from the Nocturn GUI. Having to open the plug-in GUI means being dependent on the keyboard or mouse as you can’t open the plug-in GUI from the Nocturn.

Again, this doesn’t seem to be a Renoise specific thing as it is happening in other hosts. A workaround I have found is to leave all your plug-in GUI’s open stacked on top of each other at the very edge of the screen!

So, to summarise my experience so far… the Nocturn at the moment is a bit of a compromise. It will automatically map a plug-in’s parameters every time you open it up, but you are better off creating your own maps rather than using the default ones. It will control Renoise level/pan/DSP chain parameters, but can be a bit temperemental in updating the hardware LED’s if playback is stopped. You can select plug-in’s and edit them from the Nocturn hardware, but you may have to manually open a plug-ins GUI before you can do any tweaking (or use a workaround - see above.)

Having said all this, the Automap software is likely to continue to be developed, updated and improved. And the bottom line is that the Nocturn costs £70.00 - which even with the compromises is a bargain, and probably the best gear purchase I have made.

i want one :dribble:

Another update!

I have found a solution to the issues I was having with the LED’s not updating and needing to have the plug-ins interface open in order to edit it.

When you install the Automap software it creates an ‘automapped’ versions of the VST ‘.dll’ files in your plug-in folder (you get the option of which plug-ins you want to be automapped, and you can always change this at a later date.)

This means that in Renoise two versions of every automapped plug-in appear in the list (annoying if you have lots because it doubles your list of available plug-ins!)

On the Novation website there are instructions on how to get around this so that only the automapped plug-ins appear. Basically, you tell the automap software to search for plug-ins at their normal location on your computer. You then create a seperate folder for the automap copies of plug-ins, drag all the automapped ‘.dll’ files to this new folder, and in the preferences tell Renoise to look at this new ‘automapped plug-ins’ folder instead of your usual location.

This means only the automapped versions of plug-ins appear in Renoise, and it has solved the issues I was having.

So… the Nocturn has just got better! Or rather, my understanding of how to use it correctly has :D

Wow, the Nocturn sounds really cool. I was tempted to buy one at Sam Ash the other day, but decided to hold off till I heard some first hand accounts. Sounds like it is treating u good. I think it’ll be the perfect fit to my set-up, as my midi controller has no knobs!

Yeah sounds great.

Thanks alot for the “walkthrough” of the Nocturn, very nice to see such enthusiasm, very helpfull.

might look into one of those myself as well, very cheap and very handy for liveplaying.

Thanks a bunch for the review!

I’d been following the reviews, and eventually purchased one on the strength of this ‘review’.

It arrived today and its been a fun afternoon.

Nicely done, thanks very much!

Hi All,

Is anybody using the Nocturn with an intel macbook and Renoise?

On my macbook Renoise doesn’t appear to recognise the wrapped VST plugins!

Any help would be grately appreciated.


Hi Twiggy

Are the wrapped VST’s in the same folder as your usual plug-ins?