Instrument modulation concept

Oh damn, now I’ve got to throw my MiniRoll tool away! :(


Shear amount of programming involved.

That was you, right!? It wasn’t me coming up with that. And now you blame ME for exactly that?

The only thing you really proved is, you’re just a big mouth. Nothing else. I was btw expecting you to do that sound in Renoise. Because that’s what the discussion was about. You know, your mess where you’re able to find everything easily.

Edit: Considering the fact, you now don’t know, why anyone would need a modular concept, I find it a bit funny to read this quote of yours:

Tells enough, don’t you think!? ;)

No, not really… You forgot to add my mockups within your quotes. My mockups illustrate what goes out of my big mouth. You should try just one time to do this simple exercice, what could help by the way the devteam.

Mockups : are far more efficient and less redundant than repetitive personnal provocations.

I’m sorry, but there was no mockup in that posting I quoted last. And to be honest, I don’t care about things from somewhen, because I’m here to talk about the thread topic. And your mockup I’ve seen here very obviously makes things way worse. I guess, I’m allowed to have that opinion!? Thank you!

Personal provokation, even repetitive. Aha. How about “check yourself first”? Sometimes it’s a good idea to be aware of yourself. I know that doesn’t always work, but when it does, it might help.


Well for your information, the mockups deal with “raising a bit the level of flexibility of the sampler”, what has a relationship with the title of the thread, that talks about what could be improved in the instruments modulation concept.

Yes, yes, you’re allowed to have an opinion about the suggestions of others. Like I I have the right to explain my opinion about your suggestions. And I confess, I like visual suggestions. It really helps to see what’s on your mind. A clear conception produces a clear visualisation. If you could draw something that is flexible enough to your eyes, and expose it to the community, the alpha testers, and the devs, maybe your suggestions and radical points of views would be more easily and spontaneously accepted. Obviously, you think that my suggestions are “worse”, you’re allowed to think it. Like I’m allowed to think that your expectations about renoise modulation system are too high or too specific or too different from mine. Thank you for accepting the way I think and respecting my difference.

I’m allowed to think that cross set modulations would raise the flexibility of the sampler system to an “average level”. Even if it doesn’t reach the ultimate levels of flexibility some professionnal sound desiners would need, my suggestions are adapted to the computer weekend muzaker I am. I secretely hope that, a bunch of tracker boys are like me. It’s a bit selfish. And here I speak for myself. I recognise I am not a professionnal sound designer or sound ingenieer. So my suggestions are only good for me and that is probably why I like them alot. I’m honnest enough to see how subjective my suggestions are.

Yep, I kinda like provocations sometimes. Because sometimes they push me to move my ass and change my mind or explore other points of views. But in the end, if provocations don’t produce anything, and don’t work… to continue to use them in vain has no sense.

This thread started out as reasonable critique, logical and I thought quite helpful.

What is currently going on here? It appears we have descended into the slow, swept filtered white noise of giants dicks whooshing back and forth in futilityspace.


What about adding a magic modulation device – let’s call it Modulation Chain Mix-In for now – that would allow to “mix-in” the output of another modulation chain?

For example, in the Volume chain of the modulation set #1, we could place (among others) a “Modulation Chain Mix-In” device which would “mix in” the modulation signal from some other chain – e.g. from the Panning chain of the modulation set #2, with specified scalling (min value/max value/scale type…). Of course, we could place more such devices in one chain (“mixing-in” signals from different chains or maybe even from one chain, to obtain a kind of “self-modulation” effect).

Basically, such a device would look like the following:

[+] | X _ ... Modulation Chain Mix-In [+/-] |  
[-] | Source set: [Set 02 [v]] |  
 | Source chain: [Panning [v]] |  
[/] | Min: [...] Max: [...] Scale: [...] |  

(I hope this ascii-art is readable :) )

This idea is somehow opposite to a send-like device, but may be more suitable for the modulation matter… What do you think?

What I like about Renoise first and foremost is that it has a tracker interface for entering and viewing note information, which I find far more efficient to use than a piano roll or standard music notation, and it is more modern and powerful in most respects than other trackers. I like Renoise despite some of the things about it that irritate me. If Renoise did not have a tracker interface, I would not use it, and I would probably just revert to OpenMPT or just put up with piano rolls in another DAW. Conversely, if a DAW like Ableton Live, Reason, FL Studio or Sonar etc were to add a tracker interface, I’d seriously have to consider what Renoise had to offer over the alternatives.

The Renoise way of modulating parameters has very little to do with why I use Renoise.

Now, I am not overly fussed about working around some of Renoise’s deficiencies by loading VST plugins, and my preference for the Renoise developers would be to prioritize the pattern sequencer/arranger above any other developments before moving on to other things like the sampler. Nevertheless, since the Renoise team are putting work into the native instrument features of Renoise, I would prefer that they do this in a way that is similar to the way programs like Buzz, Psycle, Reaktor, Reason, FL Studio do things, rather than developing a system that works in a really strange way for no discernible benefit.

I would really like to see a modular system like that in Reaktor or Buzz at some point, as I would like to be less dependent on using third party tools like VST plugins to do things if Renoise has the native capability, if for no other reason than to spend less on software licenses and to make it easier to switch between working on my desktop and laptop, and avoid issues when switching between operating systems :)/>

Out of interest, has anyone had a look at this:Radium Tracker? Some interesting concepts, quite a few of which seem to have been popular requests for Renoise… Looks like it uses a modular routing concept…

At the moment I mainly use Cakewalk Dimension and Rapture to do what Renoise can’t - both have pretty good sound design capabilities, and both load .sfz files. I would be happy if Renoise had feature and workflow parity with either Dimension or Rapture…

Yes, I also had a curious look on it. I found strange to need to install an audio-jack server, especially under windows that allready has it’s own audio layer. This new tracker seems odd, and strange. But we’re used to feel this reaction at first each time we’re confonted to something new don’t we ? Radium is very promising. It has : vertical “audio-chunks” (not audio-tracks, but a similar approach, fusing the cell of a tracker and flexible audio-views). And while I was testing these audio-chunks, I realised that they weren’t the “audio-tracks” I really expected, so… I’m half satisfied with this thing. But I keep in mind that its features could help the devs to build something equivalent for the upcoming audiotracks feature (probably during the 3.x cycle) - I’ll make a mockup about it.

Anyway, the soft is “brave” to try to innovate on this point even if visually distorted audio-chunks look a bit ugly. The “line-split” feature is an interesting alternative to a “zoomable pattern” system. And concerning the modular design, it’s apparently focused on the mixer, like psycle for example. I often asked myself why I was still using Renoise while there are so many “better” programs on the scene. It’s not rationnal. I said to myself that the “modulation” logic in Renoise, that is “visually sticked” and highly intricated to the pattern editor tracks, could explain this situation. This “cross pattern track modulation” is unique. And apparently this choice is probably adapted to the way I conceive mentaly my music. I keep on using Renoise, even if “logically” I should say that any modular design would be better : I install lots of other softs, and I go back to renoise, because the core of renoise is the pattern editor, and everything that is visually connected to tracks and pattern edition makes it.

Let’s just talk frankly, please. What would currently be the biggest problem(s ?) of setting up a proper modular concept? Is it the GUI, the concept itself, the code behind it? Help me to understand your problems, pls.

I believe it is mostly a UI/conceptual problem. No matter how we make things work, some element will suffer. Pros and cons…

The current system has the advantage of 1:1 representation - everything is located where it is affecting things. If you are looking for the pitch modulation of the “Top Freq” set, you click on the pitch modulation of the “Top Freq” set. The downside, as you have pointed out, is the redundancy of certain setups. The system can do absolutely everything, but usability suffers from this redundancy.

The modular system has the advantage of flexibility & re-usability. Every chain that you make can be used by any part of the instrument, by assigning it to a target. The downside is that these modulation chains need to exist “outside” of the modulation sets, and that it is hard to represent the order of processing if you want to combine multiple chains into one. Also, as you just pointed out, triggers would need to exist in the target domains to make it a 1:1 representation. Nothing that a clever UI design couldn’t solve - but we are yet to see one.

The send system is really not perfect in any way. A kind of compromise, it has problems with the 1:1 representation (missing triggers in target domains).

What about adding a magic modulation device – let’s call it Modulation Chain Mix-In for now – that would allow to “mix-in” the output of another modulation chain?

This idea is somehow opposite to a send-like device, but may be more suitable for the modulation matter… What do you think?

I think this is a great improvement of the send-device idea - basically turning the idea on it’s head. You can see where the modulation is coming from, which helps to solve the problem of representation. Need to think more about this.


I think I’ve got an idea, that allows all of it. The current system, strict modularity and even a mix of both, with a single extension of the GUI and only extension of the code, instead of changing it. :) Let me put this in a mockup over night.

I just thought of a solution that would resolve the redundancy issue:

Currently you have little grey blobs that show where a modulation is being applied, these are for display purposes only at the moment but what if they could be used somehow. First each blob would be assigned a colour instead of being grey, like so:

Now clicking on each of these blobs will cycle through the colours which will in effect override the default modulation chain with that of the colour. So if you wanted the volume and pitch to have the same modulation it would look like this:

Going further if you now wanted the cutoff and resonance to share the same modulation it would look like this:

Maybe this is a simple solution to implement? What do you think?

Excellent ! It would indeed allow us to build our patches faster.

What about also allowing draging & dropping modulators, between modulation sets ? (like in the fx chain panel where you can move/drag and drop devices more freely)

What about populating modulation sets as easily as you can do with the pattern matrix ?

@ afta 8
simple yet verry effective way to share modulation sources .

I like the solution, as long as there are enough distinguishable colours available :)

the idea could still require a lot of work, depending on how the modulation code has been conceived; let’s see if the developers will give their opinion about this

I think you would have to restrict this per modulation set, so you would only need 5 colours.

I also think this could be taken one step further by having a crossfade slider on each modulation destination so you could blend between the default and overriding modulations.

But like you say lets see if devs have an opinion, I’m also looking forward to seeing Bit_Arts solution… sounds promising :)

I like afta8’s idea…nice. am eager to see what bit arts is cooking up. cool things n good thinking goin on here!

KURTZ had made a thread about drag and drop in the modulation matrix, like it can be done in the pattern matrix. I really love this and thought about it further, combining it with afta8’s color idea. I don’t know if this were possible, but it would really open up a lot of possibilites, making setup really easy. I made a pshop. (it is based on my former mockup to get rid of the sliding tabs - i want to promote that :) )
the individual modulation slots would be aliased with alt-drag like the pattern matrix does it. The aliased slot would show the modulators in a different hue and maybe they could be individually detachable from the parent (picture 2)
in picture 3 I added preset buttons

parent selected

child selected

preset buttons

Looks like we have some “realistic” suggestions here (something that could be added without rewriting the core of the whole playback engine).

Through your mockups, I can easily visualise how you could “select” with CTRL some modulators in a set, then drag & drop them on a different location (a slot) in the modulation matrix.

To “quickly populate” the modulation matrix, we could use what’s renoise is good at : shortcuts.

For example, under windows,

  • Drag & Drop a modulation. matrix slot, will deplace it,
  • shift+Drag & Drop clones a modulation slot
  • alt+Drag & Drop would create “alisases”.

Aliases are cool in the pattern matrix : they would be also cool in the modulation set matrix (even if it continue to believe that a better flexibility and more creativity would require the addition of some “cross set modulators” - see my previous mockups for a better understanding of what it could be ; it’s developped from the “send” modulation initially proposed by danoise ; also see the post of zuo that proposed an ascii-arty mockup for a modulator that has a “source” different than the default modulation set).

It would be also interesting to get a new modulator that deal with direct acces to the “NNA type” in the sample properties.