Making music from field recordings with renoise

I used renoise a bit around 5 years ago and then stopped. I’ve just come back to it again with idea of making music from field records that I’ve made - chopping up the parts and combining them into something musical.

I have a couple of questions:

a) is renoise suitable for this sort of thing?

b) what would be the best way of chopping up the long wav files into smaller chunks with elements I want? audacity maybe? Or does renoise provide a similar tool? I did try using the sampler but some of the records are really long and it just didn’t feel like the right tool to be using.

Are there any tutorials or examples where someone has done something similar to this?

Worth treating me as a total noob when it comes to music production btw…

IMO the sampler is actually great for that kind of work. Use middle click on a sample waveform to play it from the position you clicked. Then mark a selection and right click it, so you can send it into a new sample or instrument slot. Quick and easy way to extract sound bits out of long parts.

There’s an automatic slice button in the sampler with a sensitivity option that will change the slice lengths, you can set it to target the zero crossing sections of the sample. It’s helpful for setting up slice markers real fast, it’s best to then go through the markers and remove the ones you don’t want and reposition the ones that are off.

For long samples what I do is duplicate the sample three times, then crop them down into 1/4s by highlighting and deleting sections. So sample 1 is the 1st quarter of the full sample, sample 2 is the 2nd, and so on. Then I use the automatic slicer at about 10% sensitivity, if it’s not a good result I hit undo, reset the sensitivity to another value and try again. When I’m happy I then remove any slice markers I don’t want and check the leftover ones to see if they are in position.

I don’t like audacity for chopping myself, it feels very clunky and slow. Renoise is more responsive and far faster, especially if you’re using a Mac because you can zoom in and out while scrolling left or right by simply using two fingers on the trackpad.

There probably are other programs for chopping up samples that someone else on here might suggest, but to be honest I’d probably just stick with Renoise. Slicing long samples is a pain the ass no matter what program you use.

Great, thanks for that. I will persevere with learning the sampler a bit more then. Just wanted to make sure I was using the right tool for the job!

renoise is very suitable for working with any sample content musically. it is basically a very direct acting sampler at core, much more direct to work with than sequencing a sampler plugin via midi imho. if you like the tracker interface, that is.

the sampler is just fine for sample editing/chopping, and you’ll have your samples at hand so you can put them into a new instrument jam on the keyboard right away, also through effects, exploring the possibilities of your snippets.

if your sample is way too long for it, you’ll notice a slowdown, I guess it also depends on the amount of system ram available. I mean I wouldn’t dare to load a sample that is hours long into it, whole songs like 5-10 minutes work pretty well with a little loading time as of my experience.

also there are no good graphical volume envelope tools for cutting the sample I think, only hard fade in/out of a range…or is there a lua tool already? If one of those points fail, you can still prepare your samples with something disk streaming capable like audacity.

Or in audacity cut your very long recording into smaller chunks of some minutes containing the passages that could be relevant for your compositions, then further slice/prepare them in renoise.

Try the demo, you can basically do everything with it, even safe your work and not loose it. Just not rendering songs to wav and resampling parts of the song. Have fun!

I think the idea of shopping it down into smaller chunks that I want to use in audacity would be a good first step, if only to make the sample a little easier to ‘navigate’.

I did buy the full version 5 years and amazingly my license is still valid for the current version :slight_smile:

No one mentioned auto-seek? That’s essential to know if you’re working with long samples!

Also - shameless promo - check out my new (auto-seek based) tool.

It allows you to slice samples while you are in the pattern editor.

Yes, and you also forgot your own ingenius invention, that could also proof VERY useful, not only for pitching the sounds but also for simple scanning through a long wave by moving the marker:

I really like the renoise sample editor. For long samples, I’ll use either the keyboard or mouse to select roughly the right area, and copy to new instrument / copy to new sample. Then I can go through and trim them individually.

Its great for sample manipulation…I hardly ever use long samples in Renoise though, definitely cut things up - you will reach a max file size quite quickly.

FYI the junkyard percussion series I did for Loopmasters was a load of field recordings, with all loops made in renoise

+1 for autoseek

I’ve done a fair amount of music in Renoise sequencing field recordings, and my best advice is get to know your pattern effects. S, R, and B can create a surprising amount of depth with simple samples.

Use middle click on a sample waveform to play it from the position you clicked

This is an awesome feature. I had no idea until just now. Awesome tips.

Renoise sample editor is so much better compared to almost all other sample editors…I cant think of one that is as accurate and easy to use, especially with the keyboard shortcuts for ‘zoom into selected region’ and ‘show all’, all the keyboard shortcuts…so fast to use, so clear, its a great design.