MBC 14 Theme poll

AFAICT the AHDSR envelope is still completely deterministic, so you are wrong by definition in saying that sample accurate, tempo independent envelope would give more predictable results. The predictability is exactly equal, albeit the latter case would obviously be a much better choice for various reasons. But I’m splitting hairs here, and completely irrelevant ones at that :sweat_smile: . In the end, I agree with you: the envelopes could be better, and are in any synth that does audio rate modulation. But we’re getting a bit off-topic here…



Of course somebody recorded the hardware and created the drum samples, but that’s it. I wouldn’t want “variation” on a kick drum and you can finetune a sample, too. “Variation” is the main reason for using VSTs when it comes to instruments which can make melodies (everything but the drums). You can’t process samples the same way. But why would someone like to have variation on a kick?

Hm, I think having another competition is the better option. A competition without any restrictions. Something about music, not about the way getting there.

But guys, this is obviously going to be the restricted nerdy Renoise only for techies with sample based sound design from scratch competition I don’t like, so I tend to skip this one again even though I’ve written more than enough in this thread. Many things you’re talking about are new to me (what the fuck is “the old ringmod trick” etc.) and I don’t want to deal with stuff I’ll probably never need again. As a self-employed person my time is really short, otherwise I would have made more music, but this year is even worse than last year. At least this thread inspired me to deal a little bit more with sound design from scratch (within VSTs). Have fun! :slightly_smiling_face:

If you think until the end of the chain: Sample based drum machines sampled it from somewhere. If it is an electronically sounding drum, it was designed with a synthesizer. Sometimes they layered natural drums like in Linndrum. Or layered a synthetic drum with a natural one. In the end, all drums come from a real world drum or a synthesizer.

To mimic a real drummer. Very statically sounding / timed drums tend to tire the ear. If you mimic a real drummer, by slightly varying attack, start, sustain or maybe even pitch it can sound better. It doesn’t have to random and also can follow the context.

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Yes, you’re right about that. But if we’re talking about electronic music, there’s no need for variations on a kick drum, it’s quite the opposite. :wink:

No doubt about that. :slightly_smiling_face:
But as I said, different synths, different sounds.

It’s a technique more than a decade old where you use the ring modulator device’s modulation functions as audible oscillators. Since ring modulation in digital domain is simply a multiplication of a signal with a function/oscillator, you can tease out the oscillator by feeding the ring modulator a signal with a constant value. And since DC offset in digital domain is simply addition/subtraction, you can just put a DC offset device before the ringmod device to make the ringmod turn into an oscillator. Or alternatively you could just have a single sample with a constant DC offset and loop that. Here’s a tutorial that goes through this in a very basic manner in the first half of so:

How so? What exactly is making you feel that way? I can’t find a single post here that would support this perspective. :person_shrugging: Mutant cats, aka free for anything is winning by the looks of it. And people should be allowed to feel just how they feel about their own creative process. If someone else feels like using VSTs or sample packs would feel like cheating to them, how does that concern you in anyway? Like they say where I’m from: it doesn’t itch your butt. You stay strong in your truth and let other people stay strong in theirs! And just because a lot of people are interested in more technical topics and discussing Renoise here at the Renoise forums, doesn’t mean the compo is restricted for only people who prefer doing stuff exclusively in Renoise (unless it’s a compo with rules that specifically forbid VSTs).

There’s a lot more to electronic music than just “4-on-the-floor” type of genres. In some genres yes, you probably want a constant, unvarying kick, but that is not something that could be made into a universal statement. Not by a longshot.

I’m actually intrigued. What exactly do you mean “you can’t process samples the same way”? Could you elaborate?

And are you aware of all the wonderful probabilistic and generative modulation possibilities within renoise? You can absolutely have variation on your samples in renoise! You can have a new EQ, new pan position, new FX send values, new bit depth etc. on every single new hit of a drum for example. So what precisely is this processing you can’t do to samples?

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Regarding the rindmod trick, you can also do essentially the same thing, but with polyphony by using the AM filters 100% wet. Windowed waveforms produce sync effects, too. Peep this video if interested :slight_smile:


Well, that’s why I don’t know anything about it. As I said, I only switched to Renoise because of the possibility of using VSTs. When I switched to Renoise 11 years ago, I immediately got into working with VSTs, what I’ve never done before. At the same time I used samples less and less until I completely stopped using samples (except drums) at one day. All the classic tracker DAWs I used before I started using Renoise haven’t had devices like ringmod or any other stuff. So in fact I’ve never used a ringmod in my entire life, and devices like hydra are new to me, too. I never thought about using it because there never was any reason to use it. So I appreciate informations about unknown techniques, although I probably won’t use them, but at least I can understand what you guys are talking about and up to. Otherwise all of this would be a huge riddle. When you’re talking about details of sound design with native Renoise devices and stuff like that it’s kinda like watching a talkshow of scientists talking about depolarisation as a part of stimulus transmission in terms of saltatory conduction (which would be partially easier to understand if you ask me). I guess this is part of the game, nothing comes from nothing. Thanks for the video, I’ve learned something and now I know more.

Well, as you already said, the goal of MBC is primarily learning Renoise (native) stuff and only secondarily to create music. And you get extra points for self imposed limitations and/or for using Renoise stuff only, So the better you’re in native Renoise sound design and the more you’re refusing to use VSTs, the better for this competition. A guy who works differently (VSTs, hardware etc,) doesn’t have a chance to “go far” within this competition right from the start. Besides of that the motto seemingly is “the more scientific, the better”. And of course there are participants who tend to think that guys who work differently are “paying to win”. That’s not very motivating to participate, at least not for me. As I said, Renoise is not an ordinary oldschool tracker and has way more possibilities, but this competition is all about basic Renoise native stuff and excludes all the other possibilities of Renoise. I’m creating music just for fun respectively for distraction from everyday life and not to prove something to someone. And the more “scientific” it gets, the less fun I have. It’s as simple as that. :wink:

True. I was referring to classic electronic music genres just like Techno, Electro, Acid, Trance, Synthwave, DNB and so on. There are quite a few other styles within the electronic music spectrum, but mostly you don’t want variation on a kick.

If you’re using a VST your sounds are constantly “moving” and are processed for example through morphing the waveform, using effects and more. You can do “the same” with samples in the DAW in a similar way, but on one hand it sounds completely different (worse) and on the other hand you’re manipulating a recorded instrument, which is static in contrary to a VST instrument, which is “moving”. Yes, you can have variation on your samples, but not like using a VST: Hopefully I could express myself in an understandable way. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve heard this terminology before, but I can’t say what exactly you’re talking about. Generative modulation is when a machine constantly changes the signal, right? But what’s probabilistic modulation exactly?


Hmm… Did I? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Lets see…

Now pardon my french, but what the fuck are you on about? I would highly appreciate it if you would not put words in my mouth and claim that your own words were said by someone else. You know, very basic civil communication 101. :wink:
Thank you.

But ok, since this is literally at a level where you start putting words I never said and don’t even agree with into my mouth, the gloves are coming off. Let’s dissect topic to the core, and be done with this unnecessary, irrelevant and completely nonexistent problem created out of thin air by being butthurt for no justifiable reason. I’m going to be frank and tell it like it is. My intentions are not hostile, I just don’t want to continue this unnecessary BS any longer. I’ve probably contributed to this way more than I ever should have, and truly am going to take this lesson to heart.

First of all this:

is nothing more than your own projection with no real foundation or relation to this compo, or any discussion in this thread whatsoever. What the hell do you even mean by “scientific”? This is about making music, an art form, a creative pursuit, a passion of many people here. There is obviously some DSP and audio engineering, and maybe even a bit of coding involved here and there since we’re making music, but that is not the main focus here. There are other forums where people discuss audio related science issues to death, even compete in making plugins. Here the focus is mainly on using Renoise in various ways, which seems rather reasonable to me, considering where we are: RENOISE forums. And to be frank, if you are not interested in any of the more technical topics, why are you participating in discussions about them then? I don’t mean to be rude, but it seems you just want to find excuses for being butthurt and whine out loud about how “scientific”, whatever that means, a perfectly normal discussion about production techniques is. What exactly is it that you are trying to contribute to the discussion? Yes, it is very much established, loud and clear: you use Renoise only because you can use VSTs in Renoise, and you haven’t used Renoise in any other way in 11 years of using it because

You know what, I´m actually being genuine here when I say: good for you! But I think a lot of people registered to the Renoise forums to, you know, learn more about Renoise, discuss about Renoise, find new ways you can use Renoise to make music and so on. And I get it, we all were beginners at some point, and some topics can just fly over your head and make you feel confused. But that’s completely ok. If you just stick to it long enough, things will become more understandable bit by bit. There is a wealth of information and knowledge here on the forums, just waiting for you to study it. Or you can just, you know, stick to what you already know and never expand your creative horizons. And that’s totally ok too if you want to do that! I find learning new things very enriching experience, but you do you. And nobody is judging you, even if the way you make music would feel inauthentic to someone else and they happen to express that. That is not a criticism directed at you. My way would probably feel inauthentic to you too, but you know what, that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable or valid.

And here is one thing you really gotta understand: Renoise is a tracker, there’s no way around this. And since you come from a tracker world even before you switched over to Renoise, you must be aware of how deeply the demoscene and trackers were linked back in the day. How people were pushing the boundaries of what you can do with trackers, e.g. how much animation and music can you squish into the smallest possible file size etc. And all that culture and those mindsets still carry over to this day. Renoise is quite a different beast than the old trackers, yes, but it is still very much a tracker at heart. And very much the leading edge, state of the art of trackers today (well, SunVox is another one IMO), so naturally there’s a tendency for those demoscene-ish mindsets to be part of the culture around Renoise. And that relic of the tracker history is actually really valuable and worth conserving in and of itself. A lot of people, me included, find real value and endless fascination in pushing the tools, like Renoise as far as they can possibly be pushed, learning them as thoroughly as possible. I would rather have a single tool -even if it was a very mediocre tool- I know deeply and throughout, than have a thousand amazing, state of the art tools I just barely know how to operate. Not because the mediocre tool is better, but because that way I get way better end results. Because the better I know the possibilities available to me just with one tool, the more creative freedom I have. That simple.
And this kind of a mindset is very common around trackers, I´m not an exception here, and with this mindset comes a certain kind of culture you are currently taking part in. The internet is full of all kinds of song and composition contests and production forums, but this is the Renoise forums, with Renoise-centric contests, by and for people who enjoy using Renoise, a tracker, not just any ordinary DAW that can load VSTs. There is a history involved with trackers that we are a continuation of here. Hence giving extra points for exclusive Renoise usage in a compo is very reasonable, completely fair and more than inclusive enough by any reasonable metric. And just to be blatantly clear: that DOES NOT mean that the compo is only for “techies” as you put it;

This is another completely unfounded, butthurt way of looking at this rule discussion. Straight up projection, and hence I questioned it straight on. I am sorry, but I said I was going to be frank about this.

And just to tie all possible loose ropes here (since I am not going to waste anymore energy on the discussion in this thread), my question about generative possibilities was more of a rhetoric one, but I´ll answer the question you asked anyway.

Generative music is quite a large subject. In essence I would say its music that has a system or a set of rules or algorithms that either totally or partially determine some or all compositional aspects of a piece. Some might disagree with this definition. As an example my high hats are usually randomly panned on each consecutive hit, which would be a very basic example of generative modulation. Generative systems can get unbelievably deep when modularity is involved, and have feedback both in modulation and audio domains, and therefore some generative systems are also simultaneously cybernetic.

Probabilistic as a word has a couple different possible interpretations, but what I’m referring to here is that we have complete control of the probability distributions of any given random modulation in various ways. So it’s not just random, but random with specific user definable chances for different outcomes, even specific rules (formula device). One could argue this is synonymous with generative, just more descriptive. And on top of this, its also possible to do completely aleatoric music with Renoise, with random note choices, random rhythms, random phrase selection, random sound selections etc. and with extremely deep control over how the randomization works. So the composition can be done specifically trough the manipulation of probabilities, hence “probabilistic”. Aleatoricism is a another whole subject unto itself too:

And I’m still not getting exactly what you are referring to with the whole “you can’t do that with samples” argumentation. Based on your description my best guess is that you are either referring to something like analog emulation with oscillator pitch drift, component tolerance modeling and all that jazz, or you’re talking about something like wavetable synthesis, or maybe FM? You can definitely morph your waveforms in a variety of ways in Renoise natively, to an extent even fake “interpolating” between different waveforms, albeit comparatively in very rudimentary and basic ways. But you can, you just have to think about it a bit differently than say in Blofeld, FM8 or Vital. If you’re not just looking at the sample waveform window, but maybe reach for an oscilloscope, you’ll notice that even a simple lowpass filter is actually making your waveform change it’s shape quite radically. It just isn’t reflected in the sample waveform view in the same way it is in all those fancy VST GUIs. But all that being said, what I can agree with you on, is that certain manipulations done directly at the oscillator level (e.g. more advanced FM and wavetable stuff) are just unreachable in Renoise natively. But I would just sample those anyway after I’m done with the sound design part of things and treat them as any other sample from there on forward. Saves some CPU cycles and makes any further manipulations way more easier and precise, since this way you are able to go down to individual sample level with editing.

If you have never used the hydra device, I strongly encourage you to give it a whirl. You might just find you have now access to sounds, mixing techniques and compositional possibilities you never even thought of, since the possibility of them was never in front of you before. You might write music you would’ve never written if you hadn’t looked into how YOU can use the hydra device. And you might like it more than anything you’ve ever written before. Or you might dislike it and find the hydra a complete dead end for you. Like I pointed out earlier in this thread, you think Chopin would’ve made the kind of music he made, if he didn’t have access to sustain pedals and study the possibilities such pedals give for composition? Obviously not. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to VSTs, but what if the hydra device happens to be your personal metaphorical sustain pedal? You’ll never know, unless you see what you can make with it. :person_shrugging:

No matter what we do, we are unavoidably in this weird bidirectional relationship with our tools. And VSTs certainly can be wonderful, absolutely amazing tools. But even if you are only exclusively using VSTs with ready made presets in Renoise and doing nothing else, that too as a concept can be pushed pretty damn far if you’re interested in using your tools to their fullest potential: for example, have you tried sending program change messages to aliased VST plugins? Try this combination:
key tracker
→ LFO reset (random mode, full amplitude, offset 50%, frequency -INF)
→ instrument midi control (program change).

This allows you to select presets in your VSTs in a “sample & hold” manner. You can even rhythmically sequence specifically selected presets if you turn the LFOs waveform to custom and make sure the key tracker is set up correctly (or just put reset commands in the pattern editor). So you can essentially “play” any VST effect that reacts to program change messages (program change messages are kind of old tech at this point though, not all new plugins accept program change messages, not sure if VST3s do at all). Have you ever though of, say your reverbs or distortion plugins as instruments, with different notes actually having different sounds, so that you can actually play them with your keyboard or drum pads, or even sequence them with your hardware sequencer? Because they totally can be if you look into it, just saying.
:point_right: :wink: :point_right:

But maybe this is just too “scientific” for you and you don’t even want to look into the possibilities this might open for your creative process. I get that some people just want to imitate the music they hear and have a very specific idea about how music should sound like in their head. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! This is not a value statement, but we do live in an extremely homogeneous music culture globally: almost everything is in a time signature strictly divisible by 4 or 3, same triad-based diatonic 12EDO harmonies everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE), tracks of the same genre have practically identical instrumentation, arrangement, song structure and timbral choices. And it’s all fine and good, because some of that stuff has become so overused for the sole reason that it is just so damn good, so emotionally resonant, so touching and moving. That aeolian I-VI-III-VII thing you hear everywhere for example, it just works, no other way to put it. But that doesn’t mean it’s something universal. Yet, of course you can look at making your own music through the lens of this extremely homogeneous landscape being a universal standard of what music should sound like, and then aim to replicate the idiosyncrasies of your preferred niche within that landscape. Nothing wrong with that, and in someways it’s even unavoidable, so we are all slaves to it more or less. But I just find this idea of musical composition as a journey of discovery far more inspiring, fascinating and free. I just love the idea of composition as a journey towards discovering what kind of, and just how cool/touching/beautiful etc. music I can make with this certain approach, or these creative limitations, or this specific toolset etc. And part of that discovering is obviously the effort to push the tools to their absolute limit: finding out what kind of music can be done if I use this potential “sustain pedal” in ways I haven’t used it before. And finding just how many new ways to use it there are. And I bet that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I really don’t want to assume anything about how you approach making music, but based on your messages I get a feeling you have an extremely uncompromising and specific perspective on how music should sound like. DnB, Electro and synthwave can absolutely use variation on kick drums in a very musical way! Its not the part of the genre specific idiosyncrasies, but its definitely not out of the question either. And I strongly disagree with you and claim that using loops or long samples you didn’t make yourself can absolutely, without any question be composition, even in the most strict sense of the word, and even if you don’t edit them directly at all! Just depends on what you do with them and around them, i.e. how creative can you be when using them. Music is a creative effort and thrives on looking at the possibilities of what you can do, rather than saying what is wrong or less valuable than something else. Putting loops together can be immensely creative and rewarding, even if you didn’t make the loops yourself. Lets say I’ll give you ten tape loops and tell you to make a musical piece using only them, and the piece should have a planned structure, multiple changes in dynamics and a deliberate arrangement. If you set out to do that, then how on earth would that not be you composing a piece of music? I’d argue it most definitely is, with the slight caveat of whether whoever is assigned such at task can pull it off by being creative enough to make such a composition. Creating new musical material is not the only domain of composition. One could even argue that creation of new material is not even very important in the grand scheme of things when composing, but rather what you do with that material is way more important. As the most obvious example of this, look at the famous opening part of Beethovens fifth symphony: how much material did he actually use there? What, about, um, six notes in total + one additional melody line, and pretty much everything else is built from those. :person_shrugging:

And regarding you not feeling very motivated to participate: I get it, I really do. It can be really discouraging if someone makes a negative value statement about the way you like to work. And creative stuff like music can be really close to your heart, even close to your identity. It can be really rough and feel like someone is being negative towards you. But look at what actually has been written here, not just how you interpreted it from your perspective and how it made you feel. Nobody is criticizing you here! Absolutely nobody said you were cheating! On the contrary, there has been several people who have specifically encouraged you to do what you feel like doing. And I say it one more time: You do you! Use them VSTs if that’s what inspires you! Work in the way that you feel most comfortable and inspired! Render the VSTs, or don’t, however you feel! However you make your music, it’s ok, it´s cool and it’s valuable! There are no absolute rights or wrongs in making music, whatsoever. And if you don’t get extra points because you used plugins, well, just remember you are using a tracker and participating in a tracker culture - there is a history that we are a continuation of here, and that carries a value of its own. So frankly, just get over it and rather than pointlessly ruminating over it and being butthurt for no substantial reason, you could focus on how good making music can feel! You use the cool sounds of your VST presets and sequence them in Renoise and make your own music that way! That’s good and valuable and all that really matters! And I really mean that with the utmost genuity.

Just to make this extra clear, I still claim what I have claimed all along from the beginning: this VST thing really isn’t a problem at all, so how about we not make it into one. Making unnecessary problems out of thin air serves absolutely nobody and has no practical purpose. Rather than wasting this energy on a silly problem that doesn’t even really exist, let’s focus on having a fun compo and see what kind of tracks everyone can come up with, with a focus on the best part: making music with the god damn coolest DAW out there right now, Renoise! I bet we can make some killer tracks if we really put ourselves into it! :drummer:

I’m absolutely done with this thread, but finally here’s my 2 cents for the rules:
Mutant cats in the following way:

  1. anything goes, no restrictions on plugins or sample size
  2. xtra points for XRNS
  3. more xtra points for only native DSP in the XRNs.
  4. At least one cat sample required per submission.

These rules would seem fair, reasonable and inclusive enough to me. We can have other, more rule restricted compos for both VSTs and no VSTs. But you guys figure it out! I’m gonna go focus more on some actual music making now, get off the internet for a while, maybe cut down on the caffeine and go touch some grass under that beautiful snow we got here few days ago. And before anyone asks, yes, I feel better now. :grin: See you guys in actual MBC14 thread! Let’s make this a killer compo! :drummer:

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This sounds perfect to me! Thank you!
See you soon on the actual MBC14 thread.


yup, that’s where I was landing, too :upside_down_face:

I’ll probably upload a cat sample ppl can use if they want to :heart_eyes_cat:

(very) preliminary album art

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 2.06.22 PM

too cutesy??

I’ll probably make a darker version, too, with an actual mutant cat…


I’m a little bit tired after 15 hours of work, so let’s keep this short.

Well, I didn’t say that you as a person wrote it. What I was trying to say is that you, and the “you” is plural and stands for several persons, said that. The one who started MBC wrote somewhere it is about learning Renoise primarily, and that means at the same time creating music is not the first goal. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Sorry for the misunderstanding. No offence!

Isn’t that obvious?

I don’t participate in technical discussions in terms of music except some mixing and mastering stuff.

Yes, I know that many “tracker guys” are coders and/or techies, too. You even just have to take a look at the comments in this forum and elsewhere and you don’t have any more questions. For me a tracker has always been and still is a perfect way to easily implement musical ideas as fast as possible, no more and no less. I’m neither a coder nor a techie and I was never deep into the demoscene. I just want to make music the easiest, coolest and fastest way possible, and that’s by using a tracker, what I do ever since. The way you can edit a song and how fast you can drop a beat is unbeatable, that’s the one and only reason why I’m using trackers. Of course I’m looking over the edge now and then, just to know what’s also there and what could be, but you’re right, I’ll probably stick to the basics how I’m creating music forever, I like it that way. Besides of that, 24 hours per day are too short to deal with everything what’s there. I’ve got a life, too. BUT due to this forum I’ve extended the way of “working out music” and some guys gave me an idea how to improve things, so I did. And I don’t regret it. But I have to admit that some things that I do now in terms of “working out music” doesn’t feel like fun anymore, it feels like work because it’s technical. As I said, the more technical or let’s say “scientific” it gets, the less fun… And just think about being an outsider watching you guys talking about “probabillistic modulation” and stuff like that, don’t you think this looks scientific? If I would drop some medical jargon and talk about details and functions in anatomy and stuff, don’t you think someone who doesn’t know wouldn’t consider this to be scientific? You know what I’m about, right? Anyway, thanks for your explanations about the modulation forms. :slightly_smiling_face:

Let’s say you’ve recorded a pad from a VST and made a sample. Try to make that sample sound exactly like the pad within the VST. Not only the effects sound different. If you hit C-3 the sample plays normal, if you hit C-5 it plays faster. You don’t have these kind of changes when you’re using a VST instrument, because an instrument is not static and doesn’t have a specific length. There are other types of samples that are more usable, but I’m primarily referring to “common samples”.

Well, about that “cheating” stuff, I didn’t feel adressed. I just wanted to point out that using VSTs, using hardware, using and changing presets or anything else not being made from scratch is not “cheating” respectively “pay to win”. As you already said, nobody told me personally that I’m cheating. I’m not even only exclusively using VSTs with “ready made presets” in Renoise, as I said I’m mostly changing presets to my desires and needs and I manipulate everything with effect devices and my way of composing. But even if I would use “ready made presets” only they would sound differently in the song.

Seems to be fair. Until next year.