Sort of a chicken/egg situation. Your knowledge and use of each will inform the other.
But, for a place to start, learn:
- if you can assign MIDI notes/CC values to the assorted controls
- what types of messages each control sends (e.g a single note, a CC with a range of values)
- if you can have different control send messages on different MIDI channels
- If the MPC500 allows you to switch user-defined programs
In Renoise you can set up (in the instrument MIDI tab) instruments that listen for a specific MIDI device and channel.
Also look into Renoise MIDI-mapping
I often use and AKAI MPKmini. I can define 4 (I think, maybe more) programs and I can change what program is in use form the controller itself. So, for example, I have one program define to send notes in the C2 range from the pads when routing it into my Korg Volca Kick… But another custom program sets those pads to follow a simple scale in the C4 range.
Plus the programs redefine what CC numbers are sent from the rotaries.
I think there’s one I set up to send the pads on a different channel from the keyboard, and this way the messages are handled differently in Renoise.
Renoise can send MIDI and CC values, so maybe there’s something you can use to alter the behavior of MPC500 from Renoise.
MPC500 apparently plays samples and stuff, so you can definitely use Renoise to create sounds and then load them into the MPC500.
Renoise has a built-in sampler, so plausibly you could jam along with Renoise playing the samples and MIDI-to-Renoise from the MPC500 and record the audio generated by the MPC500. Then load that as a sample into Renoise. You need to be mindful of some latency in the recording (I find I have to trim a teeny amount off such sample recording.)
Also, Renoise does Rewire, which would allow you to route Renoise into another DAW (such as Reaper, what I use along with Renoise) as well as the MPC500 and basically do alive recording that way.
For myself, I tend to do this and that and assorted things until I get a number riffs and beats and samples, and then slice and dice and assemble them in Renoise.
Most of all, have fun, experiment, post some tracks and stuff here, and welcome to Renoiseland