Modus Operandi

Hi all,

First off, I love Renoise (bought it two weeks ago). It’s a great full featured tracker, something I would have loved to have known about when I first started writing music back in 2008. The interface is incredibly lovely and, truth is, I started off with Psycle and Modplug years ago when I still did mostly sample based production, so it’s a bit nostalgic. Psycle and Modplug are still both great software pieces but not as good as this tight software rack.

So to frame my question, after 6 months of using trackers I decided to go for (being inexperienced in what was really out there) a more ‘mature’ sarcasm DAW. FL Studio seemed like the logical purchase since it was easy enough to use and had all of the features I wanted. I ended up liking the interface so much (after about 2 weeks of insane practice) that when I bought Cubase 5.5, I had to sell it to a friend because I just got locked into to how I did things (aka. the workflow really flowed after a certain amount of heavy workflow re-education). I had the same experience when using Psycle or Modplug for the first time. I also own Reason 6.5 and Pro Tools, and have gotten quite comfortable with those as well.

The thing is, my roots were in trackers, so I decided to get Renoise to go back to the good old days. The problem is, I’m having trouble switching my DAW mindset, or ‘modus operandi’ back to when I used to use these things. I’m a bit lost in just laying down a track and formatting my ideas vertically I suppose. Songs used to flow so easily in trackers but somehow they just don’t any more. So I guess my real question is, how to I get that ‘modus operandi’ back?

Also, what are the tricks to make this software write songs expediently? I’ve taken time to learn some of the important keyboard shortcuts, but things still aren’t going very quickly. Any advice to speed up my workflow? I know cause trackers are supposed to be so damn fast, and frankly, I feel like I’m going incredibly slow. Will it just take another two weeks of difficult re-education to get me back on my feet? Or will it take me all the way back to sample based production, since I’m pretty plugin centric now (own about 50 VSTs)?

I know this is a bit broad, but thanks for all your help. And you should all know that I watched most of the tutorial videos and followed along for the extra practice :)


We have many users that can give their penny advises here.
Just starting with the build, i could hand you these shortcuts:
(you use Renoise on Mac or Windows?)

ctrl/cmd + ins - Insert new sequence
ctrl/cmd + del - Delete new sequence
ctrl/cmd up / down - navigate through the sequences

ctrl/cmd left / right - navigate through the patterns (to not get confused, rightclick on the sequencer area and uncheck the “keep sequence sorted” option at the bottom of the context menu, else Renoise attempts to keep a specific sequence order)

esc - toggle record mode

Regarding pattern effect commands:
A quick reference card to the most commonly used commands

I’ll leave the next penny advise for the follow-up poster…

Set PgUp/PgDn to “Jump to next/prev. row w/ Edit Step” and set Double/Halve edit step to some useful keys, now use in conjunction with Ctrl+1 through 9
F9/F10/F11/F12 always jump to 0/4, 1/4, 2/4, 3/4th position in the pattern directly.

It seems you have quite a bit of music production experience. I think, “two weeks - thirty days,” is a good time frame to get readjusted to the Renoise work flow.

In terms of, “composing tracks at warp speed.” I think the guys who claim that, have had a few years with Renoise, there are certain things that become second nature. Eventually you can just look at a pattern editor with 64lpb, and see the quarter note, or the half note, or 3 quarter notes. The time frame for that to happen is going to be different for everybody.

Just like Max and Reaktor, Renoise has a lot of mysteries that become apparent with diligent practice. You find your own answers, from your own little jigsaw puzzle… And no two puzzles will be the same. That’s individualism.

Just keep, “chipping away at it.” A beat here, a beat there, and sooner or later you find that you have made thousands of beats, and your speed has increased beyond your wildest dreams. Really, “a track in less than 24 hours.” Even less, if you want…

I should have figured that. I guess I always found trackers seemed to be the fastest (on average song completion time) in comparison to a traditional DAW. Then again, that depends on the project, the effort, and of course human stamina. I imagine I’ll get it just as soon as I remember how I did things in Psycle. Might be worth taking a look at some of my very old projects again.

Good advice. Brian Eno style with short snippets, then move onto structural stuff I think too. I think the traditional DAW imposes structure a bit sooner than later, which is probably why using a tracker seems like driving in reverse.

Thanks, I wrote down something similar from the introductory tutorial video :D/>
I think what would be helpful is some sort of keyboard shortcut ‘cheat sheet’ (thanks to vV for the effects card) I can hang up on my back wall? If anybody hasn’t made one yet, I’d be glad to do it.

@vV: Thanks for the link to the shortcuts, and the starter shortcuts :)/>

Ok, well, I guess I’ll get practicing!

Good point, although renoise has a prettyprint for the KeyBindings.xml - go to prefs, keys, then press Print button, you get taken to IE or other browser and you can print that straight away. I can’t make a proper cheatsheet because I have so many non-standard keybinds…