More Intuitive Vst/au Automation Workflow - Some Ideas


some very common features I am still missing, especially regarding the automation of VSTs/AUs.

So here are some suggestions:

1. “Record Automation” toggle in instrument popup

A checkbox next to “keyboard enabled” called “Record Automation” in the instruments popup window. With it enabled, all movement of any slider/knob directly in the gui will be recorded in the automation graph. If there is still a instrument automation meta device missing, it will be added automatically on first movement of the choosen slider/knob. So the user doesn’t have to dive into the very technical details of the vst’s parameter names etc.

If “Record automation” is disabled, nothing will be recorded or added of course.

2. Default presets per vst/au for the instrument automation meta device/midi control device

The instrument automation meta device/midi control device already have the ability to save and load presets. But it would be imo a lot cooler and a much more simple workflow, if these two meta devices would have default presets per vst instrument.

So, if I plugin in one of these meta devices and choose a vst to automate, the meta device will check for a default preset for that vst. So I don’t have to select the parameters manually again and again (or load a dsp chain all the time).

I have a similar request. It would probably require that every plugin parameter be tied to a unique pattern effect. From what I’ve seen the instrument automation plugin has a limit of 14? There seems to be no issue having the GUI update as you either modify the pattern effect or move the automation slider so I would think that you could capture and record to the pattern as you manipulate from the plugin GUI? If pattern effect data is already written as you are recording; new effect columns could be recorded or overwritten depending on a user setting.

Is there anyway to instantly know which VSTi parameter you are using when adjusting within its GUI? I’m guessing not until a parameter was tied to a automation pattern effect since the sliders will move if a parameter is tied to one. Unless every single parameter was tied to an automation effect you probably couldn’t be shown instantly which parameter was being used? I’m having issues in complex plugins trying to isolate which parameter I’m tweaking in the GUI. Probably something you could blame the VST author for but this would still be a helpful feature. I thought I read someone say to right click from within a GUI but the VST I was using gives me options for midi learning.

Just realized that your suggestion is about recording into the automation timeline. My request would be to record it into pattern data.

Currently yes, but you brought up an interesting point here.

With the new letter standards in 2.8 this opens an opportunity for i believe a new limit of 35 per automation plugin instance. (if you need more than the limit, add another automation plugin and select the next x-parameters to automate for the same instrument, you can also do this with the current Instrument automation plugin)

Interesting, I hadn’t thought of trying that. Thanks.

I have a feeling requests for recording from within the GUI is pretty common? Is the general feeling that you should do this manually with the use of meta plugins? I can understand both sides of the argument so I wish it was an option that you could enable. I figure other hosts are doing something similar but just behind the scenes.

In other hosts Instruments are generally tied to Tracks, in Renoise they are not. Should Renoise add an automation lane for every parameter of every VSTi in every track? The first one you ever use it in? Dedicated Automation Tracks? (The last one could actually be nice, especially for viewing automation alongside note data.)

I really don’t think using the Automation Device is too much of a headache although it would be really nice if it had a Learn Mode!

Technically as soon as you add a meta plugin for automation you have started assigning VSTi parameters to a track. When you automate via pattern effects within the track you can see the automation plugin slider adjust and the GUI knob/slider adjust as well. When you adjust the parameter in the GUI you also see the automation plugin slider adjust. It seems like most of the functionality exists to read the values when adjust the automation plugin sliders or in the VSTi GUI so there just needs to be the ability to apply them to pattern effect columns or the automation timeline. There doesn’t seem to be additional monitoring that needs to happen as long as you already have the values you want to adjust assigned in the automation plugin. A learn function would be great. I suggested in the other thread regarding automation that it would be cool if you could maybe blank out the preassigned parameter automation and every new adjustment to the VSTi GUI could bind each parameter to a pattern effect. Maybe even spawning a new automation plugin once 14 or whatever it might be increased to is reached. This would prevent wasting assignments on unused parameters. It could sort of be an extension to the learn option as at that point it should be easy to specifically tell a pattern effect to learn the next VSTi GUI adjustment. Probably would want to be able to toggle this feature off completely so you could be free to tweak without wasting assignments.

Well, imo automateable plugins using the native gui controls is a must, because there are for example a lot of special controls like multidimensional sliders that are not good to automate just with the basic sliders of the meta device.

It also absolutely not intuitive and I guess, newcomers won’t understand this limitation, because all other sequencers are able to record directly.

Yes, both would be good.

Maybe somehow graphical automation could be also pattern data, so it’s not handled seperately but as the same data…? Would this simply things a lot?

It’s probably identical data but exists separately and displayed graphically. If the automation timeline is subtick I’m wrong.

Yes, you have manually assigned control of it to a track. I thought you meant without first inserting an Automation Device but just from loading up a VSTi plugin alone.

Do you mean automatically create as many Automation Devices as are needed for every single parameter? Chances are there are only going to be a handful you actually want to automate in a song, therefore you want all these listed as early as possible. If they were all done automatically you would end up with a mess of a list of upto hundreds of parameters to scroll through and try and find the one you want. Not pleasant!

Multidimensional on a 2D computer screen using a mouse which moves in two direction? So how many ways are you moving things at once? Ever played with the XY Pad Meta Device in Renoise? Tried assigning it to two sliders of an Automation Device?

I do agree that automation directly from the plugin window, once assigned to a Automation Device, would be nice though (and maybe a warning saying not assigned if you try to do so (ie right click/drag.) Or that is where the earlier suggestion of automatically adding to the Automation Device would actually work quite well.

There are huge differences in resolution! The pattern is divided into lines, the automation has 256 divisions per line. The pattern has only 256 values (FF hexadecimal) in automation you can enter pretty much anything you want, most plugins are at least 10bit for control data which is 1024 and I believe many more accurate still, especially the native devices.

Initially when I posted I wasn’t sure exactly how recording would work best but after thinking it through it seems like once you have the automation plugins setup you are already half way there to being able to record automation. Values are being tracked just not written.

I was suggesting that after you load the plugin and instrument automation (or maybe an option to automatically load an automation plugin) you could clear out the existing assigned parameters and be given a clean slate where you could toggle a learn option that would then sequentially add parameters as you used them in the GUI. Once you hit the limit, 14 currently, a new automation plugin could be automatically inserted so new parameters you adjust in the GUI could be added. It doesn’t have to be automatic but the learn function needs to be able to focus on the current instrument automation plugin. Also you could double click the exact automation slot and then fill it with the next adjustment in the GUI for one offs.


I had a feeling this would be the benefit to using the timeline. I’ve been working pretty much entirely within pattern effects. Speaking of which I’ve only been manually assigning values per tick. Can you slide between a set of values easily like you can with a traditional pitch slide? That would be great for getting more control within the pattern and not having to rely on timeline automation.

I’m coming back to my roots after an extended period of inactivity and when I had left off I had pretty much entirely moved over to using VST’s in Live and Reaper. Prior to that I was absorbed in Buzz and then Aodix. Before that primarily Impulse Tracker. It feels like I have come full circle and have the best of both worlds on multiple platforms. My NYE resolution was to purchase a license which I have. Now I just have to focus on a proper work flow.

All in all, recording directly from the GUI would be great but if I had a choice it would be the ability to quickly assign parameters to instrument automation using a learn function like I’ve described.