New here - Question about the way Renoise sounds?

Hello, I’m new to Renoise, sort of… I remember messing with Trackers in the late 1990s, probably even Renoise if it was around then… But I couldn’t get my head around the way they worked, and I had Cubase at that time, and didn’t see any reason to really dig deep into learning how to use Trackers… Looking back, I really wish I did now! Think my music might have gone in different directions over the years if I had got started with Trackers a long time ago. Oh well, I guess that time is now.

So I haven’t paid for Renoise, yet, but I’m seriously considering it…

So, my question…

Do Trackers sound crunchy to you? I can’t quite explain, but to my ears Renoise, and other Trackers sound tighter and cleaner than regular DAWs? Is this a real thing, or maybe its just the type of music people tend to make on them?
I saw a video on Youtube with another Tracker user, and he described it as crunchy.

What do you think?


I do think people who use trackers tend to make a certain style of music, so it’s hard to say if what you hear is Renoise.

I don’t think I make that style of music, so see if this also sounds “crunchy”:

American Electronic | James Britt (

Small Guitar Pieces | James Britt (

I do use a lot of samples (either from acoustic instruments or hardware synths) but if it’s Renoise making things sound “crunchy” shouldn’t matter.


Renoise (or any other tracker) is some sort of „sampler on steroids“ while other daws came up with the sampler-stuff later on. Cubase was, as we all know, a sequencer without an own soundoutput but with great MIDI-functionality and when VST grew huge, the sampler-stuff still was not really important back in the days.

That might explain, why trackers do sound more crispy-clean when working with samples.

As trackers come from a „gaming-demoscene“-background, it was always the main issue for developers to create the best sound possible even on poor hardware. So the tracker-developers approached samples on a more technical side and “normal” daws still followed the midi-approach in those days. The sampler in a cubase was done with some sort of bridging vstis.

And last but not least: The team around @taktik created one perfect Audio-renderer. DnB-Artist SimonV has a comparison-chart about audio-rendering on his website: Sampler anti-aliasing and pitch shifting comparison


In addition to anything about the sampler or the music style, it’s always been more straightforward to sculpt detailed arrangements in trackers since you can do per-note adjustments without switching between modes or track views or configuring automation - everything is available from a column or macro. This means that a part of “the tracker sound”, which is not intentionally stylistic but born from a desire to polish the results without traditional studio gear, involves manually ducking elements in the arrangement, column by column, to precisely balance volume and panning at every moment and squeeze as much as possible out of the source material. This tactic guarantees clean results - it addresses the major issues of mixing as early as possible, so there’s less of a need to use extensive processing later, even if you have access to it. Renoise users are a bit spoiled in this respect since you can just immediately throw in a huge FX chain without developing the sequence.

While the same could be done in Cubase with pan and velocity events, the workflow is not as straightforward since that kind of manipulation tends to occur one track at a time, in separate modes and views, and there’s a presumption that you aren’t directly working with a sampler but with the abstractions of MIDI, when in trackers you see all of it at a glance and can just mash the arrow keys to get where you need to go. The mindset of the typical Cubase user is to record in their playing, make some minor adjustments, and then treat mixing as a separate thing, not to go HAM on every note.


Nice music Britt! It is a bit different than what I’d first think coming from Renoise, however it is very tight. Maybe not crunchy? Nice and melodic!

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Thank you!