Octave mismatch between Ableton and Redux

Environment : Ableton 9.2b7 OSX 10.9.5 32-bit

Brief Description:

The note numbers in Redux (e.g. C3) translate to note numbers in Ableton 2 8ves lower (e.g. C1).

Steps to Reproduce:

Place a sample or create a Phrase in Redux that maps to C5.

Play a C5 on Ableton’s piano roll or with a controller.


The note or Phrase should play (since they were triggered by the host.


Nothing happens (or, something unexpected happens).However, if you play a note two octaves down (C3 in this case) the note or Phrase plays back. This is consistent behavior.

This is technically not a bug, but simply a difference in how we represent the octaves.

When the host sends a note to the VST plugin, it does not actually say “Play note X in octave Y”, it simply says “Play MIDI note N”, where N is a number from 0 to 127 according to the MIDI spec.

In Renoise, we represent MIDI note #0 as C in octave 0.

Other hosts represent MIDI note #0 as C in octave -1 or octave -2.

Reference: http://www.electronics.dit.ie/staff/tscarff/Music_technology/midi/midi_note_numbers_for_octaves.htm

It seems that C -2 is becoming the more popular representation these days, but it still varies from host to host. No particular method is really correct or incorrect, imo, but simply a different way to represent the note.

Thanks for the detailed report. As dblue said this indeed may not be a bug, but it’s definitely confusing.

We thought about making our octave/note display an option, so that you can adapt it to the host’s display. But when using a “-2” based octave display as Ableton does, we would need to change the way notes are displayed in the pattern editor too:

Right now “C-2” mean C “+2” (plus) in Renoise/Redux. So this clashes a bit with the way thing use/used to be in trackers.

We’d then also need 4 digits for notes in the pattern editor to display things like: “C#-2”.

Could be done, yes, but would also be confusing for anyone who is used to the “old” zero based notation that Renoise/Trackers usually use.

I posted a pretty lengthy reply on why this is a poor decision here, it is not intended as a rant but a quick list of reasons why this will render the plugin less useful and why it should be changed. I am really hoping the renoise guys see the light here cause they are doing amazing things.