Remixing And Mashups - Is Renoise The Right Tool?


I’m new here - I’ve been a long time bedroom producer, making stuff mostly for my own enjoyment and have gone through a fair number of different Music sequencers and apps (Music Studio 7 -> Orion Platinum -> Tracktion -> Ableton Live)

I have come to realise I have no musical talent, all my songs sounding like garbage, I, however, do still like to remix and mash-up tunes - taking songs that I like and re-editing them to cut out the bits I don’t like and emphasise the sections I do.

Up until now I have been using Ableton Live for this (creating and editing loops in the Live part and then importing them in to the arranger part for mixdown).

Having previously been an XP whore, I have been slowly moving over to Linux and Ubuntu as I like the flexibility it gives you and all the bash stuff is great (plus MythTV and XBMC of course). I haven’t been able to get Ableton to work well under Wine in Linux and anyway, since it isn’t a Linux native app, I don’t want to support it if I am using Ubuntu. Consequently, I want to find an app that I can use on Ubuntu to carry on my music doodlings. After having a hunt around, I have narrowed the choice down to a few apps (Ardour, Renoise, energyXT and Traverso).

This is where my questions (finally) come: I was wondering if creating mashups and remixes using Renoise is possible and recommended? It is clearly a very powerful sample player, and from reading various posts and topics (yup, I did a search) there are lots of people making remixes, but I am guessing they are using Renoise song files to start with and have access to lots of little samples.

I was wondering how feasible it is to import a whole song as a sample and then use Renoise’s various sample mangling features (pitchshift and sample start/stop editing etc) to create multiple tracks with various looped parts of that large sample, to build together a remix, possibly with playing a few samples from a few other songs, beatmatched in time. For the overall effect, think what Sasha did with his two most recent albums (Involver 1 and 2) - how he mangled songs together to create new ones.

So, so simple questions making it easier to answer:

How feasible is it to remix/mashup a song in Renoise without the source samples, just the final song?
Is there a sample size/length limit?
Is it possible to beat sync / time stretch two different samples (think Ableton Live’ elastic audio)?
How powerful are the timestretching algorithms?

Should I be using a more Audio DAW based solution instead like Ardour or enegyXT instead (where I can chop samples up and re-arrange them and stuff)?

I’d love to find out that Renoise is good for this, since I am very much into text editing, .conf files and the like and am moving away from the GUI and to me, Renoise seems the nearest I can get to editing a text file to make music. It’s just a shame I need to learn Hex first…

All answers much appreciated. Sorry for the long post, I do tend to ramble.

Just a few quick answers that came to my mind:
AFAIK the only limitation concerning sample size/length is your machine i.e. your hardware.
Beatsync is basically possible (sync sample to x lines), but of course it’s pitched then.
Timestretching and chopping could be achieved with the 09xx effect, but it’s definitely a bad idea for long samples (e.g. a whole song of 3 min. etc.). But you could also slice up the sample manually, of course.
Alternatively, you could (and probably should)use a VST plugin for timestretching.
So basically, i’d say Renoise could be used for mashups and stuff, but there’s a lot of work and workarounds to do…

renoise is great for mash-ups,i use sound forge audio studio 9 to cut up longer audio tracks,and then import those samples into renoise and destroy them

and with the 09xx command you can easily mash-up shit

i have started to use render to sample alot to quickly make variations of samples/use different effect and stuff it works great

Thanks for the quick replies. Yeah, I was thinking I could use Audacity to cut up a song (and export it to WAV at the same time) and then import those slices into Renoise - so pitch shifting long samples shouldn’t be a problem and anyways, if I am only remixing one song, I don’t need to pitch shift anything since all the samples will be at the same tempo.

Ooh, which leads me to one very important question, which I guess is a deal breaker.

Can you set the tempo of a project based on the tempo of a loop / sample? (otherwise, I’d have to guess the BPM for a loop and manually set it, which would be a right pita)

It’s really not that much of a pain guessing it and refining through trial and error or the calculation to work it out isn’t really that hard either.

If the source material has a precise (constant) BPM, Renoise has an amazing workflow for this kind of thing!!
And it doesn’t matter if it’s 121.521 bpm, as Renoise support fractional BPM’s

You can load the entire song into Renoise and chop it there. Check out the markers in the top of the sample editor - they shift to the left/right, as you change the overall tempo in Renoise. Together with the “snap to beats” feature, this makes it really easy to cut beats like a proper surgeon. Just make sure that you cut everything from the beginning of the song, until there’s a clear indication of the beat - you want the starting point to be as precise as possible.

Oh, almost forgot the right-click “copy into new instrument” option, this is a real timesaver as well :)

Thanks for the additional replies.

I had a mess round with it last night and it wasn’t difficult as I first thought, and people were right, it is pretty easy to cut beats up and I like how you can mess with the play head to make a sample play in reverse or from a specific point (though I am still learning the whole hex thing ;)).

Looks like it could be waht I was after.

Out of interest, is there a place I can go and find out about the timeline for new features planned for Renoise? I don’t want to start learning a new tool, only to find out that it is planning to go down the MIDI road and leave audio behind or something…

heyas there! do you play an instrument, if i might ask?

It’s a tracker, isn’t it? Good luck mashing things up with it :)

Renoise will NEVER leave audio behind :yeah:

Well, I got to Grade 2 in Piano about twenty years ago, and have a MIDI keyboard somewhere, but no MIDI input (I gave away my old Audigy card a year ago to a relative and have not really used MIDI in a long long time).

Well, that’s good to hear.

I wonder if the devs have ever come across the Lucifer VST effect from Devine Machine. It did some crazy stuff with audio and slicing and dicing beats - if that’s the route they go down, I’m there with bells on.

Yay for sample mangling! (samples from Mia Doi Todd)

I’ll warn you though, (and maybe I should log this as a bug if it isn’t known) that if you try and load a really long sample and leave the sample editor before it’s loaded, it will quit loading. I’ve also had trouble loading really long stereo samples, and had to mix them down to mono, or they wouldn’t completely load.

I’m on a laptop though, so it might be a system thing.

Hope to hear some music soon! Cheers,

I have noticed it you start trying to load another sample while one in still loading it will stop, didn’t know it also happens if you change from sample editor window though.

Length could be a RAM thing. Renoise doesn’t do streaming from disk so all samples need to be loaded in RAM.

So, I decided to plump for Renoise and energyXT. It seems energyXT has some pretty decent sample pitch correction workflows (and I owned it already - bought it years ago). Renoise looks like a great sample and loop mangling tool, and eventually I’ll learn how to make full songs with it. So, I just bought Renoise and I can link the two via Jack - so, let the music making commence!

I think all my mash ups and remixing were done in Renoise… This is not my speciality, I made a version of Billie Jean and a version of Shock the Monkey… Renoise. Like someone said, the 09xx command is great for this matter. However, I think Ableton Live has more features that allow friendly mash up…

You could always use Both Renoise and Ableton… If I was to do mash up using both softwares, Ableton would control my sampled songs while Renoise would deal with the added sounds, mostly percussions.

That would be the perfect solution - but since I am moving over to Linux, rather than windows and my version of Ableton isn’t that stable on Wine, it isn’t practical. I do have a Windows box with Ableton on it, but it is my work PC and often off in the evenings, the only time I get to dabble.

I am actually now messing with making tunes from scratch again. All the built in samples and sample packs for renoise are very cool and I am having fun writing a new track from scratch - inspiration finally. I am really liking the pattern editor, it’s a totally different way to visualise a song and much less daunting…

Plus, on Linux, there is the excellent bristol softsynth and the awesome sound mangling tool freecycle.

Well, if you want to use Renoise, keep in mind that Renoise is flexible. It’s just that in my opinion it has its strength (so many of them, I won’t start a list) and like anything else, some weaknesses, to me, I feel that Renoise is a bit less effective when handling longer samples and that’s something that you might run into when dealing with those sampled tracks in your mash up… But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use Renoise to do whatever you want. I find that Renoise will easily adapt to whatever you’re doing, don’t be scared to just adopt Renoise and see where it gets you. When I started using Renoise in early 2007, I was only beginning messing with audio and I found that it greatly influenced the way I work and the way my stuff sounds, I found sounds that I would have never made with other softwares and the best part is that Renoise is so damn fast!

About Ableton, you’re right, I wouldn’t try to get it to run flexible in Wine (I have no experience in that field, but I can imagine) it sounds risky to have your workflow based on such a thing)

Good luck!

P.S. Welcome to the forums!

this here isn’t exactly a mashup or a remix, just a little fiddle, but hey, it doen’t hurt does it:

Cool, I’ll have a listen when I get a mo.

I’m trying to set the tempo to 88.03 and it keeps rounding down to 88. How can I make it more specific?

edit: Actually I can’t tell if it’s rounding or not, everytime I click I see 88.03 again…