Renoise - no synth plugins needed

There are a couple of videos on youtube, explaining how some users built synths using only Renoise native effects. These videos are all of the nature “I klick here, here and there and then it’s all done.”.
Can anyone point me to good explanatory material. It seems like you can build a granular synth and even imitate modular synths without any extra plugins! That’s amazing - need to learn that.

I am also a renoise native synthesis nerd. I use no VSTs other than metering for the mastering process, and sometimes as sample source.

Well, you need some knowledge about sound design itself, and how different types of synthesis work. Especially sampling and substractive synthesis, how dsp effects work and what you can do with them.

Then you need to know what renoise can do, and what you can achieve with it. So basically the most valuable suggestion is to learn. The second most valuable suggestion would be to experiment with whatever ideas pop up during learning, watching others, and just fooling around on your own.

For example you can load a looped oscillator sample, and then use a filter in the mod set, and you have kind of substractive synthesis. Then you can layer different oscillators, use different modulations on them, to enhance that concept even further.

My personal tricks usually revolve around the instrument fx, the native effects and meta modulations, and a whole lot of #sends. This way you can kind of emulate modular processing, but only monophonic of course. It is a rabbit hole of it’s own, you can make very complex sounds with this.

Then there are other trick, for example how to create the samples that are basis of your sounds. I for example like to use natural sounds, like from freesound.org, or I use some VST and the “render plugin to instrument” tool, or rendering selections of sequenced other instruments, to create an interesting base sound that I can process further with renoise

Maybe you could try watching such a video more closely, and try to think about what the author did and why. Maybe looking up in the manual the steps he was doing. Then you might understand how it works, and maybe come up with ways to modify or enhance the techniques, to make your own sounds.

Good luck and have fun learning how renoise works!

I think I need solid sound synthesis knowledge anyways, no matter if I’m using Renoise or any other soft- or hardware. I don’t want to zap through hundrets of synth presets or samples, I want to understand in detail how this all ties together. Best place to start is disecting these videos one by one, or is there a recommendable guide to synthesis that you can recommend?

Sorry I cannot really tell you a good source or book to study. I learnt just by fooling around the internet, researching whatever question just popped up in my head, and playing around with tools, basically teaching myself. The net is full of relevant info. All I need is the right keywords, and then google and reading whatever good explanations and discussions I could find.

Maybe someone else can suggest a good book?

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A classic, I used to have a copy, but lost it along the way of life: http://synthesizer-cookbook.com/

Another classic… I used to have a copy, but lost it along the way of life: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Computer-Sound-Design-techniques-programming/dp/0240516931

Not even sure if that is still in print. I am in the USA, but could only find it on the UK site…


The most important thing I have learned about synthesis btw, and ymmv, is that great sounds are basically small tiny edits on the original waveform. and that when you start tweaking every dial, you loose what the original wave was.

but this just depends on what type of music you are making I guess…

Google for “howard scarr programming analogue synths”. First hit will bring you gearslutz with a pdf.

Thanks for the book links! I’ll go for reading the theorie as well as trial and error experimentation.