Renoise Sounds Engine Quality

I could have posted this under the ‘quality questions’ topic, but this subject seems to warrant its own thread.

The biggest difference I’ve noticed between established pro audio applications such as Ableton, Cubase, FruityLoops, Logic (aside from the obvious interface differences), is the seemingly lower quality of sound that I get from the Renoise sound engine.

I’ve done comparisons between these apps using the same softsynths, soundcard, monitors/headphones. What I’ve noticed is that the Renoise sound is noticeably less clear, rich, present. This is a subjective thing but the difference is quite obvious to my ears. I would describe the sound as “muffled”, “withdrawn”, “stifled”, than sounds produce through Ableton or Cubase. I’m not sure why this is - they’re both generating sound at 16/44.

Maybe the differences could be quantified using a spectrum analyser, playing the same patch on the same softsynth in different applications, analysing the output?

RNS is the only music program I can comfortably use to express my music - I’ve been tracking since FT1 and can’t stand piano roll! The RNS interface, audio routing, control is second to none for trackers - I just wish the quality of audio output could match what I hear in Cubase.

What do other RNS users think of this?

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Well, maybe do some tests using an FFT, I would be quite interested in this to see if there is really a difference.

And if you think the sound is too muffled use an EQ on the master to brighten it up abit …

Problem here could be the mixing routines. IO dont know your hardware setup, buit if I use the multiout functionality of Rns routed to my pulsar mixer, I dont here a muffled sound. Perhaps it sounds muffled if every track is routed into the master…than you will have to drop the overall volume of every single track first.

This has already been discussed. And probably in other threads as well.

I can’t hear the difference tho. I’ll try some more, when I’ll have some time.

When you compared the sound you used rendered .wav files, right?
That’s how you should do it, IMHO. A blind test would be even better.
Because psychology can affect what you hear hevily. (When you see the fancy looks…) Even “pros” are subjected to this.

Some (highly qualified) people made a scientific test where they compared the most “pro” DAWs (Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, …) and found out that they sound exactly the same! There’s a test cd from this test available for purchase, if you’re interested.
However, you’ll easily find some people who claim that those DAWs do not sound the same.

i think ermi is right there, about the psychology matter.
i had the same impression about renoise’s soundquality being potentially inferior to some other hosts… but i figured, i somewhat associated bad sound-quality with the tracker interface in general, because when i rendered wav’s from cubase sx & renoise and played them in a random order without looking at the screen i could no longer hear the difference.

wouldnt a spectral analasis solve this once and for all?


Overall sound quality seem alright to me. I assume you are noticing this with a very simple set-up, just samples or VSTis with effects, but no automation, as the resolution of that can be very noticable at times.

lower end of el frequencies doesn´t sound that wide as in ft²˙˙˙ :(
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well that´s albout kvaliti… :D

Someone get this guy some chlorpromazine, 'cos he’s seriously tripping…

When I first got my Akai S5000 I did a whole load of tests for a few forums (FM, SOS, I think DOA) - Compairing an unprocessed snare, bass drum pattern in all the major sequencers I had, and straight out of the Akai… Just so I’d really know, once and for all, how much of the “akai sound” was in my head…

The bass drum was great to do waveform annalysis on, because it’s such a strong form - And the snare was great for spectral analysis…

SX2 and Renoise had near perfect playback quality… Absolutely no degredation to the waveforms and practically identical frequency content…

Logic messed with the frequency content of the snare a fair bit, but sounded good, all the same;

FLoops and Reason both destroyed the original samples - They really sounded like crap too, a/b’ed dry, and in a wave editor;

Reason especially, completely altered the attack transients on the bass drum and snare - FLoops has always sounded like crap and is a LONG way from what I’d consider a deservingly “professional” piece of recording software…

S5000, SX2 and Renoise were very, very close… I was testing both real-time playback quality and rendered/exported/bounced playback quality…

There was very little in it between those three… They didn’t mess with the samples at all… The only real difference was audible… The Akai had a slightly tighter sound, and slightly cleaner reverb tails… But this would’ve probably been down to the Akai’s convertors more than anything.

There was also a famous test posted up somewhere which showed aliasing whilst pitching a tamborine sample up and down… I remember Renoise’s audio engine blew away the likes of Kontakt, FLoops, EXS24, etc… Think Renoise and an EMU sampler came out on top…

So no… If you’re getting poor sounding mixes with Renoise it’s down to how you’re engineering them… I do sometimes export my audio into Logic for mixdown - In fact, right now, because Renoise won’t work with my emi 2/6 soundcard, I have to export to Logic so I can mix down on my desk… But Renoises’ audio engine is as good as any I’ve heard in software.

I’ve not tested Ableton properly yet - (I probably won’t get round to it, I’m not normally that anal) - But its sound engine is clearly inferior to Renoises’…

The summing isn’t too hot - Things get a little murky when you start mixing too many tracks - You really need a proper soundcard and a small desk to get the most from Live!

Also, the internal effects, like the filters, are very weak sounding.

But still, much better than Reason/FLoops.

It can be found here

Well those are some nice tests, J Swift (DOA massive! ;) )! That is the sort of thing I’d like to read, not “I think Renoise sounds worse, but I have nothing to back it up”. I’ve had at one time a strange situation where sending a track out of a seperate soundcard output had a whole different sound than mixing it in the box but that was probably a sendtrack bug I have yet to find the cause of.

Perhaps the topic starter can render/realtime record some clips in both Renoise and Cubase where he/she clearly hears a difference? And include the .RNS file. It could also be you are doing something wrong, like the classic Renoise noob fault: clipping the main bus so that Renoise lowers the volume, to which one responds by increasing track volumes making things worse: ending up with main volume slider set to the left, causing loss of definition.…c60c2651c34c837

another recent thread that might be interesting.

Thanks to everyone that responded to the above, esp. J Swift… Btw I should mention that this isn’t to criticize RNS unnecessarily… it’s just discussion. Heh, some of you lads seem a bit ticked of with what I wrote!

I’ve been creating electronic music and DJing for years now and consider myself a good judge of sound… and I hear a difference. With the spectral analysis over at SimonV’s site reporting perfect sound reproduction in the RNS engine (good to know), guess I should be looking into my unique setup for the answer here. Hmm. Or maybe it is the wetware after all.

M-Audio 24/96 -> Mackie Big Knob -> Samson Resolve 65a / Beyerdynamic DT211

I’ve noticed it too, that there is SOMEthing about the music made in renoise that sounds muffled… It’s not crispy enough, sorta.

I think there IS something, the question is what :huh:

Oh not at all, I have a habit of doing that myself!

Yeah, it is always a good discussion - Certainly always worth questioning - Because, tbh, I always used to think digital just = digital, at least with regards raw, unpitched playback…

But clearly there’s much more to it than that…

To be honest, and as Dufey has pointed out, I do seem to notice a slight lack of top-end in Renoise now it’s mentioned…

At least when I compair it to MED Studio, and at least with regards real-time playback…

It’s a tricky one though, because MED has that bright white backdrop, and Renoise is dark, and things like that REALLY can throw you off sometimes! In the tests I did, I suppose I would’ve only really been looking up as far as 6 or 7khz or so, on the snare…

I think this might be another reason why a decent little mixer app may be useful in the future - I do always find myself mixing really quiet in Renoise - I suppose it’s a little fiddly switching between tracks to set levels… Mixing well below digital full-scale can certainly give you grainy sounding mixes, and less detail…

i think kinda different. digital is digital. or not? <_<
if an output of an application really sounds that different, than the application is doing some kind of coloring (programmed (!) coloring) itself.
the ONLY difference is the dithering at the very end of the mixing process of the program itself (thx taktik :) ). at the part where the mixed 32bit floating point output of the program is passed to the soundcard. there the output is dithered according to the bitdepth of your card (16 or 24 bit…) .
that’s the part where all the aliasing happen.
but if the soundcard output is 24 bit, how bad can this aliasing be?
i’m no expert, but i’m pretty sure i’m right.
all this soundengine difference debate is just marketing, imho.

Oh no, there’s much more to it than dithering I’m sure…

You can hear the difference between Soundforge and Winamp quite dramatically…

And FLoops vs Nuendo isn’t even funny.

Well, when you can hear the difference between DAWs so dramatically I suggest to share some .wavs with us. I’m very curious.

I have 10MB web space if you need.

I never said that there is no difference, but sometimes the psychology plays a WAY more important role.

And when you use 16+ bit files in Renoise, the sound SHOULD be different than in other hosts, since the samples in Renoise can only be 16bit.

Then there are some differences if you use some VSTis. Check out this topic… in a few words: Battery behaves differently in Renoise and Cubase.

AFAIK not every program decodes mp3.s the same way. just like lame encoder e.g. seems to be a better one compared to others.
maybe the soundforges decoder really is different than winamp’s, resulting different quality.

can’t say nothing about nuendo. but i guess it uses the same algorythms than cubase.
FL’s output is fine too.