Renoise Vs The World

I know this topic has been up TOO MANY times allready… but I really want to try to get the discussion gathered in one place. For those of you here who know me, you know I am a die hard Renoise user… has been for many years, and will be for as long as I am still able to drink beer :)

Lately (last two years) I have found myself using Logic more and more (and soon going over to Pro-Tools for various reasons). I do a lot of the creative stuff in Renoise… but the moment I need to clean up the track, start mixing… working with audio that demands attention spans more than 10 seconds… the obvious choice is going over to the more traditional DAW. Also, routing / bussing etc is to me a huge pain in the ass in Renoise, and make so much more sense in Pro-Tools / Live. And maybe most important… when mixing, the last thing you do before taking your track to the mastering process… this is something that can take as long as actually composing the track… I really really hate the mixer view in Renoise. As much as Renoise makes me want to create, I can not stand the thought of doing all the mixing in Renoise as well.

I was just reading the “Renoise saved my life” post… which was a great read. And many people said… there are so many things you can do in Renoise that you can not do in Live or other traditional DAWs. My questions are:

  1. What can you do in Renoise that you can not do in a DAW?
  2. Do we need a better mixer? By that I mean to separate the environment of mixing with the environment of creating more. Two different worlds they are.
  3. GUI. I used to LOVE to Renoise GUI… now I feel it has actually become a bit outdated. Compared to the other major DAWs it has barely evolved since its start. I still LIKE the GUI, but wish it was more “pro”. I mean… maybe I wish it had more of a track view instead of the pattern view… I have no idea myself… but often when working in Logic / Pro-Tools I am having a great time and sometimes wish I had Renoise style composing directly on the track instead of having to route audio via Rewire like I do a lot these days.

Sorry for messy post… but I am sure you know what I mean :)


my point of view:

about 1:
in Renoise, is much more simple to deal with concurrent notes of different instruments. This is a side effect of the fact that there is no “track view”, although you can have a single track view when pattern matrix is shown by clicking on the leftmost button in the bar shown below:
Apart from this, in Renoise you can use samples and have deep control over them, but this is of course of no interest if you only use external software/hardware to generate sounds.
Finally, Renoise has more precise control on values, while other mouse-centric applications have less.

about 2:
I actually never used the mixer, but it’s of course a consequence of my workflow.

about 3:
I really don’t know: I’m happy with the current GUI

  1. Wrong. In Pro-Tools, you can view the notes of how many midi channel you wish in one single track. Each instrument is assigned its own colour, and it is really fast to edit / copy / move things around. So this point is not really valid anymore (it used to be).


Here goes:

In Renoise I have control over almost every aspect of the sound I aim for. Sound and samples are like Play-Do in Renoise: add a device to do this, add another to do that, add another three controlled by a hydra for this… Being able to work in a tracker-interface allows for very accurate manipulations when compared to most other DAWs. On THIS line I want THIS to happen, and THAT line it must STOP. With few presses on the keyboard, instead of much clicking, dragging lines, etc, just to add a single automation. It’s this control-freakism approach that appeals to me. BUT I think that’s also its weakness. As Renoise works in patterns, I find it hard to think outside that box. I have to make a lot of effort to NOT compose and arrange in ‘blocks’ of patterns, while in Ableton it feels more like I’m composing and arranging on the fly. I have made a new sound, it should go here and here and here. Bam, done! In Renoise, I switch to the pattern matrix, copy the tracks in the patterns, copy it to the right places by scrolling through my track… It feels tedious. But seriously, the Renoise internal DSPs ARE SICK AS FUCK. I have yet to come across a plugin that matches the sublime simplicity and effectiveness. It’s like Lego! Some people complain about the ‘colourlessness’ and lack of character, but THAT IS A GOOD THING. It gives you ALL THE MORE CONTROL over your sound!

In a nutshell, for me Renoise is the ultimate sounddesign tool. I can manipulate almost ANYTHING into almost anything ELSE. But after 10 years I cannot but conclude that for actual COMPOSING and ARRANGING it’s not very efficient. I think that’s due to the fact it works with patterns and therefore all tracks are always synchronised, it makes it hard for me to think outside the box.

Do we need a mixer? Personally, I don’t think so, as even with over 30 tracks, I don’t loose overview in the least. I don’t even feel the need to use the mixer already there, as I KNOW what happens in my tracks, I KNOW what DSPs are vital in the chain. I’d much much much rather have more freedom in arranging my song, putting all my created sounds to use and give them their place. The pattern matrix seems a step in the right direction, but is too limited to really use it excessively. Why can’t I use the Advanced Editor on the Pattern Matrix? That shit’s obligatory! In a perfect world, I could seperately drag and drop tracks around, totally ignoring patterns and patternlengths and that’s where other DAWs stand out, in my opinion. For example, it’s crazy to have to automate PER pattern for an event that covers multiple patterns.

GUI is teh titz for me, though! It’s efficient, it all fits on one screen and although it’s hard to get an overview of the actual SONG, you can get an INSANE amount of detail and information just by looking at the pattern editor, where I have to check per track in Ableton to see what happens where. Maybe the whole ‘feel’ is very ‘trackerish’ and therefore often considered ‘oldskool’, I can relate to that… But we’re not judging books by covers, right? ;) I wouldn’t mind having two ‘layers’ in Renoise, though. Since currently Pattern Matrix and Pattern Editor are sitting next to eachother, while it makes sense to me to give these two a seperate view, with a seperate approach to composing/arranging: a top layer Matrix for arranging what you have made in the sub-layer Editor, where you do the actual tracking.

I’ve been working with Renoise together with Ableton for about 6 months now, after 10 years of being a hardcore tracker and needless to say it’s a breath of fresh air. It shows me both the strengths and weaknesses of Renoise in a more objective perspective. I must be honest and say that Renoise still has a long way to go when it comes to providing a complete environment for MAKING MUSIC (that also inclueds being able to record a band without much hassle), but I must add to that, that Renoise is a whole lot more flexible than Ableton will ever be.

i am slightly in agreeance, i find there to be elements of renoise that is lacking, but instead of ditching renoise altogether i use parts of the program i like, i make my tracks all in renoise, recording and sequencing various instruments, then rewire this to cubase, to mix. this has really improved my tracks, having a program to compose and arrange, and a program to mix these elements together .x

Thanks BotB – you are 100% spot on with all your points. What it all boils down to is that Renoise is a fantastic tool for those who are able to use it… and it is a great tool to use in combination with other software. I would claim that i can create most of the things I do in Renoise in another DAW… in the same amount of time. But in Renoise it seems that the results are more surprising sometimes… “one thing leads to another” approach… while in the standard DAWs it is a bit more calculated. Hard to explain :)

I can most intuitively imagine and control the sound(arranging)possibilities in Renoise compared to the other software I’ve tried through the years. Although I was most comfortable with the tracker paradigm anyway and didn’t immediately switch from the madtracker-cubase combo I was working with before. Like anything it takes time to get fully acquainted with something and I chose Renoise in the end.

In general, I think that after you have made a sequencer/arranger pick that feels right for you, you should stay with that choice for a dedicated time and not easily switch after a discomfort you’ll encounter, otherwise you’ll never fully learn the potential.

At the same time, what is wrong with using a specific function in another program? I use wavelab often if I want to make a montage or finalizing a master, Renoises internal mixer seems just fine though for attenuating the levels during composition.

In school I frequently use pro-tools and while it is cool to do multi-channel recording, I can’t imagine composing or arranging with it. I would lose so much time learning it, while I could be making music in Renoise in which I’m already at home.

I’m not sure if I get what you’re saying here about separating the environment, two different worlds, and what this separation would improve? Mixing the sounds is an essential part of composition, I use external software like wavelab for mastering because I like to see the waveform in a horizontal format as well, other kind of overview, look for patterns for extra processing, I don’t necessarily miss this in Renoise that I’d want to switch back completely to cubase for example.

Gui is a matter of taste and can also distract the music a lot, you can get obsessed with the pattern-content/ocd’ish placement and not focus on what actually happens musically. Thats where I feel most of my music made strictly in Renoise up till now is lacking and can be improved. I rather turn of the monitor and listen to what I’ve programmed, then look at a more flashy or pro gui, but who knows, maybe a gui update can help evolve the musicality as well?

I’ve said this before, but the only thing bothering me in Renoise right now is the disk-op when working with large libraries of samples. It just feels sluggish, which is the complete opposite of all the other aspects of the program (fast computer keyboard control, diving in the micro-structure of a pattern, being able to see a better global overview through the matrix).

I tend to be traditional in that I try compose with paper and try to use acoustic instruments, backwards compatibility if you will. Any digital sequencing and mixing environment is sort of an extension from that core.

I would not object to learning and working in other DAW’s but Renoise’s price and my moral need to support what I use adds a bit of decisive complexity or simplicity, depending on how you look at it, to the mix as to how I construe my decisions. There’s also the matter of instruments from soft to hardware + maintenance, which all adds up depending on your tastes.

The pro´s to me are

The availabilty of vst /vsti ( click, there you have it is insane fast to me),

Build in dsp´s are all i need. a new one for surround would be nice.

I find the automation also as simple a kid could do it.

The meta devices give control in such ways I return to renoise every time I worked with a other daw.
I did not even think of this kind of manipilation before renoise.

Stability is like driving a expensive german car.

The keyboard approach turns the pc in hardware.

The wav editor is great .

Sample manipulation is indeed quick and deep.

The renoise community is great.

The lack of floating windows, i hate them.

The cons are

Copying of automation does not always work.

There is no proper adsr

no sample layering

The keyboard in the instrument editor is eye candy, there is no mapping possible and if you hit a key in it
you lose your sample in the layout.

No ctrl alt drag of samples to vsti´s like poise/shortcircuit

No zoom in, before you start a song you must allready think how many lines you think you need. stupid.

No pianoroll because some guys need to feel different from the rest of the world.
There is no new solution needed, just a simple pianoroll like in every other daw ,positioned in a new tab between
pattern editor and mixer.

No audio visualisation . This should interact with the sample editor and not be seperate channel.

Pre roll for recording. There is a api tool now for it but should be standard next to the metronome button.
Takes too much mouse clicking now.

there is no Shift option to select multiple tracks in mixer.

No shift option to select multiple fx instances. it is now copy a single fx or a whole chain.

The api tools are great but only as a idea. The great ones should be implemented in renoise without a
floating window

matrix editor proved not to be a solution to quick arranging, buzz style arranging would be nicer.

No midi input from vst´s

besides this don´t let me lose my license. renoise rocks :yeah:

In Renoise, I have the feeling I am ‘building’ my sound, using the DPSs, pattern fx column, etc… It really feels like Lego to me, while in other DAWs, you don’t even have half the options for manipulating a sample so quickly AND internally. Indeed, “one thing leads to another” when you know what you’re after and know how to achieve it. Then, when your sound is built, it takes only minor changes to TOTALLY change the sound DRAMATICALLY in a non-destructive manner. That is SO immensly powerful!

Lots of stuff that makes sense here! Glad to hear people feel somewhat the same as me… and also some that feel they allready have what they need. I guess for, a part of the joy of composing are the tools themselves… and sometimes I do get cought up in playing with the tools. Rarely do they yield better results… but oh so much fun! :)

I have friends, really good musicians, who work in Live and Pro-Tools etc. Sometimes we compare notes… and I say… check out what I can do in Renoise… and then they do the exact same thing just as fast in their DAW. The only difference being - they would never actually do it like that. Hehe… so… I think I will keep using Renoise as my main composer weapon… and back it up with some other goodies just to make the experience (not neccesarily the results) more enjoyable.


PS! A little self promotion: - new EP. Once again, 100% renoise made, and quickly mixed in Logic. No mastering for this one. Studio album coming in… uh… its coming :)

Will just throw my 2 cents in…

To me Renoise is super-streamlined and now that I have a streamlined plug in folder w/ 1/3 the plugs, I am working very quickly.

I love the mixer view, actually…its my favorite view…

To me, writing, mixing and mastering are all a cinch in Renoise…as long as u got the proper vsts and an analyser and real-time waveform vsts to help…pff a breeze.

Ppl will say oh, but u write DnB etc…I work w/ audio etc… I also work on a guitar-centric metal project, while I agree that audio could be handled more efficiently, the new autoseek function improves the situation greatly…plus i like how its easy to chop long audio files and just turn it into an xrni instrumnet.

I think the addition of tool support can address many greivances…I find it has streamlined my workflow even more…er for the ppl still complaining about a pianoroll, don’t we have a new piano er…ticky roll.xrnt, plus scale helper…so thats a moot point.

Personally I think a lot of this is placebo and marketing, other DAWS are marketed and spoken about as being “pro”, FL studio, Renoise etc …er dunno, “not pro?” I think its a bunch of bs as there are pros who use both, and I am right on my way to making pro-quality stuff if I am not there already.

Mind u I have never used another DAW so my view has to be biased…there may well be things that are easier in others…but I don’t know and don’t care to find out.

My motto is “Love your DAW”. The best tool for workflow imo is the power of decision…I have decided to get the best out of Renoise and the plug ins I have, therefore no second guessing, “oh should I get this plug in, oh maybe renoise isn’t good enough, maybe i should use logic like all of my contemporaries etc”

Pure focus, the best tool you can get…this a by-product of obsession I think.

However, if one gets gr8 results ReWiring thru another DAW, thens that’s the way 4wd for them…sounds like a bit of fun actually!! Just fun I won’t be having. :walkman:

edit:oh yeah and btw, I love the GUI!! :yeah:

What do you cannot do in Renoise?
What could not be done in Fast Tracker / Impulse Tracker?
What could never be done in Protracker?
What did Noisetracker lack of? (This is the first tracker on amiga i jumped in on the mod-era)

In all the period i was creating music, i only tried two other daw’s back then to see if i could have some use of it: Cubase and Cakewalk studio.
I hated both the first hour i tried to get somewhere in these apps. Besides the fact that handling was incredibly ackward, they were also crashing all the time and completely not stable for over 20 minutes in a row. The only thing i had to use something different than a tracker was mixing vocals into a song. For mixing vocals, a tracker was too ackward to do this so i used N-track studio to record some vocal tracks along one of my productions.

Reason one for me to stick to trackers was the pace of setting up a generic framework. Reason two was stability reason three was the precise crafting of single notes that one could not do to a song in any other DAW.

We get spoiled with too many features these days and sometimes in a while, i just pop up Juha Kujanpää’s 4-chan mods and have a listen and look to how this stuff is created and then remind myself again that i should call myself an incredibly lucky fucker i have all the nice better features he didn’t had and he still pulls off gaining my respect today and i’m actually still enjoying his music today.
The other lesson that can be pulled out of it and i see folks dashing these words here onto this forum many times as well: It is not the tools you use to make stuff. It is the stuff you make from the inspiration you have along with the motivation to push it through.

We seem to be better off having less features than having more. The more features we will gain, the less productive we become.

I don’t use all features existing in Renoise.
The newer features i really like are the auto-seek function and the quick way to duplicate complete track contents in the Pattern Matrix across several patterns without having to navigate through the sequences for it. The automation does its job in some occasions, but the fact that you can’t have dynamic ramping and precise tick or delay based point-targetting does not yet make it the full-time favorite pattern effect command alternative.
And then there are many minor adjustments, like the custom adjustable frequency bands inside the EQ filters.

If we pull it down to the basic needs, what is then still essentially lacking in Renoise?

I guess some components could be detached and separated considering the fact attaching two monitors to a pc is becoming a default or at least much more affordable these days. The idea of having everything inside one window is probably the most outdated part of Renoise itself while it used to be its biggest strength back then.

Putting it simply and quickly:

  1. Renoise cannot disk-stream samples, it runs from the RAM instead. This means songs with large audio recordings are impossible (esp when you’ve only got 2gb of RAM like me). For this I have reluctantly moved to Reaper to finish these respective songs. Reaper has similar ethics and feel to Renoise, so I’m comfortable with that. I will continue to initially build my tracks in Renoise.

  2. Sure, we could always do with a better mixer, but Beatslaughter’s Mixer Utilities tool makes for a pretty amazing feature-set.

  3. I’ve used a lot of audio and music programs and I find Renoise GUI the best. Nothing’s perfect, and it would be very hard to please everyone.

  1. If my computer covered just the basics: keyboard, mouse, screen, then I wouldn’t want to touch any other DAW with a ten-foot-pole. Renoise is way more productive when you’re limited to the basics. A mouse requires that you look on the screen, has your hand on the mouse, and still you can only control a single pixel. Keyboard-centric workflow FTW. With Duplex, we now have a controller-centric workflow to compliment that, of course.

  2. I’d like to see the mixer being continually improved upon. There’s plenty of ideas to choose from, from what you are writing it sounds like you’re suggesting a “automation view” to complement the mixer? Or how about a search feature? I can get lost when there’s a gazillion DSP devices.

  3. The GUI is another area that should continually be improved. The trend goes toward both smaller and higher-resolution screens (mobile devices, netbooks, workstations). Touch-enabled devices should also get some love.

For me personally i hope the creative side of Renoise gets advanced
I can’t really see it ever competing with the usual suspects in terms of HD recording and so on, so why even bother ?

My own personal take on it is lets take Renoise all the way now as a fully interactive tool, with Duplex and the possibility of maybe clips and such (Expanded Matrix) then Renoise could easily become the best live interactive tool out there (OK we need a piano roll for this to be reality but hey)

I really believe that Renoise can become the defacto no1 in this area


Renoise 1 - World 0

It’s just the default theme.

Very relaxing, ur da man :)

  • Sub-track lengths.
  • Better automation overview and possibilities. (Atm I don’t even use it as much anymore, I more likely go for command lines or the lfo device…)

The GUI is nice, no floating windows.