Sound Quality Vs Gui


i’ve been lurking for some time, while playing w renoise. i used to work with trackers on amiga and early pc but since moved on hw samplers etc and then to software w logic on mac. i’m still fond of trackers and i really like playing with renoise, it is fun.

at the moment i’m using renoise on a laptop with kontakt since my kontakt license is cross platform. but i’ve got some opinions i’ve been thinking to voice.

i think internal sound engine of renoise is bad, and currently the focus of both the renoise developers and the users here in this forum is on GUI and new features - NOT on what is currently Renoise biggest problem IMO, the sound quality. There is a world of difference between samples played/transposed with Renoise, and samples played with Kontakt or EXS24. (so, i’m talking about the internal “sample” engine or what one should call it, using Renoise w Kontakt gives good results!)

I understand it has to do with ticks, but the pitch/filter/amp envelopes on internal instruments is laughable, you can’t do anything serious with them. The filters are, IMHO, bad. The same with the internal EQ effect - sometimes i need to cut 60 Hz, sometimes 140, and with different curves! I would love to actually make songs for production in Renoise, but the sample transposition, filters, effects just don’t make it. And syncing of envelopes/LFOs… loading multisamples/sample maps…

To me it seems like Renoise is on the doorstep of something fantastic, but chooses not to go there! i wish the focus would be on making renoise sound fantastic,not look or work fantastic (of course - it should be BOTH, but i would prefer sound first, and gui after). If Renoise aims to be an alternative VSTi host (I can get good sounds w Kontakt), thats different, but then its not a tracker…? I wish to use Renoise as a HQ sampler w/sequencer, not a sequencer w/VSTi sampler.

i’m posting this on the forum instead of writing Renoise directly, i understand renoise developers read here and i think this is relevant to discuss… if anyone cares,i might be the only one thinking this. it’s nice with piano rolls and rewire and update schemes politics and so on, but i would like to make digital tracker music in 2004 and have 2004 digital sound quality! not 1991.

I know that Renoise developers are doing this in their free time, which is indeed impressive. I just want to voice my opinion that I think internal sound quality is Renoise biggest hindrance for professional usage.

You will probably think that I’m talking through my hat but this is just my opinion ;) As I see it a tracker is a substitute for a sequencer, not a substitute for a sampler. If you want a professional sampler then it is better to use Kontakt together with Renoise rather than the internal sampler, Renoise is a tracker, not a sampler so it would probably never be able to seriously compete with Kontakt. And what do you mean when you say that Renoise has bad sound quality? Sure, there is a known bug with dissonances in the current version but that will be fixed in the upcoming release, but besides that I realy do not see very much bad about the sound in Renoise. It more sounds like you think the internal dsp’s are bad, but it is just a set of very elementary dsp’s and I do not think you shall expect too much of them, if you want more professional once then use vst’s ;) I think you shall see Renoise as a substitute for ie Cubase, not a substitute for a sampler or a dsp collection, and if we continue to compare Renoise with Cubase for a moment we quickly see some similarities: with cubase you get a bunch of basic effects and synth, but if you want to do some serious stuff you have to use external vst/i’s or hw synths…
I agree with you that the look maybe isn’t the most important, but usability and performance is at least as important as to tune up the internal dsp’s and usability and performance have been the 2 major goals for the upcoming release as I understand it. But Renoise is a software in development so you can probably be pretty sure about that it will happen things with the dsp’s and sound engine in general in the future, even though the development team isn’t a very huge one, so I guess you shall not expect to see a Renoise sound engine that can compete with Kontakt in the very near future ;)
Just my 2 cents :D

There were some test published on the Net (don’t remember URLs though) shich prooved, that Renoise has BETTER sample playing engine than Kontakt. On Kontakt aliasing occured, while on Renoise interpolation worked perfectly. The only thing is that you have to render a song using sinc interpolation to get a good sampling quality.

Why do you think that Renoise has bad filters? I like them, especially those special kinds like this Dist filters etc :).

I agree, that a parametric (or even better paragraphic) EQ would come in handy, but there are several good VST plugs that do the job.

And BTW, to add new features and make the all the requested stuff people want, the devs had to recoed most of the interface, so there is room for new stuff. The version 1.5 was needed to clean the screen and partialy leave the tracker legacy so Renoise can become fully modern professional musical application.

The fact why Kontakt has better sample transposition is that it uses granular synthesis on the samples. Renoise does not. This hasn’t much to do with the sound quality of Renoise.

As for the rest, the other 2 posts sum it up. Developing good effects or granular synthesis takes an awful lot of time. At the moment there are good alternatives. Still I think the casual music listener doesn’t really notice the difference between a multisampled instrument in Renoise or a Kontakt version (when talking about GOOD multisampled instruments) <_<.

to resemble and refine what’s already been said:

the next step in ReNoise (1.5) is not just about GUI.

the GUI enhancement is what the users will SEE, but there’s more inside: the code is being redesigned to get rid of present design limitations which prevent the developers from make serious step forward in the future.

Noone can rely on ReNoise’s internal DSP for extremely fine sound engineering: there are tons of professional VST plugins for such a task, and there is no sequencer which has a complete set of reliable and completely customizable DSP’s.

Apart from that, give developers time and you will see things getting better and better. ReNoise at the moment is the most advanced tracker and I don’t think it’s going to be overcomed in the near future

I A-to-B’d them with the V-Station filters - I couldn’t recreate the patch I’d multisampled with Renoise envelopes, it lacked the same squelch and brightness, but that’s to be expected. Renoise’s filters get the job done as is, and the variety is great…it’s just that there are better filters out there, of course. That’s what you’d expect though, the dev team do a fantastic job as is, they can’t devote as much time and effort to DSPs as commercial operations.

Perhaps a way Renoise could be enhanced is to have an envelope which can be linked to a VST effect, so you could use a third party filter to envelope using Renoise’s quite wicked graphical hermite/linear envelopes rather than Renoise filters if you wanted to. This neatly sidesteps the issue of improving the internal DSPs.

EDIT: I forgot the old bugaboo of what happens when two triggered notes overlap…the VST effect isn’t note independent, so this solution wouldn’t work. :(

well…I dont think the filters are so bad. It depends on the music youre about to create, I think. For electronic music esp. experimental stuff they are great, esp. for drums and basses… but You have the ability to use any vst together with renoise and you got a multitrackbounce what is not very common in such a reasonable priced software. If you use Reaktor, Kontakt EXSP24 (exs24 can´t be used without Logic!) remember that one of them costs more than the sequencer you use.

Just my 2 cents: neither of us are professional DSP programmers.

Comparing Renoises effects and sound engine to some of the very best
and most expensive products in the world, which often cost of many times
Renoise’s price for one plugin, and where there is a team of highly
educated and skilled teams working full time…

Some of those products are probably results of more man hours than we put
into Renoise in a whole year. And that’s probalby a riddiculously low estimate.

I could say it’s flattering, but I think it lacks a certain perspective.

Not that we can’t, or won’t, improve Renoises player engine.
But to do that properly, we need a better timing engine in the
back, which is one of the main tasks ahead of us (this is not a
promise for any version number or date for that feature).
This will take time.

Oh, btw: if any skilled DSP programmers want to join us, mail us.

hello again!

i guess i’m asking too much/wrong, and i might have a different perspective,i’d admit that. please don’t get me wrong, i have tons of respect for renoise/you developers. i’ve bought it, and yes, it is exeptionally more reasonable priced than most other software i purchase.
and i love tracking with it.

trackers are extremely expressionable - i do use Kontakt (and EXS on the mac) but you have so much more direct control over amp/pitch/filter with a tracker and its commands, i know i can modulate all that in Kontakt, but that would be by modulating set modulations, and it gets more abstract than necessary. in trackers you can modulate stuff directly, and removing that extra step is fantastic. People who haven’t used trackers isn’t aware that you can actually control stuff on this level, they are caught
up in this ADSR world that, to me, is very limiting.

my point was just that… i see many screenshots of fancy new guis and clever interface stuff, you seem to be very skillfull in making these things. i fell in love with renoise the minute i tried it. there is so much clever stuff! i was hoping you just needed some opinion for doing the same with the renoise sound?

i’ll take for now the future promises in the redesign of the code, and of course i’m a sound software junkie so i’m excited about the new features of 1.5

and to the gentleman/woman comparing samplers w spectrum analysis… i don’t choose to use a sample or a sound or a vocalist for my songs by spectrum analyzing them. maybe what Renoise needs IS some aliasing, some character. (IMO)

What I want o point out here is: if you are listening to some common new (electronic) production you can tell what they´ve used…“Ohhh not again the autotune” “Oh- that modulation must have been a Kontaktpreset”…“Oh mforce delay…” "Oh thats a preset from the attack (refer to the new madonna album): ) "

By using some Renoiseeffects like the amod etc. You can sound different.

And dont forget…use kontakt or attack with its modulatio and let renoise modify it with some filter…again…not bad the possibilities…And If you got a program which has got some effect you`d like to use why not bounce them and use them in renoise?

Please remember that the oiginal Idea of music trackes has been to produce music for the scene and its demos ...and thats a thing where also is very smart in…

You don´t believe that it can sound well? Then try listen to some tunes here in this board or check most of the demos where made using trackers and it always has been a competition not to use loops and some tunes still are so well done that you can play them today.

No offense, but that actually made me chuckle…

Nah, aliasing is nearly always bad in sampling, and keeping it to a minimum is nearly the number one priority of any serious samplist (e.g. sampling at as high a samplerate as possible, multisampling)…but if you really want to introduce more aliasing into Renoise, just reduce the samplerate of your sample with the LoFiMat. If you want saturation, which is different (and another form of distortion), use a plugin…you don’t necessarily want saturation on everything, or at least not the same saturation on everything…so you can contrast the transparent with the saturated.

That’s true…although the automation is fixed to a position in the track, rather than every time you hit a key, which isn’t really the same.

i’m certainly not offended.

but i think it’s important for you to know that regardless of how strong you (and i) may feel about the importance of being able to achieve crystal clarity in signal processing, old amiga mods have a quality that it would take alot of work to reproduce in renoise. i agree with kiotozane, low-fi aliasing adds character (sort of like record pops, i think).

so, hey martin,

could you install an option that drops the playback to settings like 8-bit/22050hz. i know the low-fi mat already exists but it would be cool if you could do it to the whole song (or maybe just track) in a way that frees up system resources instead of chewing up more.


This gets really pointless. Set the Samplerate in the configs/audio tab to 22 kHz, add a Lofimat to the mastertrack and you get the full charisma of old amiga mods.

Not to be offensive :), but: that only shows that you have no clue what aliasing is.

To be absolutely certain I’ll add another couple of smileys :) :)

Hey, let me add a short explanation of aliasing then. Nothing detailed, but here goes.

With a samplerate of X samples per second, you can only represent frequencies
between 0 and X/2. If you try to sample a frequency that’s between X/2 and X,
or a song which contains such frequencies, that (those) will sort of “mirror” around
X/2, so instead of a little bit above X/2 you get a frequency a little bit below X/2.
When the frequencies you try to record exceed X, they will will “wrap around”
and appear from the bottom again, so X plus a little becomes just 0 + a little.

The first case can result in horrible dissonances, nothing pretty at all, and
completely out of your control. And unlike most other kinds of distortion,
which often saturates the signal in an (at least a little bit) musical way,
I’ve never heard of anyone using this effect to their advantage.

The latter case can lead to unwanted very low frequency components, which
(now I’m just guessing) probably eats up valuable bass space in your mix.

who needs lofi? it’s the year 2004 guys! i think the most unused buttons in renoise are the cpu usage buttons :P :D B)

if you need lofi buy poor pc speakers or an amiga :)

Interpolation is most definitely your friend. From what I gather, it fills in the gaps when you haven’t given Renoise enough sample data to fill them in for certain. Without it I suspect the sample player would be completely unusable beyond an octave either side.

Aliasing is unmusical and nasty distortion…it’s gaping holes in data which sound lousy because there’s no information there so throw in the next best thing, in the same league as digital distortion leaving gaping no-data holes in the sound because of clipping. The only thing it might be useful for is adding lofi crunch to drums or FX, which is what the LoFiMat is for. You’re far better off getting a nice, musical, analog-simulating distortion, such as a tape or valve saturation plugin such as Antares Tube, PSP Vintage Warmer or Steinberg Magneto, or for grit and punch an amp simulation plugin like Amplitube or simulated analog distortion such as Predatohm, or the transient designer/saturator Digitalfishphones Dominion. There’s only one popular digital distorter beyond the bitcrunchers like LoFiMat that I know of, and that’s DestroyFX Buffer Override, which is appearing in a lot of tracks nowadays. It’s an unsubtle and extreme effect, but worth adding to the arsenal…

Not to be offensive but I gound this very fun :) :lol: :) :) :)

No it’s not. I just explained it above. Completely different beast.

Is the explanation above understandable? I could throw together
some graphs to show it more intuitively if anyone wishes.

Fair enough. I’ve had it explained to me before as being when you don’t have enough data to pitch something up or down accurately enough. will re-read your explanation above.