Talk to me about hardware synths & Renoise (workflow question, not

I’d love you to talk to me about how you integrate your hardware synths into your Renoise workflow.

I’m enjoying Renoise very much, but I still haven’t settled on how to get the best out of my hardware synths when working with Renoise.

There are no right or wrong answers, and I appreciate there are many different approaches that you can take to this depending on what you are trying to achieve, but I’m just looking for ideas.

Please note this isn’t a technical question, I’d just like to hear about the various ways you work with them.

Here are some questions that occurred to me, but they’re just intended to stimulate some answers, so please share any wisdom you can offer. Many thanks in advance.

  • Do you record long audio samples, and use ‘autoseek’ to treat them somewhat like audio tracks in a traditional DAW?
  • Do you tend to sample short phrases? Perhaps you use the Renoise Phrase editor to create phrases to send to your synths, and sample several different audio versions using different synth patches?
  • Do you sample short cycles of waveforms for making playable sampler instruments?

I do all three approaches you mention, but tend to go with the second more often than not – I’ll sample the hardware ASAP (while keeping the original MIDI, etc., that drove it so I can rerecord as necessary), usually a phrase at a time.

Renoise handles hardware fine, just look out for latency, and you may find (as I have) that you’ll also want to sample the hardware ASAP because Renoise is basically a sampler and it’s just more efficient to work with samples.

One issue I sometimes have is finding the correct input gain, but that’s more of an interface problem than a Renoise one. By default, audio input into Renoise is attenuated quite a bit. This becomes a problem if you have noise in the signal path (a lot of older synths will as a rule) and later want to normalize the samples – the noise becomes audible and can become difficult to reduce or remove unless you prepare for it from the beginning.

Sampling note for note to make multi-sample instruments in Renoise is easiest to do using the pattern editor (rather than manually recording each note by hand in the sampler, which is extremely time-consuming). Create a new song, set the pattern length to the length you want the samples to be (for e.g., set the BPM to 60 so you know each beat is one second, etc.) then put the notes (with velocities) you want sampled at the beginning of each pattern, and appropriate note-offs, and render the song (did I explain that clearly?). Hopefully one day the “render to samples” function for plugins will be extended to outboard gear.

Honestly, to multisample hardware, I generally use Extreme Sample Converter, it has a great auto-sampler for hardware, you can just set it up, let it go and do something else while it works. Then save it as SFZ, import into Renoise. I don’t recommend buying ESC, though, because although the author still accepts orders for it, he hasn’t updated it since 2011 and I don’t believe he will again. It’s already showing its age. It is still pretty great for making multi-sample Renoise instruments, though, they’re great fun.

Renoise + Korg EMX user here – i was looking for ways to control the emx with renoise, but it got too complicated compared to just sampling (also had latency problems that I couldn’t easily resolve with offsets). So I ended up hooking up the emx through a couple effect kits, then to my interface. I’ll run the emx through a channel in renoise, solo it, trigger playback all at once for the purpose of recording the sample, then mangle from Renoise forward.

I use a very hardware-centric setup. I’ve currently got renoise set up using DSI tetra in multi-timbral mode making basically 4 analog monosynths (YAY! this was a very involved process, you need codeknobs vst and the very latest DSI beta firmware in order to make this work perfectly. But it Works!). It’s great. I also have an MPX 110 lexicon effects unit and use it as an outboard send. I love how it sounds. Waiting on a blofeld to complete my setup. Everything works amazingly. Except…

I am working on trying to figure out how I can bounce down my tracks to samples or audio tracks in an efficient way. It seems that renoise only does this Per Pattern. It also seems that the “Freeze Track” Tool does not work with the current version of reniose. It ALSO seems that I cannot record audio into reaper as a rewire slave(this is a limitation of rewire). I want to be able to bounce down my sends for the WHOLE song because I can only use one effect at time and would like to record layers of the track. Anyone know how to actually make this workflow not suck? I would be very grateful.

EDIT: just experimenting now, the easiest way I’ve been able to accomplish this is by using the record feature in the sample but there are two big problems with this: 1. I have to remember exactly what inputs I’m using, 2. I can only sync it via pattern, I can’t sync to the whole song, so I have to manually trim the audio to make it match up.

It ALSO seems that I cannot record audio into reaper as a rewire slave(this is a limitation of rewire).

I’ve never had trouble rewiring Renoise audio into Reaper and recording it (other than latency problems). This is generally what I do with longer outboard instrument parts. Just send the track in Renoise to a bus and receive the bus on a track in Reaper, works fine. Or just trigger the outboard with MIDI from Renoise and route its output directly into a Reaper track (makes for problematic latency management this way though, I use ReaInsert to keep things in time in this case; more importantly this approach skips the Renoise DSP, so this is only when you want to record signal with no Renoise FX)

I’ve never had trouble rewiring Renoise audio into Reaper and recording it (other than latency problems). This is generally what I do with longer outboard instrument parts. Just send the track in Renoise to a bus and receive the bus on a track in Reaper, works fine. Or just trigger the outboard with MIDI from Renoise and route its output directly into a Reaper track (makes for problematic latency management this way though, I use ReaInsert to keep things in time in this case; more importantly this approach skips the Renoise DSP, so this is only when you want to record signal with no Renoise FX)

Ah! Why didn’t I think of this!? (probably because I had already set the live bus up inside of Renoise and have an inflexible mind) Thanks!

Just to sum this up:

Reaper is rewire slave on empty track.

renoise midi(or in my case also audio) -> hardware

Hardware -> reaper directly.

Reaper -> renoise (on a new track to avoid feedback scenarios).

I’ll test this out and see how the bounce workflow is. Little worried about latency but not too much, it’s all delay-based effects so I can probably nudge it to taste.

Yeah latency can become sort of a maze this way, when I slave Reaper I usually just use the Renoise track’s delay setting to compensate, usually end up having to set it to around -10ms, but there are other ways:

Reaper latency management tools are: right-click the MIDI out port in Preferences (screen where you pick which ports Reaper uses) and look at “Configure output” – there’s a manual MIDI latency setting that saves the day all the time for me, but might not be relevant in your case (more for when Reaper’s the master).

Reaper has no (direct) way to adjust for MIDI input latency (more relevant in your case when Reaper’s the slave), but you can: go to Preferences->Audio->Recording, leave “use audio driver reported latency” checked while putting an offset value in “input manual offset”. Or take a deep breath, unckeck “use audio driver latency” and put in the actual reported ASIO latency as the guy in the link below did (using ReaInsert – this doesn’t work when Reaper’s the slave, though, and ReaInsert generally just reports the same latency in samples as you see in its menu bar a the top right, but not always), but that can be problematic. This also affects MIDI.

See: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=116794&page=5 , post #199

Some interesting stuff here, thanks.

I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with my FS1R lately, and it’s pretty fun with Renoise.

I’ve never had trouble rewiring Renoise audio into Reaper and recording it (other than latency problems). This is generally what I do with longer outboard instrument parts. Just send the track in Renoise to a bus and receive the bus on a track in Reaper, works fine. Or just trigger the outboard with MIDI from Renoise and route its output directly into a Reaper track (makes for problematic latency management this way though, I use ReaInsert to keep things in time in this case; more importantly this approach skips the Renoise DSP, so this is only when you want to record signal with no Renoise FX)

I actually never figured out how to do this. What do you mean “send it to a bus” in renoise?. I can’t seem to recieve any devices at all on my tracks in reaper when it’s in slave mode. Doesn’t really seem possible.

The new approach I have been taking is to use reaper as a master, and using renoise as a slave. But, I’m having major latency issues as well. Like at one point I was trying to send midi out from renoise -> hardware, hardware audio in to reaper. It’s very very delayed(sounds like several hundred ms) but I can’t figure out why (compared to a kick drum renoise). If I do this in just renoise, I get no tangible delay, the audio just matches up with what I have sequenced.

I’m actually starting to consider buying redux at this point because it might actually be what I want in the end.

Wow I just figured it out…

So for some reason, if I ARM the rewire track, the sychronization works! I have no idea why that is but I’ll figure that out later.

I actually never figured out how to do this. What do you mean “send it to a bus” in renoise?. I can’t seem to recieve any devices at all on my tracks in reaper when it’s in slave mode. Doesn’t really seem possible.

The new approach I have been taking is to use reaper as a master, and using renoise as a slave. But, I’m having major latency issues as well. Like at one point I was trying to send midi out from renoise -> hardware, hardware audio in to reaper. It’s very very delayed(sounds like several hundred ms) but I can’t figure out why (compared to a kick drum renoise). If I do this in just renoise, I get no tangible delay, the audio just matches up with what I have sequenced.

I’m actually starting to consider buying redux at this point because it might actually be what I want in the end

I’m a bit late replying to this, but…

Re: “I’m actually starting to consider buying redux at this point because it might actually be what I want in the end”

Pretty much all of the Redux functionality is built into the latest version of Renoise. So just upgrade if you don’t have the latest.