Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Greetings all!

First of all I would like to say thanks to the developers of Renoise for making such an amazing piece of software available for less than the typical $250-600 that similar software costs. I’ve been playing rock and blues for just over 15 years but I’ve had to take a (possibly) indefinite break from playing guitar due to some rather severe RSI and just a couple months ago I started getting in to chiptunes and electronica. I’m starting to understand the software pretty well but there’s still so much to learn about DSP’s and midi. Is there anywhere I could study up on DSP’s to where I’m not just moving sliders until it sounds close to what I have in mind but never getting it exactly right. Also, would anyone have suggestions for any must-have VST’s, VSTi’s or hardware? I tend to find myself creating a good drum and bass track but then get stuck trying to create a melody and effects that don’t sound like chip tune music when that’s not the sound I’m going for.

EDIT: This probably should have gone in the Beginners section now that I think about it.

A small array of interesting books…


I can confirm that version 2 of this synthesizer is not too buggy and works fairly will on Windows 7, Renoise 2.8 and above:


( that synth is also fairly inexpensive at $99.00 )

You might find some stuff here… all kinds of stuff… http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/

I like these guys ---- > http://nomadfactory.com/ ( some people do not like the sound of these plugins. I think they rock )

Here is a synthesizer, with a very fair demo policy… http://www.stillwellaudio.com/?page_id=37 ( I have not bought this synth. I have not demo’d it. Cause I have my synths and what not… but I do use stillwell plugins, and Olga is worth a look… ) I don’t know what your budget is…

obviously stillwells home page… http://www.stillwellaudio.com/

these guys just released their d-cam dynamics… meh… maybe when I’ve got an extra $99 burning a whole in my pocket, I’d like these… http://www.fxpansion.com/index.php?page=181

---- I do not use this guys products at all… —> http://www.u-he.com/cms/ but he has fans, upon fans, upon fans!!!

This company has just lowered the price on all the download versions of their synths!!! You have to check this out! http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/products/jupiter-8v/intro.html

They’ve got an array of synths in that genre…

Don’t forget to join http://www.gearslutz.com/board/

I’m banned from www.kvraudio.com

http://www.dontcrack.com/freeware/ ( some of the freeware plugins may or may not have been updated to work on recent setups. )

----> an example of amazing freeware things, I can not get to work on my computer at all http://bram.smartelectronix.com/

incase I forgot… his prices rule… http://www.audiodamage.com/bundles/product.php?bid=ADB001 ( he has synths, just go to his home page… ) I’ve been meaning to buy that bundle… its in my list of chrome bookmarks, I haven’t had a chance to do it yet…

Lacking an unlimited budget over here!! Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve got plenty of software… I’m just linking stuff… some stuff I own… ( I have read most of those books for example… own nomad, cakewalk stuff )

Well… That should keep you busy… I will just leave it there then. Peace

Thanks for the reply! Certainly a lot to look at. Several of those books I’ve already seen and thought of purchasing but it’s so hard to know which books are worth their price.

I suggest starting with, “The Dance Music Manual.” It’s a fun read… It will give a great background on, “wtf is going on.” One caveat is that Cubase is the DAW the book explores, and Renoise is obviously a different type of path! Do not let this discourage you from Renoise! Renoise is amazing, and just hang with us… The journey will be totally fun.



I’ve been trying very hard not to leave Renoise. In college I was taught Cubase and Renoise is a very different animal, but before discovering Renoise I had been using MilkyTracker to mess around with chip tunes so I’ve gotten used to it. Think the biggest problem I’ve been having is that by the time I create an instrument or DSP chain that sounds exactly how I wanted it, the music I had in my head has already been fading. Perhaps once I’ve got a good sized library of instruments and dsp chains I’ve created for previous attempts I’ll finally be able to finish a song and make it sound exactly as I wanted. I’ve always been a perfectionist however and I have this really nasty habit of deleting songs that didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to even though other people really liked them.

The more you practice, that faster you will get for sure… :slight_smile:

Don’t forget the tools… Resynth is in there, a wavetable generator, a cool chord scale thing http://www.renoise.com/tools

an award winning freeware http://www.kvraudio.com/product/tyrell-nexus-6-by-u-he

Renoise makes a template too! if you want to get your projects up and running super fast http://tutorials.renoise.com/wiki/Song_Settings

If want to know a bit more about DSP in general, I strongly advise this one: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Digital-Signal-Processing-Edition/dp/0131089897

i understand this very well. i find that the melody is the most important thing in my head, and so the thing that fades out when focusing on how that melody should sound. with ‘melody’ i mean just the notes. so what i often do is just take a standard sinewave or square or whatever, and use that to program in the melody at the speed etc i want. after that, i start to build an instrument to play that melody. that way, i lose less information.
maybe this will work for you too.

That’s always the truth.

I’ve downloaded many of the tools but at the moment I don’t really know what some of them do exactly so don’t really know how to make use of them.

I hadn’t seen that book. I’ll have to get it when I can afford to. I spent way too much last month for a midi controller and interface.

I’ve actually been doing this as well but then I end up over-using effects to try to produce the sound I’m after (though that could be due to not having the right VST’s or understanding of the ones I have) and end up with some over distorted mess or something where the levels all have to be turned way down to keep it from clipping.

You can always find pdf on the net as a “try before you buy”.

That is true, but some books are quite hard to find as pdf and if it’s the complete book I wouldn’t need to buy it once I’ve read it through since my memory is stupidly good.

  1. Keep experimenting.
  2. Ask detailed questions in the relevant subforums.


Renoise has all the main features you could expect from a tracker like Milkytracker, but it brings some features and FX you usually find in other DAWs such as advanced Digital Signal Processings. DSP : this is a whole world ! If you want to explore this world, and understand how each FX work, you’ll have to load each DSP, to test all sliders, and to carefully hear the results, and see this result, using scopes and colored spectrum views, using a method. First you’ll have to optimize your listening conditions, and make your experimentations with good speakers and also good headphones, in a quiet and calm environment.

Then load 5 or 6 SIMPLE CHIPSOUND SAMPLES and record a simple muscial line in your Track 1. Use

  • A Sinewave
  • A Saw
  • A Tri
  • A Square
  • A Noise…
    In your musical line. Why chipsounds ? Because the impact of a DSP on them is simpler to understand and simpler to read with eyes.

Then, play your simple line, and start to experiment, loading one DSP at a time. If you want to understand a bit things : don’t start with presets first. While music plays in the background, just drag each slider from left to right then doubleclick on it, to restore its initial position. Check alternatively scopes, and spectrum viewers. Take notes on a notepad about what you’ve understood. Then make combos, drag 2 different sliders, and continue. With this method, you’ll be able to organise DSPs, you’ll understand that some of them deal with similar things, example, the *reverb and *mpReverb, then The *delay and the *Multitap delay, the *Stereo Expander, the *Ringmod, all of them could globally affect sound position in space & time. You’ll see that you can group DSPs in your mind, for example, the *Bus Compressor and the *Compressor and the *Maximizer, have something in common. The EQ5 & EQ10, Mixer EQ, Filter, for example, can be grouped. There are some DSPs that just change the sound quality, such as *Cabinet simulator and the *Lofimat, *Distorsion, and the *Scream filter. After than you’ll have the *Chorus, *Flanger, *Phaser, and … *Comb filter in some ways. Well you’ll take a week but in the end you’ll have a more pratical idea of what those names mean and their common usage. When you’ll need the sliders to move in regular and logical ways, you’ll start to love some meta devices like the *LFO. And you’ll realise that most of the time, lots of VSTis are made with simple sounds going through racks of different DSPs controlled with LFOs.

I just bought this and highly recommend it:

This is pretty much how I’ve been using Renoise since I moved straight from Milkytracker to Renoise after finding out that it was basically the exact same thing with DSP capabilities. However when you work about 16 hours a day and aren’t even guaranteed weekends off it’s a very slow and painful way to learn something. I’m not as interested in VSTi (unless they reproduce a mathematically accurate representation of that instrument over the full range of my keyboard) as I am in VSTs. Even though a VST may have the exact same frequency modulators they often sound different simply because the order they are applied or even just what number rounding is involved when doing the fourier calculations.

Thanks, I’ll definitely need to check that book out.