Using external synths/sound devices

First I only used samples, then I moved into VST:s, and now I’ve got my first external synth - an Arturia Mircofreak - ever. The problem I have with it is to get into a workflow using it with Renoise. So I thought I’d ask here how you use external synths (or other sound producing equipment) with Renoise?

I tried recording bits and pieces and using them a samples, but found it tricky to play it synced and in tempo to what Renoise is playing. Using it as a MIDI-device only I can only play one intstrument/setting. Also. getting it to the right BPM, and in synced with the BMP, seems a bit cumbersum. Can I set Renoise to send a MIDI-clock to the device? Like a Master/Slave thingie?

I don’t know your synth, but I use an Arturia Minibrute 2S with Renoise and it’s pretty simple to have Renoise send it midi clock. This is how I work:

Connect synth master out (audio cable) to the input of my sound card.
Connect USB cable from the synth to the computer running Renoise (this carries MIDI).
In Renoise, on the desired track for the synth, use the “#line input” device in “MIDI return mode”.
In Renoise, on the MIDI tab, set my MIDI output device to the synth.
On the synth, use USB sync — I don’t know how it’s done exactly on the Microfreak, but my synth has a few sync options (internal clock, MIDI, USB, CV) and it differentiates between MIDI over USB and MIDI over a MIDI cable.

This way the synth is the same tempo as the track and MIDI messages are sent into the synth, including clock ticks and messages to trigger notes and what not.

There are other ways to work, but I hope this helps!

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Sorry for the late reply, I’ve finally got some time to look this over. Thanks so much for your “tutorial”. It helped with some of the issues I had.

Everything works fine for me until I set the Microfreak to USB Sync. Then it stops respond completely. Renoise can’t trigger any notes and it doesn’t play any sounds when I press the Microfreak keyboard anymore. Setting it back to “Int” make it produce sound again from all places.

Edit: Turns out some sounds work when I set the Microfreak to USB Sync. Sequenced sounds and SFX sounds doesn’t work

Not sure mf has usb midi, had a look at the manual and it says the usb is for
firmware updates and to connect to its own midi control center software.

There are mini midi-in and midi-out ports on the synth that should work
if you have a usb midi adaptor like to uno or any other one should be fine,
ive got a cheapo one and its fine.

Next if you want to control the synth from within renoise, then you can use
the ‘midi instrument control’ device in renoise to set up the CC’s, there is
a midi implentation chart in the mf manual for this.


I think you have to download the Arturia Midi control center and change the MicroFreak to slave. It probably thinks the MF is the master for clock, where Renoize is the master in your case. There’s quite a few Midi options only available via their MidiControlCenter.

Also in the Arturia MIDI control center, make sure the MIDI channel the synth receives matches the channel coming out of Renoise (in the MIDI tab where you set the Microfreak as the out device).

Thanks for all your help!

I had the Midi-control center installed already. Apparently you have to set the MIDI Clock Master Out Device in Renoise (Midi Preferences) to the Microfreak. Now it reacts and responds to the BPM in Renoise correctly. Probably something extremely elementary for all Midi-people, but I didn’t know. :roll_eyes:

Glad you got it working! I forgot that step in the preferences… Somehow I was under the impression I only set the MIDI out device (as the synth) in the MIDI tab in Renoise, but now that I think of it, I set the out device in the preferences once and then it persists between Renoise restarts, so I hadn’t thought of that in a while.

Now I’m curious about the Microfreak: does it support MIDI over USB, or did you need to use a 5-pin MIDI cable? I would assume such a modern device supports USB, but someone in the thread suggested that USB might only be for firmware updates… I’ve been eyeing that synth since I read that they added 2 new oscillators in the latest firmware :wink:

Yes, the Microfreak supports MIDI over USB. It comes with two (2) 5-pin MIDI to 3.5mm converters. Usually not mentioned by sellers (and even on the box).

So far it’s a fun little piece of bundle of joy. Want to get deeper into it and master it more.

I love that modern equipment supports more and more over USB. It gets power and MIDI over USB which eliminates the power converter, and midi cable, most of the time (less cables to wrestle with).