Using Renoise Live

Going to be doing a few live sets this summer (hopefully) and was wondering if Renoise has ever been used for such a thing?

How would you approach this?

Control the flow of the song by setting loop points in the pattern sequence editor?
Lots of Muting of channels and faffing with FX?
Playing in bits and bobs with a MIDI keyboard into the pattern editor (risky?)

Doesn’t sound very engaging to me…?

I’ve used Jeskola Buzz for a live set before, and I think it works well for live because of the more modular approach to sequencing. As you might know it’s more of a ‘pattern of patterns’ sequencer, each instrument has it’s own bank of patterns, which are triggered by being layed out in the pattern sequencer with a column for each instrument.

When playing live, I had a 32 bar loop going in the pattern sequencer, and kind of ‘built’ the song from the pre-prepared patterns as it was playing.
This approach also allows you to switch to a pattern that isn’t currently playing and edit some drum fills for example. You can also switch to the machine flowchart to fiddle with FX etc…

If Renoise’s pattern sequencer was more like this, it would be a vast improvement no? Unless I’ve overlooked something?

Don’t want to use Buzz again though cos it’s glitchy and unreliable (whereas Renoise is steady as you like (and nicer to look at))*.

  • obligatory Renoise compliment ;)

depending what style you’re working with, I find a healthy dose of Instajungle on the beats alot of fun. (numerous ways to go about this, in renoise I like to set up a meta send device before and after the instajungle effect, the one before keeping the stream of audio going in the DSP chain and routed to a gate, which is then routed to the same compressed send channel that the one after instajungle is sent to, with on/off control on of the audio stream on the gated bit. Lots of live variation possibilities here.)
One Idea I’ve been persuing is to have a standard set of “drum tracks” that can be altered with instajungle and filters, and in their raw form exist as the same loop across each pattern. In each pattern have a different set of tunes, samples, external midi triggers for synths, etc. Keeping each patternstance on loop mode, I can select which tune/sample set I want by changing patterns with the keys (ctrl + up/down or left/right depeding how I want to access them…) and keeping all the fine controls for things at my fingertips by routing the midi back through to a single knob controller…

anyway I think its possible, you just have to think outside the box…

First I transfered my songs to Cool edit pro and later, cubase.
but since Renoise went to 1.5 I took the step to take it on stage.
I can say that Renoise has never let me down.

What I do:
I have Renoise on a laptop with a midi controller attached, which is also my midi interface.
Here I connected some synths.

Now I use the midi controller to twiddle with some parameters in renoise that I made with the midi-map funtion.
Renoise itself sends some data to the synths (program changes, nice arpeggiator sounds you can not program in any synths)
and play along on them.

I don’t do very much to the song structure because I also have a guitarist and a singer/screamer, but sometimes some loops are made.

some things to remember:

  • Make an high contrast renoise theme.
    This will make it easier to read out the screen outdoor with the sun shininng or indoor with flashy light shows.

  • Install as less as possible on your Operating system (windows/mac os) you use onstage.
    This will make the system very stable, tips for xp at:

  • Learn as many shortcuts of Renoise you can.
    This will reduce mouse shuffling to a minimum which is quicker and easier and (my opinion) nicer to look at.

  • Remove any unregistered or demo versions VST’s.
    This will prevent unwanted pop up screens or other things that these VST’s will do to nag you.

  • Check your audio card.
    Play all the songs before you play live to see if there are no unwanted sounds. like crackles, drop-outs and so on.
    maybe you have to reduce the bitrate or ajust the latency for proper sound.

  • Back up
    Computers may do some crasy things sometimes.
    Not always to be solved in the nick of time.
    so back up (extra HDD, recovery cd, or maybe play an audio CD and fake you’re playing).
    show must go on.

Nothing else pops me in my mind right now.
Hope this will help you or others.

I did a live gig with renoise once.

the biggest problem is that you have to load every new song if you dont want to have a huge, huge rns file which contains all songs.
that wasnt a problem at that time since it was some other concept at this gig (four bands/people on stage that played one song each after another, five songs in total), so I had enough time to load my next track.

live-alteration of arrangement is something that I personally dont really use or want to get into, I really try to get a good arrangement done beforehand, for dancemusik something like around 5 minutes at the max, after that it tends to get boring and its deadly if you just restarted your mainpart again for the third time and people suddenly decide “okay, thats it”. Its better to leave them itching for more than to overbore them. :D

I would rather concentrate on live-tweaking of effects, filters or anything else.
if you really plan to use renoise just look in your track for such effects that could be modulated by a midi-keyboard, you can even switch this while playing as needed.
like, you have a bassline at the beginning, route a midi-knob to the cutoff, tweak that setting for a few patterns, after that an LFO takes over and you switch to another knob tweaking the release of a pad or something.

if you do this right then its really like playing an instrument, if you have a nice upfront bassline and just tweak the cutoff and resonance you can have sorts of “lines” by not just turning it up and down slowly.

you basically need to plan your tweaking, init all setting at the first line of the song, and switch between midi-automation and LFO-Modulation/Fixed-Value in the song as needed.

and if you dont have an idea or are afraid of the hassle, just do it like I did two times : play an mp3-file in winamp and play some game (I was playing “incredible machines” back then), this way there will be music and people see you staring at the screen and clicking around with your mouse. just dont let anyone look at your screen. :D (altough this doesnt matter either, at one gig a girl came up to the stage wondering what I was doing and we ended solving those puzzles together. was great fun :)

or maybe just go for ableton live, seems this is the definite solution for playing livegigs (for some very good reasons, really.)

i’ve used renoise live for years.

before i would use it in a live band and just switch patterns between songs. During this period I primarily used it to create wacky instruments from weird samples and then play them using a midi controller keyboard (ala M-Audio Radium) and, also to fling short sequenced bursts into the set.

Currently, we’re back to goofing around with alot of electronic stuff and drum trigger pads. In my current live setup I use my powerbook with a second LCD attached to it and run 2 instances of renoise simultaneously. it was a little scary at first but once you get a feel for the system’s capabilities i found it works rather well. (i came on the board today to suggest a renoise tuning option that would optimize it for setups like this, but this looks like a good place to talk about it.)

in this configuration you can use the internal IAC MIDI bus on the mac to link the 2 instances via midi or run them independently. I’ve played 6 or 7 sets this way so far and haven’t crashed renoise yet.

It goes without saying (which is why I’m going to say it anyway) that any system that you take out live should be performance tuned for critical performance and latency optimization. Alot of us are systems geeks, so we know what this means, but in case you don’t:

  1. Turn off any non-live-music related system application or service: This includes Networking featuers (WiFi, Ethernet, Firewalls, File Sharing, Anything you aren’t using), Anti-Virus (these things will f**** you over in a live setting), GU Eye-Candy, System Beeps (nothing more embarrasing than having some randome background process or anything flip out and send the system’s error sound through a live PA :) ), screensavers. Then go look in your process list and make sure everything you told to be off was good and obeyed.

  2. Go into your power settings (if you’re on a laptop) and turn off any time/idle based powersaving features. Set your system’s processor speed and performance options to the equivalent of “Maximum Performance”.

  3. Make sure your laptop is plugged in. Some laptops will automatically scale back system performance when they run on the battery (messing around in the bios may fix this). While your laptop is plugged in, there is a distinct possibility that if you are plugged into the same powersource as the PA you will hear incredible amounts of noise. This noise is interference generated by the adapter/aku on you laptop. A quick fix for this that I’ve found is (in the US anyway) taking the extra ground pin off of your laptop’s 3-prong powersupply (either with plyers or with an adaptor which is obviously recommended). A better fix would be, running your PA and Audio equipment through independent power contitioners.

Renoise live is awesome. :yeah:

Besides myself and my band, there are a couple kids in my area who call themselves “The Megadrives” who also use renoise live. It’s an up and coming use for this program and I hope that it will see some expanded development for being used in this way.

Good Luck!

Thanks for the insights.

I often sort of ‘play live’ when making tunes in Renoise, ie. build a 2 or 4 pattern loop and unmute tracks and change FX and synth params to sketch out the song’s flow before making a whole song’s worth of unique patterns and adding variations, key changes, bridge sections, fills, etc etc (you know the drill).
But I still don’t think this would feel right on stage - for instance if I wanted to unmute 2 or 3 channels simultaneously - this is simply not possible with the current renoise AFAIK.

As with your replies, I can see it working well if it was being used as backing track for a group of musicians, but it will probably be just me, one laptop and a SIDstation. So I’m probably going to look into using Ableton…

Seems a shame though becuase I use Renoise for all my tracks now and I’m really getting to know the beast very well.

What does everyone think to the idea of a more modular pattern sequencer (like Buzz) ?

Has this been suggested to the developers before? (I registered just after the last round of voting).

Like Looza, I take my kit out and tweak things as I go, but don’t really arrange anything. If the people are up for it & want more, then I select some patterns to loop back to, and keep a couple of tracks in reserve for variation.

Loading several tracks would be great, and copying & pasting between songs would really help me build longer live sets, and not worry about loading in between, this is my only real setback at the moment, so me & a bud just play back to back. I have been considering beat arranging on the fly, but have decided my controller k/b is not up to it with only one slider, pitch & mod controls. So, I’m gonna be geting me one of these instead!…c_kontrol49.asp

There’s a couple of short vids of me live with Renoise on, everyone seems to think I’m a showoff, but I couldn’t possibly see why :lol:

I definitely did this last night.

It was sloppy at points, but it’s REALLY fun and really entertaining to do. Plus, I got a whole room of people dancing and hooting.

You just have to be fast, and you have to practice.

My friend who also uses renoise was watching me build shit and work and he was like “Jesus christ you move fast.”

Essentially, the deal is that I:

  1. Started from scratch with an 8 bar pattern.
  2. Had the sample browser muted.
  3. Built up and copied patterns and switched between them.

Of course, the trick is to know the tracker inside and out, to never think about what you’re doing (just FEEL it) and never be more than half a second away from any idea.

It doesn’t matter HOW you do this, just that you are.

ok! Here are two short videos from the set:…er/MVI_0696.avi…er/MVI_0697.avi

It’s a total bummer you can’t see my face because I’m going nuts.

Oh well.

All music in that’s done completely improv with one version of renoise and nothing else.

It should be noted that there was nothing prepared before this set, everything was built up from scratch and on the fly (yes, including the break slicing).

Oh yeah, I was supposed to be playing with my friend, but his computer totally crashes at the beginning of the first video, so I’m left to carry it.

@datasette: You can actually mute unmute tracks simoultaneously i Renoise. Iplay around with it all the time when experimenmting with “live” set-ups. You just juse ctrl+numpad and you can mute/unmute at least 10 tracks.

do it…

DO IT!!! :yeah: