I used milkytracker (almost exactly like ft2). I used it for a long time and still do. Its an awesome program because it can run on an old school PDA which is cheap and means I can write music out in the park or out in nature. Its a little limited though, no reverbs, no filters or those kind of effects. So when I’m indoors I use Renoise which is great for building sounds with a lot of effects and modulation.
I love the way renoise can run on older computers but can also push newer computers to the limit if you take it far enough with vstis, effects and so on.
Everything about the way renoise works is so logical. From the phrase functionality to the ability to have long modulation sets and fx chains per key or pad (i use a pad controller AKAI MPD218). I prefer not to use so many long samples but start simple building up the sound from single cycle waves taken from the wave generator tool and the morph synth (although its good to render plugins using plugin-grabber as well). I still use longer samples for drums and bass (but only ever one note or drumhit at a time).
I think renoise is definitely one of the best sampler-sequencers out there. Having said that it doesnt have time-stretch, grain pitch-shift, native synths or audio tracks (for recording guitar, vocals in long takes). People have trouble with trackers in general because of hex and the delay commands but using 12 beats per line saves a lot of trouble with delay commands when making triplets…
I would definitely recommend Sunvox, Milkytracker, G-stomper and Little Game Park tracker on PSP for composing outside in the park and Renoise + Sunvox for use on the computer while sitting at the desk at home. Make the single cycles in renoise, then export them to Milkytracker, G-stomper and Little Game Park Tracker for PSP. Use the free tuner called G-Tune to tune up the samples properly. Too many people write tracke music that is out of tune with other instruments but in tune with itself…I like to get the accuracy of a perfect A440Hz, no problem with renoises excellent fine tune functionality.
Another thing about renoise, its good to jam on the keyboard and record sequences that way. A lot of people only step sequence which is awesome too but those people who can play keyboard + drums really write music 20X faster…took me ages to figure that out, so now I’m learning keyboard and music theory too. Yeah, renoise is awesome…Cheap price, run on almost any computer, take it as far as you want, tracker layout less scrolling and mouse-clicks, more notes on screen, better for arps, better for phrases, sample layering, effects chains per key or pad…its better than ableton. it does have a few quirks as well.
Also I think people from the 16 step-sequencer crowd are gradually going to wake up to the fact that trackers were the right way for detailed editing, from the very beginning…16 step sequencers are awesome as well… But recently especially with some ios apps (not all) things have been so dumbed down, just wave your finger and music comes out…generative this and that…it leads to the misconception that all music which uses any form of electronic instrument is really easy and anyone can just press a button and a full composition comes out…