Renoise is part of a rich tradition of music development software that tracks its lineage all the way back to the 90's Amiga demo scene. Trackers have been around for years and left their mark on electronic music in ways many musicians may not realize. And while Renoise is not the only game in modern tracking, it is almost certainly the most successful modern implementation of that concept.
Tracking music in Renoise may be different than using a standard DAW, but pretty much everything you might need is in there : sampling, composition, plugin integration, MIDI sequencing, seamless Rewire integration, and even a built-in development environment for installing and if you wish, creating new sequencing tools of your own. Add to that the fact that Renoise is rock solid and cross platform, and you've got the full package - albeit turned on its head, in the best possible way. An inspiring piece of audio engineering all around.
This is a very special piece of software. It's obviously not for everyone, and the developers know that. That being said the scope of what it can do is unbelievable They nailed it, best tracker ever IMO.
I've just discovered DDFM Metaplugin, which provides stable VST3 and side-chain functionality that can be used within Renoise. Awesome.
I've been using Renoise for 14 years (since v1.28), and regard it as my primary DAW for composition. I primarily write EDM, Ambient or Glitch in a home studio using plugins (monitors or headphones on a laptop). I also sing, but don't use Renoise for vocals/recording (currently using Reaper for that).
One liner: It's an amazing composition tool with a highly functional workflow geared for getting ideas down quickly and working to completion (sans raw audio).
Incredibly efficient and streamlined workflow for modern sequencer-based composition using plugins and short audio files.
Very responsive and consistent support/engagement with customers, including vote-driven feature requests.
Solid VST support (I've seen a crash now and then, but Renoise has been one of the most reliable VST hosts I've ever used by far).
Great price with several fantastic out-of-the-box effects processors (and a few fun sample-based instruments to get you started).
Includes many very powerful automation tools, including a LUA-based formula modulator that can be linked to *any* available control.
Huge and helpful customer base (if you ever need help figuring something out, there are lots of active users who've figured a lot of things out).
Includes Rewire support.
It can sample/edit audio, but not ideal for working with vocals or long audio files (waveforms are not displayed in the tracks, not enough visual cue).
Have seen cases where Renoise has mishandled plugin behavior on 'Stop', or after note cutoff on a track, that causes high CPU until stopped.
Does not work as a plugin for other Hosts/DAWs (there are others that do to enable this composition style - yes, this is totally a con).
I've looked into a few other trackers, but nothing has been as polished and complete as Renoise.
Trackers aren't great for every music workflow, but I've found Renoise to be an unparalleled sequencer for modern composition. Workflow subtleties, like the fact that notes are assumed to keep playing on a track until hitting a cutoff, make them ideal for sound design and construction using external plugins. In almost every major DAW on a Mac or PC, composition like this commonly requires drawing every unique note and it's duration using a mouse, and the sheer pain of that experience has not been taken seriously enough for DAW-makers to incorporate this style of composition (nor really take the time understand why accommodations to their own workflow are both ineffectual and unsavory).
In my time using Renoise, I've used many versions/tiers of other DAWs or hardware sequencers:
Pro Tools (v9).
Various others (Sonar/Cakewalk, Studio One, ACID, etc.).
An Akai MPC-1000 (current).
An old Alesis MMT-8 (loved that thing...).
Most have unique merits, but none have been as near to a complete and reliable solution for me as Renoise for composition. For vocal work, I'm currently using Reaper. Don't want to start off poking at the DAWs other people use and love, but if you ask, I'll respond with my personal experiences in some cases.
the special feature is the Tracker, this notes editor can feel weird if you don't know tracker, but after having used it, it's like another daw just less colored and more hexa number. So for classic composer it's not necesseraly the good interface (it's more complexe to see chord and arranged)
A very very good soft for Electro composer and live Electro musician.
I have used Studio One, Ableton Live, Tracktion and all had their quirks. I demoed renoise and got used to its vertical spreadsheet in a few day's and starting to apreciate the workflow more and more.
Why do i like it because i have got a recording scetchpad which is a very good sampler at the same time and can record my mic input straight into memory without setting up anything. The sampler is really well integrated in Renoise.
In fact i feel like i'm back in the days of having an AKAI S3000XL sampler in software format which was fun playing around with samples. To me Renoise feels like a recording instrument aswell.
I can load kicks snares and everything into the same sampler form the browser and tweak the samples with a sample editor cutting, normalizing fading xfading everything is there. Setting up the looppoints is abreeze when turning on the pingpong loop setting which is reversing and forwarding the loop. You can merge a stereo file into a mono file for more easy looppoints finding with the push of a button.
It is as intuitive as the workflow in Ableton live but then with good sound quality! Yes i know science has proved all DAW's sound the same, but for me it is not ableton sounds bad period. Studio one sounds ok and tracktion aswell but Renoise has got a pristine sound engine compared to them. The sound is detailed and has depth into the overall mix. When i use the same instruments (geist drums and trillian for bass) Renoise kicks ass! Renoise mixes from the 2 the best. trillian bass sounds in Renoise more detailed and sounds more pronounced beside the drums. Best sounding DAW for me see for yourselve and try to compare with your current DAW i'm sure you will hear a difference.
Renoise is a creative workhorse once you get to grip with it. Try it and try to forget the lineair approach! You may love Renoise in the end just give it some time. One good point for the tracker approach is that you miss visual reference which forces you to trust your ears over your eyes.
Only gripe i have with Renoise is that i can't record my vocals or guitar parralel to my song. I have to record it in the sampler and align it manually. I do hope that Renoise will add an option in the sampler when hitting record the transport starts at the same time so the recorded sample will play along with the song without aligning it manually.
For recording vocal phrazes the sampler is perfect for recording along the song there must be something improved.
Really enjoying Renoise, it is just plain fun to record with.
Love it. What else to say? Beautiful interface, intuitive, endlessly interesting and fun. I use REAPER as my main DAW and find that Renoise rewires with it flawlessly, I basically use it as a very, very good sampler within REAPER but now that I've bought a license I'm sure my use of it will expand considerably and once I'm a bit more accustomed to the workflow it may replace REAPER for me down the road.