Have you been paying attention to Renoise, the modernized tracker? You might want to start. The cat is out of the bag on Renoise 2.5’s new beta (available immediately to registered users), and it looks like it may be a dramatic leap forward. Even better, 2.6 promises to allow a level of customization, scripting, and integration we haven’t seen in any music tool, anywhere.

Two memes have gripped the underground electronic music over recent years. One has been the tracker, and its atomic, ground-up musical process, embodied in new and old software and in the love of handheld game systems like the Game Boy. The other has been the grid as a way of reconceiving and playing musical patterns, from Ableton Live to the monome.

Now imagine if these two memes collided.

And, oh yeah, imagine if you suddenly got the modulate-anything, script-anything, customize-anything, control-anything-with-anything, use OSC and MIDI and keyboards everywhere you’ve been asking for. A beta that’s about to drop should begin to answer whether Renoise will be the first app to pull it all off, with major new features coming early in the year and powerful scripting and customization later in 2010.

Have a look at this (very fuzzy) video, and you’ll see something is up.

First, let’s back up and talk about the Pattern Matrix. Look deeper than its skin, and it does appear to be something different from previous things with rectangles and steps and clips.

A long-standing problem with trackers has been that they’re so atomic, it’s often difficult to form larger structures. The Pattern Matrix promises to do this and more, with clever, keyboard-controlled boxes that allow you to mess with the larger form of your work. Unlike something like the Ableton Live clip view, this matrix is resizable, and you can see what’s happening inside each box (and inside is all the usual tracker goodness).

While you ruminate on that, there’s more. Meta devices in Renoise that modulate other parameters can now be chained… anywhere. This has been possible to limited effect with hacking or MIDI routing in other hosts, but in Renoise, these modulations are everywhere.


In another interesting feature, Renoise will be able to take plug-in VST and AU instruments and magically turn them into sampled instruments (which could be very handy for taking them on your Linux-powered netbook at a gig, without worrying about crashing).

Let’s do the quick bullet-point list to sum up what’s coming in 2.5:

  • A Pattern Matrix that lets you seamless control and trigger and see anything at any level of your arrangement – something really quite new, like a combination of the best of a step sequencer, a matrix of clips, and a tracker.
  • Meta-Device cross-track routing of modulation and control so you can connect and modulate everything with everything.
  • Instant creation of sample-based instruments
  • Internal effects: cabinet simulation, stutter audio (yeah, that’ll get overused), signal-following meta device (whaaa?), instant linking to an X/Y pad
  • Improved timing and plugin delay compensation
  • Mac plug-in crash guards, MIDI chords, MP3s on Linux, UI tweaks…

Check out the full 2.5 feature list.

Extensive thread by developer taktik (with some very juicy tidbits, to say the least)

As for when you can get it, registered users get the beta first. Full details from the source:

Pricing and Availability

Beta versions are exclusive to registered users. The first public 2.5 versions will be Release Candidates. The final version is expected to be released at the beginning of next year.

As usual we will test the beta for as long as necessary to make it rock solid, avoiding annoying floods of small updates to fix crucial issues.

The price of Renoise will change from 49 Euro to 59 Euro when the final version is released – This price is for a multi-platform license. That means that a single license is valid for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.

To ease the transition, everyone that buys Renoise 2.5 before the final version will get Renoise for the old price of 49 Euro. This covers upgrades up until and including version 3.5.

Real Integrated Customization Coming: Lua, OSC

Now, here’s the real bombshell. We’ve seen limited customization and scripting in music hosts. But what if all of this went further? That’s what Renoise is promising to do later in 2010.

From the Renoise forums:

We usually can not promise exact release dates and plans, but this time its “very likely” that we’ll throw in a Renoise 2.6 release right after this release. Well, soon, as soon as 2.5 went final. This mainly will be a “Renoise nerds” release – in a positive way.

For this release we already are working on integrating a scripting language into Renoise, actually already some of the new features in Renoise 2.5 are built with it, which will allow you to (and more):

– OSC support, create interactive MIDI controller scripts.

For example: control Renoise with a Monome, Mackie Control and so on, without having to manually “map” the controller. Just plug in the controller and you’re ready to go.

– Extend Renoise with the features you always wanted: Just like Extensions in for example Firefox, you will be able to extend Renoise with the features you want, like beatslicing, note shuffling, auto composing algorthms, whatever. Thoise scripts allow bidirectional comminication with Renoise, but not just with the song, as we have
it now for the XRNS tools.

You will also have the ability to write custom Renoise GUIs for your scripts, assign keyboard shorcuts and so on, to perfectly integrate them to Renoise.

More details about this will follow later, after the Renoise 2.5 release was done.

Of course, if successful – and keeping in mind this hasn’t been formally announced – this could go further than what even Max for Live has done this year, by being built from the ground up to integrate directly with the tool.

I could comment further, but I have a feeling this already has a few heads reeling.

Yes, I’ll be following this closely.

  • dyscode


    my jaws just dropped to the floor!

    The Pattern Matrix is so cool,

    just think exchanging OSC data with Pd, Reaktor, TouchOSC AND I can bring my favourite plugs.


    I guess after a decade of Tracker Abstinence,

    it´s time to come home, again.

  • s


    this just pushes renoise over the top

  • Finally! Bye Logic.

  • Great, more craziness to wrap my head around… and I'm still getting used to M4L. When will it end?

  • Dang, gotta buy a new license.

    Been loving renoise when it was 1.2… I'm gonna marry renoise at 2.5

  • Is that something like Buzz Tracker had, separate order tracks for all generators and effects?

    But anyway, finally someone seems to be going in the right direction, scripting and all.

  • radian

    This isn't really like buzz's sequencer, buzz has per-machine patterns, which you can trigger in parallel at any point in the sequence. This still sticks to the old school trackers' serial-not-parallel patterns, ( each row in the matrix is one pattern, and each column a track ) so its familiar but also adds a powerful & quick way to recombine parts of patterns to create new ones.

  • radian

    Oh and buzz has had a python scripting plug-in for a long time.

    I am glad I registered Renosie on the last version so I got access to this though!

  • Renoise may have just become the perfect complement to my beloved Usine (in which much of this, including OSC and scripting, has long since been implemented)…

    and since I've been testing the multi-touch betas of Usine recently, of course I'm going crazy imagining what Renoise's re-sizable grids could do in a live performance setting…

    and since Usine comes as standalone and as a VST and already accepts OSC… hmmm

    I think I may finally have to break down and learn how to score notes in Renoise instead of using it as a huge mod matrix

  • Looks pretty nice… I will definitely have to take a look at it. It definitely has some features that sound very interesting. LUA integration would be beautiful.

  • Cool!

    Open mind, multiplatform, powerfull, right price… at last Ableton Killer for people.


    I'm in the same way… time to return "matrix screen" like Fasttracker II.

    It's time to get focus…


  • tekcor

    "at last Ableton Killer for people"

    i never had contect with renoise. so i cant understand the trouble about the new version.

    but it sounds very interesting.

    is it possible and as comfortable as ableton to go on stage with it?

  • 3lbFlax

    Renoise is fantastic, but re. modulation I always feel the need to champion Reason's Combinator device. You can add any number of generators / effects to a Combinator, which acts as a kind of wrapper device. The combinator has several controls that can be mapped to any control on any of the devices it contains, including several controls at once.

    That's pretty standard. But! Each of the Combinator's controls has a CV input 'round back', which can be hooked up to any CV-generating output within Reason (ba-dum, tish). This makes the Combinator a formidably powerful tool for creating multi-modulated scenarios, because it provides a bridge between LFOs (for example) and ANY control available – sticking with Reason's physical device metaphor, if it can turns or slides then it can be modulated.

    Renoise may well go beyond this with its new modulation capabilities, but it's still a joy to knock up unpredictable chaos machines in Reason by slinging a handful of cables around. If you've got Reason and you haven't used the Combinator in this way yet – give it a try.

  • aidan

    @ tekor, in a word: no. but it's getting there 🙂

  • vinayk

    Sounds quite cool.

    I'm going ask a couple of questions (and please forgive my ignorance).

    Is it possible to record audio into renoise (not as samples) – i.e audio tracks?

    And can you live record say piano parts with automation?

  • I am assuming that my Novation Launchpad can be put to good use on this?

    And there was I ready to splash for Max for Live… 🙂

  • I dont know if from the video I'm to grasp all that this is cracked up to be, but it doesn't sound like 'crack'.

  • And by 'crack' I do mean DOPE.

  • @tekcor: I hope it could be better… for my ableton is lost in some ways and it doesn't fit in my set and nowadays "seems" too "heavyweight" with extra features that I don't need… and others that I need are not listed (and rejected from support team).

    Near 600 euros (with mfl), not multiplatform, not really open, hard marketing… not for me.

    I don't know if my POV is usual or not but if it is… Ableton team are lossing users like me.

    ReNoise still needs to grow but its potential is amazing…

    Let's see 😉

  • Canenero

    Renoise is the best value for money ever

    and now it's impossible to resist!

  • Dave Smith-Hayes

    This is the best news I've read all week. I'm downloading my copy right now.

  • neu

    so that means renoise on osc with a lemur would be heaven.yeah lol

  • tekcor

    thanks for your answers.

    @mudo:i agree with you. ~100 euro for a version where just some features are muted, which is not realy usable (lite… and so on) and 400 for the suite and two hundret more for m4l. the pricings are too high, especially if you see that the target group gets more and more bigger AND younger (=more need on the market from people with lesser budget).

    i dream of the day when a uncommercial group of idealistic programmers release kind a OS-DAW-put-all-your-controllers-in-there-and -mess-around-live-mix-thing which is fully open source and totaly optimized for syncing with other artists.

    this would take all this on a complete new level.

  • I bloody love Renoise.

    Worth point out though that the matrix doesn't allow you to trigger asynchronously – unlike Ableton live (or even LSDJ/LGPT's live mode). It's good for building arrangements quickly by copying/pasting the different blocks, but for live use you can only mute/unmute.

    I think being able to trigger individual parts from the matrix would be an amazing step forward for live use, but I wouldn't want anyone to think that the update turns Renoise into "Ableton with a tracker" – because it doesn't!

  • So Gangsta!

  • RIP Ableton

    "is it possible and as comfortable as ableton to go on stage with it?"

    If renoise is SOLID and STABLE, then to me, that is much more comfrotable than taking ableton onstage. Ableton didn't invent the Matrix they call session view, they adopted it and scored. I'm glad more reliable developers are adopting the Matrix now, and I hope they realise the most important thing for performance is STABILITY.

    Ableton stink regarding their marketing schemes which dance on the fine line between telling the truth, and telling lies.

  • Agree with the lastest posts. The interest for me is:

    Clip matrix (or matrix with more features)

    OSC compatibility because this is the key (and midi of course) for get the Teksor solution.

    Maxforlive seemed the same but it seems only for "elit" instead of this, ReNoise seems a very good alternative lightweight and flexible solution with open source community (count for me).

    Maybe maxmsp, pd or wathever which talk OSC could get modularized into ReNoise and maybe ReNoise could become like VDMX or Modul8 (with different configurations for each playing scenario) and the ReNoise will rock all parties.

    Ableton are blowing themselves with "standar" solution ego and leaving user support… for me is the wrong way and wrong price.

    Just my2cents.

    @Teksor: arduino "kind" solutions and Processing (for driver) are the answer that you are searching but today it still a "outline" solution until corps understand the "diy community help" real use and get them that WE want need. We are not only users/supporters/costumers… WE ARE A FEATURE.

  • I want to say Tekcor not Teksor, sorry Tekcor!


  • s ford

    will there be a demo out for 2.5? there only seems to be a demo for 2.1 out so far…

    renoise 2.5/2.6 looks pretty damn great from the pictures above!!!

  • I am curious why Buzz is not getting more attention. It has been able to do software wide routing via Peer Control Machines and scripting with Python (Pybuzz) for years.

  • bliss

    Ableton death chants? Strange.

  • @ MAS; maybe because the timing of buzz has not been all that great. Didn't they loose their source code a view years back in crash? Resulting in not updating the product for a very long period of time??

  • danoise

    Judging from posts on and here, I would say that a lot of the excitement seems to be based on the fact that this release is percieved as a challenger to Ableton. And I agree that, for the longest time Live has been ruling the stage almost everywhere, to the point where you want to cheer on just about anyone daring to use alternatives.

    I also think we can safely say that Renoise just got the most functional overhaul yet, with the next version potentially even moreso. But, try for a moment to leave the obvious David/Goliath frame of mind, and let's go somewhere else than into Live-clone territory?

  • Matrix standard is Ableton Live but ReNoise seems to have more potential (and rich features) becoming an "alternative" if you prefer… but for me at this price there is no real options…

    50 against 600…

  • The new abilities to capture audio from plugins directly to instruments is great! But, does the sampler support velocity layers?

  • newmiracle

    I've been doing alot of investigating into flexible grid systems that would work well with my Ohm64. I gotta admit, it's a huge disappointment that the "red box" that navigates the clip view in Live is a proprietary mechanism that works only on the APC and Launchpad. Why can't I have that with my Ohm64?

    I've been looking for stable, affordable alternatives. Could this be it? Can't wait to hear more about this 2.5 release.

    Please, reviews and first impressions!

  • MattyBoJangles

    I was one of the people who asked for the new mix n matchable pattern screen a la LSDJ/LGPT in the first place. Yippee!!! I was heard!

    I agree with Matt Nida. Being able to have a "live" mode like in LSDJ/LGPT would be awesome. I would defilly rock Renoise in my live set-up if that were the case.

  • deamras

    they should integrate pure data in renoise 😉

  • just some dude

    how solid is the midi timing when controlling external hardware? compared to ableton?

  • lematt

    i have ableton (and enjoy it most of the time) but i do enjoy renoise for beatmaking…

    i'm still trying to figure out how you can make a 1 hour and more live set with renoise though… can you load several song while playing without having 90 tracks opened in Renoise ?

  • Jimi

    @ Jonathan Adams Leonard: No velocity layers in the sampler I'm afraid.

    This update is amazing.

    But I would caution people against thinking it's an alternative to Ableton Live. The two programs have very different paradigms. And the new Matrix view in Renoise is nothing like Live's Session view. Even though they both involve colourful squares.

  • Of course not is more than maxforlive monome kind controller integration, open source and cheap…

    in addition of all the others features. Without this ReNoise is not so interesting, sorry.

    Ask ReNoise webmasters to check backlinks and you could notice this "kind" of interesting from users who are searching ableton alternatives (like me)


  • And support!


  • excellent post, thank you for sharing

    i love reading your blog

  • jbl

    Also, check Renoise 2.5 Using the Novation Launch Pad

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  • LQM

    Let's also not forget that the extra money spent on Live gets you a big stack of sound content, instruments and FX not included in Renoise.

    This is something to COMPLIMENT using Live, not a replacement. Although big ups for bringing some great new features into Renoise which is still an affordable and powerful tool.

  • @LQM: Well, there's plenty of argument for the value of Live — the main thing is, you're getting Live, which to some people is as priceless as Renoise is to Renoise fans.

    But I don't think that statement is otherwise entirely fair. You can complement Live with Renoise, yes (viva ReWire). But depending on how you like to work, you might also replace it, too. And while Live 8 comes with a stack of sound content and effects, you don't get a whole lot of instruments unless you pony up for Live Suite – in fact, a number of DAWs and studios currently ship with more instruments than Live does at the same price. In fact, since some users prefer working with synths and your own samples, I question whether lots of sound content really matters to everyone.

    I'm not going to join in the Live-bashing, because I think Live's a great tool. (That's part of my point – is it worth the few hundred bucks, if it's the tool you most enjoy using? Absolutely. Does it do a whole lot, especially when compared to hardware investment? Heck, yes.)

    But you can absolutely do everything with Renoise at $75 as you can with Live Suite if you really want to, assuming you've got a mic/recorder to make samples and/or some spare plug-ins. It's actually part of what makes writing parts of reviews so hard, which is that on some level, a lot of this stuff ultimately doesn't matter. 😉

  • louis

    i want people's opinions on the "tracker" interface.

    i'm new to tracking, but I find a piece of software like Renoise incredibly attractive. I love the days of just having the Akai sampler and Cubase on the atari, and for me this is definitely as quick, easy and attractive as that.

    Renoise's inbuilt sampler and wave editor look great, but i'm worried about the tracking idiom itself as opposed to a piano roll.

    Will I regret putting in the time to learn it? will i get more than half way down the track and realise that tracking doesn't really compliment and fit in to what i do?

    Opinions from people that have gone from piano rolls to trackers? Is it worth it? Is it better?

    A lot of my music isn't entirely programmed from the computer itself. I do a lot of sampling, instruments and field recording, which i did back then with my akai and atari.

    yes, i create electronic music and such, but not everything is say, as glitchy and programmed and detailed as aphex or venetian snares.

    i'm more into the luke vibert, matthew herbert kind of thing.

    thanks. louis.

  • louis

    also… i'm also hesitant with the tracker interface because i like to do live takes with the sampler on my padkontrol for instance, and the thought of having delay commands everywhere seems daunting.

  • I'm not sure I have a good answer to that question, but I can say this with confidence —

    The only things in which I've ever *regretted* investing time have been things that, well, didn't work right. I've never, ever regretted investing time into learning a different interface metaphor, because even if I decide it's not for me, I learn something from it. But maybe that's just me…

  • louis

    thanks for your words Peter 🙂

    i'm sure you're right on the money there. it's no doubt just me being my lazy self.

    although i'm semi-happy with what I use now (in piano roll left to right form), something about Renoise seems very inviting. But in the end, I don't want to be fucking around too much seeing if I like something or I don't like something. I take ages with things like that.

    But hey, I guess there's only one way to find out!

  • There are I believe some new tutorials on the site… we need to do some, too. I think it's actually *not* a case where I'd say "just download the demo," as you want to sort of see it in action and decide if it's for you based on that.

  • Ok, I'm confused…can renoise's new matrix be populated with wave/mp3 files and then launched individually like in ableton? Are there duration limitations and is it like what was said before, that they 'cannot' be launched asynchronously?


  • Vincent Voois

    <blockquote cite="The price of Renoise will change from 49 Euro to 59 Euro when the final version is released – This price is for a multi-platform license. That means that a single license is valid for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.">

    The one who calculates smart, is the one who will do an upgrade right after having purchased a full license. If you have a 2.5 – 3.5 license, your upgrade will automatically transform into 2.5-4.5 or 5.5 if you upgrade two times. And you get the upgrade for a 20% discount of the current old price.

    If one can spare a few hundred dollars anyway on a music program, this is the most affordable trick you can ever pull on a music production software tool. I have no idea when 5.5 will be released, but i guess that will take a while….

  • umbriel rising

    Whoa ! Hold your horses peeps !!

    I have bought the Renoise 2.5 beta and also own Cubase 5 and Ableton Live 7 Suite.

    Anyone moving from Live's Session View or a linear sequencer lay out without previous knowledge of trackers is going to have a culture shock at first. And there are still some limitations with Renoise, it's routing is not as complex as Live or Cubase with peculiar use of send channels, and it lacks the warping and other extended audio and MIDI tools. For me, Renoise is a great product for it's money and has a lot of promise, but as we all know, talk is cheap. I wouldn't throw Live out with the bathwater just yet, the scripting part is yet to be implemented, needs to be debugged and then time is needed for devs to come up with useful scripting commands.

    I envisage still using Live for composing, Cubase for mixing, with Renoise mainly used as a Rewire slave in my workflow. The pattern matrix is cool in Renoise but in terms of building up tunes, Live's Session view still rules for me. One really good feature with Renoise though is that it allows you to host VST instruments in rewire slave mode – Ableton take note !!

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