Ever feel music creation apps are too similar? Imagine an alternative universe in which music making software evolved along different lines. In this universe, the “tracker” isn’t some arcane novelty, but the detailed, bottom-up music editing approach that becomes the basis of music construction tools for any genre. Now imagine a breakthrough software release in that alternate universe.

Maybe it’s the Large Hadron Collider, but the release of Renoise 2 means that this is actually our universe: we have a cheap, community driven, unique app that runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. And it’s getting a big update Thursday – almost in time for my birthday (Tuesday).

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you picked the right moment to tune in. Renoise always had potential as a unique tool for music making, and with the shipment of Renoise 2, some very key pieces are falling into place. I’ve just gotten an exclusive look at what’s coming in the final release. Dac Chartrand has shared some details that weren’t previously public.

You heard it here first:

  • Renoise 2.0 FINAL launches January 15, 2009, “8 years in the making, 4 months of beta testing.”
  • Launch details on January 15 will be at http://www.renoise.com/launch/
  • It’ll work with netbooks. Dac tells us: “Renoise can now be resized to fit on small Netbook screens. Here’s an interesting thread where a user reviews Renoise on his new MSI Wind U100:” http://www.renoise.com/board/index.php?showtopic=19175"
  • Additional tweaks and bug fixes made it in, including Universal Audio UAD2 DSP support and latency compensation.
  • Renoise 2 will support fraction BPMs, like 127.56.
  • It’ll have new demo songs. “Two of the songs were selected from submissions by the Renoise community in a competition called "Beta Battle, Round 1 & Round 2". The developers chose their favorites and have included them in the final release of Renoise 2.0. More info here:” http://www.renoise.com/indepth/category/competitions/
  • New native DSP effects: RingMod, Scream Filter

Read on for more details, plus tips on making this work with the tools you already use…

Renoise 2.0 New Features

Here’s the rest of what’s new in Renoise:

  • Automatic plug-in delay compensation for everything – effects and instruments
  • Latency compensation and fixing when recording
  • Improved audio performance, lower-latencies on multiple CPUs on Mac and Linux
  • Channel and polyphonic aftertouch
  • Note quantize options, real-time quantize on record, nudge, and keyboard shortcuts

Plug-in improvements, including one big one:

  • Mac AU support, removing the big obstacle for Mac users
  • Multi-output VSTi/AU (that’s good news for Kore users, among others)
  • Send notes to VST/AU effects (instead of just instruments
  • Plug-in management improvements, including info, custom sorts, sort by manufacturer, hide, move, rename (and that was listed under “minor features”)

A lot of the best features are related to timing improvements. You will need to update old songs, but for new songs, there’s a lot of power. And this really gets into the significance of Renoise as a tracker, something I hope we’ll cover this year:

  • Custom track delays for audio and MIDI to offset an entire track
  • You can now set time via “Lines Per Beat” – how many lines in the pattern make up a musical beat. (That’ll make sense to tracker users and not to anyone else, but until we whip up a demo, just trust me that that’s a good thing.)
  • There’s a delay column for fine-tuning specific grooves at up to 4096 parts per quarter (PPQ).
  • You can set pitch and volume glides, independent of the “tick” of the sampler.
  • In the future, Renoise will support “zoomable patterns,” piano roll for those who want it, greater timing accuracy, and other new improvements.

There are also tons of other improvements, performance tweaks, shortcuts, and other little features:

New in 2.0: Complete Feature List

Integration and Tips

Of course, the hype that usually accompanies software launches at NAMM and elsewhere usually has to do with convincing you the tool is the One True Tool you need, replacing everything else. That’s nonsense, of course. Just as in the pre-computer days, what made a studio productive was the right combination of gear and easy ways of connecting it, software lovers find combining software to be what makes them happiest and most expressive.

Dac passed along a few ideas for integrating Renoise. These immediately make me think of other possibilities, but here are a few gems to get you started:

Guide To Connecting Reason To Renoise: http://www.renoise.com/board/index.php?showtopic=15683

A workaround for sending SYSEX to your synth: http://www.renoise.com/board/index.php?showtopic=11777

GarageBand in conjunction with Renoise: http://www.renoise.com/board/index.php?showtopic=12590

Convert Renoise files to MIDI files using PHP: http://xrns-php.sourceforge.net/xrns2midi.html

How to use Windows VST on Linux: http://www.renoise.com/board/index.php?showtopic=15347

If you can’t wait until next week, there’s a release candidate available for download in demo mode right now:

See also:

Renoise + FM8 Drum Kit, Free Download: FM Meets Tracker [our own kore.createdigitalmusic.com]

Renoise 2.0 Public Beta Amps Up Popular Tracker for Windows, Mac, Linux

Wallace clued us in back in summer 207 that this would be big

And for pure, absurd fun:

Renoise Tracker Made Into Animation