Renoise has already earned a passionate following among lovers of trackers. The once-forgotten alternative to conventional sequencers, these music editors were beloved for their quick workflow and vertical, atomic approach to assembling beats and patterns. But Renoise is increasingly poised to appeal to other kinds of music makers, too, not just tracker purists.

2.1 you can sum up pretty easily: now you can integrate Renoise with other stuff easily. There’s ReWire support (appropriately enough for a tool beginning with “Re” in the title). And if you’re on Linux, you can pipe control and audio through the ultra-elegant, ultra-powerful JACK. (If you’re not on Linux, you may have just gotten a good reason to give it a try.)

This is on top of a rapidly-growing set of features like multi-core balancing, automatic delay compensation, audio recording (cough, Reason), and MIDI inputs and outputs. In other words, this is a tracker you can use without giving up modern luxuries. Maybe it’s like the difference between having a tent in gorgeous mountainous wilderness, and having a mansion with a hot tub and a T1 Internet line.

ReWire is the headline, but some of the live performance tools may make an even bigger difference. Live control tools and live pattern sequencing could make Renoise a lot more useful in performance, even without just ReWiring into Live and recording clips. The pattern triggering looks especially nice, because it brings a feature Game Boy trackers have often used live. (Add JACK on Linux, and you could add your own custom instruments.)

And, oh yeah, the whole program runs on every OS, has an incredibly responsive and involved community that impacts the direction of the tool, and is distributed on a shareware model rather than with painful copy protection.

Full disclosure: I’m slightly biased by enjoying a couple of beers with Renoise’s Dac, and by the fact that I think this looks completely delicious.

Here’s the full changelog.

Full ReWire Slave & Master support (on Windows & OSX)

ReWire allows you to connect and synchronize multiple software applications, so that you can run them side by side while passing Audio/MIDI information between them.

For example, you could connect Renoise to Logic, program your drums in Renoise, while arranging the bulk of your song in Logic. Or you could connect both Reason and Ableton Live to Renoise, arrange your track in Renoise, control Reason’s built-in synthesizers, and play around with loops in Live. All it takes is some ReWire enabled software and you are good to go.

ReWire has two modes, both of which are fully supported by Renoise: *ReWire Master* (ReWire Mixer) and *ReWire Slave* (ReWire Synth)

Jack Transport Support (Linux only)

Similar to ReWire, Renoise now supports the Jack transport protocol. Jack transport allows Linux users to start, stop and reposition multiple audio programs, all connected/running through Jack. 

New Pattern Sequencer Features:

Decoupled Sequencer Playback Now Possible: This new feature allows the user to detach the current playback position from the edit position. This lets you edit a pattern while other patterns are playing.

Live Pattern Triggering:

Patterns can now be "scheduled" for playback via a new column in the Pattern Sequencer. Without stopping playback you can now trigger new sequences in the song "in real time". 

New meta devices (Modulation / Automation Device fun)

  • Hydra Device: Automate/change/broadcast multiple FX parameters with a single parameter. Think of this as a magic slider, which connects itself to up to 9 other parameters – allowing you to change multiple settings with just one slider or automation.
  • Keytracking Device: Modulates parameters depending on an instruments key (note) value. Like what the "*Velocity Device" does with Velocities, the Keytracking device does with Keys/Notes.  
  • MIDI Control Device: This device replaces the old "MIDI-CC Device", finally offering Pitchbend, Channel Pressure, Program Change & regular controller (CC) in a single device.

I hope to check this out in June when I can sit down and get back to production.