Renoise as a Mono Synth pt. 2
Renoise as a Mono Synth
This is part 4 in a series of tutorials called ‘Renoise for Hip Hop Heads’. There’s important info and jargon introduction going on in part 1 and 2, not to mention we’ve created a sick ass drumloop already that we extended with synths in part 3. So if you did not follow the first two parts already, please do so, because we’re going to start off right where we left, again.
Nice, if you’ve done the whole tutorial thing with parts 1 to 3, you’ve got all the files you need already!
More Bassic Pitches Patches
For this part here.. go to one of the bass tracks, load pitches, envelopes, oscbased, and velvol. From pitches you can remove in this track everything but the first two devices and the one labeled “*RingMod“. From the envelopes, well, we’re just going to use the last one so if you like you can delete LFO (2) through LFO (4). On the envelope that’s left, make Dest. point to CT/Gainer/Gain, set Frequency to 4 LPC and draw an envelope like this one
Set the RingMods Oscillator to Square, now go left and look for the LFO device called *RingMod. Give it Destination CT/RingMod/Frequency and minimize it again. Now scroll all the way to the right and insert a Filter right before the *Velocity Tracker of the velvol.xrnt chain. Configure it as follows Model Moog Type LP Cutoff 0.25kHz and then duplicate it by holding Ctrl while dragging the device. If all goes well you’ve now got double filtering, two of the same filters chained together in serial. Go for a Distortion device in the middle of them with Mode Razor, Drive 24%, Tone 56%, Wet Mix low like -34.98dB and Dry Mix full 0.000dB. Hit a G on octave 1 and see how that sounds.
I’ve recorded just a few bass hits here and there and turned the volume down about -3.5 dB
Let’s get one more synth that’s a kind of hypnotic ‘line’ through the song. With these kinds of synths you can rap about anything on a track and people will believe what you say as long as you turn the volume up to 11. It’s stupid but it’s true so let’s fuckin put it to use yeah? Since we’ve already used 3 ‘synth’ tracks we’re gonna make a new one, so navigate over to track 8 and press Ctrl-T. Double click on the tracks name on top and type ‘synth‘. You also might like to give it the same color as the other synth tracks, or, you might want to turn off all track color display in the pattern editor (it’s there somewhere in the right click menu) and/or mixer (ditto). Fire up a pitches.xrnt, then, a new one, called inertia.xrnt. We are going to use the *Inertia device to apply our desired amount of portamento on the track synth. Portamento on a monophonic synth is how long it takes for the sound, from the time you press a new key/note, to reach the frequency that belongs to that notes pitch. In other words instead of for instance a piano, where a change of key makes a change of pitch (frequency) immediately, a synth with higher value of portamento will ‘glide’ to the new pitch. Enough theory, you’ve dragged in this *Inertia device somewhere, rename it *Portamento right now so you won’t have any trouble finding this control back in the immense chain you’re gonna make.
Add an envelopes chain and drag the *Portamento to just before the first envelope (probably called ‘LFO (8)‘). Bind them:
and also please draw something wacky like I did there.. and configure the Amplitude and Frequency of the envelope likewise. Now slide to the left in the device chain and check out that good old *RingMod device that will tune for our keys.. Enable it, and bind it to CT/*Portamento/Input. Now what I did next was play some keys that go well with the string-like stuff in synth track 3 (track #7), one octave above so that’s in oct 4. Having the volume low, like down a LOT maybe even -40dB or so is advised, before adding the Scream Filter: Type HighPass Distortion 25% Cutoff 0.31kHz.. Then move the Scream Filter over to a new send track so the people can have a little of the dry sinewave too :). Keep in mind that when you do things like that, the new send track will have a post-volume of 0dB (i.e. way too much) and the sends Amount will by default be really high too. So if you’re smart, you add a Gainer device just before the send, then copy/paste the gain that’s at the post fx mixer device in the chain over to the gainers gain, and then decide how much you want to send and how much you want of the dry signal.
Scratching The Surface
Time for some random shit.. and with random shit I mean random LFOs. The ones we have used so far are the custom one and the ‘default’ sinewave LFO. There are three more modes (or ‘types‘) on the Renoise LFO device, of which the one called random is without a doubt the coolest. It can take loops to a timeless level; you can make loops that never sound the same. Of course that has downsides, but you’re gonna see one example of how to use it for good. Not evil.
Although we’re still synthesising this is going to sound more like a sample so you’ll allow yourself to use one of the tracks called ‘sample’. Go there and load up an envelopes.xrnt. On the first envelope, slide Amplitude back to 50% and Frequency to the left, til it says 16.67 LPC. Now bind its Dest to CT/LFO (3)/Frequency, and select random for mode (it’s the button on the right hand side of the LFO with the ‘starry night’ pixeled image – couldn’t find a better description)
Now add a oscbased. On LFO (2) select the sinewave for mode, Amplitude 19%, and CT/RingMod/Frequency as destination. Now in LFO (3) you can already see the Frequency moving like crazy, which also makes the LFO itself move faster & slower over time. Add a Filter to the end and just adjust the Resonance to 4.360. Now have the 3rd envelope that we just talked about modulate its Cutoff (Offset 29% Amplitude 37%). Next, add our favorite noise maker LofiMat and make it look like
Now it’s time for a Scream Filter that’s on HighPass dope.. and 8% Reso and what’s important leave the Distortion at 0, that is zero, percent. Now make the 4th envelope look like this: (…scratch.png)
and test your sound. A few more steps to perfection, Distortion @ Fold, Drive 32%, Tone -60%, Wet Mix -4.883dB, Dry Mix -10.22dB; Filter with Model Moog, Type HS, Cutoff 1.90kHz, Reso 64%, Gain -13.20dB; and a Filter Model Butterworth 4n, Type BP, Freq. 1.58kHz, Q 0.252.
Test your sound again and put it here and there in the loop. Remember, the ‘scratchy’ sound will sound a bit different every time.
So what about the simplegate? Alright. Dump it at the end of the Send track you’ve made for that ‘hypnotic’ synth line, the track with the Scream Filter and have a little fun with the *Gate D/W slider and the LFOs Frequency and Reset button.
So you have now seen a lot already of what’s possible in Renoise in short time. Of course, if you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to reach me by blog comment, or message me on the Renoise Forums (Cas).
For now, go and experiment for yourself! Next up there will probably be a “Renoise as a Sampler” exercises too, but for now, you might’ve gained some experience if you’re a famous DJ, but more especially when you’re a hungry kid with a computer and no gear at all.