Ableton vs renoise vs max?

I’ve been really into glitch lately especially stuff like Aphex twins collapse ep, id like to know how one can achieve this complicated of a sound, and which workstation would be the best for it?

Richard “Aphex Twin” James is famous for owning and using many different hardware devices, often modifying them himself or having them customized by others.

I think he has previosuly used the PlayerPro tracker for sampling stuff, - but installing that will not make you sound like him, since most of the sound-design and sequenzing was done on hardware synthesisers and drum machines.

It would be like tasting a wonderful dish you had at a fancy restaurant, and then going out and buying the same brand of knife you saw them use in the kitchen. You’ll have a really good knife, but you still won’t know how to cook.

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I am aware of this, I’m curious to see what program out of the three I named would be best suited for this type of music.

Renoise is pretty good, but the tracker interface takes a lot of getting used to. Not everyone likes it. They have a limited trial/demo version that lets you try it for free, but in order to get a real idea of it, you’ll need to spend more than a few hours.

I do recall aphex saying in an interview that he liked ableton’s ability to mess up sounds with its pitch-and-time shifting algorithms. Does this help you make a decision? Probably not.

this is the video where he shows vordhosbn in PlayerPro, it’s a bit of a pisstake too.

On Collapse, the glitchy seems to me to be mainly super complex patterns as opposed to dsp fuckery, and wild non-repeating patterns take a lot of time to create. IDM cats tend to do this for some reason, it’s like saying “haha I have the patience and vision to create highly complex non repeating music, can your 4 bar pattern do that? I think not!”

I’ve never used a tracker as it seems like a really unintuitive way to make music. But as you can see from the video, it is possible and perfectly viable.

For ease of use and flexibility, I go with Ableton, and it has max for live too. Not only is creating complex patterns with dense automation easy, but the included effects allow for wacky glitchy fun as well. I wouldn’t go with straight-up Max if I was looking to quickly make music though, because you’d have to build your sequencer first haha. But Autechre does it, so why not!

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Call me retarded (I am sometimes), but the DAW is mainly just a preference IMO. If you know how to use it well and it’s a capable piece of software , you’ll be able to figure out any sound with it.

I also like to spread out across multiple DAW’s just as a preference, so that’s another route.

How to instant aphex twin sound…even though I suck I have successfully replicated certain elements of sound…

Odd meters like 15/11 or 13/8 over a high tempo like 250.455bpm the high bpm makes it easier to do micoedits…literally make a pattern copy pasta but edit it so it sounds different just copy and paste patterns and edit them as you go doing things like snare hit on the third beat for the first bar…second bar has a snare roll etc…etc…that and lots of samples from circuit bent drum machines which can be replicated by switching between drum loops using abletons legato feature…and other insane routing in ableton or playing with ticks per beat and carefully selecting samples in renoise…more than one way to skin a cat and that’s just beat synth programming and mixing all those elements is such a pain but you have to spend hours tinkering and loading custom wave forms into osciallators playing around with macros of effects and synth parameters…then mixing it…every layer occupies a space in the stereo field and within the frequency spectrum…watch out for phase cancellation…and combine dry/wet signals for certain elements

Tl:dr ableton max for live and rewire reniose into ableton

Making a certain style of music isnt determined by the workstation…if I had the time I could learn ableton to match my skill in fl studio…but I dont have such time so…anyways…renoise is by far the cheapest option but I’d say go with ableton in case you decide to venture into other genres being that ableton is more flexible…also dont stick to making one genre…being that some genres utilize techniques that can help you further down the line in making the music that’s inside your head and help translate to it paper or so to speak



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I do not agree. Tools are very important. For example, with one particular tool (daw), I could do everything, I can not imagine how it would be with the other.

Definitely would want some off the grid capabilities for audio mangling. Live has the ability for you to hit record and stretch, pitch, and jump around your audio while you record it to another track in real time. Pretty neat.

I’m sure the others have that ability but it’s pretty simple in Live. As far as the drums, you’re doing to want something that goes off grid for editing or like bfk said, micro edits.

I’ve heard AT likes trackers or trackers are good for his type of programming. But like said above, he does his own gear and what not, or has in the past. But I believe you can get some neat accidents if you search out some of the techniques and then be prepared to do a lot of recording and edits, etc.

And get yourself some amen breaks pack. Seems a good pack for them Aphex drums.

Also, none of us will sound like him. We’re just not that cool. :crazy_face:.

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Also I’ve only ever used Sony acid before Live. Almost went FL recently but didn’t want to learn something new.

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All of the above? Igorrr uses Cubase, Wisp used/uses FL, Venetian Snares uses Renoise. I know some dudes from this forum who do these intricate beats in Logic, Ableton, and Reason. Not to mention the old school way of doing this shit with hardware sequencers. Regardless which way you go, it would still require plenty of hours to get good.

Many people claim that trackers in particular are very well suited for doing this kind of stuff because you basically define automation with numbers: at this point in time start with this value and then at that point in time end with that value. So, theoretically, once you get comfortable working that way and have some go-to patterns memorized, you can fly as fast as you can type. So if you’re not attached to any DAW at all at this point, maybe starting with Renoise could be cool. Especially since it’s one of the cheapest ones around. Give it a couple of month and then you’ll know whether the way trackers work matches your brain. If they don’t, then flip a coin and get any one of the “regular” DAWs (though I’d say Ableton is probably a bit better suited for this than the others).


Hey, just want to throw in here that Bitwig has a ton of great features that I think lend themselves to this kind of mangling, esp the ability to put LFOs any freaking place, use math modulators etc. If you are not familiar with BW, it more like Ableton than anything else, but IHMO better (for me) and the UI is not as ugly. For audio-mangling goodness, do not overlook the abilities in FL Studio either with Edison. You can get some crazy shit out of that plugin if you live scrub the audio…I have not used FL as a main DAW in a long while, but still dip in for this and Grossbeat on occasion.

In the end, it is the user not the tools as several have said. The secret sauce is finding the tools that you can work best with, so ymmv, try them all out. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Max works with other programs, isn’t really designed as a fully dedicated DAW on it’s own, it’s more of a multimedia visual/modular programming environment that has been around since the 80s. Ableton and Max work well together, hence Max 4 Live being a thing.

Like everyone else is saying, there are multiple ways to get the results you want though and it’s always up to your preference. Pure Data is a neat programming environment that also might be worth looking into, as it was developed by the guy who started Max… Also it’s free.