27 Sep

Lost in chaos

I’ve been through some pretty hectic days, and it’s not over yet. Planned to post some short tips and some “in progress” work tips, but as usual I miserably failed to make time for it.

Now I’m in the middle of a final mix session, a full 68 minutes of music for a 100 year-old silent film. Obviously the schedule just turned into a turmoil, so long hours and unexpected tasks just turned up in every minute. But enough complaining…

Interesting posts are on the way. As soon as I’ll have some time and energy I’m going to finish a few blog posts about:

  • feature film score recording
  • feature film score mixing
  • installing Pro Tools HD and controllers into our refurbished studio
  • some Mac related Pro Tools tests (hopefully including new laptops…)
  • our different workflows at the studio
  • why we chose to purchase controllers with real knobs and faders instead of a touch surface
  • additional Pro Tools tips

All these articles are whether prepared or planned so stay tuned, I think you’ll find it very interesting and informative.

On a closing note I would like to thank the huge amount of emails, I try to answer all of it, and of course, will write about the suggested things. But for today, I’m going to finish the final mix!

15 Sep

Continuing the Nuendo saga

After the first screaming loudly for help post last week I really tried to dig every possible source on the internet to find out what may cause our problems with Nuendo.

In case you missed the first post, basically we cannot record multitrack audio reliably with Nuendo 5 or 6. The issue is quite nasty as the DAW is “pretending” to be recording, but after a while it stops drawing the waveform, then drops the waveformless part of the recording completely.

Issues, bugs and possibilities

Since the first post I’ve been contacted by many active and former Nuendo users who know something about these bugs. Although I won’t mention everyone by name, but a huge THANK YOU for all of you for trying to help us out, give us valuable suggestions.

  1. Draw waveform during recording option. A very good idea is to turn off this option. Makes sense as we all know that drawing waveform during recording requires computing power and RAM. The only problem is after these recording failures we insisted on the visual feedback. Only had time for very short tests with this option turned off, everything seemed to be ok. Though I found users who turned it off and still had the problem.
  2. Switch off Multiprocessing. Nuendo has a long history of inefficient multithread usage. We’re still investigating the possibility, although it would require us to completely abandon some of our well working methods. Still, I won’t rule out the possibility that this may cause our issues, so I marked this as a necessary thing to check and test.
  3. RAM issues. I don’t mean the hardware. But as my research got deeper, I’ve found many users suffered from a insane RAM thirstiness from Nuendo version 4.

Investigating the RAM issue

I’ve found multiple tests and research at different forums (some archived) about the RAM usage of Nuendo from version 3 to 6. It seems certain that Nuendo 3 used much less RAM for the very same tasks. It seems quite obvious as from Nuendo 4, Steinberg improved the waveform resolution and started to make nicer GUIs. Though the test results made me wonder if this increase might have serious effect on our systems.
Some deep testing by long time users revealed that Nuendo 5 uses 400% more RAM than version 3. Yes, it’s not a typo, 400%!!!

For example, the peak file size in Nuendo 3 is 1/4 the size of Nuendo 5 peak files. Just to feel how serious this can be, it mean that if I record something with N3 and it would have a peak file size 25MB, then the same peak file would be a 100MB in Nuendo 5 or 6. It might seem small enough for a workstation to handle, but keep in mind that we try to use Nuendo to record 128 tracks simultaneously. Add up the numbers and you’ll see that there’s not enough RAM in the World.

Sadly the official response is more than embarrassing to put it at its mildest. Denial, banned users from their forums and not accepting that there is some problem.

What’s next

The plan is to schedule some more tests at our facility and to contact Steinberg about our findings. The problem is though we have a very packed schedule so somehow we must find time to make these tests happen. Honestly I don’t know if we would be able to sort this out, or at least to find some leads, but I’m seriously think that the software developer should take these issues much more seriously.

Before anyone ask: I won’t post any names involved in these older or recent tests. Anyone with research can find the forums and archives on the web. Frankly I don’t know if I’m allowed to cite forum users freely, so I rather just don’t do this.

On a positive note, I’m back to my lovely Pro Tools world (I know we our problems too…) as I have many things to do there including blog posts. Stay tuned!

09 Sep

Asking for help with Nuendo 6

As many of you may know, although I’m a die-hard Pro Tools fan, at least weekly I have to also use Steinberg’s Nuendo. No problem, I’d been using Nuendo for years back at version 2 I think, then left out a few years.

The problem is I’m far from being an expert when it comes to problem solving around the Nuendo machines. We’re suffering from a pretty serious bug, and it seems no one can point us into the right direction.

The problem

We need to record multitrack almost daily. Channel count goes from 32 to at least 128. Now in Nuendo 6 (we had the very same bug in version 5 too) if we record more than let’s say 48 channels, sometimes we loose parts of the recording.

Recording starts, everything seems to be fine, then suddenly Nuendo stops displaying waveforms during the recording, and when you hit stop, after a long unresponsive state it looses all the audio where there isn’t any waveform on the screen.

Here’s a screenshot about the problem:

N6fail

The real headache

We use Steinberg approved HP workstations, RME sound cards, dedicated recording drives, optimised Windows os. No plugins used during the recording, in fact, no one even touch the workstation during recording. Everything goes by the book, and still we experience this nasty bug in every two or three days.
I’ve tried to search through the net for possible solutions but didn’t find anything really relevant.

Although I use Pro Tools, so I’m only partially affected by this problem, I just can’t sit and watch how these very expensive rigs cannot even perform well on a basic stuff like recording multitrack.

03 Sep

On the road with a MacBook Pro #8

I know automation is not the first thing come to ones’ mind using a laptop, but still, we cannot ignore it. It almost doesn’t matter if it’s a voice over or some music or post mix/edit, it is likely you’re going to deal with automation.

For checking the volume automation:


hit -


The minus key toggles between waveform view and volume automation view. Very handy on the road and useful in the studio too.

waveform view

volume automation view

Don’t forget to have the keyboard focus on or else it won’t work.

29 Aug

Fabfilter ProQ 2 THE UPDATE

Yes, I mean it, with all capital letters. Honestly I’m very seldom get excited by any software update. When I saw Fabfilter’s sneak peak video about the new ProQ2 EQ, I thought that it’s very nice, I have to try it in the minute they’re going to release it.

The original ProQ has been my go to eq for some months now, no matter what production I’m in. It served amazingly well in music productions, sound design, dialogue mixing, during full re-recording sessions, so literally in every possible scenario.

Now here comes ProQ2, which is considered as a new product, but Fabfilter customers get a very fair discount upgrade price.

ffpq2 q

The update is not a cosmetic thing at Fabfilter, here’s the list of the new things:

  • Different interface sizes and additional Full Screen modeNEW
  • Operates in zero latency mode, linear phase mode with adjustable latency or the unique Natural Phase modeNEW
  • Spectrum Grab: just grab and adjust a peak in the real-time spectrum analyser right away!NEW
  • Filter shapes: Bell, Notch, High/Low Shelf, High/Low Cut, Band Pass, Tilt ShelfNEW
  • Universal filter slope support for all filter types, up to 96 dB/octNEW
  • EQ Match feature to automatically match the spectrum of another track via the side-chain inputNEW
  • Phase Invert option to change polarityNEW
  • Highly improved CPU optimisation: Pro-Q 2 uses less memory and is more than twice as efficient as its predecessor!NEW
  • Optional Gain-Q interactionNEW
  • Auto Gain and Gain ScaleNEW
  • Built-in spectrum analyser with Pre-EQ, Post-EQ and SC modes, adjustable range, speed, resolution, tilt and freezeNEW
  • Optional piano roll display to quantize EQ frequencies to musical notesNEW
  • Large output level meter with peak level readoutNEW

What really should be normal daily operation in the software world, but we all know it’s not, every new function works flawlessly, just as they promised. No weird things, no unkept promises, it’s just works.

ffpq2spectrumgrab

You really have to try it to believe. It’s not only a spectacular sounding eq plugin, but this one also has all the features we wished in post production. So, if you want a trusty eq which is not only good sounding but also “clever”, then try ProQ2.

I truly wish that more developers would go on this route like Fabfilter and Exponential Audio, that we, users really get value for our money.

Just for you to know, this is not a sponsored post, I’m a genuine Fabfilter customer, get the same prices and discounts as any other customer.