Having used several different sequencers over the years, I've realised that there are very few tasks you can do in one programme that you cannot do in another. Even experienced users can't tell the differences between two identical mixes if each of them have been finalised on a different Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). What makes applications different in the user experience is, in my opinion, the quality of the GUI (Graphical User Interface).
"As a sound designer, you need to use a totally different set of tools when it comes to editing your material to video," explains Younis, who has been tinkering with Nuendo's version 4.0. "You need specific functionality that may not be available in all DAWs such as having the video move along with the locator, thus giving you the chance to sync your sound effects' in/out points in sample accurate edits. What's makes the Nuendo unique as a DAWs is that you have everything in front of you on the screen, giving you the chance to do complex edits, and tweaks to your project with a mouse click.
Nuendo version 4.0 comes with a host of new features. It has all of the editing possibilities required for audio post production, and presents them to users on an intuitive GUI. Compressors, EQs, reverb, filters and routing options are available in a 10.2-surround mixing environment.
We ran the test onw a Mac Pro 2x2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon with 7 GB 667 MHz DDR2 of RAM. Installation was a breeze; we moved through the setup options quickly with the full installation -- not a single glitch!
One interesting feature of the Nuendo is that it allows a user to use it on multiple operating systems without losing functionality or any limitations. It can also be used with any standard audio interface in the market. The interface we utilised for the test is the TC Electronic Konnekt 24D.
Nuendo 4 supports recording of up to 24-bit audio data with a 32-bit float and editing of sample rates of up to 192 kHz. It depends on the audio interface and power of the host computer to run a large number of tracks at high sample rates. It also supports a variety of different audio files formats, and can export several different formats in sample rates of up to 384 kHz with 32-bit.
"The strength of this product lies in its audio editing tools and audio-to-video capabilities," says Younis. "A toolbar on top of the arrange window on the Nuendo gives you access to all the different parameters you would want to tweak on any clip, audio or midi.
Some of the main features of this toolbar include the ability to change the gain for each clip separately through a little envelope on each clip. The toolbar can be used to change the tuning of each clip separately. It can also be used to lock events thereby allowing the user to control their behaviour when changing the tempo.
Fade controls are easy to manoeuvre with this toolbar, says Younis. "We can select any clip and scroll with the mouse over the fade-in/fade-out values to control the duration of every clip. We can also see the fade envelope move in real time while changing the value of the fade thus making the process more visual.
"The real benefit of the toolbar is that all of the parameters changed on it can be applied in real-time on as many clips as the user wants. The user just selects the clips they want to alter, and changes the parameter," says Younis.
"There is no need for third party plug-ins, or offline processing to edit the clips. Furthermore, each of the parameters can be altered by entering numbers thus making the edits perfectly accurate in terms of value and location.
In a Nuendo mixing environment, there are different signal routing options. At the core of the mixer is the 'Control Room', which offers most of the advantages of a hardware-mixing console. One significant feature in the control room is the headphone bussing system, where the end user gets a separate mix going to their headphone amps, without affecting the main mix. The user can also have up to four monitoring setups for different speakers or auditioning systems as well as four sub mixes at this stage.
And with a dedicated click bus, a user can route the metronome click to any of the sub mixes headphone amps, and control its volume separately. Another very useful asset is the talkback function; it's a talk-back button just like the one found in large hardware mixing consoles. It has an automatic volume dimming option to prevent feedback when communicating with artists in the live room.
Last but not least are the video options in Nuendo. When a user imports a video file into their session, it is possible to split the video, copy it, duplicate it and move it around the time line.
This is particularly useful when composing music for TV with different endings. You can just duplicate your video along with the chosen music. Nuendo also features Sony 9-Pin master control of external video playback devices, with numerous syncing options. And when it comes to displaying your video, Nuendo can route the video signal to a dedicated video card or TV output. Furthermore, if you are using an Apple computer, you can patch your video signal through your firewire port to an external monitor through a D/A video converter that relays the signal to a TV monitor," explains Younis.
Steinberg also introduces an additional product: Nuendo Expansion Kit. This additional module contains optional music compositional functionality, including full Cubase scoring and notation, the Cubase MIDI Drum Editor, and four integrated VST instruments.
To conclude, Nuendo 4 is an alternative solution for audio post professionals and semiprofessionals. The application is not cheap in terms of retail price but has proven to be a very reliable platform. "Users like myself who have started to use the application since its first release prefer to upgrade to the latest version and most of us haven't moved to other solutions the market is offering," claims Younis.
Giorgio Ungania is corporate training and marketing manager of SAE International. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
One mouse click editing
Network collaboration for multi-seat projects via LAN or WAN
Cross platform on Windows and Macintosh operating systems
Needs fast host computer to run smoothly
A little bit pricey
Dongle protection key can be difficult to handle on laptops
Price: Approx. US $2160
Local Distributor: MediaCast FZ LLC, Dubai