A tip on using reference tracks in Nuendo


Here is a tip on using reference tracks in Nuendo that I really like. I know you can use different sources in the control room, but this is how I’ve been doing it for years. You need to listen through control room for this to work (ie mixbus should not be directly connected to monitors)

  1. Import the files into the project (and line them up as you like).
  2. Disconnect the output routing for the track.
  3. Activate solo defeat for the track.
  4. Now you have the reference track available using the Listen button and it bypasses the master bus.

You can have any number of reference tracks this way. I usually record all my mixes back into the project (or import offline exports). That way it’s easy to check changes against earlier versions etc. I know I did not invent this by any means, but I like it.

best regards



The real bonus is that switching sources is more or less gap-less like that, which makes comparisons easy and even minuscule differences quite obvious.

Yes, and even better when exclusive solo starts working again (so you can switch between different references without un-listen in between)

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I use the preference “Solo follows selection”, that way I can simply use cursor keys to switch between two adjacent tracks that are soloed. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing? How do you solo a track that is already solo defeated? Also I’m not intending to solo them.

I am instead using the listen bus to audition the reference tracks. And since they are “un-routed” they don’t feed the mixbus. So they stay silent until I press the L button on them. As a “bonus” I have solo defeat activated. That makes them not get muted if I have stuff soloed in the project. So I can go back and forth without changing anything else in the mix.

On previous versions of Nuendo (and cubase) you could option-click the L button, just like you can on solo. To get an exclusive listen activated on the track. That made it possible to instantly switch between different reference tracks. I can still go back and forth between the mix and any reference with one click though. Exlusive L was an undocumented feature (not in the manual) but it seems like Steinberg has confirmed they will bring it back.

best regards


Thank you for the tip. Very interesting. I too mix realtime back into the project for the same reason. I have my own way of comparing ref tracks to the current mix. Your way would work as well. Nuendo is great with many ways to skin the cat.

I’ve been doing this for about 20 years in Nuendo but using an easier way. After unassigning the track from the 2 mix I turn on Cue 1 on that track, then I assign Cue 1 to listen to the Cue sends instead of the 2 mix (click on the Cues tab in Control Room to do this), then I have a key assign to the Control Room that toggles between listening to the 2 mix and the Cue. Then it’s just key stroke to go back and forth between the 2 mixes. Much easier than using the listen button imo.


I’m probably behind the curve as I still don’t use control room after all these years.

I have a control room :slight_smile: …and console …but don’t use cr in Cubendo.

If I have a particular reference mix that I’ve exported in the past x weeks…that I like and have been listening to in the car etc…

I just import it into the Nuendo multitrack, placing it up top, somewhat nudging it to align with the multitrack…route it to pre-stereo or stereo out…and simply mute the track…unmuting it along the way…

parricularly if I then change instruments or timings around over the next weeks…I can think “wait, what was I doing on that ref mix from three weeks ago at 2 minutes in?”…and I simply scroll up…solo the ref track while playing…“oh yeah, THAT’S what I was doing there with that snare build”.

I can easily flip that trk between solo and mute and continue on.

Probably similar to op suggestion…but without using control room.

Cool, does this work if you have more than one cue? I often have 2 or more (artist rough, previous version and maybe a couple of artist references)

best regards,

Workflow is personal of course. But one downside I see is that listening to references with solo is that you listen through the master section and if you have any processing going on there it will apply to the reference as well. Also if you have any soloing or solo/mute defeats in the mix they will always play along side your soloed reference.

best regards,

If you have more than one cue the hot key will just cycle through them until it gets back to the 2 mix.

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This has become my way also. When I’m using reference tracks I’m long past tracking, so can assign this reference to No Output, and send it to a Cue Mix (in my case Cue 2). So, using Control Room, I can easily switch between my Output Bus and Cue Bus, just like you, I believe?
I don’t use the Listen bus for this as I have the rest of tracks playing at -20dB when enabling Listen on a given track, I like to ear in context.

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There is certainly no lack of possibilities within Nuendo :grinning:

One last(?) thing. If you have a Soundcard that can route back outputs to inputs you can have external software (eg spotify) playback through a channel and though Nuendos CR. Then you have level control, routing and all the metering you want within Nuendo.


Yes! I do this all the time to provide other DAWs with Nuendo’s Control Room features. :slight_smile:

CR is great. Just to be able to have plugins on the monitor chain without ending up on the printed mixes…

I wish there was a complete preset handling for the whole CR setup. (With some kind of auto apply?) when using on different locations, different sound cards and monitor setups. Everything works now but I move around a lot and bring my laptop with me. I love when stuff happens by almost by magic :sweat_smile:

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Yes, one of the oldest videos on my YouTube channel is about that as well: How I listen to reference tracks in Cubase in my Home Studio

The videos do look better these days … promise :wink:


Or… just create another stereo output and assign it to the same physical outputs on your converters as your main stereo output. Then create a new track for your reference mixes, and assign the output of that track to this new stereo output. This method bypasses the master bus, AND you can then use it to null test etc as well… becaue you can listen to both simultaneously (unlike the “listen bus” method)

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Easiest way I’ve found (and something which is unique to Nuendo vs Cubase) is to create another output bus, disconnect its outputs, and then in the control room create another monitor source and choose your new output bus. You will then have multiple monitor sources (e.g. stereo out, stereo out 2) in your control room and you can use a key command to cycle between them.

There’s no need to locate the track to enable listen on it (like other methods) and at any point in a mix you can simply toggle between the mix + ref. Due to it being done via Control Room you also have access to all your control room plugins (e.g. analysis) for both mix and ref depending on which monitor source is currently active.



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That cool! But if you have multiple references you still have to solo or mute on the channels too, right? And if you have channels soloed in the project you need to “un-solo”, or do you keep your “main” reference solo defeated?

I usually keep my references at the bottom for quick access and rarely go over 200 channels so its not too bad.


This is my way as well, only issues is Control room presets don’t seem to save the CUE send being activated, so I have to turn it on everytime I need it. This way proposed is interesting and likely would save properly I may switch.

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