Atmos 7.1.4 Hardware

I’m just starting down the Atmos mixing path and I have my Nuendo up and running with my monitors all connected for 7.1.4 but now I realize I’m missing the control needed for each output to set level, eq and delay on each output to calibrate. What are the rest of you using for this part of the monitor chain?

For my IO I am using Presonus Quantum 2626 and a DP88. The Presonus UniversalControl software does not have DSP on the outputs which is why I’m looking for a solution.

Cheers!

Level and delay you can do in Nuendo with the “MixerDelay” plugin. It does levels, delays (in distance or time units) and routing.

For EQ, you’d probably want something that can do a good job measuring response. Personally I am enthralled with Dirac Live and they do now make a VST version of it. $500 gets you Atmos capabilities ($350 for stereo) you’d also need a mic, they recommend a UMIK-1 which is like $100 but if you have a good calibrated mic like an M30 or something that’ll work.

As for doing it in hardware I’ve never found anything that I really liked that worked well with studio gear and also wasn’t super expensive. MiniDSP makes a Direc Live unit called the DDRC-88D which would work but it is only 8 channels so you’d need two separate units, and they are AES I/O which not a lot of soundcards have 16 channels of.

Personally if I was to actually build a full 7.1.4 setup and try to use it before my girlfriend murdered me I’d probably think about doing it with Genelec speakers since I am in love with their sound. They have the ability with their GLM software/hardware to do their own internal time alignment and EQ.

Expensive as all get out though and your post implies you already own monitors.

In your situation I’d probably start with MixerDelay since it costs you none dollars and then if you decide you want/need room correction consider the Dirac Live plugin, though that will have performance implications of course.

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There is SoundID Reference by Sonarworks for an all in one software solution. They have a growing set of hardware (interfaces, speakers) that imports their correction results to utilise their own dsp. Worth checking out that list.

This thread is talking about a method of doing it with REW and Rephase that is arguably more effective.

If you are talking new hardware then I am able to do the corrections with my own patch (or graph inserted in the monitor controllers 7.1.4 path) using the dsp modules of Metric Halo’s ULN8 (x2). There is talk from MH of adapting the new Amp IR plugin to house a Frequency IR that can be imported from REW.

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WOW! Thanks for all of this. I’ve been googling for days and looking at new hardware and found no software solutions. I did hear that the Apollo Audio x16 is going to be getting an update to support all of this. But the beta is not going to get released for a month or two.

And I agree with the Genelec setup. I worked at a studio where we had Genelec come in to help design the room, set us up and tune it for 5.1. Unfortunately this is for my home studio setup and unlike that studio that went out of business I have to be conscious of my spending. And yes my girlfriend would kill me for that.

I really like the look of Dirac Live and will give it a try, especially since it comes with a 14 day free trial.

That David Brancato youtube playlist will be one to set aside a couple of hours and walk through.
Again, thanks to both of you!

I can’t say how good the Dirac Live plugin is usability wise as I’ve not used it, but the Dirac Live algorithm is the best I’ve ever heard. Like normal room correction is “fine” MultEQ XT32, which is what you find in Denon receivers and in IK’s ARC does a decent job improving a home theater setup but it doesn’t wow me. Dirac, it wows me. It is good enough that I could see using it on even top notch speakers/rooms and indeed I know a professional audio engineer (I’m a hobbyist) who does in his studio.

Do note that you will have to get a mic to do the free trial, it doesn’t come with any generic speaker setups as it isn’t that kind of EQ, it is all about measuring the entire system (speakers + room) response and trying to not only EQ it but phase correct it. So you will be out that money if you decide you don’t like it.

I have a good reference mic just for this kind of job. I’ll give the trial out and report back on how well it works. Fingers crossed!

I developed a super nerdy setup in this area. In this room I am almost exclusively editing and mixing. I wanted a full featured speaker system controller with hotkeys for various functions.

I have an RME Madiface XT interface (via external PCI-E) with 24ch ADC / DAC on MADI. That leaves a lot of RME channels for loopback roles. Added to that, Reaper’s flexibility with multi-channel routing - I decided to use Reaper as a signal matrix & speaker system controller as opposed to a hardware solution like BSS or QSC.

Reaper receives looped back channels from Nuendo (7.1.4), Sequoia (7.1.4+LoRo), Windows Audio (7,1), BluRay ADC (7.1), the office laptop (2.0).

Inserted on the Reaper master buss (7.1.4) is a Plogue Bidule layout which is handling bass management and sub tuning, and some flexible routing choices, all under control from OSC commands sent via the keyboard.

Reaper is also hosting various metering plugins on both inputs and master buss (displayed on peripheral screens), and finally into Dirac Live VST, in 7.1.4 **

Dirac Live works really well, I can’t say enough good things about it. The studio is heavily treated (design by J,H. Brandt), and DL is the chef’s kiss.

When I got into Nuendo, I had hoped to move all this functionality to Nuendo’s Control Room. But after 10+ years editing on Sequoia I can’t let that scalpel go, and Reaper is a more lightweight host for the speaker controller. Things may change in the future…

** Special note that Dirac’s channel order is non-standard ( L / R / C / Lfe / Sl / Sr / Tfl / Tfr / Trl / Trr / Ls / Rs ) - in Nuendo’s ch nomenclature. Add to this Nuendo’s swapping of sides and rears, and it was quite a bit of head scratching to get it sorted out. I’ve made Dirac aware of this anomaly and we’ve discussed flexible solutions that cater for all host’s quirks.

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I recently redid my room (only for 5.1, not 7.1.4) with Apollo X8 and SoundID Reference, and that combo works quite well. Right now Apollo tops out at 7.1, but if the x16 gets you past that once it comes out, that is reasonable cost solution.

I’ve added SoundID reference in the insert stacks of Nuendo’s CR, with different profiles setup for the nearfields, the 5.1, and the headphones, so it automatically follows speaker changes in CR and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn it off when exporting files. They also have a virtual audio device, where you can insert it at the OS level when you playback references or other non-DAW audio.

I do like Apollo’s control app. It truly is a capable monitor controller in software, and in 5.1 mode actually treats it as multi-channel. You can adjust all your monitor levels right there in a separate monitor calibration window. Added benefit of the Apollo is that you can use all the UA plugins right in your interface, so it provides many opportunities to refine each signal path beyond your DAW with trusted tools and no or minimal extra cost.

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Just a note, not really something the OP would probably want but in general: If you want Atmos-level multi-channel room correction hardware, Datasat makes products to do it. The Datasat RS20i has 16-channels of AES/EBU I/O (you can upgrade that to 24 channels) and it knows how to do Dirac on them. Also knows how to decode Atmos and all that over HDMI so you can use it to check final products.

As you’d expect it costs all of the monies, like $23k. But it’ll do the trick if you want high end multi-channel calibration that’ll work with pro cards.

It’s actually the little brother of the Datasat AP25 which is what you use in actual theaters. Even more expensive and most of the things, like Dirac, are “addons” that you have to pay even more for.

Interesting idea on using Reaper as a controller.
I’ll be trying out Dirac Live this weekend. Thanks for the great information!

The Apollo control app does look nice. If Dirac Live doesn’t work out it’s probably what I’ll switch my hardware to after I hear how the update goes to support 7.1.4. Thanks!

Just a warning: If you are a PC user UAD isn’t the best with their PC drivers. I don’t have one so I can’t speak from a ton of experience but they seem to be more Mac focused, which can potentially lead to issues.

That is correct, speaking from experience.

Nuendo has no problem interfacing with the Apollo/UAD TB ASIO driver directly and works well. It’s the OS playback (and any non-DAW app) that is problematic., which include things like SoundMinder or Soundly, etc. Windows itself cannot use the TB ASIO driver, it uses the WDM driver instead which can result in crackling in the OS/non-DAW playback.

There is a workaround that has been solid for me, but is yet another level of complexity. I installed VB Audio’s VoiceMeter Potato (funny naming) - has to be the 64bit version. It’s essentially similar to RogueAmoeba’s Loopback on Mac. It allows you to create a virtual interface that can then be patched into the TB ASIO driver of Apollo both for input and output. With that in place, everything worked nicely.

On MacOS the OS can directly access the same drivers as Nuendo. Though I still end up with Audio Loopback to enable some advanced routings.

And in defense of UAD, this is primarily because Windows and TB are not a natural pairing. I had specifically sought out a TB audio interface on Windows, because I had mixed results with USB interfaces, when you have too much other USB I/O on the system, you can end up with dropouts. Even with a dedicated audio-specialized root adapter. I generally prefer Windows for much of what I do, but audio post and Windows don’t always mix well.

I’m not sure how much of it is a Windows-Thunderbolt issue and how much of it is a “audio companies don’t know how to Thunderbolt on Windows” issue. Reason I say that is while I don’t have a lot of Windows-Thunderbolt audio experience the RME worked really well in the setup I saw. Also we use thunderbolt docs a TON at work (I’m an IT guy) and they work no issues with the Windows laptops.

I’ve seen this on both the software and hardware side that if a company is heavily invested in Macs they often don’t have the best PC developers and thus have problems that could be avoided, that they believe are “just issues with Windows.”

It’s one of the reasons I like both RME and Steinberg is both companies seem to have good Windows dev teams and produce solid products on Windows. It also sounds like they do on Mac as well, but I don’t have the personal experience to speak to that side of it.

UAD does make neat looking interfaces and they have some functions that I wish RME would bring to theirs. RME’s Totalmix is in need of an update to have better multichannel design. Ultimately though I got an RME instead of a UAD because of driver issues and I’m glad I did. If I used a Mac the calculus would have been different.

Going slightly off-topic from OP… I have TB on most my of Windows production systems for storage, video, and audio. And it’s a mixed bag all around. TB on Mac of course is the only game in town for the most part these days, which has its own issues.

Not familiar with RME, other than UAD I use primarily FocusRite which is mostly USB and works well both on Mac and PC. It has a decent control up, that could use an overhaul. Not as good as UAD.

I think the primary problem on Windows in this specific scenario is that Windows itself seems to require WDM drivers, and not support ASIO for OS playback. But a DAW like Nuendo works best on ASIO drivers, so you have to dual path in the driver stack, and that just seems to cause problems with primarily latency. But I haven’t dug that deep into it. It’s also the latency on the USB side that causes the issues on Windows. If you Google the crazy stuff people on Windows go through in their system settings to make USB interfaces to run reliably, it’s mind boggling. If RME has figured this out, good on them. I had loads of problems with FocusRite over the years. I started on Mac, moved over to Windows because of Apple’s roadmap, but recently came back to Mac because of some other hardware troubles. Still use (and prefer) Windows for all video work in color and vfx. And then there is Linux, which has yet different challenges.