How to monitor a Dolby Atmos mix using the binaural playback settings for objects and beds,

I am on PC and I have a good bit of MADI capability, and MADI can do “LOOP BACK”. I’m wondering if on PC with Nuendo 11 and Mastering Suite I could come up with similar success as you’ve had on the Mac. I also don’t know how concerned I should be about cpu usage in this scenario. I am running an i9 xtreme 10 core, tons of ram, I think 48 pcie lanes available. Robust, but we know how fast that gets chewed up sometimes.
Thanks,
Paul

You certainly have enough under the hood to get the job done on paper. I would start by testing between two DAW’s if you have another you can run. Pass the audio from Nuendo into the other DAW and back with some type of FX added to the signal from the second DAW.

This can be used on PC for a test and will give you 24 loop back channels.

https://www.nerds.de/en/loopbeaudio.html

Like mentioned previously, you may need to aggregate all of this w/ ASIO4ALL to compensate for soft-device clock drift against any hardware. Just make sure the hardware is the Master aggregating.

Doing all of this can at least give you some idea of what to expect from the system before jumping into a purchase. Excited to hear what you ultimately decide to implement and best of luck with any tests along the way!

If I go to another pc for Mastering Suite that will cost me about $2400 in additional MADI 128 channels back/forth
By “loop back” out/in to the same interface on the same computer I’m able to stay in one box at lessor cost. Great IF IT WORKS! That is what James Good at Vintage King Nashville said he’d like to help me try, BUT if there is no free demo for Mastering Suite, that is one very expensive test. Thanks for all your sharing of what your learned, you are ahead of most of us right now trying to fully incorporate Nuendo into a full Atmos workflow and as we know, but apparently Steinberg does not, is that a quality Atmos binaural 3D headphone mix is essential for most of us. Its the gaming industry (bigger than Hollywood movies now for awhile), the growing surround sound music consumption, not to mention the home theater market. Even if you have an Atmos Speaker system in your living room, headphones are key if you don’t want to wake people up late at night.

Update:
For monitoring and re-rendering for binaural stereo headphones, a work-around that is helping with some decent accuracy is placing a DearVR Monitor plugin after the Dolby Atmos Renderer, and then an Ozone 9 EQ Match plugin after that. Still need the real deal Dolby Atmos Binaural downmix option, but this will help in the meanwhile. To get it all adjusted, you’ll want to get your hands on an ADM Broadcast Wave file that also have a very well done binaural re-render made from it. Then make your own binaural file with just the DearVR Monitor (I used Analytical Room output setting. Then compare the files in EQ Match and let it do the EQ correction. I applied 100% myself and smoothed out the eq at about 40-50%.

So you actually change the stereo (binaural) track then?
Can you show what the EQ did to the binaural reder created by the DearVR Monitor plug?
Just out of interesst…

But, are you aware of the fact, that the dolby atmos render have a meta data about near, mid, far placement? This won’t be taken to account by any other binaural renderer, because of the lack of information about this setting.

So, of course, there won’t be a 100% match if you use specific setting for the beds/objects.
But, you might get somewhat close with you setup.
So it would be interessting to see what ozone think is missing spectrum wise ! :slight_smile:

best
peer

Na, the eq curve won’t help you. Turned out the reference I got had some eq added after the fact. I got another reference that still isn’t raw binaural downmix, but very high quality. Turned out using Ozone 9 Match eq there was no difference at all in the eq. The Atmos curve completely covered my binaural downmix curve. Much the same result in IK TR5 Master Match software, an apparently exact EQ match. I’m still working on this, but it is just a work-around, we all need the true Dolby Atmos binaural downmix capability. Inside a week I’m hoping to have a true binaural downmix rendered to a file and will compare it to my own using the DearVR Monitor plugin. You are of course correct my work-around does not process things such as near/mid/far that are assigned to the objects. Very frustrating. Makes me wonder if Dolby is just trying to get us interested in Atmos and then sell us the big stuff since this current workflow in Nuendo stops short of being professional.

This is the exact purpose i think. Why would they otherwise give away their ‘groundbreaking’ technology? Dolby is not in it for the fun of it :slight_smile:

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Oh I don’t know if that’s true though. As far as I can see we can now mix in Atmos up to 7.1.4 and render out to ADM while measuring in compliance with Netflix specs and then deliver the ADM BWAV to Netflix as part of a deliverable package. I don’t see how that’s a really, really big step forward for Nuendo and Steinberg. I mean, I got that for about $200 I think.

I’m guessing what they did was they tried both make sure that theaters did what was necessary to implement Atmos correctly and make sure they’d sell the RMUs with licensing etc as a first stage, which makes sense, and then since they make money off of licensing the tech to consumer products (i.e. phones / headphones / sound bars etc) and content providers it also makes sense to increase the supply of that type of content. Blockbusters won’t cut it because there aren’t enough of them.

So while I think it’s “odd” that there isn’t specifically a Dolby binaural downmix I don’t think I’d go as far as writing off Atmos completely. And hopefully they’ll add the binaural mixdown later…

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So while I think it’s “odd” that there isn’t specifically a Dolby binaural downmix I don’t think I’d go as far as writing off Atmos completely. And hopefully they’ll add the binaural mixdown later…

To be clear i’m not writing atmos off and wasn’t intending to communicate that. What i’m saying is similar to your opinion, but less elegantly put :slight_smile:
One thing to mention is that binaural mixdowns are very important simply because not everyone has an atmos setup at home, so listening on headphones is still the audience system of choice.
Soundbars are great as a stepping stone into atmosland but for us content producers are not a very nice way of judging our content at the consumer level.
All in all, i think the addition of atmos in nuendo is awesome, just get us the binaural mixdown as well. pretty please :slight_smile:

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Hi all,

I did some brief testing of the setup as described here by Rexler (also found a HowTo on Youtube). Was not too impressed with the result. It may also depend on my sort of lower-end gear.

Has anyone of you tried the relatively new product “Immerse with VST AmbiDecoder”?

It also includes to create a HRTF, to calibrate sound against your ears and head. :wink: This sounds good, but does it also sound good if monitoring your Dolby Atmos mix with it? Is it it worth the investment?

Edit: Did also double check the remark made by Sebastion Mönch in the YouTUbe Video "Nuendo 11 Dolby Atmos. At the time position 40:20, he briefly mentions it. Unfortunately, he does not describe the HowTo further down in the video. He also mentions a plugin used for this. Is that the “Immerse with VST Ambidecoder” plugin, or some thing else. Couldn’t grasp precisely, which one he meant.

LG, Juergi

Hi there Jeurgi,
You are exactly correct here. All he is doing is a variation on what I had laid out before with monitoring the ambisonics bus via the headphones but with the Immerse plugin on the ambi bus. My guess is that he is using some type of loopback driver to then pitch that stereo binaural feed into his streaming platform, aka OBS, vMix, Wirecast…. As far as the plugin goes… I do own it and find it to be very solid indeed. Especially if you also work in ambisonic! Two things to be aware of however.

1: The custom HRTF is only usable within the plugin. I only state this in case you wanted to leverage the HRTF down the road for any other ambi monitoring plug.
2: It still does not sound like the binaural mix that is generated via DAPS or Mastering Suite. This is primarily due to the fact that you lose the binaural metadata in this process and is what makes that render unique to itself. In essence, what you are getting is a version as if you were listening on an Atmos home theater setup without any of the room or speaker coloration.

I hope this was helpful and clears up some confusion. All in all, if you want to hear it exactly as your audience will on their AirPod Pro’s, you will need to leverage DAPS or Mastering Suite with Dolby’s binaural encoding. For folks with less than ideal rooms or monitoring, all of these different binaural monitoring tools can assist a headphone mix towards something that will better translate for others in their home theater’s. Kinda like checking a stereo mix on a multitude of speakers.

Very helpful. Thanks @Rexler

Hi Everyone,
I’ve tried many things to to get a fair binaural monitoring in Nuendo, I was using DearVR Monitor which is just ok, would be a lot better if wasn’t for the roomy sounding even on Analytic profile. Well… I found a channel on YT and Mr Michael G Wagner gave me a very good alternative, witch is closest I got of the Dolby Mastering Renderer binaural monitoring and for free, just by using DearVR AMBI MICRO.

  • Send the output of you main output bus ( the one with the Atmos renderer plugin) to a Ambisonic Bus
  • Change the pannig decoder from Ambidecoder to DearVR AMBI MICRO
  • Set the input in DearVR AMBI MICRO to B-Format (AmbiX) and TOA 16Ch
  • Set the output in DearVR AMBI MICRO to Binaural DearVR
  • Set the output of that Ambisonic Bus to your main Stereo Out

This is the best I get so far.
Check Mr Michael G Wagner’s video out.
Starts at time 11:30

Good stuff. I will give that a try. Thanks Shelly.

Hey Everyone, Hey Rexler,

first of all thanks for the discussion, it’s a great help for figuring out the best way to work with atmos in nuendo. My conclusion for now seems to be, that if you want to work with atmos, you can not really get around the production suite, which is a shame. I have heard the Dolby is working on making the integration of the binaural Decoder possible in the future, but who knows… So for now I think i will get the production suite and this setup you proposed, Rexler, sounds really good! Could you elaborate a bit on that? Are you working In Nuendo in the integrated atmos workflow and using the production suite only for monitoring? do you use the dolby atmos bridge to go from the production suite back into nuendo? if you make the binaural downmix in the production suite, does it still go back on the same 7.1.4. channel (same as not downmixed) and if yes: do you only change between other downmixers and atmos binaural downmix in the control room then?
Sorry for this load of questions, but I am super curious, as it sounds as you found a really good solution to work with atmos in a binaural way and if you want to share, i would be really thankful!
Thanks and best regards,
Jona

In addition, you can switch to monitoring the binaural mix on headphones by simply clicking on a button. :sunglasses:

Hi JonaHmnn!

You are on the money with my work flow for binaural monitoring! I leverage the control room for a number of plugs. Such as DearVR Monitor and Immerse to name a couple. I bring everything back into Nuendo from DAPS leveraging the both the multiple fold down options & their Binaural Headphone stereo live encoding.

As Shellymoreira pointed out earlier, Max has a great wealth of knowledge and solid tips to also keep an eye on! I stated this earlier but really just love having as many options on the plate to flip between as possible when listening to a mix. Each tool can reveal something different about your mix. They truly really are all unique and as we all know… being tweaked by their makers as time passes.

One thing I want to point to that has began to raise a bit of concern in the community is that it is now questionable the accuracy of apple’s binaural decoder. The question has been raised how they are managing the binaural distance metadata, “if at all”. The current running belief is that they have tweaked this portion of the decode process to either subvert an extra license fee and or to lessen the cpu hit. I am just throwing this out there since it was something I read recently and felt it worth sharing with the community.

Have fun everyone and enjoy the weekend ahead!

Hey Rexler,

thanks for your feedback! I will get a copy of the production suite soon and play around a bit. Regarding the thing with apple music:
I did some testing with collegues of mine and the apple music binaural atmos sounded very different to the tidal one. I checked the article you posted, but I can not imagine that they phase-cancel.
I did some research last year, because apple had already introduced their binaural Dolby Atmos for apple TV and Disney Plus (only with the AirPods Pro though). It is my believe that now we listen to the exact same binaural decoding than with the atmos movies. The downside is, that apple is using something that is technically working like DearVR Monitor (I think); a virtual room, that is probably just in ambisonics format, in which virtually the 5.1.4 Atmos file is played back. I think they did it this way because of licenses, but also because of the head tracking that is not possible with atmos itself yet. As apple equipped all their newer headphones with headtrackers, I think it was a crucial feature to them, so they created this virtual room, in which headtracking is possible, listening to the virtualised 5.1.4 mix of atmos, in which the binaural metadata from dolby is lost completely.
I guess, that with apple music, they just kept on with this format, probably also for licensing reasons. But as they said, they will introduce head tracking for apple music later this year, so I think all of this is still playing a role too.
The crazy thing is really, that for us as producers of the content there is really no way to easily monitor how the mixes will sound on apple music…

Hi Rexler.

Thanks so much for sharing the binaural monitoring workflow.
If it isn’t too much to ask, and if it doesn’t go against the forum rules, would you kindly share a template for a 7.1.4 binaural monitoring and workflow?
I would definitely appreciate that and so do others.

Thanks!

Hi there Miguel,
Unfortunately me sending over any kinda template that I am currently using probably wouldn’t be all too helpful. Reason be it is that we all probably have some pretty unique setups given our hardware, software/plugin’s & OS’s. My best recommendation would be to try some of the step by steps both in the forums and also presented by Michael G Wagner on YouTube. He has a real smooth approach with how he presents. Plus most of what he tends to show does not require much extra from what can be done directly in the Nuendo alone. As always though, we are all here to try our best to answer each other’s questions. So definitely no offense taken & ALL questions are worth asking when learning something new.