[EDIT] I did an edit to make it easier to read
I’ve worked with Nuendo for ages now, and I could not imagine using anything else. Consistently stepping it up in terms of features and support, so Steinberg, thanks for that.
The issue I’m having is the following; When recording a mono source (for example a voice) on a stereo track, it appears as though ‘Stereo Pan Law’ is applied, lowering the resulting signal in the left and right channels by 3dB. However, when monitoring this same source, through this same track the signal is equally loud to the mono source (so no gain reduction is applied).
How I found out
I started noticing this problem a couple months ago (which is funny, because in testing I found at least Nuendo 10 has the same issue) when I was recording a VO:
Whenever I was playing back the last take to punch in a recording, the monitored signal would be louder then the recorded take. Of course with something inconsistent as a voice it took me a while to figure out but after some fiddling with a test tone through a mic I figured there was a real difference.
First I checked the obvious - there was not a second channel monitoring, or a direct routing issue. My control room was also configured properly. Only after examining the actual difference I noticed it was about 3 dB’s which could indicate some kind of panning/balancing/leveling issue.
Eventually I found the culprit: When setting the ‘Stereo Pan Law’ from ‘Equal power’ to ‘0dB’, the level difference was gone.
Why not just record a mono source to a mono track I hear you ask?
Nuendo does not support switching channels from mono to stereo or any other configuration. Therefore I always record to a stereo channel, even when the source is mono. This insures that when working with plugins that are stereo (like reverb as an insert, amp sims, chorus, etc etc.) they are able to work in stereo even though the input was a mono one. For this purpose, having a dual mono signal in stead of a mono source being panned left and right, having pan law applied would seem easier to work with, or at least apply the pan law to the monitored signal same as the recorded one. As it is now - when playing guitar feeding a virtual amp for example - the sound you get will influence your playing. Having this sound then reduced with 3dB after the recording is definately not something you want. In the case of recording a voice for a VO for example, the voice will hit the signal chain different from what was played back, meaning a voice might hold back in volume, trying to match the played back version. All use cases where this is unacceptable.
- The first and foremost workaround is obviously to use a mono recording. When using a stereo effect, you can add a stereo bus. The drop in level will be there, but at least it’ll be the same for the monitored signal and the recorded signal.
- After recording, gain the clip +3dB.
- Switch the Pan Law to 0dB for recording.
- Switched to different software
While these work, I’d very much prefer a fix as none of these feel completely satisfying. They are all very impractical.