Mac N7 Strange drive read behavior


We were using two identical Nuendo 7 machines for television multitrack acquisition on a multi-hour live show. One machine was exhibiting bad drive performance resulting in timeline stalling and drive performance meter peaking. This was with only 64 tracks recording, we usually record more. Normally this is a drive issue but investigation indicated it was Nuendo.

Activity Monitor indicated Nuendo was reading twice as much data off the drive as it was recording, 30-40 MB/s read rate simultaneously with 8-20 MB/s write rate. Nuendo specifically was doing the excessive reading, not another process. The other machine was not doing this. Both of these machines are new and in the last month have been extensively tested with 192 track recording, performing very well; we do extensive testing before deployment in a production environment.

The excessive read rate continued for at least 30 minutes with no slowdown. The next commercial break I stopped record and started again but that did not correct it. The other machine was not exhibiting a significant read rate. On the next commercial break I rebooted the machine and for the next two hours it ran fine with no significant read rate.

New project, no previously existing files, nothing in the timeline. Waveforms set to render while recording as always. Identical machine and Nuendo configurations.

Usual stuff - logged out of iCloud, WiFi turned off, Spotlight Privacy on the record drives, no significant background processes. As noted it was Nuendo doing the excessive reading not another process.

Mac Mini 2012 quad-core i7 with 16GB ram
Sonnet xMac Server expansion
RME MadiFX card
External usb3 drive

Any ideas? Obviously when this system gets back I’m going to wipe it and start over but this is concerning. These are the second and third of our machines with Nuendo 7, the other six are all running earlier versions. I can’t imagine why Nuendo would be reading that much data for that long with nothing playing back.

Thanks for any information,

Just a wild guess…
Did you check that indexing of the drives is off from spotlight?

Bye / Tumppi


Did you check that indexing of the drives is off from spotlight?

Thanks for the response, see paragraph 5 in original post.
Definitely Nuendo not mdworker process.

I had just yesterday similar hd stuff going on when running PT.
It went away after turning indexing off on all drives, includind system drive.
But nevermind.

You can run Nuendo 6 on a Nuendo 7 dongle. Even a parallel install works really well on my macs here.
Not a solution, but maybe a good workaround for the moment?

Steinberg Support responded, they haven’t seen that issue before. I wiped the system today and am starting over, we’ll keep an eye on it. I’m not a fan of unexplained software behavior in live production.
We have v7 licenses for all our 9 systems but have only installed v7 on three of them, if it happens again we’ll have to revert.


The issue has reoccurred. Here is a copy of my response to Steinberg support.

Hello Jeff,

We were back on The Voice this week using that Nuendo 7 daw and here’s the progress -

  • Wiped the hard drive and reinstalled MacOS 10.12.4, most recent version.
  • Disabled our usual MacOS stuff for audio workstations.
  • Installed the MadiFX card and Nuendo 7.1.30.
  • No additional software or drivers at this time.
  • Set up the show record template of 64 tracks to an external Avastor drive.

We did several test recordings during the week to check drive performance and correct track bussing from the desk. Everything worked well, no excessive drive read during recording. Console logs indicated nothing unusual happening.

On Monday night just before the live show we started a pre-record and Nuendo once again exhibited the sluggish gui, stuttering timeline advance, and constant drive activity light, nearly dropping out of record several times. Activity Monitor indicated the same issue as before, Nuendo doing excessive reading from the drive while recording. Between takes stopping and starting record did not fix the issue, quitting Nuendo and relaunching it fixed it.

Looking for patterns the only similarity I could come up with was the session had sat open all day before recording for level and buss checking. After we went off the air Monday night I opened a new session from that template, put everything in record-ready, and let it sit overnight. I came in Tuesday morning, engaged record, and everything worked fine. During the day I did several more test recordings, everything fine, with previous and new sessions. Tuesday night’s live show went fine.

Immediately after the show we did some network promos into a new session; on engaging record Nuendo exhibited the same problems and Activity Monitor once again confirmed it was Nuendo doing the excessive disk reading.

During each problem I checked Activity Monitor to confirm what’s going on and after each problem I checked all the Console logs to confirm nothing unusual was going on.

I have been unable to find a reproducible pattern that causes Nuendo to do this. I recognize we don’t yet have a statistically significant sampling of the times that it occurs but one instance of leaving Nuendo on for 12 hours did not cause it. It still may be that but I don’t know. Over the last week after the reinstall I’ve put that system in record probably 20 times, Nuendo had problems twice.

Details once again -

  • MacMini 6,1 16GB ram in Sonnet expansion chassis
  • MacOS 10.12.4
  • RME MadiFX
  • Nuendo 7.1.30
  • No additional software or drivers
  • Several different audio-qualified external drives, has occurred on usb3, eSata, and firewire.
  • Drive is spinning and accessible before recording.
  • Drive in Spotlight Privacy
  • Wifi and network turned off

We have approximately 9 Nuendo 7 licenses but most are still running v5.5.6, we’ve started moving three to N7. Without a reproducible cause I can’t positively say what’s happening but it has proven to be a sporadic but definite Nuendo occurrence. And let me emphasize - it’s Nuendo and not the OS or other process causing the excessive disk reads. Memory usage is fine, cpu usage is within normal limits, no unexplained processes going on, no significant heat load.

I’m hoping your developers have some information. These systems are used on large live television broadcasts, we can’t have them nearly crashing on us like this. Unfortunately I don’t see how I can keep them on N7 at this time because it’s now occurred three times in a few weeks with new installs. Without a reproducible cause it will make a reinstalling v7 harder to justify because we never know when it’s going to come back.