More than 256 input and 256 output busses


I mentioned this previously on this forum when I thought it was my problem but it’s a program limitation that we’d like improved. Nuendo for some time has been limited to a total of 256 mono-equivalent input and 256 mono-equivalent output busses and we frequently run up against this as a limitation. We have two instances where this is a problem for us.

1 - We usually record to 192 I/O triple Madi Nuendo systems, primary and backup. Due to post requirements and limitations we need all files as mono, but we also simultaneously need a series of stereo and 5.1 interleaved files from those same 192 inputs that are sent off to various folks. With the 256 bus limitation we don’t have enough input busses to create both the 192 mono and a decent amount of stereo and 5.1 record busses meaning the operator must render all the needed files afterward. Often each act has different bus width assignments meaning the operator must render for each act using different assigned tracks which is prone to bus and track assignment errors while the other folks stand around waiting for their files. Quite a few errors actually. A better solution is being able to build as many input busses as we need of any bus width, then set up record tracks appropriately. Nuendo is easily able to record 512 tracks at once, the limitation is input bus count.

2 - We have an application now where we need dual RME Madi cards, 6 Madi inputs, for a given record system. That’s not possible with Nuendo at this time so we’re forced to use four recorders for primary and backup.

I don’t know what low-level coding issues would come up attempting to increase the bus width but the horsepower is certainly available. We would appreciate it if this can be put on the list for improvement.


Hi Hugh, wow those are massive recorders! May I ask in which situations you use that sort of record track count? (just me being curious)


For the first example - we need 192 inputs to record the production elements of live music television broadcasts. Presenter lavs, Schoeps tubes, AT playback, VT surround playback, Audience mics, two music mix at 5.1, four music mix-minus at 5.1, camera mics, 50 RF mics, etc.
All those tracks must be mono for post and also need various stereo and 5.1 interleaved files for delivery that we could record simultaneously but currently have to be rendered afterward, sometimes different bus widths for a given act. 256 input busses doesn’t suffice.

For the second example there are two -

1st - we usually record the production elements (192) and the music elements (192) separately. This time around there was interest in recording production and music elements on the same primary and backup daws, in addition to the separate production and music daws, so an on-site mixer/editor could grab files to do quick turns of specific acts for streaming. This requires at least 6 Madi ports (384 inputs), with more if we can do it to record both analog and Dante sides of the RFs which we currently can’t fit.

2nd - We’re doing a live television broadcast with 140 inbound 2 channel remotes. They are being sub-switched on the fly into 32 busses for display and mix, however they want to record them all. When you add the production elements of a normal show, plus the 280 mono-equivalent remote channels, we’re well past the 256 input limit and probably past 384.

We currently do all this with multiple daws, but that means the operator must run at a minimum 4 daws - 2x192, primary and backup - and that’s cumbersome. And really those 4x192 isn’t enough now. We know Nuendo and our platforms have the power, I test our drive subsystems recording 512 tracks to guarantee overhead, it’s just that Nuendo won’t allow more than 256 input busses. This is not about saving money on Nuendo licenses or daws, we have them, it’s about operator errors, desk space, post convenience, and more.

Hopefully Steinberg is considering this, it’s become frequently requested in our business.


Ye gods… 50 RF sources for a live show. That’s a lot of guests!! :wink:

Obviously much has changed since my retreat from the angry side of the camera! I too would love to learn more about this scale of audio production. You should write a book or blog…

Hello ltf3,

…angry side of the camera!..

I laughed at that one, nice encapsulation!

For us it’s about providing what the client wants and will pay for. I’ve considered a blog, my wife suggests it as well, just haven’t made the time. Something along the lines of Fletcher using Alsihad but my writing isn’t as good as his.


"1st - we usually record the production elements (192) and the music elements (192) separately. "
can i just say i don’t understand why you would need 192 inputs for production sound? i mean what is the scale of this project?
or is this all ambisonic 3rd order stuff?

gasps… :slight_smile:

Thanks for the details. Yes it definitely makes sense to be able to handle all that on one machine.
Reading your post it sounds like you are handling audio for the Grammys!


When you add up the items mentioned above for the production recordings it is currently at 192 and that’s only recording the analog side of the RFs, we’d like to record the Dante side as well for another 50 or more tracks. And with covid mic restrictions in place in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future it will now be more than that since there will be no mic sharing. It does not include the Atmos stems, we’re recording those as individual mics for now and the mixers have been taking these afterwards to Skywalker for practice Atmos remixing to get used to how to do television Atmos, VERY VERY different -and limited- compared to theater or BluRay Atmos. Dolby has been quite active in campaigning producers and clients for Atmos transmission - actually at this stage in the US it’s streaming - on a live music show but the producers usually pull the plug on it when they figure out it complicates their show, costs more in infrastructure and labor, and doesn’t get them perceivable return (from a producer’s point of view). But that perceivable return is coming shortly when they can say “it’s in Atmos” so Atmos music broadcast is coming probably in a few months meaning more stem tracks.
Separately, we do another theatrically-oriented live broadcast each year that has over 70 RFs since there are so many onstage performers representing each show, but the music and production record requirements are usually separate.

If we can combine the music and production recordings to one daw for the streaming editor - needed so all the tracks start and stop at the same time and are in the same location for fast import/edit - we can lose 24 music mix-minus tracks (5.1x4) because those will exist on the music side. For this specific application we’re recording the primary daw to a NAS and the edit/remix daw streams it’s needed tracks from the NAS. We break at each commercial so they can pull as needed, the backup machine records locally and never stops for safety but we can pull files from it when needed if the primary fails. We use Blackmagic capture and Video Slave with ProRes proxy for the remix chase.

I apologize if all this falls into the TMI category (you asked!), it’s a different and somewhat smaller world than post studios and bedroom producers but I happen to like the technical challenges. It’s certainly never the same thing day to day.


In years 2000 it was possible to record 64 inputs at 48 KHz with a DAW.

So it’s certainly possible to go higher than 256 today.

After checking, Pyramix can do it, 384 discreet inputs and 384 discreet outputs at the same time, with Masscore engine.

I believe swedish television (svt) is migrating from nuendo to pyramix to get more recording/playback buses. They only use the daw as a 1:1 recorder, everything is mixed OTB.

FWIW, Kanye West is running an RF mic on every one of his choir. Way over 100 singers. I didn’t count but maybe closer to 150? Seems like a train wreck, right?

I had a musical director friend who was backstage at one of his events. My friend is extremely talented and a tough critic who misses nothing. You know the type.

Everything was 100% live and he said it sounded absolutely incredible. Sometimes, what seems over the top works out really well. 1024 busses, here we come!!!

Keeping every mic recorded separately can appear as the best solution, but…

When there are lots of microphones, it is often possible to mix them before recording, using analog mixers, or even digital mixers if they are digitized with ADC to IP for example on a Dante network, or why not using not so common digital microphones (AES 42) if signal integrity is a concern because of cable lengths.

Recording separately 150 mics for choral voices seems like a lost of time and recording resources. More is not always better.

Do not forget that a lot of success songs have been recorded with 16 tracks or less, sometimes 4 tracks or even two tracks without overdubs (direct stereo or mono mixing) !

When i was student it was the rule : direct analog mixing to a stereo digital recorder for classical recordings, generally not using more than 6 or 8 microphones ! And in some cases, the sound was probably as good than the same band that would have been recorded with one or two synced 48 tracks recorders (the venerable Sony 3348 at this time) and post production mixing.

If Pyramix (or other high end tools like Solid State Logic, Yamaha, Korg, Sony or Harrison manufacturers (sorry if i did forget a couple ones) can probably design and sell to you at a great price) then it’s fine, but…

The problem with those tools could be long term support, long term usefulness, heavy cost, and an older design, that will not be as good, most of the time, compared to commercially and technically optimized more common solutions.

I remember a couple of those high end solutions ending their life after only a couple years of (difficult) use in a studio where i did work.

Anyway, i would not be surprised to see Nuendo getting 512 I/O for a imminent future version to address this specific market with a common product.

Yamaha / Steinberg can do it quite easily, probably !