Playing back Dolby Atmos from Nuendo 11 - where is the (or my brain) gap?

Hi folks,

I am trying to resolve a potential brain gap on Nuendo 11 and Dolby Atmos.

I am just an ambitioned hobbyist and Nuendo-wise most likely far away from you Pros.

What I am trying to achieve is to mix synthesizer-based music with 3D-Audio. After exporting it I want to play it back (audio only) on my Atmos home theatre system system with a 5.1.5 speaker setup. The mixing and playback from within Nuendo on a discrete 7.1.4 setup in my amateur studio works

With Nuendo 11, I was flashed that now Atmos mixes can be done without the Dolby Producer Suite or Media Suite and also without a pricy software RMU or the even pricier hardware RMU. But I did not get any further with the ADM export.

This is were it breaks (my head).

What is the missing piece to get the exported ADM-File (waves + metadata) to be played back on my Atmos AVR?

I had thought, that Nuendo can at least generate EAC3-Files, which can contain Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) in Dolby Atmos format. Sure, DD+ has reduced bitrate as compared to Dolby True HD. Had even hoped, that there is a path to Dolby True HD within Nuendo 11.

What piece in the flow or additional software piece is required for me to close the gap?

Had searched the internet on that big time. Found some hints on Dolby web-pages pointing to Github, where a (let’s call it) ADM-to-EAC3 converter can be compiled and used. I am somewhat knowledgeable on software, but not straight out of the box.

On TrueHD generation, I found (but am not sure), that certain modules from the Dolby Media Production suite may still be required.

Could you please give me some hints to clear my brain gap?

Regards

Juergi

I completely agree here Jeurgi! Documentation surrounding this as an “end to end” solution is fleeting. As far as I am aware, “Media Production Suite” is no longer a supported product by Dolby. They now appear to be referencing “Dolby Encoding Engine” for an actual deliverable. This is a command line only tool for Linux & Windows. Far from convenient and cryptic says the least for how one actually purchases this tool.
In my opinion when “end to end” is the used verbiage… (We Should) be able to export to any of the Atmos file types needed for the task at hand. We definitely (Should NOT), need be reliant upon any “third-party cloud service” for this.
I really hope that I am wrong here on this topic and that we are both pleasantly surprised by another comment on how this can all be easily achieved. At the very least, that these expectations be met in a future update down the road.

A very happy & safe New Year to you & your’s!

Congratulations on getting further than I have - I can’t even get the ADM renderer to see/recognize a group I’ve set up as the bed. I feel like I’ve tried everything, it’s driving me slowly mad.

As for your question/problem, to get an Atmos-playable MP4, the video file has to be married in real time to the renderer output, at least that was how I did it using the Media Production Suite and Nuendo 10. I still haven’t been able to do anything in 11 other than assign my 7.1.4 output to the Renderer,

This is an example of a 7.1.4 workflow.

1: Create a 7.1.4 output bus
2: Create a group with 7.1.4 in & route that to the output bus.
3: Place the Atmos Renderer plugin on an insert for the 7.1.4 group you just created.
4: Create a group with a 7.1.2 input and route it to the 7.1.4 group. This group will now be available as your “bed track” source under the “adm renderer settings” in the project menu.
5: Create a group with a mono input and route it to the 7.1.2 to 7.1.4 bus last created. This can be now panned as desired and sent to LFE from the multi-panned.
6: Route the output of your source audio track or VSTi to the mono to 7.1.2 group. This will fold a stereo source now to mono for more localized panning.

With this setup you should be good to go and you can also choose to create an object if desired from the mono to 7.1.2 group. Keep in mind that you can not send to LFE from an object however but as you can see there are ways around this if necessary.

One other thing I have found… when playing with divergence on an object across LCR, even if nothing is sent to the ceiling, it seems to bleed into the TFL channel slightly. This only is happening when being fed through the Atmos Renderer plugin. So my belief is that this is some type of bug that needs to be reconciled yet.

I hope this proves helpful and all the best ahead!

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@Rexler, thank you so much for listing this out for me! I will try this tomorrow, but from reading I see a couple of things I may have missed in the process. Also good to know about the LFE and bleed on the TFL. Strange!

Thanks again, really appreciated!

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Glad I could help! I now believe the bleed to TFL issue was my fault & had to do with how I was attempting to manage a surround reverb in my project. Not a bug in the renderer or Nuendo. I just wanted to follow that up in case someone from Steinberg happens to read this thread & hopefully dispel any potential worries.

Hi guys,

good to see, that I am not the only one trying to get Atmos End-to-End to work.

I can proudly report, that I closed the gap. Initial tests were successfull (found also the bleeding effect mentioned here).

The crux was the (missing) Dolby Encoding Engine (DEE). The other day, I got me an evaluation license from Dolby. After some looking (and learning), I was able to take the Atmos ADM-export from Nuendo11 and convert it into DD+. OK, is command-line based tool, but not too complicating.

The trick was the XML-file you need. But there are a couple of XML examples coming with the DEE installation together with a good guide line (local HTML files). With that, I got it going

Had to do some post-processing, to get it to play on my BR-Player connected to my Atmos-AVR. Used ffmpeg to put the DD+ file (.ec3) into a playable .mkv file.

The unfortunate thing is, that DEE is not for free. Found price ranges from $300-$500 for the Dolby Production Suite. It includes DEE. Not sure, whether DEE is available on its own.

To produce Dolby TrueHD with Atmos, the Dolby Media Suite is required. Problem with that is price ($1000 or so). It comes with three licenses of Dolby Production Suite. Bigger problem is, that it (the TrueHD part) runs only on MacOs. No Windows version.

Found also somewhere on the Dolby Web Pages, that there is a free version of DEE available on Github (public software repository). As I understand it, with this you can compile your own DEE executable.

I downloaded it and gave it a go. Needs Visual Studio and some other software (NAMS, cmake and so). I am not a software expert and just barely know basics around Github and Visual Studio.

Got two out of five steps done. Failed so far on getting all the prerequisites together (code or plugins for KAKADU, BEAMR-SDK, and some more). Am still fighting this. Need to find an expert on this matter.

LG, Juergi

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Thanks for all the info Jeurgi! Were you able to actually find a line to purchasing the Media Production Suite? I saw reference to it on Dolby’s website and them pointing to vendors but did not see it on any of their sites. That price is steep for sure! I am totally with you on there having to be a softer way to be able to get a TrueHD+Atmos encode! Fingers crossed too that someone may chime in on this.

@Rexler Well, no good deed goes unpunished, as they say. I went through the steps and went to export the WAV ADM file - typed a filename and clicked - and Nuendo crashed. Boom. Gone. Trying again.

Ouch! Yeah I’ve had a few of those happen to me along the way here too. One thing to look out for, since I believe you mentioned that you are also using production suite, is to bounce back to using the internal renderer before running an adm export in Nuendo. It should sound exactly the same when you reopen it in the standalone Dolby Renderer to re-renderer to a binaural or mp4.

Good morning folks,

the process and procedures are stabilizing for me. Found also a couple of new things:

  • Using 5.1.4 beds makes Nuendo crash (was already reported in an other thread and accepted as bug)

  • Found the reason for “bleeding” among the top speakers. With the 7.1.2 bed, the two top speakers are placed in the top middle (not front, not back). So the route from the 7.1.2 bed to the 7.1.4 group (with the Dolby Renderer) results in the all four top speakers receiving some signal. The position of the two top speakers cannot be changed.

  • BTW, the channel bleeding can be observed while playing back the project and watching the level meters in the Dolby plugin window. Found also, that for VST 3D panning the position of the top speakers for “no bleeding” is not in the corners. It is a bit away from the front (or back) and the side. From what I know, this is in line with the Dolby Atmos standard.

  • My work around is to leave the x.x.2 in the 7.1.2 bed unsused and route the four top speaker signals directly to the 7.1.4 group. Within the ADM-Dolby window, I add all the four top speakers as Object for Dolby Atmos. With this approach, you keep having full 3D panning for each of the four channels (sure does not make sense for static speaker channels).

  • Do not yet know, whether handling a channel as part of an Atmos bed or an Atmos object influences its sound quality in the output.

Today, I will try out the first piece of music.

LG, Juergi

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Thank you once again for all the info Jeurgi & confirming the speaker bleed issue. The speaker placement explanation seems like the the likely culprit. I had gotten tired of fighting with it myself & had also gone to using 7.1 beds and breaking away tops as objects pinning them to the upper corners too.

Glad things are coming together there & all the best on the mix Sir!

For those looking to get True HD deliverables, this appears to be Dolby’s official response to the topic.

The vendors do not appear to advertise Dolby Encoding Engine subscription on their websites. So if desired it would more than likely require reaching out to one directly for a subscription purchase. It appears that it is either this or leveraging a 3rd party cloud service for these needs.

Hi @Juergi, I did another separate topic for this, but now that I’m reading through your responses here I have concluded we are on the same path almost exactly, working to take advantage of the x.x.4 capabilities of our setups using objects in the four corners. I have just now learned from you about why the objects should not be placed exactly in the corners, because they bleed into the x.x.2 bed mix channels.

My question for you is how did you get the four object panning/field separated out into the four objects in the ADM Renderer again, maintaining stereo and front back integrity? As soon as I figure this out I can do this and really impress all my friends. (Just kidding, my dog isn’t even impressed!)

@rexler, thanks for digging this out. Does not sound good. $400 per year is quite expensive (for my purely private purposes).

I have already tried out AWS “Media Convert”. Not too expensive. If I remember correctly around 0.3 cents per minute. If experimenting, it may become a bit expensive. But the AWS service is hard too use. Upload 16x wav files into Amazon AWS S3 cloud, very cumbersome entering the settings and start the process.

@billjv, good to hear, that you (we) are hunting for the same thing.

The problem you mentioned is exactly what I am trying to resolve. This is to strip out the x.x.4 from a 7.1.4 group into a 4.0 group or 4x single channels. Then assign those channels as additional objects to the ADM settings.

The unfortunate thing is, that currently N11 is broken for the use of a 5.1.4 group in Dolby Atmos. With that I wanted to get to a fully used bed (10 channels) and leave the side surrounds out for the time being.

So two things to solve

  • Use of 5.1.4 bed for Dolby Atmos rendering
  • Strip single channels or a set of channels from a group (or bus).

LG, Juergi

See: Atmos Objects and Grouping/Panning - #3 by MattiasNYC

Hi Mattias, thanks for pointing me to your solution.

Not sure, whether I should post my reply there or here in the thread. Let me continue here.

I understand your solution as follows:

As it looks to me, there is a quad-group used for the four top-channels. With the panners from their source channels, you can pan (only !) within the group of four (top) channels. So the sound is kind of glued to the top speakers. Four Atmos objects are needed for this. OK so far.

My intend is to fully pan e.g. a stereo-channel (soft synth source) within 3D-Space. For example panning slowly (with automation) from bottom to top or even bottom-front to top-back.

This would only work if the target group is 7.1.4. Splitting it into a 7.1.0 and a 0.0.4 groups (as I understand your solution) would take away the 3D-pan’ability. Do I see that right?

LG, Juergi

Well, you wrote that you wanted to treat the ‘last’ four channels of a 7.1.4 group as a quad, right? That implies specifically the Top channels to me.

Now you mention panning stereo into 3D space instead, so I would assume you could do that just fine by going into the 7.1.4 group directly, no?

In addition, if you’re ok with panning only on the group level you can change the elevation parameter within that quad Group and that would allow you to pan stereo into quad “low” and quad “top”, for lack of another way of describing it… I think…

If you have for example a 7.1.4 bus created with the Renderer in as an insert, then you can just make the stereo track an object and it will move freely within 3D space.

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Hi Guys, I got it working,

How did I get there:

  • Created several groups (the Special Treatment is described a bit later)
    – 7.1.4-Collector (all stereo synth tracks with 3D panning are routed into it; Has 2x Sends)
    – 7.1.4 to 7.1.x (receives Send from 7.1.4-Collector; is routed to 7.1-Base; gets Special Treatment)
    – 7.1.4 to x.x.4 ((receives Send from 7.1.4-Collector; is routed to Quad-Top; gets Special Treatment)
    – 7.1-Base in 7.1 config; routed to 7.1.4-Bed
    – Quad-Top in Quad config; routed to 7.1.4-Bed
    – 7.1.4 bed with Dolby Atmos Renderer as Insert plugin

ADM-Authoring for Dolby Atmos

  • Add Bed -> Select the group 7.1-Base as source
  • Select Quad-Top track -> in ADM-Authoring select “Create Objects from selected tracks”
  • Result is a 7.1 bed plus four objects from Quad-Top group.
  • Just to note: Atmos bed-slots 9 and 10 are not used.

Now the trick:

  • Tracks 7.1-Base and Quad-Top both get kind of dummy Inserts (e.g. VST-Multipanner)
  • The insert must be able to handle 12x channels.
  • For each of the two tracks (7.1-Base and Quad-Top"), open the track settings in the mixer (the “e” next to “M” and “S”)
  • On the left top, select"Insert" tab, and on the left bottom the “Routing” tab.
  • You will see some symbolic routing drawing. In there, select the layout “Middle Layer 7.1” or “Top Layer” for the other one.
  • Then open the "Routing Editor (same menu -> Bottom) -> Disconnect the un-needed channels (TFR, TFL, TRR, TRL) and for the other instance, everything except TFR, TFL, TRR, TRL).

Test it as follows:

  • Create instrument track (Mono or Stereo) with e.g. a synth. Route to 7.1.4-Collector
  • Play some music via midi-keyboard or enter midi data.
  • (Or create audio track and give it some audio data (wave, etc.)
  • Manually pan in 3D with the VST-Multipanner.
  • Watch the LEDs of the bed and the objects in Dolby Renderer Plugin of 7.1.4-Bed.
  • While panning, you see the LED-symbols lighting up when they receive a portion of audio from your panning.

There was a weird thing.

I am not sure, whether the dummy Inserts (VST-Multipanner Insert) shall be “On” or “Off”. Perhaps it does not matter. While testing, I sometimes lost connectivity. In other cases, all channels were let through. Had to re-open the Routing Editor and re-select the target profile or again cut unneeded connections in there.

I will keep testing.

BTW, from this ADM-File, I was able to generate Dolby Atmos in TrueHD with DEE.

LG, Juergi

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