Question for Nuendo Expert

  1. Is Nuendo a 64-bit float math engine?

  2. Can Nuendo losslessly accept and store 32-bit integer ASIO data? Internal conversion to 64-float is OK, but must stay bit-accurate 32-int.

  3. Can Nuendo losslessly save 32-integer (not float) files to standard file formats, such as WAV and/or AIF?

  4. Can Nuendo losslessly send (real time playback) 32-bit integer files via ASIO?


Nuendo has a 32-bit floating point engine.
There is absolutely no need and/or advantage in having a 64-bit audio engine, since summing is nothing but adding and substracting numbers. Critical processes (where cumulative errors can occur) however are always executed in double precision, 64-bt. Actualy, most processes (which is not the same as adding/mix engine) are performed in double precision.

ASIO is fixed point, and fixed point only since it has to communicate with Hardware. And since there is no Floating point hardware commecially available, there is no point in writing a floating point ASIO driver. As far as your integer-question, see following.

AFAIK, there is no such thing as a 32-bit fixed point file format.

See above answers.

Best regards

Thanks Fredo. With the new 32-bit integer pipelines (Dante audio networking, all the new ADC and DAC chips, etc.), we need a 32-bit lossless integer solution. That’s 24 bits of audio and 8 bits of metadata in a contiguous 32-bit file. ASIO is agnostic on its bits. They can be fixed or integer. In the case of Dante’s 32-bit ASIO driver, it is integer, not fixed point.

“There is absolutely no need and/or advantage in having a 64-bit audio engine”

As we move into a world of 32-bit integer pipelines, the DAW will need to losslessly import, save, and export 32-bit integer data. A 32-bit float engine converts incoming 32-int data to 32-float, and hence is lossy. There are really only two solutions: (1) use a 64-bit float engine, which can losslessly convert 32-int files, or (2) ask the 32-float engine to manage the 32-int file in smaller chunks.

You are mixing up some things. Internally in a computer CPU, there are also 32bit streams, but that doesn’t mean that a 32-bit audio format has advantages. The best AD/DA convertors these days can only capture around 110 à 112dB of dynamic range. 24bit format gives you 144dB of dynamic range, and 32bit would give you 192dB. 192dB to capture what?

A 32-bit float engine converts incoming 32-int data to 32-float, and hence is lossy.

And it’s more precise than a 32bit fixed point calculator.

Really, you are mixing up internal CPU calculations/bit streams/data transport formats with audio file formats.
Bits = dynamic range. And since the highest dynamic range that can be captured is 112dB, there is absolutely no need for anything “bigger” than 24bit.

The ASIO driver converts the computer’s 1’s and 0’s to a fixed point audio format, and vice versa. So since the dynamic range of audio (input or output) can’t be higher than 112dB (limitation of ADC/DAC’s) why would you need anything “bigger” than 24 bit? Even if you would technically create a signal that has a dynamic range of 180dB, you would need to lower your master fader to not smoke the DAC, thereby bringing down the dynamic range (and bits) to what we have now.

Once the audio format is converted to 1’s and 0’s in the computer, which is nothing but a giant calculator, they are summed in 32-bit float (adding and substracting) and processed (EQ, Dynamics, etc …) in 64-bit float.
The errors that are occuring in a 32-bit float environment are smaller than the errors in a 32-bit fixed point environment, hence why fixed point calculations need dithering, and floating point calculations need randomizing.


HI Fredo. No mix-up here. We need a DAW that records, plays back, imports, and exports a lossless 32-bit contiguous integer word. We’re using 24 bits for audio (you are right, we can only convert real audio up to around 21 bits, but 24-bits is the audio transport standard) and another 8 bits for proprietary metadata. I really can’t get into the details of the other 8 bits because, well, it’s proprietary :slight_smile: The entire 32-bits of data must be contiguous and in integer format (not fixed, not float). Dante delivers 64 channels of 32-bit integer files via an Ethernet connection, and ports them into (and out of) the PC via their proprietary 32-bit integer ASIO driver.

Unfortunately, a 32-bit floating engine cannot losslessly capture 32-bit integer data. That’s why we need either (1) a 64-bit float DAW, or (2) a 32-bit float DAW that knows how to losslessly manage a 32-bit integer file (effectively chopping the 32-bit file into a pair of 16-bit files). Make sense?

at what point are you injecting the metadata, and by what means are you doing that (not asking for sensitive info here). i.e. a software wrapper before the dante AD, or at the receiving end before it hits the DAW? Seems to me you are asking a proprietary software manufacturer (e.g. logic, nuendo, protools, digital performer etc) to understand and handle your proprietary non-standard modified audio files and to know what that proprietary meta-data is, its format etc, and to have it remain intact. If your 8 bits are proprietary how do you expect a DAW to know how to handle it? Will Broadcast wave not do what you are asking for if you have some way of injecting data into that layer? 32 bit float audio files exist for a reason different than what you want them for.

I’ve not seen anything about Dante’s Audinate using 32-bit integer where 8 bits are proprietary metadata. It sounds as if you’re thinking about float (24+8) mixed up with fixed. Only thing I can imagine is Audinate using metadata in order to stream data over the network - i.e. in addition to the signal we want to transfer (24bits) information is added by Dante products (i.e. metadata) to ensure proper delivery to logical units within the network.

That metadata should be absolutely none of our concern.

Also, I find the usage of “integer” and “fixed” a bit confusing. Fixed point processing includes integer numbers. Are you sure you’re not mixing things up?

Who are “we” and just why do we “need” this? We can already use Dante products…

We are the Borg. You will surrender your integer bits and accompany us to sector 001 where you will all be assimilated.
Resistance is futile. :confused:

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Better now… :laughing:

Mehr als Einbier, Heiner?

(sorry, my German is awful)

Thanks all.

Dante is agnostic. It gives you a 32-bit pipe. That pipe can carry integer, fixed point, or floating point data. Dante doesn’t care. Dante also offers a 32-bit integer ASIO driver to get those 32-bits into and out of a PC / DAW. They also offer a driver for Mac (Core Audio).

Rather than write our own custom virtual recorder/player, we would rather find a DAW that can natively support lossless 32-bit integer data. The DAW doesn’t need to “know” what’s in the 32-bit data, it just needs to record it, store it, play it, and import/export it in a lossless manner. So far, we’ve found one commercial DAW that does all this, but we’re looking for others. We don’t need DAW math processing, just record, play, import, export, and normal non-math features like metering, mute, solo, etc…

Since Nuendo / Cubase is built on a 32-bit-float engine, sadly it won’t work for our application.

Float, fixed, and integer are different representations of data, but, yes, fixed is much closer to integer than float. We use no radix point and no binary decimal representations.

Yes, Broadcast Wave (BWV or RF64) can save in 32-bit integer or 32-bit float, depending on how you define the header.

Who is “we”?

Which is the other DAW you mention?

“we” are the Borg

It looks like Reaper provides a lossless 32-bit integer environment. And maybe Audition. Maybe.

It was a serious question. But whatever.

Curious as well. Who are we?

As far as I am concerned, if “we” are/is serious, then “we” should get in contact with the Powers That Be with serious questions, rather than raising vague suggestions on a public forum. :slight_smile:

In all seriousness, what is it that you want to do, and for what reason?
I guess you do have a serious project, since you are asking a DAW builder to throw everything they have in the trashcan, and start all over again in another format…


Why do you say that? That was correct German in every detail, well done! :slight_smile:
And, mmh, yes, it had been 1/2 bottle of chardonnay…

And I thought I was the only one having difficulties to understand what good ol’ drizzy
is actually talking about, better, what he wants and why ?..

Hello Drizzy,
what DAW can do what you need?
Knowing this, it might shed a bit of light onto what you expect from a DAW.
Can’t be a problem of audio quality. We, and a few other brands, got that covert quite nicely, DAW-wise…

Cheers, Big K

Hey, I just figured out I am in my 40th year of having sex, making music and working with electronics… LOL …

Big K, it appears that Reaper does fully lossless 32-int. And maybe Audition. You are correct, it is not about “audio quality,” and Fredo’s original answer “Nuendo has a 32-bit floating point engine” actually said everything I needed to know. Thanks Fredo, but I’m not sure where you got the idea that I’m asking Steinberg to throw everything in the trash can. (?) But I will suggest that any DAW maker that can’t support lossless 32-bit integer files should take a close look at the rapidly approaching future of professional audio networking, etc… a 32-int data path is clearly in our collective future, and in fact is here today. My very best wishes to all!

Locutus of Borg :slight_smile:

But it’s not rapidly approaching. I stay pretty on top of audio technology and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I don’t care at all - not one bit (pun) - about how different hardware decides to send my audio around. The protocol means nothing to me as long as it gets into my DAW intact. Dante infrastructure can use 2-bit words, 16-it float, 179-bit fixed… whatever: As long as it sounds fine and connects to Nuendo/Pro Tools I’m happy.

I just see absolutely zero application for what you’re talking about. Perhaps if you said more than close to nothing about the usage of it…?

Maybe. Maybe not.

At one point HD audio was in our future too, either DVD-A or SACD. Then people went all-in on crappy mp3’s.

Two weeks ago I matched voice-over recorded on an iPhone in a reverberant room so it’d match a recording on an outdoors set.

It’s a brave new world, but it doesn’t seem all 32-bitty to me.

if you are trying to assess what user base might be out there for some new idea, sounds like you have something in Reaper. Honestly, I don’t think many people if any would call Audition a DAW. Logic, Digital Performer, Protools etc don’t do what you need. You may like to look at Sonar as to how they handle files. Others might be samplitude and sequoia. If you are doing research and your team has the skills to be working with file data at this level I imagine it should be pretty easy to test. You are probably either injecting or hijacking some bits to carry your metadata, so inject, process and see if it is retained. Seeing as there is no need, perceived or otherwise at the moment, for DAWs to handle some non-standard proprietary data in the audio file, especially where processing alters the file data, and if you can’t hijack a BCW to do what you want as a proof on concept (therefore more universal if that were feasible for what you want), your options are going to be limited at the moment. That will of course not be news to you, just putting it out there.