Question for SB programmers - Juce?

Just out of sheer curiosity…would SB ever consider switching Cubendo over to the Juce platform?
It seems to be excellent for cross platform audio software development, at least from a UI point of view, with also the abillity to hardware accelerate parts of the UI.
Max uses it, and I believe Studio One too.

Any thoughts?



Hi Joe, could I ask you by any chance what kind of requirements/features you have in mind as a Nuendo user behind this question?


I don’t know what Nuendo is currently built on to be cross platform, and I don’t know what Juce would bring to the table. But a framework that helps make the development of UI quicker, especially one that might be optimized for audio software would have the advantage that devs spend less time creating and coming up with strange UI paradigms they have to realize in ever new code and new controls. But using templates that designers can change and iterate on quicker and keep everything more consistent more easily. Because currently, Nuendo is a UI mess. I think I saw at least 3 different kinds of scrollbars, some so small you need to be a surgeon to hit them with the mouse, there are also several window types with completely different color schemes and designs, and everything is quite pixellated on my Retina display.

So I think what Joe might allude to is to bring Nuendo to a modern visual and UI standard. And hopefully with a consistent look that’s modern and not “painted over” and over and over over the last decade. Maybe also Retina capability would not be such a great deal with a specialized UI library that you might just update to the latest version, do small adjustments, and Retina capability would come out of the box.

But as I said, I don’t know what Joe was specifically talking about other than furthering and simplifying the UI development so more time can be spent on making things better instead of fighting with tech and code. And I don’t know if Juce could improve anything. One more external library to be dependent upon and then it might end in an Apple Quicktime for Windows fiasco.

Having moved from the PC to the mac recently I’ve noticed a significant difference in speed in Nuendo (and esp. Cubase) in terms of UI updating, scrolling and moving around, and editing parts.

Now, this can of course to a degree be accounted for in differences in OS and screen handling, afaik Mac Os uses triple buffering to avoid window tearing and ‘cleaner’ screen updates, and historically Windows has been a bit speedier in general, when looking at benchmarks being conducted on both platforms.

I’ve also heard in the rumour mill that the cross platform system that SB uses isn’t as optimised/effective on Mac as it is on PC, and my personal experience on both platforms seems to confirm that. (I’m talking more about visual responsiveness as recent updates have brought Asio performance much closer)

But above anything else, as technology moves forward with retina/high DPI screens, higher graphic resolutions and GPU acceleration, it seems to me that a large part of possible resources are left unused.

In addition, imho Cubendo is due for an interface overhaul - something that will allow truly scalable UI elements and fonts, dockable windows and toolbars, and much faster window updates and redraws.
(I typically run pretty large sessions with 300+ tracks, at which point editing can become really sluggish - Nuendo handles this fairly well, but Cubase on the Mac grinds down to halt - so much so that dragging parts around can cause them to drop in completely the wrong places as by the time you released the mouse button, Cubase was still trying to scroll and update, sometimes overshooting its mark)

For example; my 27" iMac can switch to an incredible 5120x2880 display, which would give me a massive amount of space for the arrange page and editor windows.
Unfortunately, fonts and certain UI elements become so small at this res that it’s pretty much unworkable; and as non of the interface elements in Cubendo are scalable, that’s pretty much that.

I come from a game development background, and so have some idea of the fantastic power of a GPU; and it seems perfectly placed to handle some of the redraw work on the arrange page especially, but also the sample editor and the mixer, with the added bonuses that GPU’s can give - transparency/alpha/blending modes, anti-aliasing, fast vector graphics and the potential for 30/60hz redraw rates.

And from just reading a bit about it the Juce framework would be very well placed to handle this:)

Chris, you’re definitely hitting the nail on the head.

UI consistency is another point, though whether Juce would make a massive difference to that, I don’t know - that’s also part of a design decision.

I’m just interested to know whether certain UI elements could be sped up, and hardware acceleration is one way to go with that. The other is as you say, using a faster library, and in that sense I’ve heard great things about Juce.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Nuendo and think from a usability standpoint it works very well. yes, there’s always room for improvement but one only has to look at Reaper to see what happens when one just throws a bunch of functionality together. The program is a marvel in terms of capabilities and performance, but (at least to me as a newcomer), a rather chaotic and jumbled mess.

That having been said, I also feel that there’s a lot to fix - the device window for example seems largely unchanged since what…V2? The UI uses part system window elements, and part it’s own, and I’ve also noticed the many types of scrollbars, the smaller one in particular being rather annoying.

Some pop-up windows inexplicably darken the screen, most windows have a dark background (media bay, markers, Loops window), some don’t (the Pool), and so on.

Anyway, I don’t want to stray too far from my original question/point, which was mainly about getting a framework that would allow hardware accelerated graphics, scaleabillity and speed…

Absolutely true Joe. We are ALL here I think because we love and care about Nuendo. It’s a terrific tool with enormous capabilities. Nuendo is the tool we spend so many hours in EVERY DAY!

And it is the case once you learned a software, you start to see some rough edges, like in every relationship :wink: Time moves on and small, modern software tools show the way of modern software and UI. That you can’t change a multi-decade tool in a point update is clear, but at least we can ask Steinberg over and over to look at and focus on this topic and make this a priority. Hopefully they will! And at some point in the future, give us a new, modern UI base they can build upon. I for example liked the ideas they had with the latest Wavelab. The dockable windows and such. From here, it looks better than Nuendos window system. And that they were bold and redesigned the whole interface from the ground up it seems. Moving lots of functions to make more sense in the context. Much better than dozens of floating windows where every one has “stay on top” enabled :wink: I’m constantly looking for windows behind windows, opening new ones, closing other ones. I work with workspaces but sometimes it’s not enough.

So I’ll keep banging the drum for a UI overhaul and when enough people feel the time is right, they’ll chime in. And it seems there are a bunch who also think it would be time not for a paint job, but for a re-development of the dated, convoluted, chaotic, messy UI that accumulated organically over the years.

I’m sure there is technology today, new UI ideas and paradigms we can take from other tools or even mobile app development that are ingenious. And if some tools within Nuendo would be re-thought, it could easily increase productivity by another 20%. There are lots of places where you could easily save multiple clicks to get something done. It might not seem like a lot, but when you do this operation 5000 a day, it adds up quickly.

I sincerely hope Steinberg has an internal project to do a major overhaul of Nuendo’s UI in the not so distant future. Put some resources into experimentation with new UI paradigms, look at what other software does well, try to translate that into a “Nuendo way”. I would really love that! And if you need any input from users, I’d be happy to help. I want Nuendo to get better and better, as I’m sure everybody does.