Question for the Steinberg guys regarding the Atmos Renderer

Right now, the Atmos Renderer in Nuendo only does ADM format, you can’t export E-AC3/MP4 files to test on consumer systems. For that we need the DAPS, but that’s Mac only which sucks for all us Windows users.

So is there any possibility we might see that functionality added to the Nuendo Renderer (even if for an additional fee) or does your license with Dolby prohibit it?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to play with exporting Atmos files for playback on consumer devices, and Id’ rather not have to pay Amazon every time I do so or shell out $700 to Apple for a computer I don’t need (and then $300 more to Dolby).

If you can do it, licensing wise, I’m sure there are a number of us that would be interested in paying for it. If the license prohibits it, it would be interesting to know.


Since Davinci Resolve can’t export Atmos MP4 files either I’d guess it’s a licensing issue with Dolby.

I feel like it probably is a licensing issue. I talked to Dolby themselves about trying to get something like DAPS on Windows and they said “Lol no, but we are going to port our encoder that costs $400/year and you can use that.” So it seems Dolby just thinks people should have to pay on a continual basis to get to encode things.

I have never been a fan of Dolby and this just reenforces that. Sadly, they appear to be winning the spatial audio format war bigtime. DTS-X is hardly used, and they are actually even worse to get a hold of (near as I can tell it is Pro Tools only, Mac only and $3000). Mach-1 ( Mach1 | Spatial Audio Simplified) is an open-ish tech but I don’t know of anything that actually uses it, and consumer devices certainly can’t play it back.

Dolby got froze out of a lot of licensing fees when digital cinema went with PCM soundtracks instead of proprietary systems, so yeah they’re probably trying to hold on to Atmos as long as they can.

There’s already an SMPTE alternative called Immersive Audio Bitstream. It’s based on Atmos but it isn’t tied directly to Dolby. Unfortunately nobody seems to support encoding to it (yet).

I don’t see an issue with that. When private companies do R&D to come up with better tech solution, their engineers aren’t working for free. Why should Dolby Atmos renderers be free? A $300 fee for the software isn’t unreasonable if you have clients that are asking you for deliverables in this format. I’m sure Steinberg could pay a license and integrate it, but they would have to pass that cost on to every Nuendo user, and those that don’t care about Atmos would be crying wolf, understandably so.

Yes, this extra cost creates a problem for some that want to play with Dolby Atmos for fun instead of for paid client work. And that’s fair. But I still remember the days where every tool you used had to be paid for. There is so much stuff today that’s free or below cost, it has skewed expectations.

And as you know, you can render in the AWS cloud (which found out about thanks to your link). It takes about 30min of learning curve the first time around, and then after that you can render files for less than a sandwich at your corner store.

My issue with Dolby isn’t wanting money, it is wanting money on a continual basis. They said they are not going to bring the DAPS to Windows, only their encoder suite and that it costs $400 annually, no permanent license. If there was a DAPS Windows version, I’d just get it.

I’m just really against the anti-ownership trend that we’ve seen with technology lately, where you just have to rent everything from someone else. I don’t like having to pay Amazon every time for something.

I don’t have an issue with spending money on things, even for fun. I own what is really probably an unreasonable amount of software for a hobbyist (Nuendo, Komplete, Halion, Wavelab, BFD3, Waves Diamond, etc) and that doesn’t bother me. But I don’t like the idea of having to pay perpetually for something. I don’t mind that rental exists, precisely for situations like yours, but I don’t like that it is the ONLY option.

That’s become a never-ending debate, and both sides have merit and fault.

One thing is worthy clarifying - you actually never own the software, it’s always a license to use it. Only that perpetual licenses don’t have expiration dates of monthly or annual frequency.

In almost all cases if you look purely at the numbers the subscription model puts you ahead though. The monthly or annual subscription is generally less than perpetual licenses, so it’s less cash out early, and you can earn it back more quickly, rather than a large upfront payment before you can do anything with it. I like to think of it, that I’m not giving those company’s a no-interest earning deposit, but rather pay as I go, which generally ends up net-positive on cash flow. Or a different way of looking at it, not giving them a reverse loan on my future revenue.

I think subscription have made it possible for a lot of people to start using large professional packages they may not be able to afford if they had to pay expensive perpetual licenses. I still remember my first MacroMedia license (pre-Adobe) in the early 2000s.

The only circumstance this doesn’t pan out if you get a perpetual license and don’t plan on any updates and run the software for 10+ years, assuming that OS and hardware upgrades don’t get in the way and you don’t need any of the newer features that came out during all those years.

Subscription models create more even and predictable revenue for the software companies, which makes it easier for them to fund development and improve the software. Subscription models also make shorter update cycles (monthly or quarterly) feasible, whereas perpetual licenses with paid upgrades tended to be 1-3 years before new features came about.

One worry about subscriptions is that they tend to ‘call home’ to their license servers frequently. That is all good in a stable world. But with current geo-political tensions, if your license server lives in a war zone or on the other side of sanctions suddenly you might yourself out of luck in the middle of a project.

So it is nice to have options as you said.

I’m fine with subscriptions/rentals being a thing, I just don’t like it when it is the only choice. As a practical matter, it isn’t cheaper for the consumer in the long run, companies wouldn’t do it if it were. Regardless, for me it is a preference thing not a money thing as I have no inflows from music production.

I just don’t like that Dolby wants to make it only a subscription, and an expensive one at that. Also I feel it is out of line with the cost of other encoders. Remember this is just the encoder to take it from a master file to an E-AC3 file. We’ve already paid Dolby for their renderer via Steinberg. They then want $400/year for an encoder. That seems… steep. I don’t know what an encoder license (decoder licenses are less than $1/unit) for AVC, AAC, HEVC, ProRes, and a few others cost but Magix Vegas gets you all those for under $300, and is a full NLE on top of that.