Slow Export on M1 Chip

We’ve tested a 50 minute documentary Session on a new Mac Studio (Base Model).
Opened in Nuendo 12 (Rosetta), the Session itself was really snappy, but the export times were double than on our 2 years old Windows DAWs.

If we launched the program in Native M1 support, the export times got even worse, almost up to 3 times the windows-time. Any ideas?!

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Can you install N11 on that Mac Studio and do the export? Just to complete the picture…

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While it is odd that the native version would be even worse, that it is slower than your Windows DAW isn’t a huge surprise. The M1 chip was designed for efficiency, not max power. I know Apple’s marketing likes to claim that it is both low power yet also the fastest chip in the history of ever, but they have a long storied tradition of, shall we say, “exaggerating” the truth. All the power that Intel and AMD chips use goes in to feeding their large amount of transistors and high clock speeds and that gets you more performance. Perhaps in time Apple will make chips that are power hungry performance monsters that match or exceed them, but the M1 is not that.

That aside there is an issue of optimization as well. For really high performance stuff, like audio, sometimes developers go in and hand optimize assembly language to really squeeze performance out of chips. That’s great, but limited to a specific architecture. So a new architecture like the M1 won’t benefit from that until they do it for that platform as well and that not only takes time to do, since it can be very different, but you have to get people trained in how it works. We aren’t talking something simple either, the technical manuals for processors are thousands of pages of dense information.

So for highest performance, I’d stick with Intel for now.

One odd thing about Nuendo that I’ve recently learned, is that exports are quite a bit faster with larger buffer settings, so you could try that if you haven’t already.

Are there any third party plugins involved?
Maybe one is performing worse on M1 and that’s the reason…

Same experience here on a MacBook Pro M2 Max. Export is suuuuper slow… any suggestions?

Without any details… no

@klfnk2020 ok, here are some details regarding my setup.

  • MacBook Pro M2 Max, macOS Ventura, 96GB RAM, 4TB internal storage.
  • RME Fireface UFX+, connected directly to the MacBook via USB-C
  • Nuendo 12.0.70, running in Rosetta mode, also tried silicon mode, wasn’t really better
  • 48kHz sample rate, 2048 buffer size, Asio guard level high due to lacking performance (in my opinion)

Beside the slow audio export, also opening a session and loading all its tracks, plugins and routings takes pretty long - also my empty template, which only contains some busses and a few disabled plugins (compared to my old and less powerful Windows PC). But as an example, the audio export is also pretty slow, when I’m only export a WAV file with a FabFilter Pro L 2 on the master. Audio export always seems to be close to real time export…

Already found out, that e.g. the Pulsar 8200 EQ in highest oversampling mode extremely slows down the system… so 3rd party plugins may be a thing.

But generally I don’t get it, why Nuendo is often at its limit (although 2048 buffer and highest Asio Guard Level) but the activity monitor in macOS only shows around 5 to 7% CPU system load, also RAM load is super low.

My projects usually count between 50 and 150 tracks. I use numerous plugins on each track / bus to shape sounds and VST instruments sound design wise… I know my way of working is not the most CPU / resource friendly.

So where is the bottleneck and why is the system not as performant as I hoped it is (in comparison to my old Windows machine, AMD Ryzen 3950x, 32GB RAM, Windows 10).

Thanks in advance, best

Seems to me that the bottleneck is the CPU:

Seems that with the FabFilter plugin on the master and only a wav file exporting you’ve really isolated the ability of the CPU to process as quickly as possible. No other computer subsystem seems like it would be the bottleneck since it’s only one file.

You should probably look at the ASIO meter rather than the OS meter. The latter will usually look at overall processing potential (at least in Windows) rather than “consider” performance where low latency or high speed is key. In other words if you have 12 cores then 100% CPU performance to the OS will look like all cores being used 100%. But for Nuendo maximum performance would be when the most demanding task (thread) is maxing out the CPU, which would be one thread on one core.

1/12 = roughly 8% so it seems close to what I’m saying, that one heavy thread might max out one core, or roughly 8% capacity from the OS perspective (1/12th)… So that would be my guess.

I’d say you can maybe try different buffer sizes and other settings like ASIOguard on/off etc. and maybe you’ll find something that works better.

For someone like me who’s about to buy a $10k CAD Mac Pro M2 Ultra, this is very worrying! I hope that other users here will be able to comment and testify to their experience. As for me, I’ll wait a bit!

Well if you want you can go ahead and buy the Mac and just sent it to me and I’ll test it out for you. And then I’ll let you know if it doesn’t work in which case you can leave it with me and I’ll dispose of it in an ecologically responsible way.

You can trust me.
I’m here to help.

I’m afraid we don’t live on the same street!

thanks @MattiasNYC for your feedback.
I thought the times where everything counts on fast single core speeds were over. Looks like I was wrong.

Here is an activity monitor screenshot from one of my latest projects. I completely maxed it out by going on the highest oversampling rates on Pulsar 8200 EQ and the FabFilter Pro L 2 on my master bus. Therefore only small bits of audio or simply nothing came out of my speakers. macOS system is on 5% load, Apps (including Nuendo) on 25%. All 12 cores are working, but non of them is on its limit.


I’ve seen this before pn my own system (less powerful). The system 5% accounts for MacOS i think. So it’s more informative if you show the nuendo processor %.
I have posted a message about my performance on May 5. Similar experiences. Apple Silicon Mac Studio - Render Performance - not optimal

Yeah in this case Nuendo (and all the other apps) covering 25% CPU load…

What does the meter in Nuendo say?

Why does everybody think it’s all about CPU?

Often the I/O performance is the limit. Better drivers will improve the performance.

I’m assuming this is all about the offline export, not realtime performance.

But there is still more than CPU that plays a role, I guess.

If you have a project running, it needs to address the audio engine. No matter if it’s played back or calculated for offline render.
Sometimes it’s not that simple as the average musician thinks.

No it is also about real time performance. The picture from above is about real time performance. I’m using a RME Fireface UFX+ latest firmware, latest drivers. RME has normally quality drivers. But yes, this can also be an issue, but therefore I can’t change anything except buying a new audio interface.