Survey on the Performance of Steinberg DAWs

Done. Looking forward to improvements :slightly_smiling_face:

Does Nuendo also have performance problems on Windows?

I first thought it would run OK on Mac, especially because some people reported 10s or 20s freezes, which I don’t experience. But now, after working on a project on N8, I have to say the arrange window, all windows for that matter, feel a bit sluggish. You click and have to wait a split second until the system finished thinking and finally opens that window for you. Scrolling in the arrange window / timeline also feels sluggish. Especially sideways scrolling with the mouse is impossible, it makes huge jumps and it’s not possible to make subtle shifts. Works in all other DAWs. Opening plugin windows, or opening mixer window, everything kind of has this “Schrecksekunde” where you don’t know if you clicked or the system is thinking about your deep actions. Pressing play, too. I don’t have any plugins loaded so it’s not the buffer. Other DAWs practically instantly play, Nuendo has a quarter of a second lag. Doesn’t seem like much but when it’s everywhere it really feels sluggish compared to other DAWs where I can fluently and smoothly scroll through the timeline, windows open instantly, everything feels snappy. To me it’s a big difference in feeling and the crashes with automation always make me nervous showing and hiding automation lanes. I always save at every corner. Not a relaxed feeling.

Hey Chris, I think it is also a bit sluggish on Windows when it runs as intended. While I never experience delaytimes that come close to a second, overall when doing fast audio edits in the project window it never feels instant but always slightly delayed. Coming from editing in Pro Tools these small delays are the main thing standing out for me. It’s nothing that blocks me from using it but just makes editing overall feel more unresponsivene than in other applications.

This is pretty much my experience, although I have only ever used Nuendo and Cubase so can not compare with any other DAWs.

By most accounts, the sluggishness is much worse on MAC, and in my case I tend to put it down to the fact that my system is about eight years old. I’m wondering whether or not things would be sped up if I added more ram, SSD drives or a faster processor.

Hello,

I have also filled in the survey, what I was not able to convey is that while I have purchased N8 with DNxHD licenses , I am still using N7 that is until the RX6 workflow is sorted.

Cheers

Mike

Just in case Steinberg don’t have other DAWs installed on their machines and don’t analyze how they work…

Here’s a video showing a comparison between a Logic and Nuendo session with over 250 tracks and it’s respective UI performance.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3UuA38JP8Q

This is no scientific test of course but rather a demo of the difference in UI performance between Logic and Nuendo. I haven’t added Reaper to this video but I tried all those things in Reaper. Generally, some things are a tiny bit slower in Reaper than Logic, but both Logic and Reaper feel instantaneous in their UI response. Meaning: You click on something or press a key, and you see the result instantly. In Nuendo, see for yourself.

Scrolling:
Nuendo scrolls so sluggishly that it’s very hard to follow with the eyes where you are. Sometimes it scrolls 1 track, sometimes 3 or 6 or more tracks so you lose a reference point and then start scrolling back and forth to orientate yourself because you lost where you were. It’s hard vertically, but scrolling horizontally is unusable with my mouse, it scrolls so imprecise and arbitrary that it’s impossible not to lose focus where you are. Whereas Logic scrolls butterly smooth and it’s easy to follow and navigate.

Zooming:
Same thing with zooming. Logic zooms butterly smooth so you can really follow and navigate. In Nuendo I have assigned a key and press it and hold it down. Theoretically the key is repeated several times per second, but the more I zoom in, the slower Nuendo gets with its UI updates and it only updates the screen every half second. This isn’t so much of a problem, but when you want to quickly zoom in somewhere, it lags a lot and feels unresponsive.

Selecting a track:
I just select an arbitrary track with a mouse click and then immediately hit “S” for solo on my keyboard. While Logic does it instantaneously and I cannot feel any lag between my action and the result, I can almost brew a coffee in the time Nuendo has to select the track and enable solo. When I want to audition a special combination of tracks when designing sounds for games with several layers, selecting multiple arbitrary tracks and soloing them feels very annoying and sluggish.

Window management:
Another example where Nuendo has a very long time updating and drawing a window. When I activate the mixer in Logic, the window pops up immediately, there’s no perceivable lag between the key press and the mixer showing. First I press “X” (for Logic’s mixer) and hold the key so the window pops up and closes as fast as the key repeats while I hold it down. I do the same in Nuendo with “Alt-Option-E” and you see what dance the Nuendo UI does. It takes a long time to call up, and draw all the UI elements. When you’re on a smaller screen and jump back and forth between arrangement and mixer to tweak things, opening andclosing gets really annoying like that.
Later I manually hit the keys to open the mixer. I do it slower so it’s better visible how the different programs open and draw those windows. Logic’s mixer instantly shows up fully drawn and ready to tweak. Nuendo’s mixer takes a long time.

All this helps to show that there are significant differences in responsiveness of the UI and Nuendo on many occasions feels sluggish and slow. Especially when you navigate andtry to follow where you are in a project, this can be really annoying and cost time. As well as when you have repetitive tasks and open and close windows, mixer, select tracks. All those split seconds you have to wait where you’re not sure if Nuendo got the keystroke or mouse click, until it happens, breaks your flow a lot of times.

Hi Chris, thanks for posting that video. It illustrates the difference I experience here with Pro Tools and Reaper (and Studio One when I tried it).

Cubendo is in deep trouble with this on Mac, rendering it useless for the very fast speed I’m used to working at. Auditioning other DAWs like Reaper and Studio One, and going back to using PT until the Mac GUI issue is completely fixed on Cubendo, all really shine a bright light on that.

I don’t know if these things using Cubendo on Windows are just as fast as the competition?

There are no slowdowns to such an extent on Windows.

It always sounds stupid. “Well, you can wait for that one operation for a split second, no? What’s your problem?” But reality is, that there are a lot of tasks and jobs that require lots of little manual changes. Then the director walks in and says I want all these things to be quieter and then you have to move around the project back and forth, zoom in, scroll, zoom out, selecting stuff, modifying stuff, where you perform dozens of little clicks, selections and key presses in a very short time. There are many occasions where your job requires to do stuff like this. And having to wait for half a second on each click stops the flow, annoys you, up to the point where you get angry. And you don’t want to work with a tool that makes you angry.

It’s not only shiny features that matter. The really basic stuff is super important, even if it doesn’t seem that way.

A slow UI is like a car that always takes 1 second to do anything. 1 second to turn on the radio after you click the button. No big deal. 1 second to accelerate after your hit the pedal, most of the time OK. 1 second to turn the wheels left when you move the steering wheel? Oh oh. One second to brake when you hit the brake, impossible. A car can look as shiny as it wants, have cupholders and screens in the back seat. If it doesn’t brake the moment I hit the brake, this very basic thing, it’s useless.

Nuendo is not a matter of life and death of course, but UI responsiveness just matters. A lot.

No one is defending the poor performance, it’s definitely not supposed to be that way.

Defending, no. But the fact that they opened a survey on the performance topic tells me Steinberg had no idea performance was a problem until users started writing on this forum. If they were aware internally, they would not need to open a survey, right?

The point is to see which combinations of settings, hardware and OS are resulting in unsatisfactory performance. This is not just about Macs.

UI performance in N8 definitely needs to be addressed. It was far snappier in N7.

Clicking, scrolling, etc… all eat up a lot of time.

One really noticeable difference is when I create a folder from the explorer dialogue in the Export Mixdown menu. This is atrociously slow. In N7 it works perfect.

UI performance is a joke. Audio Engine CPU performance is poor, being optimistic.

I would love to see a response from SB on the poor Mac performance, especially as it is mostly official videos captured from the Mac that are showing off new feature sets, suggesting that perhaps it’s a preferred platform. (I know the more likely reason is that it looks better and is easier to capture)

What is the roadmap for a fix? What are the kind of fixes they are looking at? How does it tie in with a much needed proper windows management and docking system, and general UI overhaul (consistency is all over the map)

Is a GPU accelerated UI an option? etc…

Would interest me, too. But I doubt we’ll ever going to hear anything.

What would be very good is to have a list of materials that have been “validated”.
But we can dream…
Because it would significate that the DAW would be able to work perfectly, and the culpability of computer or different configurations would not be able to be heard.
That’s what Apple is made for.
And this is not a battle between Apple or Windows. That is not the question.
The same should be done for Windows no ?
Dream

Mementostudio the problem has been fixed in Cubase 9.5.
Unfortunately Steinberg have decided that scrolling, zooming and locating the cursor is a music only feature and thus decided not to include the fix in the 8.1 Nuendo update.

Hi Olivier
Ok but I don’t have Cubase.

I’am not a sound Engeneer but a composer that need the functionality of Nuendo that Cubase do not have. (for example the monitoring section)
And I don’t think that scrolling is a music only feature…
I’am using the locators every time too…
Do we have to buy Cubase and wait to pay for Nuendo that it includes all the features that work ?

I heard things are better on the Mac (and PC) in C9.5…but to what extent I don’t know.
The proof will be being able to run the demo and load up my current session:)

But I’m not looking for just a ‘fix’…I’m looking for a next gen solution as sessions, plug-in and track counts are only going to get bigger and heavier.
I’ve heard people say it’s up to C7 speed again, which from my memory wasn’t stellar on the Mac to begin with (but okay).

I’d really like to hear how feasible a GPU accelerated GUI is.
Having worked in the gaming industry for the last 25 years with a team that has arguably created one of the most powerful and capable 3d engines in the industry (the Decima Engine), it is incredible to see what they’re able to coax out of a $300-400 dollar console with a 3 year old GPU.
Realtime global illumination, full 360 degree world rendering with advanced texturing, bump and specular mapping, fluid dynamics and voxel cloud rendering, you name it, running at 30 fps.

With that in mind, your average $100 nvidia or even AMD card should hardly break a sweat rendering a simple 2d GUI like Cubendo’s with some simple alpha transparency and anti-aliased line rendering and a whole bunch of parts (which would essnetially be 2 poly’s per part).
It should manage to do so at 60fps easily.
Considering that the GPU is generally doing nothing when Cubendo runs, other than OS redraws it seems like a wasted opportunity.

And yes, I’m fully aware that there’s more to it; sometimes the code to decide what to draw (and what not) and manage the data to get it on screen can be heavier than the actual drawing code itself, but the GPU would still assist in the drawing, and that in itself could be a huge boost to performance.

I would love to hear from SB whether they’ve done any research or testing in this area…