The end is nigh?

I’ve been a Nuendo user for over a decade since v3 when I switched from Fairlight to Nuendo. I’ve built a couple of rooms around this software, used it to mix some great shows, won some prizes. There have been ups and downs, but this time I think I’m ready to make the jump. I need to.

The things that have been going on in Nuendo land during the last year have taken a lot of confidence that this company is willing and able to develop and maintain the programme in a way that will satisfy my needs as a professional audio post engineer. It seems a new focus has been found with game audio and the post side of things has come to a halt. Worse than that, the application that I use every day (N7) has been transferred into an unresponsive sluggish, buggy monster (N8) that cannot get the job done for me. This unfortunately still holds true after the 8.1 release. It’s still completely unusable half a year after the release to me.

The RX connect disaster, the unfinished DOP, the missing field recorder stuff (workflow and at least track display), buggy AAF implementation, video engine problems and now finally the GUI responsiveness problem without a fix that has been coded but is not released to the Nuendo user base make me feel that the end of my relationship with this company’s software is close. There have been so many things that went more than just a little bit wrong, it really shatters my confidence that we are going in the right direction here.

I know that the one competitor (Blackmagic) is not there yet and the other competitor is a sluggish monster (AVID) that does not move at very high speeds and is much more expensive. Still I feel more confidence that the PT programme will slowly evolve and keep compatibility with OS releases. And I will not need to swim against the tides anymore, which can be a huge plus. PT has gained many of the unique things I love in Nuendo (clip gain, audio export, a good realtime engine) and kept many of the unique things at the same time.

I do not know what has led to the havoc in this software, I have my wild guesses. In the end it does not matter.
All that matters to me as an audio professional that I can get the job done in the end and that I can offer a good service to my customers.
I feel that the time is right to reconsider if Nuendo 8 and following releases will be part of my journey in the next years.
At the moment it feels as if the time has come to switch.

It seems a new focus has been found with game audio

Funnilly enough most people I know (including my self eventually) who work in games audio are moving to Reaper.

Nuendo’s integration with the popular game audio middleware Wwise is not attractive to me at all. A colleague at my last place made a bunch of scripts within Reaper that do all the useful stuff that Nuendo offers in terms of integration into Wwise in a couple of days and apparently its much better.

I also simply don’t trust Steinberg enough to maintain the functionality to invest in it.

I’ve been with Nuendo since v2 and I share your feelings. Most recently, my business has been doing mostly audio production, with less post work. The latest v8, and now v8.1, is sluggishly behind the curve and lacks any special new features that can improve my work flow. In reality, the new Cubase 9.5 would probably serve me much better, and I’ve often thought of “downgrading” to that. If Steinberg is deciding to chase the smaller game market with Nuendo, I fear they are making a fatal mistake. They should continue to offer Nuendo as the premium, professional offering to all markets. To offer feature rich updates first to Cubase users is simply backwards in my opinion.

I hope Steinberg re-thinks their marketing strategy with Nuendo soon or they are going to lose even more market share. One of the hottest new DAWs in music production is Presonus Studio One. As I understand it, the main developer was one of the original developers of Nuendo, but it sells for a fraction of the price and is faster, cleaner, and slicker.

It seems Steinberg is losing momentum with Nuendo as they desperately try to find a market to sell to these days. As someone who has invested a lot of $$$ into this platform, it is sad to see it fail, but at a certain point frustrated users will cut their losses and move to other platforms if things don’t change for the better.

I feel your pain.
I initially invested in Nuendo 2.x to give me the best of both worlds, and have the flagship SB app.
However, over the past 3-4 years it feels like it is always lagging behind its smaller brother that tends to have a lot more of the new features that I want than Nuendo.

Recently I’ve been burned badly by the sluggishness of the app. Having bought a top of the line iMac 5k 2 years ago (I much prefer Mac Os to Windows), the performance of N8 was hugely disappointing, at a time when N7 was already struggling and it became clear that whatever porting platform SB uses, it’s not quite up to the task.

So, I invested another $2000-2500 in a brand new Skylake PC only to find performance marginally improved. GUI performance is as a whole much better, but still slow on N8 compared to N7, which just flies.

I won’t lie: i think C9.5 looks fantastic, and crosses a lot of my wishes of the wishlist.
But I’ll be damned if i’m going to throw another 3-400 quid at SB to run that too, when I’ve already invested thousands in Nuendo and upgrades.

I would echo a lot of Nuendo users complaint that we should be able to run Cubase off the same license, or at least for the time that the feature upgrade for Nuendo becomes available (which is typically 4-6 months behind.

Also, I wonder if SB has ever looked into GPU-accelerated UI’s.
Considering most of our graphics cards are generally doing nothing whilst Nuendo is running, and knowing how much polygons these things can throw on the screen, I’m surprised that power is not used for GUI redraws.


How large is your average session? I have a self-built 8 core PC and my performance on N8 is unchanged from N7. All is snappy and happy, though I’m doing music production, not post-pro work. Been building my own since the late 90’s so maybe I can help?


thank you for your understanding and thank you for your story.
As I’ve said - N7 still gets the job done for me at the moment.
But with 8.0 and 8.1 I’ve lost all my faith in this company.
They either do not understand or care about the pro market as I see it.
I need to move on, get my productions finished and improve my PT skills.

Yep, I hear many many stories of people in my game audio surroundings moving to Reaper because it’s lean, super fast, powerful, configurable and customizeable and very extensible via scripts. Workflows vary vastly from studio to studio and person to person and Reaper can accomodate those with scripting.

To me neither. It’s a time-saver, yes, but only if you use WWise. It might be one of the most integrated middlewares in high profile AAA games, but those only make up a small part of the industry. There are tons of games being made with other middleware (Miles 10, FMOD…) or no middleware, where you are dependent on other workflows. There’s been put a lot of energy into a feature that only a small portion of game audio people and probably only a super small fraction of Nuendo’s user base is at all interested in. There are many more features in game audio that would have been more attractive to a wider range of people.

Steinberg competes against a very well established and monopolized audio post market with PT. And there’s a saying: If you come out with something new / a competing product, it’s not enough to have something marginally better. And it’s not enough to have something that’s a good bit better, either, because people are sticking to what they know. If you want to overcome this inertness you have to provide something that’s 10x better! I strongly feel as if Nuendo would have the potential to reach that, but the thing is that Nuendo then should work really, really smoothly and offer huge workflow improvements compared to PT. But today, when PT people see how sluggish the interface is, the problems you have with the new video engine and video thumbnails, how bug-ridden the high profile features are, how messed up and incoherent the interface is and all the small nags we’ve collectively experienced… Sure there are probably nags and kinks in PT but why change to other nags and kinks. If you switch you want a vastly better experience.

In this scenario, details highly matter. Nuendo has to be streamlined and meticulously engineered so all features work together as if you were in paradise. But currently, every window, every option dialog, every dialog window (DOP being the latest example) looks differently, no coherence in visual design. All these details don’t add up and surely will not convince any other DAW user to switch. In my opinion, Steinberg needs to strongly focus on their user experience, ironing out all bumps. If everybody would praise Nuendo for it’s rock solid stability, consistent interface, powerful macro editor (I know, it’s a joke), video capabilities that “just work” I’m sure we’d not be complaining here.

Currently, Nuendo doesn’t deliver on the core needs of its users, chasing them away while in its current state being unable to wow new customers, and this is poison. Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s the feeling I have.

Well from my perspective the biggest issue now is understanding where the product is heading. I actually can understand why people want bezier curves for automation and midi etc, even though I never use it. I also never use the sampler or WWISE. But I understand that some users are in fields where those are valuable.

The issue for me is that when there was a relatively big change in terms of potential workflow, the addition of VCAs, Steinberg chose to go down two different paths for Cubase/Nuendo, and the screwed up Nuendo’s implementation of VCAs tremendously. After a while it wasn’t even that it was broken so much as it was some people’s questioning of our testing, and nobody really a) saying that they were truly, genuinely sorry, or b) offering something to compensate us for having spent this money for something that didn’t work properly for over a year (and is still having issues).

Now, I can actually understand that as a designer and/or programmer of something like VCAs you can get into some really tricky areas, logically. You’re basically programming changes to the core of the automation system. I would expect that to be tricky. But this was to be expected. Anyone could foresee how it would be more difficult to pull something like that off compared to building a new plugin. If the plugin doesn’t work, don’t use it. Done. If VCAs appear to work but don’t, you can be in an infinitely worse place.

So, I thought to myself that after the 14 or so months it took to get that working Steinberg would have learned their lesson. We’ve had years of users saying “Please release stable versions, add features later”, and after Nuendo 7/VCAs surely they’d have gotten the message, right? Well, after seeing DOP and the other issues with Nuendo 8, followed by the release of Cubase 9.5 so shortly after, I’m convinced that Steinberg is in a bad place. After all, if the lesson was learned from v7’s release, this last release wouldn’t have looked the way it did.

It seems to me that when dealing with very fundamental parts of the software, parts that can’t be replaced by third-party software, parts like the video engine, DOP or VCAs, it’s essential that it works on release. It has to, because those things are fundamental to the DAW. It’s what we use all the time in post. Updating plugins is nice, but not essential. Yet here we are, it took months to get close to get this working.

As far as the direction of functionality goes I’m again worried. I thought it was a good idea to investigate game-audio when that was done, and to get WWISE ‘integration’ happening. But many users pointed out pretty early on that 3d audio was coming and that that was something Steinberg should look into. While at AES however every single 3d audio company was really focused on Pro Tools and Reaper. That’s it. And that included Dolby!

When I asked Dolby reps about their products they were showing off it was all-Mac (that Nuendo is performing worse on) and all Pro Tools. I asked specifically about both PC and Nuendo, and the reply was basically a “No plans but probably never gonna happen” reply. So while Dolby Atmos and its tools keep developing it seems as if Nuendo is stuck in whatever implementation it has now, which means large-stage production Atmos with the RMU. But, that’s not the only direction of Dolby and Atmos, and that’s the point I’m getting at. If the 3d-audio industry is moving in this other direction Steinberg risks losing out on this. Pro Tools has made great headway in accommodating 3d audio production.

So, lastly, the final concern is the “complete” and utter lack of communication of where this product is heading and what the company’s goals are. Because I felt ‘burned’ by the Nuendo 7 release - which I admit was a personal experience that didn’t everyone - I decided to wait and see when it came to v8. I didn’t and haven’t bought it yet, because v7 made me more cautious. And not only didn’t it include a lot of features I’d pay for, it was apparently very buggy as well.

Now, this could all have been ‘fine’ if at least there was word from Steinberg about where they’re going. If someone showed up here and said; “Hey, we’re listening, and we’re implementing X, Y, Z formats for 3d-audio and post-production, and we’ll roll those into upcoming releases the next year as soon as we get this unfortunate v8 release stable” then I’d have invested in it. But this wasn’t the case.

So if I’m looking to spend my money I’d rather spend it where the direction is clear, and on companies where communication seems to exist. I know the grass isn’t greener, but I’ve already got Nuendo v7, and at some point I’ve got to cut my losses. With Davinci Resolve continuously improving Fairlight will become relevant. So it makes more sense for me to invest there. And/or get a Pro Tools rig. And Reaper is dirt cheap.

But why invest more in Nuendo? I’m honestly at a loss here… What are the arguments for it at this point? That it’s cheap?..

MattiasNYC, when I was thinking about the situation the entire VCA problem and how it was handled came to my mind as well.
Now messing up the code that is responsible for editing, zooming and scolling is the most ridiculous thing they have ever come up with, though. If they really think they can get away with a software that gets basics like that wrong and not release a hotfix to Nuendo customers while Cubase customers get the fix the only thing that is left for me is to leave. In what way can I trust this company to get anything relevant to me right?

As I said, for me it’s a matter of finishing the series I am working on in N7 and use the gap until the next wave hits the sudio to improve my PT skills and get up to speed with EDI Load. Can’t afford to waste more time on N8.

Having worked with both Pro Tools and Reaper I’m personally still a big fan of Nuendo and it is my DAW of choice. The grass is always greener on the other side, but in my experience both other Softwares also have serious flaws next to their strong points.

However, especially for Game Work, I am really missing the extended scriptability that Reaper offers. As everybody in the Game Industry is at least to a certain level competent with scripting, writing a basic Middleware Integration script on your own is not a big challenge + you can fully customize it to your Projects need. (given that the DAW offers the scripting-environment to do so)

+1 that the UI of Nuendo really needs a big unification pass. While the main Project Interface gets improved with every Version (and looks great!), the Subsystems can be all over the place in regards to Functionality and UI Design. Some can be closed with Shortcuts, others are literally only closable by clicking with the Mouse, some can be enabled to be “Always on Top”, others not without any obvious reason etc… While I’m not a big fan of Avid, this is something they have definitely improved on a lot in their newer Iterations of Pro Tools in my opinion.

Regarding the Direct Offline Processing Update, I think it has been an extremely useful change that improves my Workflow a lot (although it had an arguably rough start). Also, all the changes in Cubase 9.5 look really useful to me and I hope they get integrated into Nuendo before the next major update. (also most importantly for all the mac users with graphic issues out there)

If only stuff like the unification of the UI would be my worry…
In 8.0 Nuendo would not display video on my machine, not send anything to RX.
Now almost half a year later in 8.1 I can click somewhere 5 times to trigger an action once.
I am talking about UNUSABLE software, completely USELESS bits and bytes.


I think Nuendo generally has a great interface, but the inconsistency is getting ridiculous. It also has little UI gimmicks that I think only programmers get excited about.
The Devices window seems to use some sort of legacy interface - it is still beyond me why the Generic Remote window is unscaleable for example, and why it isn’t linked with the Key commands window. It would be a lot quicker to set up certain commands if you could link them to the commands you see in the key editor.
With all the tablets in use these days, this feature should be a major focus. It’s a pain in the bleep to program, feeling really barebones and archaic.

The Macro editor is another one - I meet a lot of cubendo users who rarely seem to use them; they either don’t know how they work, or don’t know how to find it. No wonder, the short little stubby (and again, unscaleable) window that pops out at the bottom of the key editor is nonsensical from an UI point of view.

Same with the PLE - people get confused because it looks exactly the same as the Logical Editor, and nearly sounds the same.
Confusingly, it is not found under ‘Project’ (PROJECT logical editor…geddit?) but under ‘Edit’.

To me, it would make much more sense if it was paired up with the Macro Editor, and have a different name to distinguish it.

The Pool window is another one; it has hardly changed since the beginning, yet we’ve had the addition of the Media Bay.
Why doesn’t he Pool use the same design, and have a bottom pane with a waveform view (like media bay) from which you can drag a full file or regions (like media bay) and preview (like media bay).
The waveform displays in the Pool are pretty useless anyway…they don’t scale,they’re all the same size regardless of file length, and on a 4k monitor not even worth looking at.

You misunderstand - I USE Wwise. And yet the integration does not appeal to me at all.

I see. Then I have no idea.

one reason being the bus architecture is open-ended, whereas Nuendo’s is fixed. Steinberg could have offered us something in 8.1 by way of accommodating HOA, but nope, it’s a wait and see approach. Fact is there’s a market out there for a DAW that handles VR/AR audio production well, Nuendo could have been that DAW. Reaper is the best way to go…

Steinberg’s trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.
It obviously does not work as expected.