VST System Link is error prone and unusable


I have been working with two connected machines running Nuendo for many years (decades actually). Conneting them has been usually really simply with VST System Link.

Suince Nuendo 11, and now 12, even more more so, I am getting drops and error messages. It makes no difference which digital connections I use or the bit depth etc.

Is this confirmable?


Like you I’m a long time System Link user with Nuendo and Cubase Pro licenses. I’m not getting any dropouts or error messages on linear playback but, I am finding that the system is a little more ‘fragile’, for lack of a better word.
Relocating the cursor during playback causes one of the machines to stop and return to start more often than it used to.
I’ve also noticed that locating the cursor to a bar (while the transport is stopped) randomly results in a slight mismatch in the cursor position between the two machines. For example, one machine may show a position of while the other shows This isn’t particular to V12 and I’ve been aware of it since around V8 or V9. It’s not a major problem in practice but I’d prefer that it didn’t do that at all.


I am assuming that VST System link is still a supported feature with Nuendo 12. I run two Nuendo workstations side by side as part of my workflow. They are connect via VST System link running through MOTU audio hardware, and I have patched two routes for the VST SL data for diagnostic reasons, one of AVB and the other over Opticals.

With Nuendo 11, this was a pretty smooth affair. It was a great improvement on my earlier incarnations of this arrangement which I did via MIDI with MMC and MTC, with one machine as MMC master and the other as MMC slave.

Putting MMC to one side, Nuendo 12 is behaving very erratically with VST System Link. Occasionally I get strange draggy video and stutters, then total non events where nothing syncs, and many other frustrations.

If I simply quit out both sides and go back to Nuendo 11, the system works flawlessly.

Help please. Steinberg?

Regarding the stopping at a bar, or in my case, a whole second on a 25fps grid, I have also seen this mis-match over the years. Only the other day I found that I was causing this when I used the “set timecode at cursor” function, which would (if the curse was deep into the project) create a needed situation where the project start time was “between frames” even though the project setup page cannot show this. I have reverted to setting the project start time manually and this issue has gone away for me for now.
I am planing to revert to MMC and MTC for now as I need both machines to always be seeing the same frame.

Hi again

OK so I have accepted (but not happy about) the fact that VST System link is not working. The loss compared to MTC method includes: cannot initiate play from either machine, do not have (the advertised but probably never delivered) sample accurate sync, and playback has an inevitable lag.

MMC can allow playback from either machine elegantly, but the lag is greater and a pre-roll is needed to avoid frustration.

MTC it is for now until Steinberg pick up this problem. Maybe it is time for a whole new sync approach, a new protocol. Nuendo 13?


Have you contacted support directly?

Thanks Steve for your message.

No - haven’t done that for years - I should give it a try!

Provisional revision to the situation. I decided to use apples “erase content and settings” function, which is a surprisingly fast way of wiping a Mac and starting fresh (as there is no need to install the OS) on the slave Mac only. This Mac had been installed “over” a few times.

Super clean install, with clean preferences, apart from Port Setup file and Key Commands file ported over from previous prefs.
So far VST System Link is working well, at least to the extent that the two machines are now running in sync. I will spend a day with this tomorrow and report back. Good news hopefully.


Excellent! Hope all stays clear.

So far so good - although it seems grouchy first thing in the morning which is truly odd! I must sometimes “jig around” the inputs of VST SL, and get it “settled” for the day.
But definitely, the actual functionality of frame accuracy as been “solved” by a total re-install of one of the workstations.

Correction - despite the re-install of Moneterrey, System Link is now exhibiting the same issue - one of the machines always runs about 10 frames ahead of the other. it depends which machine initiates “play”. I make sure to swap the machine that has sync enabled before comparing this.


This is worrying. I intended to update to N12 after the holidays. But I need system link working properly for large projects.

Any one else that can confirm this issue?

As I mentioned above, I’m a heavy user of Systemlink and it is generally working fine for me on Cubase Pro / Nuendo 12, apart from occasions when I click on the timeline to relocate the cursor during playback and the second machine will drop out, which is slightly annoying but not a showstopper.
On linear tracking / playback the sync is as reliable as it’s ever been.
It sounds like @goodbyenine has the timeline set to minutes / seconds whereas I’m using bars / beats. I have no idea if this in any way changes things.
Also probably worth mentioning that both my machines are Windows 10.