When is Mac performance going to be addressed?

Hey Guys,

Long time Nuendo user here (since V2).
Started out on the PC, worked with that until around V6, when I moved back to the Mac.
I much prefer the Mac as a platform in terms of productivity, though the speed of PC’s (and Windows in particular) can’t be denied.

However, I’ve found with both V7 and especially now V8 that GUI speed (or lack of it) is becoming a real issue.
Part of is thinking to bite the bullet and just get a PC for Nuendo work, and keep the Mac for everything else.

But after testing a few other applications on the Mac (Logic, Studio One, Reaper) and running Nuendo on Bootcamp on W10, the conclusion is that it can’t be much else other than a coding / cross platform issue.

Logic, though not the fastest, still performs much better in moving around a session with many tracks. In fact, it’s slightly hampered by its own ‘smooth scrolling’ algorithm because if you scroll around using a trackpad (where it seemingly turns off) it absolutely screams in terms of speed.
And logic is doing a lot more in terms of ‘fancy’ graphics for its audio and midi parts and automation, with transparency effects and bezier curves for automation.

Reaper too, is much snappier both in terms of perfomance and GUI updates (but apart from some skinning looks like poo).

Studio One, which afaik uses the JUICE platform is also rather snappy in its GUI updates.

And bootcamped to W10, Nuendo flies as you would expect (and as I remember from my PC days).
I have tested this quite extensively, running identical sessions on the same machine with the exact same configuration in terms of plugins, audio hardware etc. on both Mac and Windows.
The difference isn’t subtle. Nuendo on W10 outperforms the Mac version on both GUI responsiveness and ASIO performance by a large margin.
I’d say about 30/40%, but of-course it’s hard to put an exact number on it.

So it is clear it’s not the computer or CPU, or its GPU - nor can everything be leveraged at OS X, as it manages to achieve good GUI speeds in other applications.

I appreciate that some of this might have to do with Retina displays - I use a late 2015 top of the line iMac 5k with 4ghz cpu, AMD 395x GPU and 32gb of Ram, and with Retina it appears the OS needs to draw 4 times as many pixels.

But this still does not account for Nuendo 8’s sloppy GUI performance, which at the moment is so bad I can’t really use it anymore on bigger orchestral sessions (the PC version appears fine)

So the question is, Timo, SB, whoever is listening - what is SB going to do? Is there a fix for this in the future, and if so, when?
Are there plans to start leveraging the GPU to do some of the heavy GUI lifting?
Or should I just save my breath and get a PC?

It’s not just Retina – I have standard LG monitors and experience the issue. I also can’t work with it – like, truly can’t work with it with the tight deadlines and speed that I need to work at.

The fix might not come until the next .5 revision because I’ve come to understand that it involves some pretty deep coding revisions. That’s why I’m back on PT for all new projects at this point (and also got a refund Nuendo 8 - I’ll wait until it’s usable this time).

Yes, I agree. I can just about run smaller sessions ( a bunch of strings, some audio tracks and a few synths), but even there if I increase the amount of audiotracks things start getting siuggish.
I sometimes can’t make selections or end uo drawing notes or parts I don’t want as the GUI is still catching up with whatever tool I’ve switched to.

A .5 revision could be months, if not half a year away. I guess I better start speccing that PC :frowning:

I have NO desire to return to the ancient Mac vs PC wars, but…

I know many high end pros here in Nashville who are beginning to migrate from Mac to PC, which would have been unthinkable to them not long ago. I understand that Cubendo has some coding issues with OSX. But I know many Mac users who have recently moved to PC and most are happy about it, pleasantly surprised by the performance improvements and not just with Cubendo. Just got a text from a buddy who is a trainer for Ableton on Live who is freaking out about his MSI PC gaming laptop he just took the plunge with. He programs big sets for high end touring acts including stems, video and lighting cues for 15 songs in a single session. Much like programming a Cirque show in Vegas. He is tripping out about how much better the performance is on the gaming PC laptop and wondering why he didn’t make the move sooner.

Not trying to get into a hassle with anybody, just saying that PCs are becoming what Macs used to be and vice versa in many way, at least for pro audio work. PC guys used to wait for the code to get optimized for their system and feel like they were overlooked in the process. Seriously ironic. Who saw that coming? Most of these guys making the change stick with Mac laptops for their non-audio life, but even that will become pure iPhone in the near future.

Hey Getalife,

That is absolutely true. I’ve had about 25 years working in the games industry, and used to be the odd one out with a Mac whilst everybody was on PC’s.
I used PT (first Nubus (remember that?!!) then PCI) and Logic back then until around V6, and switched when Nuendo 2 came out. I’d always had a PC on the side and am fluent on both, so am well aware of the developments on both platforms.

Even Nuendo 2 on the PC was already a massive difference in terms of speed compared to the PowerPC Mac’s at time, and when i noticed a simple factory Dell machine at home outperforming my studio Mac I realised it was time to switch over completely.
I built my own custom PC and another 2 of them over the years, at one point even Hackintoshing it to see how the Mac fared.

My main reason for switching back to the Mac nearly 2 years ago from PC’s is because though I loved the speed, I disliked almost everything else; the OS, the inconsistency of UI’s, the crappy apps for simple things like mail, calendar, notes etc and the integration; exactly the things that imho Apple has traditionally done so well.
I still have 2 PC Slaves buzzing away in the background as sample farms.

You can say a lot about mac’s in terms of price (and to a degree performance, though I’m noticing more and more that a lot of that has to do with quality coding), but in terms of usability and user friendliness it is generally incredibly well thought out and consistent.
Apps have a similar look and feel because they’re built from the same foundation; call me superficial but if I spent practically more time a day looking at an OS / Computer then I do my own family, I want it to look smart and well designed:)

Windows is imho from a user standpoint an absolute mess; it’s fine when you know your way around, but the amount of utilities and tweaks I need to do to get it near the usability of what I have on a Mac is crazy.
And though I think Apple’s lost their way a bit since Jobs’s gone, in terms of productivity I just get a lot more sh*t done.

That having been said, it looks like building another PC for Nuendo is the way to go, as I expect for Nuendo to become more efficient on the Mac will require a major overhaul.
And keep the Mac for nice things… :stuck_out_tongue:

Great post :slight_smile:

Apple + Cubendo performing as it should (production work-horse) seems to becoming more and more of a distant dream :frowning:

I began my music production with Windose XP and Cubase … and loved this setup at the time. But the thought of having to switch back to Windows makes me feel sick in the stomach. Every release of Winblows just seems to get worse and worse. Apple creates beautiful eye candy but is almost becoming an eccentric crazy person that just cares about how they look in the mirror. I just spent 7k AUD on a new MBP and I’m already needing an upgrade. iMac Pro is just around the corner but at 8-10k AUD for something that will last 3 years is insanity.

the search for an optimal setup continues…

If you do decide to build I would recommend if it is possible to build yourself a PC using Windows 7 64 bit. It really does just work. Just about everything still has drivers that work great. I turn my machine on, it runs blisteringly fast, it’s extremely stable, I get my stuff done, I go enjoy my life.

There are certainly some things that are just good practice using Nuendo no matter what. Close the whole app down and reopen between loading large projects, Etc. There are basic quirks like that that are universal no matter the hardware. But all I can say is with a Windows 7 64-bit machine that has a very complex amount of Hardware attached to it Nuendo 8 is working better for me than in N7 except for the ridiculousness of the offline processing issues. I don’t use Izotope and don’t have issues with any of my other plug-ins at least so far.

I’m very empathetic with those of you having problems so don’t take this wrong at all. Seriously I have been there too. All I’m trying to say is my Windows 7 64-bit machine with an Nvidia video card RME Madi and a lot of other stuff hanging on their including three Uad-2 quads runs like a Swiss watch with Nuendo 8. My performance is slightly better than N7 in terms of both GUI and a ASIO.

The Other Guys in this thread I think are being pragmatically wise. It’s an individual decision to decide whether to stick with the same hardware and hope that a software developer will cure your issues by changing their code versus buying or building something that works with the current state of the software. I know it’s not really fair but it boils down to priorities.

I use Nuendo since v3 on Mac. Great performance but not from n5. Lags with N8 are awful. I usually work with a 32GB RAM Mac Pro 5.1 2x6 Xeon cores, a great machine. It moves very well Logic Pro and Protools, I work too with Final Cut Pro X, and other software and I DON’T WANT WINDOWS.

On the other hand we have several MacMini i5 in the studio, one of them with N8 too and the others with Cubase Pro 9. They run very well about GUI with Cubendo. The one that runs N8 has two full HD monitors connected, 8GB RAM… but performance about GUI is years from MacPro.

Sorry, but I can’t understand this. Please Steinberg, you must give a solution as soon as possible. Nuendo is the main tool for my job, I work full time at the recording studio and is not reasonable. We’ve paid every year updates and upgrades and we’ve got a worse software response than previous versions. We are not beta testers, we are USERS, CUSTOMERS that have paid a non-reliable software.

Nice that Steinberg created a questionnaire where you can put in your performance concerns. I did. I’m on a Mac and in many many tasks this machine flies. I use Reaper and it’s fast. I use Logic for other things and Logic just flies like crazy. I love Logic’s UI. It has a lot of information in a great easy to read layout. But Nuendo has the much better feature set for game and film work. It fits my workflow the best.
But, Nuendo has a lot of UI frames and borders and sections that are unnecessary in my eyes and cost a lot of screen space for nothing. Its UI is extremely sluggish compared to Reaper and Logic. It crashes regularly when I work with automation and show / hide it in the lanes. And it turns on the fans of my machine pretty quickly while Reaper and Logic keep my machine silent and CPU usage low.

I just hope that they address these issues at one point. And not let it slip because nobody wants to touch that code… I think refactoring is sexy. Please do it.

Switched from Mac to PC for just this reason. I’ve found Windows 10–once you’ve shaved off the cruft, which only really takes a half hour at most upon installation–is an absolute joy. Maybe my favorite OS ever besides certain flavors of Linux, but of course in the context of professional audio and music that’s irrelevant.

Yeah, I’ve bit the bullet, and having a new Skylake 7800x system built this week.
My film work is starting this week and I can’t wait around for SB to get their act on the Mac together.

The Mac will still be right next to it for everything but Nuendo, with Videoslave running the video playback (I find the new video engine hit and miss)

This is really bumming me out reading all of this. A friend here has a Mac Pro Bootcamped and has Cubase on both installs – when I asked him about this he also said that Cubase on the Windows side performs noticeably better with both CPU use and GUI. Really disappointing to hear all of this. I can’t switch over to Windows for a number of reasons, period.

Can a mod chime in and tell use whether or not it’s planned in the near future to get Mac up to par with Windows for Cubendo? As I’ve said many times, I get far better CPU performance with Reaper and Pro Tools (also when I tried Studio One) on the exact same Mac, so we know that it’s possible to get great performance on a Mac.

Hey In_Stereo,

Do you have to run everything off the Mac? Would you not be able to run a Windows system side by side?

Yes, I would also love to hear from a Mod what they intend to do and when. There are many developments in GUI and app design over the years that leverage the GPU to do a lot of heavy lifting.

I work a lot in games and it is incredible when you see how certain 3d modelling apps have developed over the years and use the computer’s resources to the max. You’d think that if an app can display 3d models with hundred thousands (if not millions) of polygons with shaders at a smooth frame rate, a DAW should be able to fill the screen with a bunch of blocks and text with no problem:)
(And yes, I appreciate that DAWs have different requirements where most of the CPU use is allocated to audio processing rather than screen redraws, but then GPU leverage in a way makes even more sense :stuck_out_tongue:)

And as you say, other apps manage it. Logic seem to fare pretty well with a large number of tracks, as did Studio One.

Jorisdeman, the main reason (aside from preferring the OS overall) is that I need to be running Pro Tools on my main rig because almost everyone I work with in studios here in L.A. uses it, so I need total compatibility for me as well as for people to use here if necessary – Pro Tools on Windows is quite bad, from what I understand. To put another system to use side-by-side is too much money and work. :slight_smile:

As far as hearing from a Mod: What I’ve learned from being on forums from different manufacturers is that silence is an answer unto itself. :wink:

Hey Stereo,

I’ve heard that since the latest version (12?) PT behaves a lot better on Windows machines, with decent performance.
But from what I understand a lot of composers do in LA, is run PT on a Mac rig for stem recording and printing and video playback, and run Nuendo/Cubase on a PC for maximum performance.

SB doing a poll and Questionnaire makes me think they are taking notice, but knowing how long software development and testing takes, I guess it could be another 6-12 months before we see anything, as it’s a pretty significant part of the program and afaik would require a fair rewrite.

I posted a small comparison between Logic and Nuendo in the performance post, just to illustrate. In case Steinberg refrains from installing and looking at competitor’s products.


Hello eevryone,

I am posting a reply here because my topic seem to be the same.
I found a little solution that seem to solve a little bit the problems of performances of Nuendo under Mac systems, in my case a mac Pro 5.1 updated with 2 Xeons 3,46 and 128 Go of Ram.
That’s not the Nirvana but it can help waiting solutions from Steinberg.
I f you download Xcode from apple store, you will find an application in the package of Code, calling Instruments. In the préférences of Instruments, disabling Hyper-Threading and playing with 8 cores or 6 cores give the software more performances…
This helped me in some cases, and I hope the community of mac users with Mac Pro 5.1 will try to…
Anyway, the stability of audio process is very bad, and in my case unusable.
I posted a detailed ticket to Steinberg today, and I hope I will get an answer.
Best regards to all of you !

That makes sense, yeah. I have a very powerful Mac, so I don’t want to buy and setup an entirely new workstation though, when other DAWs work wonderfully fast and smooth (and use less CPU) on it. As I said before, if this gets fixed I will come back to Nuendo (and/or Cubase), and I keep checking in to see. :slight_smile:

This is worth mentioning: Someone I know who is a very hot composer in L.A. (for about 10 years now - I shouldn’t use his name here publicly) recently made the switch from Logic to Cubase on Mac. After a month of Cubase (and more than a few phone calls to me) he is now back on Logic because of the GUI slowness and CPU-hungriness of Cubase in comparison. He loved the software itself but, like me, found it unusable for the fast work pace and the size of sessions that he is used to working at. This is a giant problem for Steinberg – let’s hope the Mac situation gets completely fixed soon.

Yeah, it’s a real shame.
I did some work with Logic recently, as I used to work with it decades ago. Some of it is great - the plugins and synths in particular, and quite a nice interface.
Some of it is shocking - features (or the lack of) that made me switch about a decade ago are still not there - quantising note lengths, fixing lengths (you can do by creating transform presets but come on!), and more importantly, the key editor is still quite rubbish. Nice automation though.
But the UI is reasonably snappy, and despite more bells and whistles still a lot faster than Cubase/Nuendo’s.

I’m not surprised he switched back. A real shame; I heard another name LA composer who finally bit the bullet and got a PC instead.
I’ve done the same…OS X is so much nicer though!

Composers have quite a large pool of tools. Cubase, Logic, Studio One, Sonar, FL Studio, Live, Digital Performer, Ohm Studio, Pro Tools, Reaper, Reason, Tracktion, Maschine, and the list goes on. Many have features for songs or complete compositions for film.

I still hang on to Nuendo because it has unique features in the sound post and game sound area. Having multiple marker tracks where I can also add multiple overlapping markers, ADR, and especially batch export of either clips dry, with channel settings, or the whole master channel, or mixdown by cycle markers with correct naming, AAF import, soon vocalign type functionality, great built-in plugins, a nice UI to look at (even though it’s sluggish as hell) and great automatic upmix and downmix features and the Control Room. All software I looked at didn’t have some of the things I come to love. Reaper comes the closest but Reaper is too much of a DIY DAW where you first have to spend weeks to customize it to your workflow and future updates could at any time break the fragile setup of extensions and plugins that one took a long time to configure. And its plugins look ugly as hell. So I don’t know. Any hints welcome.