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Re: Nuendo record performance vs. PT


I have some results that have solved our issue but still reveal the inefficiency in Nuendo for recording.

After several anecdotal and strange reports from operators I tested the following -
13 - Toshiba 500GB
4 - Toshiba 1TB
2 - Toshiba 2TB
4 - Seagate 7200.14
4 - Seagate 7200.12
2 - Seagate 7200.11
2 - Hitachi 2010 build date
2 - WD Black
2 - WD Blue
2 - OWC SSD 6Gb
3 - pcie flash

Systems tested -
MacPro tower OS10.6.8
MacPro tower OS10.8.5
2 - MacMini 2013 quad OS10.8.5 in Sonnet pcie chassis
MacMini 2013 quad OS10.8.5 in Magma pcie chassis
MacBookPro retina OS10.9.x
MacBookPro 2013 OS10.8.5
MacBookPro 2011 OS10.6.8

Interfaces tested -
Internal Sata where available
eSata where available
USB3 on all systems
Firewire on all systems

Test conditions - any interface available on a system was used for any drive available on that system. Most systems had all interfaces available.
A variety of enclosures were tested, it was verified that a particular brand was good, with a good drive performs well.
Each drive was tested multiple times to verify repeatability.
Nuendo 5.5.5, 5.5.6, 6.something, Logic Pro X.something, and ProTools 10.3.8/HDX2 were all tested.

Weird indeed.
The same model drives varied substantially in performance.
The Toshibas exhibited the worst performance, rarely succeeding above 70 tracks in Nuendo.
The Seagate 7200.x were fine with 128 tracks but oddly the dot12s performed a bit better than the dot11s or dot14s. Strange.
The Hitachis were good for 80 tracks and 112 tracks respectively, still not good.
The WD Blacks were good at 128 tracks, didn't test them above that.
The WD Blues, suggested by our enclosure supplier, were good at 192 tracks on eSata and usb3 and 128 tracks on firewire.
The SSD and pcie flash were very good of course.

ProTools had no problem recording 128 tracks to any of these drives, even the 2 Toshibas that wouldn't get to 64 tracks in Nuendo.

So the takeaway here is twofold -
First - drives are varying far too much; even if it benchmarks well it may not perform well in Nuendo, Logic, and other DAWs.
Second - my original point now borne out thoroughly - Nuendo has poor record performance compared to ProTools 10/11, a remarkable change from a few years ago. This should be examined.

by Hugh
Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:22 am
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Re: Mac Mini i7 and Cubase 7.5 setup help

Hello K,

Creds - We have deployed a number of Minis with Nuendo using high I/O counts and large sessions so I pretend I know something about it.

The most important thing with what you quoted is to increase the memory - Cubase and the MacOS will constantly be swapping things out of ram with only 2GB. We prefer to go with 16GB because these are production environment machines so the more the better. 8GB will work depending on your sample requirements.

SSDs are highly recommended but not the Fusion Drive. The SSDs will make your machine feel and perform much faster because, like all modern OSes, it's constantly reading and writing logs, prefs, etc. and the SSD improves that. Do some research on the model and determine your price/performance point and be aware that third-party SSDs are not natively TRIM-enabled on the MacOS but you can do it manually. The OWC drives do not normally require TRIM but there are caveats so do your research. If you're familiar with the guts of PCs then researching SSDs will be easy for you.

Your latency discrepancy between in and out is due to the Saffire driver - it's adding an additional safety buffer to the output at low latencies because it needs it, as many usb and firewire devices will do. Example - I just checked an RME interface here that's 1.375ms in and out at 32 samples. Each interface's driver will be slightly different and there may be additional delays in the Safire that are not reported to the OS making what you're hearing worse. There's nothing wrong with the Saffire, it's a fine interface for certain needs. However there are slightly lower latency models out there and if that is a high concern then you may want to investigate.

Beyond the hardware there are a number of other things -
Disable sleep
Disable "spin down hard drives"
Disable Notification Center by setting all the apps to "...not..." (you'll find it)
Disable screen saver
Disable display dimming
Disable automatic updates and automatic checking for updates in App Store
Set keyboard to have "normal" F-keys
Disable Spotlight on record drives during recording
If you don't use Bluetooth turn it off, otherwise disable "discoverable"
Turn off file sharing during large sessions
Eject network drives during large sessions unless needed
Turn off Flash in System Prefs
Turn off Java 6 in Safari or Java 7 in, wherever that is again, forgot.
If you don't need network access turn off wifi, we always do during recording even if we need it between recording.

That's what I randomly thought of, there are more I'm not thinking of. No need to go in and turn off services; beyond automatic updating and network access there isn't much that conflicts.

Good luck,
by Hugh
Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:30 pm
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Re: Mac Mini i7 and Cubase 7.5 setup help

Hello kr,

I prefer the RME interfaces, they have several things going for them -
- high sound quality
- stable drivers
- low A/D and D/A delays
- low-ish latency operation compared to others
- Totalmix
- they write their own interface chip (usb or pcie), it's highly optimized for what they do.

However there are many good interfaces out there depending on what you need.

"Latency" is a red herring in many ways and folks throw the term around. It's composed of several things (simplified explanations) -
- Input A/D time
- Input DSP time
- serialization time (conversion to protocol)
- interface buffer time (usb or?)
- input latency buffer (time in memory for cpu to get to it)
- DSP time in daw, varies
- output latency buffer (time in memory for cpu to get to it)
- interface buffer time (usb or?)
- de-serialization time (conversion from protocol)
- Output DSP time
- Output D/A time
(for you tech nuts, there are more steps, that's a simplified version). Some are very fast, some are not. The latency reported to the OS/daw may or may not encompass all of those minus the daw dsp time of course. My point in bothering to write all this is if you're getting only 1.5ms in and 3.2 ms out, and that was your only delay, it would be pretty good, but it's not the only source of delay.

Also, running at 32 samples only works some of the time depending on your session, especially on a Mac - PCs with the same approximate load can operate at lower latencies, usually. You need an interface with a DSP mixer so you can monitor the input, not the through-the-box output, when recording. Then you can run high latencies and give your cpu a break. I apologize if this is basic and you're saying "do you think I don't know that?" I never know.

Note - Macs don't have Direct Monitoring like PCs do thanks to Apple's not bothering to issue APIs for it (technically a manufacturer could start the standard on Macs but no one has and probably won't, that was a discussion on developer boards for a number of years). Therefore you'll use your DSP mixer in your interface to do the Direct Monitoring manually.

by Hugh
Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:11 pm
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Re: OS Mavericks update, Nuendo 6.5 won't launch

Can I come heckle you at AES?
I'm presenting as well on live tv. Should be fun.
by Hugh
Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:37 am
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