Topics covered in this article:
- Differences between Nuendo and Cubase
- Creating a project
- Configuring project settings
- Configuring audio system settings
- Establishing communication with a Renderer external to Nuendo and port mapping
- Configuring audio connections
- Adding tracks in the project window
- Selecting a Renderer and connecting Beds and Objects
- Configuring the Nuendo Renderer for Dolby Atmos
- Accessing the VST Multipanner
- Using the Dolby Atmos Music Panner with a Renderer external to Nuendo
- Configuring synchronization with a Renderer external to Nuendo
- Importing ADM BWF master files
- Exporting ADM BWF master files
- Exporting downmixes
Steinberg Nuendo v8, v10, v11, and v12 can be used for Dolby Atmos workflows.
Native Dolby Atmos Rendering to speakers was introduced with Nuendo v11. Nuendo v12 adds native Dolby Atmos binaural rendering and loudness measurement.
Native Dolby Atmos Rendering to speakers and binaural rendering was introduced to Cubase with v12.
Both Nuendo and Cubase use the same Renderer implementation. This allows for a self-contained workflow without the need for the Dolby Atmos Renderer application.
For Nuendo this functionality includes monitoring, program level metadata authoring and ADM BWF import and export.
For Cubase this functionality includes monitoring, program level metadata authoring and ADM BWF export only. ADM BWF import is not supported in Cubase.
Cubase is also restricted to a single Bed.
The Dolby Atmos Renderer application is still needed for QC of master files, a larger selection of re-render widths, punch-in/out of existing masters, and MP4 exports for QC. The Nuendo and Cubase native Renderer for Dolby Atmos can support speaker layouts up to 7.1.4 with capable output hardware but does not support larger speaker layouts and arrays.
The way that Dolby Atmos workflows are configured in Nuendo versions 11 and 12 has changed significantly from versions 8 and 10. The screenshots in this article refer to the updated routing and UI used in version 12. The native Atmos workflow for Cubase is almost identical to Nuendo with the main differences being no ADM BWF import and a single bed only.
Creating a Project
From the Steinberg hub create a project using one of the supplied templates or create an Empty project. Two templates are provided for Nuendo with the Mac installer:
· Dolby Atmos Music 64 Channel template with a mix of mono and stereo tracks
· Dolby Atmos Production Suite – 128 channels with LTC_SMPTE_External_Renderer
Both can be used with either the Renderer running internally the Dolby Audio Bridge or running externally via MADI or Dante.
Using the templates saves time, but starting with an empty project at least once and configuring it from scratch will result in a deeper understanding of the workflow.
Configuring Project Settings
Set the Project start, frame rate, sample rate and bit depth (this should always be 24 bit).
Configuring Audio System Settings
The choice of Audio System depends on the desired workflow. From the menu bar navigate to Studio>Studio Setup and click on Audio Systems and select the appropriate output device.
To use the Dolby Atmos Renderer running externally on a dedicated RMW, this should be set to the MADI or Dante device.
To use the Dolby Atmos Renderer running internally this should set to the Dolby Audio Bridge
To use the native Renderer for Dolby Atmos this should be set to the ASIO driver device to be used for monitoring. This should be a core audio device with a minimum of 10 outputs to allow for at least a 5.1.4 or speaker layout.
Once selected the device will appear under Audio System. Click on the device to see its properties and settings. If using the Dolby Audio Bridge 130 inputs (unused) and outputs will display as available ports. Click on the Control Panel to set the buffer size at 1024 samples. If using the native Renderer for Dolby Atmos the device buffer size must be 512 samples.
If using an external device, set to Externally clock and set the Clock Source as needed.
Establishing Communication with an External Renderer and Port Mapping
To use a Renderer external to Nuendo:
- From the menu bar, navigate to Studio>External Dolby Atmos Renderer Setup to bring up the External Dolby Atmos Renderer Setup window and establish communication with the Renderer by entering either localhost if running the Renderer on the same workstation as Nuendo or the IP address of the Renderer running externally on a RMW. The indicator to the left of the Render will illuminate green once the connections is established.
- Map the device ports. Bed ports beyond the first 10 inputs must be mapped and match the bus width of connections made in the Audio Connections window. The default mapping is the first 10 ports are mapped to Renderer inputs 1-10 and set to Bed. Click Map All and OK
Configuring Audio Connections
The Audio Connections required in Nuendo likewise depends on the workflow being used.
If using a Renderer external to Nuendo, either running internally on the same workstation as Nuendo or externally on an RMW, the full complement of 128 outputs for audio and a path for LTC should be configured. When using Nuendo with an external Renderer running on a RMW, the LTC can alternatively be a synchronization peripheral such as the Steinberg Nuendo SyncStation.
Note that the Nuendo UI refers to an External Dolby Atmos Renderer and does not distinguish between the Renderer running internally on the same workstation or externally on a RMW.
When using a Renderer external to Nuendo configure Audio Connections as follows:
From the menu bar choose Studio>Audio Connections to add the required output busses. (Audio Connections using the Dolby Audio Bridge shown:
- Click Add Bus – add 1 x 7.1.2 bus named 7.1.2 Bed
- Click Add Bus – add 118 x mono busses named Object
- Click Add Bus – add 1 x mono bus named LTC Gen
- Creating a Nuendo project using the supplied template with the Renderer Mac installer will configure the above
When using the Nuendo native Renderer for Dolby Atmos configure Audio Connections as follows:
From the menu bar choose Studio>Audio Connections to add the required output busses. (Audio Connections using the Dolby Audio Bridge shown:
- Click Add Bus – add 1 x 7.1.4 bus named Monitor (or use a bus width and name that matches the studio speaker layout)
- Click Add Bus – add 1 x 7.1.2 bus named 7.1.2 Bed. An output will need to be created for each Bed in the project. Bed busses will be unconnected to an output device.
- Note that this this bus can also be created by the Setup Assistant in the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window
Selecting a Renderer and Connecting to Beds and Objects
Once communication and port mapping is complete then next step is to connect to a Renderer.
- From the menu bar, navigate to Project>ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos to bring up the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window. This window has several functions. It is where the Renderer that Nuendo will use is selected and Bed and Object mapping is done. This window also has several functions that are only relevant when using the native Nuendo Renderer for Dolby Atmos.
To use the "External Dolby Atmos Renderer"
- Select the “External Dolby Atmos Renderer” from the Renderer drop down menu.
- Click Add Bed, select the source track and assign to the 7.1.2 Bus (this will assign to the first 10 inputs of the Renderer
- In the Project window select all the Object tracks
- In the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window select “Create Objects from Selected Tracks” in the Functions drop down menu.
- Select all the Objects and hold down Shift+Option (Mac) while selecting the first Object to cascade the Object Bus assignments.
Configuring the Nuendo Renderer for Dolby Atmos
To use the Nuendo Renderer for Dolby Atmos:
- Configure the Studio Setup and Audio Connections as described above
- Navigate to Studio>Mix Console
- Locate the Monitor output (scroll to the right)
- Insert the Renderer for Dolby Atmos located in the Spatial + Panner category as shown.
- This will bring up the Renderer for Dolby Atmos window
- From the menu bar, navigate to Project>ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos to bring up the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window.
- From the Renderer drop-down menu select Renderer for Dolby Atmos
- Use Auto Connect or manually assign Beds and Object to busses
- On playback of the transport the Renderer for Dolby Atmos will be active and the audio can be monitored from the path set in Audio Connections using downmix selections made in the Renderer for Dolby Atmos.
Note: The preceding steps can also be done using the Setup Assistant from the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window. The ASIO driver buffer size must be set to 512 samples and the Renderer 7.1.4 bus connected to the core audio output device.
Accessing the VST Multipanner
- Once a Renderer has been selected as above and Object tracks connections to Object busses are made, the Object tracks will show an active Send and bring up the VST Multipanner.
- These are both viewable from the track Inspector window and from edit channel settings.
- Click on any Object track to display in the track Inspector window
- The send will be viewable when the Sends pane is expanded
- The VST Multipanner can be launched by clicking on the surround panner in the expanded Fader pane
Clicking on the “e” from either the track in the Project window or anywhere in the track Inspector will bring up the Edit Channel Settings window which will display the Sends and Fader
The VST Multipanner can be launched by clicking on the surround panner in the expanded Fader pane
When Object Mode is selected, the Renderer connection status indicator will be displayed. Green indicates a valid connection to a Renderer and valid bus selection. The Object Select Bus drop-down indicates the mapping to the Object Bus. This field is interactive with the Object Bus column in the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window. If Auto-Connect Object Busses is selected in the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window this will be grayed out. If not, selections can be made from the VST Multipanner or the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window.
Note that Object Mode is not available if the VST Multipanner is used as an insert plug-in
Using the Dolby Atmos Music Panner with an External Renderer
To use the Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in:
- Insert the Dolby Atmos Music Panner on an Audio, Instrument, or Sampler track.
- Assign that track's Output to the desired mapped Object output.
- Establish communication between the Music Panner and the Renderer by entering localhost in the Renderer field (if running the Renderer internally) or entering the IP address of the external Renderer.
- The connection status indicator will be green.
- Use the Object selection drop-down menu to select the same Object as the output.
- To create multiple objects on different tracks, repeat the steps above, taking care to match the Object and output assignments for each instance of the Music Panner (e.g., to assign Object 12, the output of the track should be set to output 12).
Configuring Synchronization with a Renderer External to Nuendo
To enable synchronization between Nuendo and and external Renderer:
- Add a mono bus in Studio > Audio Connections for LTC. If running the Renderer internally, this will be output 129. If using an external Renderer, this will be output 128.
- In the project window, create a mono track assigned to the LTC bus.
- Insert the SMPTE Generator plug-in and set to Link to Transport.
Importing ADM BWF Master Files
- From the menu bar, navigate to File > Import > ADM.
- In the Import Options window, select the tracks to import or click Select All Tracks.
- Check Import all Media Files.
Exporting ADM BWF Master Files
- From the menu bar, navigate to File > Export > ADM or to Project>ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos to bring up the ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window.
- Nuendo 11 allows for authoring and export of ADM BWF master files. The ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window is were program-level metadata is set along with Bed and Object mapping. These field correspond directly to the same functions in the Dolby Atmos Renderer
- In the main ADM Authoring for Dolby Atmos window the Name column corresponds to input description in the Renderer Input Configuration Window. Names can be entered manually or taken from the Source Track Name by selecting Apply Source Track Name from the Functions drop-down menu
- Group assignments and Binaural Render Mode settings for Objects are also presented
- The Settings drop-down reveals three other window selections for authoring program-level metadata
- The Trim and Downmix Editor matches the Dolby Atmos Renderer
- The Binaural Render Mode for Beds separates the Binaural Render Mode for Beds from Objects which is set in the main window
- The Object Group Editor is applicable to Beds and Objects
- Before clicking Export ADM BWF and export range need to be set in the Project window ruler.
- Once a range is set, click Export ADM File
- An exported ADM BWF can be opened in the Dolby Atmos Renderer for QC, loudness measurement, re-renders and MP4 export. If program-level metadata edits or punch-ins are required the ADM BWF must be converted to a .atmos master file with the Dolby Atmos Conversion Tool and opened and unlocked for editing in the Renderer.
- If Nuendo is configured to use the Renderer for Dolby Atmos the downmix set in the Renderer for Dolby Atmos can be exported as a channel-based deliverable.
- If not already open, launch the Renderer for Dolby Atmos by clicking on the insert on the monitoring output
- Set the downmix width from the drop-down and any required trim and downmix controls
- From the menu bar, navigate to File > Export > Export Audio Mixdown to bring up the Export Audio Mixdown window
- Select the output channel with the Renderer for Dolby Atmos inserted
- Specify the file name and path
- Specify the file format, sample rate, and bit depth which are typically Wave, 48kHz and 24-bit
- Export as Split Channels and set the naming convention from the drop-down menu
- Downmixes can be optionally normalized to a user specified integrated loudness level (with or without Dialog Gating) as well as True Peak levels.
- Set the export range in the Project window
- Click Export Audio
- The number of files exported will match the monitoring bus. For example, if a 7.1.4 bus is used for monitoring the output of the Renderer for Dolby Atmos then 12 files will be exported. If the downmix is set to 5.1 the last six files will have no audio and should be discarded.
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