Many have tried, but no manufacturer has been able to stop the forward march of Pro Tools. Established in the recording studio and post-production suite, Pro Tools became the de facto standard years ago. As computers gained in speed, memory and reliability, the assumption has been that an audio platform built on native processing would one day mount a significant challenge.
That’s not to say that software products — Nuendo, Steinberg’s digital audio workstation, in particular — haven’t won loyal converts. Yamaha, which owns Steinberg, just announced the release of NUAGE. A combination of Nuendo software and Yamaha digital console technology, NUAGE is aimed at the audio post and professional recording live venue markets. I spoke with Yamaha's Chris Hinson, Technical Marketing Specialist, last week.
Broadcast Engineering: Why should a company putting together an audio suite consider installing a NUAGE system?
Chris Hinson: “For a couple of reasons. Yamaha owns Steinberg, and the engineering between the two companies was highly integrated during the development of NUAGE. The goal was to make the integration between hardware and software seamless.
“We built in some features into Nuendo 6 — an ADR system, for example — that are controllable directly from the work surface (ADR control from the Nuage Master will be available early summer 2013). We also built NUAGE on the Dante infrastructure. Yamaha has been watching Audinate, and after we saw the wide interest and adoption of the Dante format from their MY-card, we decided to integrate it as a fundamental part of our own product.
“Audinate gave us the capability to use the Dante virtual sound card. Plug your computer (Mac or PC) into a computer that’s hooked into a Dante network and the software functions like a piece of hardware. It hooks into the rest of your system via an ethernet cable. On a standard Dante network I can have a 512 in by 512 out channel Path at 48 kHz, with network redundancy and sample accurate sync.
“We recommend specific computers (information can be found on the Yamaha website) on both the Mac and PC side. The computer houses an AIC128B AIC128-D Dante Accelerator PCI-E card that takes the virtual sound card out of the picture. This card allows the user to configure a 128 x 128 system at 96 kHz. You simply can’t get that kind of track count with the software version of Dante. The Dante hardwire Accelerator is a DSP hardware assisted version of the software, and it allows us to achieve high track counts at high sample rates. Of course, IP connectivity and network redundancy are key elements of what Dante has to offer.
“We’re confident in saying that the workflow efficiency of NUAGE is second-to-none. We’ve taken out the need to use the mouse to insert plug-ins, manage files and grab clips in the Event window — all of those functions have been sent over to the control surface. I can do 80 to 90 percent of my editing, routing, sending and more, by using hardware key strokes. Workflow efficiency was a key focus for Yamaha."
BE: “NUAGE is scalable. What does the basic package cost?”
CH: “You can build a system that includes the computer, a Dante card, the Dante Accelerator set [that consists] of a fader unit, a Nio 16 channel I/O unit and Nuendo Software and the main control surface for about 18k SRP. Up to three fader units and one master section can be cascaded utilized together. Being a native based system, NUAGE doesn’t require the user to purchase additional DSP cards when a user decides to expand his or her system.”