Dolby Atmos is becoming more central in the world of high-end music production, and is now available as a format on many platforms, turning into a leading trend. It offers listeners a deeper experience than ever before, with more detail, space, and realism in the sound. Steinberg's Cubase and Nuendo are two of the best DAWs for spatial audio used in professional mixing houses to create audio content for Dolby Atmos systems and other surround formats.
The importance of immersive audio and Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos expands audio immersion - giving your audience a deeper and more holistic experience of your sonic creations. Evolving from standard formats, Atmos uses a second plane of speakers above the listener to create a more realistic sense of specialization. The Dolby Atmos format in concrete terms consists of a 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos bed which serves as the source of the static environment. This is enhanced with ‘objects’ which are moveable points of origin for localized source material.
Nuendo and Dolby Atmos
We are thrilled to present some of our favorite features and functionalities of the Nuendo system, as well as discuss some of the workflow-improving tools that we have developed to compensate for some of its shortcomings.
How to use Dolby Atmos in Nuendo?
Steinberg's Nuendo and Cubase can author Dolby Atmos audio in a variety of ways. Besides a special hardware unit and the Dolby Atmos Renderer software, Nuendo was the first DAW to offer a Dolby Atmos Renderer plugin. The renderer provides a straightforward workflow, as you could build the entire project from within Nuendo, without having to work with additional hardware or software external to the DAW.
Nuendo takes the source material, sends it on multiple buses to the renderer plugin, and the result comes out as the format you want to listen to, from 2.0 stereo to 7.1.4. In Cubase 12 and Apple Logic Pro there are also binaural rendering options for headphone use, which are used to sum multi-channel formats into a file that sounds right on headphones.
Our flagship spatializer dearVR PRO can be used in Nuendo to place source material in the Dolby Atmos bed using PRO’s 7.1.2 output format. Additionally, dearVR PRO’s reverb can be used to add reverb to objects using it on a reverb send, turning Reflections and Direct Gain down and only using the 7.1.2 reverb output.
dearVR PRO, the spatial audio powerhouse
The Nuendo Atmos plugin is great for directing how sounds are spread across the Atmos output channels, but it doesn't provide additional features for adding acoustic color.
dearVR PRO's 7.1.2 output format can be used in Nuendo to place source material in the Dolby Atmos bed. You can change where a sound seems to come from using the spatialization window. This gives you a much more flexible and accurate set of controls for audio spatialization. We have designed the interface to be much more intuitive and flexible. If you are working on large projects this can be a huge timesaver.dearVR PRO gives you the tools you need to make the sound and feel of spatialized audio more real. You can make Atmos mixes that sound very real by changing the position, distance, reflections, and virtual acoustics. It doesn't just sound like a bunch of sounds put together in 360, but it makes you feel like you are in the acoustic space. This plug-in gives life to the process of spatialization.
The reverb feature of dearVR PRO can also be used to add reverb to objects that use Dolby Atmos. This helps to blend sounds together so that they sound like they are all coming from the same acoustic space instead of being in different places. Using this spatial reverb makes the mix much more cohesive and makes it less likely that different sounds in the bed will sound different from each other.
The best way to use the reverb feature is with a separate reverb send. Make a new instance of the dearVR PRO plugin and add it to a reverb send channel. Turn down Reflections and Direct Gain and only use the 7.1.2 reverb output. Send sounds into the bus to give everyone a sense of space and echo. PRO has a variety of acoustic space simulations, ranging from small to large and from subtle to dramatic.
When you use both the native Nuendo Atmos plugin and dearVR PRO, you have the most control over how your project sounds in space. If you know how to use these tools, you can make beautiful, immersive audio scenes for your audience, no matter where you work or where they listen.
The dearVR SPATIAL CONNECT integration is another cutting-edge feature. A VR headset may be used to control the mixing process. With this, you can go immediately into your mix and get a better sense of the final sound as you work through the mix. You are immersed inside the aural scenario and manipulate the items in space as if they were real.
Introducing dearVR MONITOR: What is it good for?
Most people mixing in Dolby Atmos do not have a dedicated 7.1.4 studio room, as it is expensive and difficult to install and maintain. Instead, they use binaural tools to mix creatively on headphones, then go to a 7.1.4 studio room for the final mix. With dearVR MONITOR, it's now possible to generate flawless mixes for spatial formats without needing to own a costly surround studio.
These days, everyone has a set of headphones, and anyone can enjoy creating and listening in Dolby Atmos formats. Although, without tools, headphones are prone to some barriers when mixing, mostly the lack of room perception - how the sound feels in the acoustics of a room.
At Dear Reality, we are passionate about building tools to help people to overcome these roadblocks, making the mixing process easier - we take care of technical burdens so you can focus more on the creativity of your mix.
dearVR MONITOR takes care of the binauralization of a 7.1.4 signal from Nuendos Dolby Atmos creation tools, and it also adds room acoustics so that the simulation is closer to a genuine studio environment. Through the use of this technique, you may get a realistic idea of how the final mix will sound when played back in a live setting. This helps you alter the mix until music sounds ideal in an actual listening environment, rather than the acoustic-independent sound generated by headphones.
For example, the room perception of a high-quality mixing environment is not included in the Nuendo Dolby Authoring tool. Mixes created just on headphones may not necessarily transition effectively to speakers and acoustic spaces. dearVR MONITOR resolves this issue by providing realistic and accurate acoustic simulations of mix rooms, so you can test your mix in a range of spaces without having to leave your room, or even remove your headphones. These simulations include a wide range of rooms, from pristine mixing studios to cars, living rooms, and even kitchens!
How to use dearVR MONITOR in Nuendo / Cubase?
The procedure of dearVR MONITOR in Nuendo is simple and intuitive.
- Simply load the MONITOR plugin on the master bus.
- Ensure that the output from Atmos Author 7.1.4 is being used while rendering.
- Choose 7.1.4 as your input format and your chosen mix room. You may also modify the Focus and Ambience parameters to create the mix room according to your own personal taste!
- The headphone compensation area enables better accuracy and more customization. Activate it, then choose your preferred headphone format and make any necessary adjustments.
- You are all set for a flawless mix on your headphones for Dolby Atmos!
You can also change the Focus and Ambience values to customize the mix room according to your own personal taste! It is also possible to incorporate the plugin into Nuendo’s Control room. Choose 7.1.4 as your input format and select your favorite mix room acoustic simulation.
Logic Pro is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions.
Cubase and Nuendo are trademarks of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH.
Dolby Atmos is a trademark of Dolby Laboratories, registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions.