The Control Room Section
As you will probably know, I do all of my work mainly in Nuendo 8. There are many reasons why I use it, and I’d like to share the features that I find awesome with you in a series of topics. – I am not affiliated with Steinberg in any way –
Today, I’ll talk about the Control Room section (CR).
I am a Nuendo user from version 2.0, and it is hard to believe that I just recently started using the Control Room section. It has so much treats for mixers like me who work in multiformats mainly (like 5.1). Take a look at the picture of the Control Room Setup on the right (or below on mobile phones).
I’ll walk with you through the sections from top to bottom.
At the top you see two things I will skip for now – talkback and Cue, which I don’t use while mixing.
We’ll go straight to the Monitors Section. One of the gems of this section is that you can use plugins! In this I have loaded 6 versions of the Q10 equalizer from Waves. Before I explain how I use them, I will tell you a small anekdote.
Early this year (2017) I had my new studio (or Control Room) designed by Roel van Gils from Klinktbeter.nl. We decided to build a so called Baffle Wall, with the Left, Center, Right and Subwoofer speakers flushed in the wall. This wall is ‘floating’ and the same goes for the way the speakers are mounted. I will explain all the benefits of a type of design like this in another topic.
Long story short, the side effect of mounting the speakers like this is almost 6dB more low end that needs to be corrected by room EQ. We were already finished building the wall when my head almost burst trying to decide the way I was going to implement room EQ in an affordable way, while keeping the signal path as clean and simple as possible. I was amazed that there actually weren’t that many options that I could find on the internet, and they were almost all hardware options. That means some sort of DSP type of box where the 6 channels of your Audio Interface will run though and where the necessary treatment could be applied.
To me, far from ideal and expensive.
I knew Nuendo had a plugin you could use in the CR that was called ‘CurveEQ’, but the interface of that plugin annoys me a lot. I want razor precision and not some sort of compromise. FYI, a flushed wall is quite expensive and everything but a compromise so at this point I ditched every compromise out there.
I had literally a “Eureka” moment
Then I tried to use a mono plugin in the Monitor Section, but initially it looked really hard to root six of them individually to every channel. In the top right hand corner of the plugins you use in the Monitor Section you will see “mono, left, center, right etcetera”, but after a few minutes I found out that that doesn’t work.
I totally overlooked the section completely at the bottom that said “Routing Editor“. When I found out how easy it was to route a mono plugin to a single channel in your multichannel setup I had literally a “Eureka” moment. So I decided to go for the Q10, by Waves a 10-band equalizer. This way I had full control of the EQ of every speaker, with a maximum Q-Factor of 100 straight from Nuendo! So, no need for expensive outboard hardware in between your DAW and your precious speakers.
The only disadvantage I could think of: you will only have room eq when using Nuendo, but I can live with that. Besides, I think I have found a way to solve that, but that is for some other time.
Below the phones Section, that I also never use during mixing, you will see the Volume Knob. This controls the main volume of the signal going to your monitors, independently from your Mix volume. I use this all the time.
The second thing I use all the time is the button that says 5.1 in the picture, if you click on it, it will toggle to stereo and finally mono. If you work in 5.1 it will make a downmix to stereo and mono, so you can monitor the stereo (or mono) mix instantly. This is of high value to me, because I work for clients that want a separate stereo mix delivery.
With A, B and C you can make three separate settings, with or without plugins, also very usefull.
Below Talkback, which I also do not use during mixing (this is getting old) you can see I loaded a plugin called Mixer Delay.
This is extremely usefull if you don’t have an optimal room to make a circle surround setup, for instance due to a lack of space. With this plugin, that comes with your install of Nuendo, you can adjust the distances and therefore the delay of the speaker channels. In my old setup that you can see below, my center speaker was a little bit too close, so I delayed it with 0.44 ms, or 15cm. Also both the surrounds were way to close, so I delayed those with 20ms (which seems a bit extreme…)
So, this is another gem you will find in Nuendo if you are working with multiformats, it is really really usefull and you don’t have to invest in expensive outboard gear with delays etcetera. As you can see you can also control the levels, solo and mute channels and route them different ways.
The second tab in the Control Room section says Meter, where you will find an actual…. meter. Depending on the format you decided to mix in. In this case you see a nice 5.1 meter.
You can also use different measurement Scales from the dropdown menu.
Next to the tab Master at the bottom of the CR, you’ll see Loudness, which I think really is unique to come stock with a DAW. It measures LUFS or LU over time. To be honest I never use it because in Nuendo you are able to export your mixes with LUFS correction applied during export.
I really really wish they would implement an LEQ meter as well, please Steinberg!
That’s it for now, as you can see there are some really amazing features in this Control Room Section alone, that I cannot live without anymore. Stay tuned for part 2.