Steinberg Nuendo 4 Review

Since the early 2000s, Nuendo has been Steinberg’s flagship professional audio production solution for both Mac and PC users. Although very capable in traditional studio recording and mixing settings, Nuendo has gained a following with users in post-production audio and live recording ever since the release of Nuendo 3.

Steinberg has definitely taken notice of this and has ensured that the Nuendo 4 release continues to further the once murky distinction between Cubase and Nuendo.

What’s New in Steinberg Nuendo 4?

This major update contains dozens of new features such as 38 all new VST3 plug-ins, a new MediaBay Database Environment and complete integration with new Steinberg audio hardware including the MR816 CSX and the MR816 X FireWire audio interfaces and the CC121 dedicated USB Controller.

Steinberg has also made sure to include a selection of new features geared at solidifying Nuendo as a serious post-production digital audio workstation. For example, no less than twenty new editing commands and tool modifiers have been added to Nuendo 4 specifically for post-production users. Moreover, Steinberg has expanded the Euphonix EuCon integration in Nuendo 4.

Nuendo 3 Users Speak, Steinberg Listens.

With the Nuendo 4 update, Steinberg has added many new features while at the same time addressing some of the chief concerns expressed by Nuendo 3 users. Perhaps the two biggest grips with Nuendo 3 were the limited routing options for group/FX channels and the lack of post-production automation options. Nuendo 4 addresses these points and more.

Expanded Routing Options in Nuendo 4

Routing in Nuendo 4 has been overhauled so that users can easily buss audio from any group or FX output to the input of a new audio track. This feature has been available in other major DAWs for years but is a most welcome addition to Nuendo 4 as it allows the process of printing stems to occur significantly faster than printing stems in previous Nuendo versions.

Furthermore, group channels can also now be bussed to any other group in the mixer instead of only to the groups to the right of that group in the channel mixer.

Steinberg Adds Comprehensive Automation to Nuendo 4

Inspired by other post-production hardware approaches to automation, Steinberg has taken the time to redesign how automation is handled in Nuendo 4. Global automation changes are now just an option instead of the only way to write and edit automation. All the controls for editing and writing automation are accessible in the new Automation panel. This panel is easy on the eyes and customizable like the Nuendo Transport panel.

Aside from these massive improvements, Steinberg has finally added some important options in regards to audio plug-ins.

  • Plug-ins can now be re-arranged, copied and moved via drag and drop.
  • Thanks to VST3 technology, side-chaining is now possible.

Nuendo 5?

Nuendo 4 has gone through several revisions since its initial release in 2007. The current version (4.2.2) is to be updated to 4.3 in the summer of 2009 and will include further tweaks to the the general interface including the ability to open projects from Cubase 5. This upcoming maintenance update suggests that a “full” Nuendo 5 update is still several months away.

In the meantime, Nuendo 4 users should turn to Steinberg’s Nuendo user forum for the latest news on Nuendo 4.

Nuendo Expansion Kit: An Unpopular Addition

One sour note for Nuendo 4 is Steinberg’s decision to remove the Drum and Score MIDI Editors. In a questionable move, Steinberg has opted to axe these features from the basic program and introduce the “Nuendo Expansion Kit”.

This add-on package of music production tools does include the Drum and Score Editors (as well as some virtual instruments and sound libraries from Cubase 4), unfortunately the kit costs an additional $300 USD on top of the $1800 USD price tag for the basic Nuendo 4 program.

Despite this one drawback for some users, Nuendo 4 is still an impressive software package and a definitive upgrade to this post-production digital audio workstation from Steinberg.

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