STEVE TUSHAR'S MIX OF MUSIC AND AUDIO POSTMaking it as a freelance sound designer/mixer in L.A. is no layup. The competition is fierce, and often post work will have to be supplemented with music projects - a fact not lost on Steve Tushar, whose remix of the Korn single "Somebody, Someone" has just been released in Europe. "I'm real happy with that mix," says Tushar. "Some bigger names had a crack at the song, but the label's going with my work, which will be released in the States later in the year."
Tushar works out of Carbon 12 Studios, his Hollywood space, splitting his time between record projects - he's now producing Kevin Moore, formerly of the band Dream Theater - and audio post. Last season he regularly logged up to 70 hours a week creating sound effects for the Pamela Anderson show V.I.P. "That was a tough schedule," he says. "I used Pro Tools exclusively on the show, running on a G4, but I've since switched over to Nuendo, Steinberg's native DAW."
Originally released in the mid-'90s on the SGI platform, Nuendo failed to generate significant interest among audio post professionals, who were flocking en masse to Pro Tools. The power of the current breed of computers has finally made native processing a viable alternative to chip-based DAWs, and Tushar has become a Nuendo enthusiast.
"Without a doubt, Digidesign set the standard as far as computer-based workstations go," Tushar says. "But Nuendo has some clear advantages. For one thing, although it relies on the computer for all its functionality, Nuendo - running on my 700MHz Pentium PC - is much faster than Pro Tools in every phase of operation, including redraws. I mixed the Korn track entirely within the system, and it sounds very warm."
Knowing that Nuendo would be retooled for a post-millennium re-release, Steinberg's programmers had the advantage of seeing that surround sound mixing was no fad, and the company is heavily touting Nuendo's capabilities in this area. "The surround mixing is superb," says Tushar. "You can enable the surround bus for any channel at any time, grab that channel, and use the onscreen joystick to place the sound anywhere in the matrix. I really like the fact that you can either pick a 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 default speaker setup, or [you can] draw in the speakers as they're laid out in your room. If, for example, your room doesn't let you put the rears where they should be, you can draw their placement onscreen - the program actually has icons of speakers. I told Nuendo where my speakers were and found that the results were surprisingly accurate.
"Surround sound mixing wasn't an entrenched part of the process when Pro Tools was released," he continues, "and so it became an add on to the system. If you want to mix in surround, you have to enable plug-ins on each channel, which is a heavy price to pay. In Nuendo you simply switch to the surround bus. Also, let's say you're executing a 5.1 mix. When you're done - or think you're done - you can mix down to one 6-channel interleaved track, where you can view all six waveforms independently. You could also leave them as six separate tracks, which you'd do if you wanted to lay the mix, track by track, to a DA-88, for example."
Nuendo 1.5 offers VST instrument integration, as well as MIDI functionality. Tushar has been intrigued by many of the VST instruments he's used recently and may be shedding some old hardware as a result. "I wouldn't mind buying another computer, simply to run a bunch of VST instruments, especially since the software will allow me to sell some of my old devices. The Mercury-1, by TC Works, is a favorite at this time. It's got some great bass sounds, and the built-in distortion is excellent. It takes you into that Nord area. The Waldorf PG Wave 2.V is a fantastic replication of the original synth, and the Prophet 52 also sounds great."
The main console is a Spirit Digital 328 with a number of modifications: British EQ, a pair of TDIF I/Os, a pair of ADAT I/Os, 16 line inserts and built-in SMPTE. Tushar monitors through Yamaha MSP-10s with a matching subwoofer.
In his spare time, Tushar writes and records electronica music with his band, Glitch. "We're recording our album at this time, and it will be tracked and mixed entirely within Nuendo."