Can Someone explain VCA faders to me please?

It’s another approach to mixing. Some will use it, some won’t.

One thing you can do with VCA (I gathered this from the video) is set up sub-mixes within the group. Sure, you could do this by linking the channels, but VCA may be easier for some people - especially those familiar with another DAW, say, Pro Tools? : )

I think this is an invitation to the PT world, where this seems to be a big deal, with VCAs being part of the expensive HD subsciption. Keep in mind that in PT the sources that go into a group get MUTED when you solo the group, leaving you with no sound unless you set up a solo group as well as the routing to a bus and aux return that needs more clicks than in Cubendo as well. VCA is slightly less painful for PT users.

It’ like saying: You don’t need HD for 6k dollars and you don’t need to subscribe for 600 / year.

Also this can help when you have the (bad) habbit of turning everything louder than everything else and you end up with all automation at +12 with no headroom. (like trim)

Also, if you set up a drum group where individual channels send to a reverb that is not routed to the group and you lower the group level the amount of reverb will increase, because individual channels will still send pre group fader.

Duplicate post, sorry -

Hey guys :slight_smile:

But even the post fader sends can be easily addresses with groups (without needing VCAs, I think …)

Routing: 4 vox tracks, each with a post-fader verb send, and each itself routed to a stem/Submaster group called Vox. The group/FX channel with the verb inserted on it is not routed to the master, but rather to the Vox Submaster.

So if you want Voice #1 to be quieter, just pull it’s fader down, the verb will get quieter also. If you want all the voices to be louder, pull up the Vox submaster, the verbs will get appropriately louder also.

By memory, this is how I have my template set up … Is the end result here really different than what I’d get with a VCA?

Having said all that, if my templates weren’t already built, it does seem simpler to just assign it to a VCA fader!

Thx for helping me to wrap my head around this!

Looking at that video, it looked as if all the faders within the VCA group moved in relation to each other when the VCA fader was moved, whereas with a Group only the group fader moves.

True, but I haven’t felt neglected to this point without that. (Now of course I can’t see how I can ever be happy again without seeing the individual faders move!).

But does it make things ‘sound’ better?

Main reason is that if all channel faders go down the amount they are sending to effects goes down but if you just change a group fader the dry volume changes but not the effects volume the wetter it gets

Not if the effect is routed to a non-VCA group along with the individual tracks themselves?

(As in my example above …)

I repeat:

But does it make things ‘sound’ better?

Here is a very good article on the unique benefits of using VCA faders over traditional GROUP fader assignments. It pertains to a much older version of Pro Tools, but the concepts and uses should carry over into the use of VCA faders in Cubase Pro 8:

Guess the answer is no.

I think these VCA faders are more useful than the first looks.
For example, what i have now in 7.5:
I’m arranging a song for a client who has another mixing engeneer. All my 10 strings vsti are routed to the group channel. I have some rough EQ and saturation on the group just to show how approximately it all can sound when mixed. When i need to automate all strings volume, of course i just automate the group volume, not 10 tracks. Same with backing vocals, guitars etc.
But then i need to batch export everything to the the person who will mix the song. If i batch export every track, what happens to everything on a group level? It’s all gone. Mixing guy surely doesn’t need my EQ and saturation, but string volume automation is crucial, i planned it carefully while arranging - i gotta have that in the stems. So in 7.5 the only thing i can do is render each channel individually passing through the group, so the group automation affects it.
But if all that automation was recorded on VCA fader which directly affects the slave tracks’ volume, batch export will keep these chenges. This is a small thing, but it can save me like 40 minutes of exporting. And exporting is something i hate))

Another useful scenario is:
Let’s say i have many many guitar tracks. Clean guitars, edgy crunch guitars, power distortions, counterparts, arpeggios etc. And i want to route them to groupes depending on their character. “Distorted sustains”, “Edgy transients” and “Soft guitars”. “Distorted” will get some group de-essing, “Edgy” i will compress, and “Soft” need some spatial enhancements. But when it comes to volume automation, i need to group them like “Verse Guitars”, “Chorus Guitars” and “Counter Parts” which not necessarily match those routing groupes. And the only thing i can do is linking, but this link/unlink thing is not so very practical for me. And now with VCA fader i can have multichannel volume automation that is independent of the routing. That is lovely.

Another one:
Client comes and says “i wanna ride the vocals myself”. I have my automation done and don’t wanna delete it, because we will probably return to my version in the end :slight_smile: now i can just give him a VCA fader, which keeps my channel automation intact, and can be disabled later.

To the sound question…some people that use VCAs in Pro Tools swear that they have a sound all their own, distinct from using groups. Do they? I don’t know, as far as Cubase is concerned…just downloaded it tonight! Plan to do some listening tests and see.

What I can say is that some of the people that swear that the Pro Tools VCAs do have a particular “sound” are very well regarded mix engineers…Jack Joseph Puig, for one. His layout template in Pro Tools busses channels to a series of cascading VCAs before hitting groups and then the master busses. There are strong feelings on both sides of the argument.

But even if the sound is the same…the ability to adjust with one fader the gain of many source tracks, while also adjusting the fader position of the source tracks independently, makes the uses of VCAs worth it. It might seem menial when you can just use Alt to suspend track linking but for me at least, if I’m mixing a big project and I get “in the groove” I will often grab a fader for a quick balance adjustment but not before I realize that the track was linked to a dozen other tracks and what the heck did I just adjust and why is my balance now messed up and why doesn’t Cubase have Undo on fader adjustments…you get the idea. VCAs fix this problem and I like that.

My two cents anyway. Curious to hear what you guys think.


I believe stereolost is correct.

VCAs allow you to control the volume of many channels and groups irrespective of their destinations. Sends can be on individual channels or different groups and all are in sync.

It seems, though, that the new VCA function is really nothing new.

Previously, “Link” achieved exactly the same thing. The only difference was that you had to press “Alt” to tweak a channel individually. With a VCA you can just tweak it.
In fact, when you create a VCA fader you are just activating a new function of the “Link” feature. The little “Link” light comes on - gives you the choice to link other parameters . .

The one difference I thought it would have is Nested VCAs. That’s where one or more “Master” VCAs may control several other VCA groups. This is a usual feature on high end boards.
But it doesn’t seem to work. When you select the channels and VCA faders and right click it gives you the option to “Add VCA Fader to selected channels” . . but nothing happens.

Oh well.
Maybe I’m missing something.


Thank you.

i think they did that in the VCA-fader feature video

I’m seeing the same problem. I can only create a VCA fader once for any track. If I try to include one of those tracks and create a second VCA fader nothing happens.

You can assign tracks to VCAs and then nest those VCAs in another VCA. Watch the video again.

I stand corrected.

You CAN nest VCAs.

The (rather obvious) trick I missed was to only select the VCA faders that you want to nest and NOT any of the actual controlled audio tracks.

Thanks, Brit.