Cubase 11 Pro - VCA Fader track limit?

Hello,
I’m using Cubase 11 Pro and I’m currently creating a large orchestral template. In my last session, I created lots of them without any warning of sort.
Reloading Cubase this morning to continue my work, I received a popup message telling me that the project has gone over some track limits and I can see all the tracks are some of the latest VCA faders I created last time. It tells me that the tracks will be kept but they cannot be modified.
Then, I can still continue adding more of these VCA faders the same way I was able to last week.

What I’d like to know:

  1. Is this a normal limit? And if so, why? I though the Pro had unlimited tracks.
  2. Since I can still continue to add VCA tracks and they seem to operate correctly, what are the consequences of having more than the actual limit?
  3. Can this be fixed and the limit removed?

To sum it up, should I continue to create my template in the same way and continue adding VCA Faders or should I start re-thinking my whole template again ?

Thanks

Hi and welcome on the forum,

This sounds familiar to me. If I’m not mistaken, I reported this as a bug some time ago already.

I contacted Steinberg support via chat. They were able to reproduce the situation. However, all the agent could say was that this is an unintended behavior.

Cubase should not let you add more than 32 VCA Fader tracks, whatever the way we create these tracks. He went on to say that he was logging this as a bug and that it should be fixed in the next update or so.

What he failed to do was giving me an explanation on why there is that limit and if there was any consequence of going over that limit. Is it performance related? Is it a compatibility thing with older versions of Cubase? Or anything else?

In my opinion, this is the PRO version we’re talking about so there shouldn’t be any unexplained limit of this kind.

If someone can provide an explanation, it would be nice.

Hi,

I found my report about this bug. The trick is this (after you reach the 32 VCA tracks limit):

  • Right-click to any track and select Add Track > VCA Fader to selected Channels.

Can you confirm please, you got over the limit also this way?

Based on the support agent I talked too, that IS the bug, Yes, at the moment (and since a very long time apparently!), you could bypass the limit like we both did by using this trick, but I was wondering if there were potential problems doing that and exceeding the 32 tracks limit. He couldn’t tell. I got myself a template with over 50 VCA tracks this way, but never tried it the template in real production work yet.

Can you tell me if you have ever run into problems doing this? Apart from the fact that when you reopen the project, you get a message about exceeding the number of tracks, but it still seems to work fine ?

Since the agent could not recommend going over the 32 VCA tracks limit by exploiting this “unintended behavior”, I found myself looking at another way of achieving a similar result.

I’ve starting playing with a group channel with no routing at all. No channel routes into it and the output is set to “No bus”. Then, you link this group channel with the other channels you want to, like you would have done with a VCA fader. Except you don’t use a new VCA fader, simply lock Volume and Mute/Solo for example. It’s not quite the exact same thing, but it’s good enough for my needs anyway, with the added bonus of being able to also link the panning.

For my symphonic orchestral template, at first, I was planning on having a VCA fader for every separate instrument (which are by themselves a combination of several channels), plus another one for sections and one more for the whole type (say, a VCA fader for Flute 1, one for Flute 2, one for Flute 3, then a fader for Flutes and another one for Woodwinds).

I will now be using a mix of both VCA and “fake group” so I can still use a limited number of VCA faders. Say, I will use VCA faders only for sections, like Flutes, Clarinets, Trumpets, etc. I should then be under 32 VCA tracks. All the others will be “fake group” channel with links.

Anyway, that’s my solution to a very sad and frustrating unexplained limit!

Maybe @Matthias_Quellmann would be willing to chime in on this?

I’ve done the same workaround to get past the 32 limit.

But why…
why…
…why…
why
why
why
is there a 32 limit?

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Hi,

What is the advantage of this approach over to using common Group channels, please?

Btw, the big difference of VCA and Groups is, the VCA is controlling the input side, but the Groups are controlling an output. So the result might be different.

Well, let’s take the Woodwinds section as an example, as it is the same for each of the other sections.

All the instruments are basically grouped into short articulations and long articulations. Each group has different processing, mostly for applying different reverb. Then the shorts and longs are grouped into a final “All Woodwinds” group, into which some global processing is applied for woodwinds.

Each individual sub-section (Flutes, Clarinets, Oboes, etc.) are therefore composed of several short articulation tracks and long articulation tracks, which are routed to the “Woodwinds Short” and “Woodwinds Long” groups already. I was planning on using VCA Faders with the linking of several tracks to be able to control the mix for each sub-section and even each instrument in each sub-section, but I then exceed the 32 VCA tracks limit.

But to answer my specific needs, I guess using a “fake group” to control the faders (and panning as a bonus) of several instruments or other groups, then I think I’m still ok.

Does it help to understand how I intend to build my template? What do you think?

Thanks for your input!

But really, back to the important question: WHY? WHY? WHY is there a 32 limit ?

Since you’ve used the same workaround, can you share if you ever had any difficulties with the fact that you had exceeded the limit?

Hi,

So you want to create some kind of multidimensional mix, right? You want to be able to control the volume of all Short articulations (of all woodwinds) at once, but also of all instruments and then you want to control the volume of overall woodwinds (what is another dimension), am I right?

BTW, count of Groups is also limited by 256.

Good morning… To visualize what I’d like to do, here’s a simple diagram:


I’ve only demonstrated the basic routing for the Trumpets section, but you can imagine the same for each of the orchestra sections.
In the very best scenario, I would be able to have VCA Faders for each individual instrument (trumpet 1, trumpet 2, etc.), each sub-section (trumpets, fr horns, trombones, etc.) and each section (brass, woodwinds, strings, etc).
This way, you have full control of the instruments mix, while still being able to group shorts and longs separately and apply different processing to each.

Thanks

I guess if the VCA Fader limit was 256, I’d be more than happy!

Just for the sake of the exercise, imagine a VERY large orchestra of say, 125 individual instruments (view them as « musicians »), 75 different instrument subsections (trumpets, horns, clarinets, flutes, violins 1, violins 2, etc.) in about 15 large sections (brass, woodwinds, strings, keys, percussions, choir, …), the total VCA Faders count is still at 215, well under a theoretical limit of 256.

Thanks for your input by the way.

Well, I offer this update on my experiments…

It seems my “fake group” solution does not work properly, for all kinds of reasons (no visual signal as it doesn’t actually receive any signal, automation does not replicate to the linked channels, etc.). I tried various other go-around with very unsatisfying results.

Then I went on to re-test a very big number of VCA tracks in a project. Once you reload the project, you get the unfamous warning about exceeding the number of tracks, that they will be kept but cannot be modified. Unfortunately, automation is then only possible on the first 32 VCA tracks. The others are locked, no automation possible. If you resolve yourself to NOT do automation on these tracks, I guess it’s ok as they still seem to work fine, but for me, automation WAS a big reason to use these.

Now, no answer at all from anyone at Steinberg??? @Matthias_Quellmann please? Why? Would it please be possible to lift or at least raise that limit to the same thing as group tracks (256) ?

Quick edit: I understand why a relatively low limit could be set for how deep you can nest VCA tracks (VCA tracks controlling other VCA tracks controlling yet other VCA tracks…) because the automation sum-up or average can become a severe toll perhaps. But apart from that, I don’t see why there is a limit so low.

I will discuss this with the team.

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Any update/feedback from the team @Matthias_Quellmann ?

Thanks

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I’d really love to see the VCA limit lifted too. :slight_smile:

On big orchestral work it’s so easy to go over 32, especially when mixing hundreds and hundreds of tracks. I used the workaround mentioned above with no problem.

I know also that VCAs are in the list of things to revisit, and cant wait to see improvements regarding VCAs automations (sorry for mentioning PT, but could you at least implement the concept of touch mode, which basically remember any fader position even if there’s no automation point on it). :pray:t2:

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