VCA? Groups? Links?

This will probably sound like a stupid question, but why are VCAs a big deal? I mean, can’t the same thing be achieved by bussing the channels into a Group channel? Or alternatively, linking them?

I guess linking wouldn’t keep the proportions right, but why not just group it? Does summing the channels not keep their proportions to one another?

sub-group master faders don’t affect those levels which ones are sent to the post-fader mixes from the group members(u can kill only the instrument itself but the reverb or chorus or etc. so the post-fader mix things are still remain there)

yepp it’s same as linking but it needs only one visual track representative so can help mixing if u have zillions of tracks

I’ll give you one example where I see myself using VCA faders all the time.

You have several tracks (i.e. Brass, Strings, Guitars, Drums, or whatever group of faders you happen to work with) routed to a Group Track. Each track has their own send levels, feeding to their respective, or even the same, FX Channel. Each track has automation rides that are exactly how you want them as a whole, but now you need to raise/lower (or even ride) all these faders at the same time in order to make them fit better with the mix. Here’s the problem:

  • If you use the Group Track’s fader, then (as mentioned earlier), this will mess up all your post fader send levels that you have so carefully adjusted individually. Going this route would mean re-adjusting the send levels of each track, which would be a chore to do if you end up riding the Group Track.

  • Using the Link function is out of the question because you have automation going on in some/all of the tracks. So that’s not gonna work.

Enter the world of VCA faders! Just assign all of the track to a VCA fader group and automate that fader to your hearts desire without worrying about messing the sends mix in relation to your individual tracks!! I’m sure lots of people can see themselves using VCA faders in this situation. It’s just awesome!

Yes, right. To understand the power of VCA you have to think in terms of “post fader sends” and “automation”.

Problem nowadays seems to be that todays kids really love to put their reverb plugins into every single channel - which is totally unnecessary.

Jose, thank you for your excellent explanation !

That makes more sense now. Thanks, Jose.

No problem guys!