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Old 10-07-2019, 05:19 PM   #37
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 143

Originally Posted by foxAsteria View Post
And that something is VCA, correct? I know that those both don't affect the send levels while VCA does, but I was just saying that Folders faders do affect the receive (child) levels, while buss faders don't.

So the W/D proportions are out of whack when you use the folder fader but not so much when you use the buss fader. I'm speaking strictly of parallel busses here, which I might've mentioned, because that's the only way I use them.

I guess I don't care about the ratio of the buss to the send because I hear it more against the individual sending tracks. I wouldn't want a buss to affect send levels anyway.

Or am I still too ritarded to get what you mean?
While I will admit to still being a bit hazy on the practical difference between a buss and a folder, a VCA is absolutely an animal of a different stripe. A buss (bus?) is a summing point. Assign your tracks to a buss/folder, and any processing you insert into the buss will affect the tracks feeding it. Compression, for example. If you set up a simple "two tracks feed one buss" as you might for a snare (top/bottom) and then compress the buss, you affect both the "child" tracks feeding it. If you lower one of the child tracks, it doesn't hit the buss as hard, and thus is less compressed. If you lower the volume of the buss/folder/parent, the amount of compression remains the same, just the overall volume changes. Now, add reverb. You could do this inline within the buss, using the wet/dry balance control in the plug-in, and it will react much the same way as the compressor will. Lower the snare top (child) track, and the amount being sent to the verb will drop. You could use a send from the buss and achieve much the same result. You could also use sends from the individual tracks, in which case the reverb input will be uncompressed. However at that point, if you lower the buss level, the compressed snare mix will drop, but the uncompressed signal going to the reverb will not. That will give you a change in balance, to be certain! Enter the VCA. VCA stands for Voltage Controlled Amplifier, and in our application is a digital representation of a physical amplifier chip that lives within the channel strip of an analog mixing console. Simply put, the VCA chip changes the level of the channel in response to control voltage sent from the VCA master fader. Push the VCA up, the channel volume goes up. Lower the VCA master, the channel volume goes down. If you assign both of our theoretical snare channels to the VCA master, now they will respond to the VCA fader moves, which will affect the send levels from the channels as well as the amount of compression, since the channels are feeding the buss/folder/parent. If you wanted to bring the whole snare sound down, keeping the compression and the wet/dry snare balance, but don't want to have the verb inline, you can assign the verb strip and the snare buss to a VCA, and now you have one-fader control over the whole snare chain. Clear as mud, right?

As another drum-based example of where you might want to use a VCA, consider a whole drum mix. Maybe 18 or so tracks feeding 5-6 busses, plus three reverb returns. Grouping the busses and FX returns under one VCA control will allow you to adjust the entire kit send level to the master drum buss (or band buss, or mix buss) without disturbing the balance between the various components of the kit or the wet/dry balance. VERY useful if you have a complicated mix going, or to simplify automation, since you can use one automation lane to push/pull the entire kit within the mix. A little more excitement needed for the chorus? Just bump the VCA up a dB or so. A VCA is a control channel, full stop. It's not an additional layer of buss where you would insert processing and it also doesn't SUM the signals.
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