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Old 08-16-2019, 04:09 PM   #4
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 52

I'll have to respectfully disagree with you on this particular point... VCA control is a pure master/slave relationship, and there can (should) be only one master for a given VCA group. There can be MANY "slave" channels for a given master, though. So, to me it only makes sense that the default when checking "VCA" should be to put a given channel in slave mode.

Also, think of it this way: if you accidentally have multiple strips as masters, and adjust ONE of them, then you'll get behaviour that you won't be expecting, and that's kind of the definition of "bug."
On an analog VCA console (or the digital version, DCA), you can ONLY assign channel strips as slaves to a dedicated hardware (or software) master. They also, predictably, control ONLY the post-fade volume, solo and mute functions, as that is all a hardware Voltage Controlled Amplifier circuit can do in those designs. Nice, simple, predictable. Having the ABILITY to do other things (like control pan, or stereo width, or whatever) is very cool, and what helps set Reaper apart from other DAWs. However I think (assume?) that 99% of users would expect a VCA to act like, well, a VCA. Not a full-blown remote automation interface. It would be akin to having an EQ that requires you to tailor dynamic response parameters, sidechain sourcing, gating thresholds, saturation, MS width, and de-link it from every other instance of that plug-in just to cut 2dB at 1kHz with a Q of 2.3. It's cool that the EQ is capable of all those things, and useful at points for some of the features other than just pure static equalisation, but is it the right thing to do to have all of them enabled by default? That's all I'm really saying.

Maybe the best thing would be to have a separate “View” menu option for “VCA Matrix?” Right now it doesn’t feel flexible, it feels kludge-y. A VCA group is a very specific thing with a pretty well-understood behavior (see above). Folding that into a “universal group” format where it doesn’t behave as expected is problematic.

If you would want to keep the single menu entry, then perhaps some tailoring of the behavour of the grouping matrix might be in order. Intuitively, I would expect that IF you have designated a channel as a VCA master in a given group, then that group becomes, by definition, a VCA group. Then adding any other channel or folder to that group would set that channel (or folder) as a slave for the volume, mute and solo functions. Period. There’s no reason that channel couldn’t be part of ANOTHER group that does pan automation, or sets record-arm, or whatever. As it stands now, you have to go into the "details" portion of the group and triple-click the VCA, the mute and solo boxes for each strip that you want as a slave. In the project mentioned above, I have over sixty slave members of one VCA group, and my forefinger is worn out from all the clicking. That's over 600 mouse clicks just to set up that one group! IF you click once in the "Group" box on the non-expanded group matrix, it automatically toggles on a host of other parameters, like record arm, automation mode, etc. by default, yet NOT the VCA function! That is not only inconvenient, but it's potentially dangerous as well, if you didn't notice that the record functions came on for a whole bunch of tracks you weren't expecting. To me it's a fairly simple logic chain: IF a "group" has a designated VCA master, then any other members added would be simple slaves. I cannot for the life of me see needing to use "Group 2" as a VCA master/slave setup for a handful of tracks, but simultaneously control the record-arm, pan-invert and width controls of a DIFFERENT handful of tracks with yet another track. If it defaults to VCA-slave for volume, mute and solo, it would be dead simple to add additional functions to that group, if you would so desire, but that doesn’t mean that is should be set that way by default.
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