Old 03-13-2019, 12:35 PM   #1
BirdBird
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Default Unable to chain VCA faders

When trying to use a VCA master as a VCA slave in another group the volume does not propagate through the VCA slaves.

Expected Behaviour:

Grouping Matrix


VCA 1 track should control the volume of the tracks 1-4. VCA 2 should control the volume of VCA 1, therefore also control the volume of the tracks 1-4.

Actual Behaviour:
VCA 1 controls the volume of tracks 1-4, however the VCA 2 does not have an effect on tracks 1-4.
Footage of Behaviour: https://streamable.com/8aj0d

Reaper Version: 5.973
OS: Windows 10 Enterprise

Steps to Reproduce
-Create an arbitrary number of tracks
-Assign tracks as VCA slaves to a new VCA master (VCA 1)
-Create a new track, set it as a VCA master to VCA 1 in another group
-Tweak VCA 1 and VCA 2 faders while playing audio through the slave tracks in step 1

Extra Notes
Further discussion here https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=218066. As Robert has pointed out this functionality exists in other software, which leds to believe that the actual behaviour in Reaper is not intented, and a bug.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:19 AM   #2
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Chaining isn't necessary -- since you can make the track that is a VCA master on group 1 also a master on group 2.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
Chaining isn't necessary -- since you can make the track that is a VCA master on group 1 also a master on group 2.
Could you elaborate more? What type of grouping would you use to emulate this behaviour?
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdBird View Post
Could you elaborate more? What type of grouping would you use to emulate this behaviour?
In the above example, it's as simple as making track 6 a VCA master for both groups 1 and 2.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
In the above example, it's as simple as making track 6 a VCA master for both groups 1 and 2.
The problem is this is scattering the behaviour of one VCA over multiple groups which is a recipe for a headache in bigger projects. It would be very hard to track down which VCA is controlling which tracks. In the ideal scenario you would have every VCA seperated with its master/slave routings in its own group.

As an extra i could have just routed the slaves again to track 6 (VCA 2) in group 2 too but it has the same problem, quirky workarounds aren't solutions for unintuitive/buggy behaviour.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:40 AM   #6
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I'm not sure how adding the master to an additional group would be "scattering". Anyway it's not a quirky workaround, it's a legitimately cleaner way of managing VCAs. Having cascading VCAs is harder to follow IMO and doesn't offer any additional functionality.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:03 AM   #7
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Yes, Justin's suggestion is just a simple parallel circuit
So think in serial and parallel, here parallel is the solution.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
I'm not sure how adding the master to an additional group would be "scattering". Anyway it's not a quirky workaround, it's a legitimately cleaner way of managing VCAs. Having cascading VCAs is harder to follow IMO and doesn't offer any additional functionality.
Imagine a project with 100+ tracks and tens of VCA faders. Now imagine that you are using multiple masters on different groups to emulate the serial chaining functionality. (not uncommon) If you try to track down what a single VCA fader is controlling anywhere during this process you have to look at every single group and check if it has that VCA as a master. This is the "scattering" i have mentioned, the behaviour of one element is split across multiple places. But if you could master/slave VCAs to each other you could keep every single VCA in its contained group, making it much easier to read and tweak grouping.

So there is a legitimate reason that other products offer nested VCAs rather than simply allowing multiple VCA masters. Studio One can do it, Pro Tools can do it, Cubase can do it, Digital Performer can do it...
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:53 PM   #9
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If you turn off details in the grouping matrix you can see all of the groups for a given track in a row. Not sure how nesting helps that, If you see that a track is a master of VCA group 1, you then have to go look for all VCA group 1 slaves that are also masters, just as much work anyway...
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
If you see that a track is a master of VCA group 1, you then have to go look for all VCA group 1 slaves that are also masters, just as much work anyway...
No you don't, because with nesting you can contain all the master/slave groupings of a single VCA master in one group. So it is enough to look at just that group to tell what it has a master/slave relationship with.


For example if i have a "Verse VCA" as a master of:
- Guitars VCA
- Bass VCA
- Drums VCA
- Vocals VCA
I can just look at one group in the grouping matrix to tell what i am grouped with and just tweak one group to change it.


But the other way around i would need to have "Verse VCA" as a master on every single one of those groups the VCAs are in. And if i have multiple groupings like this on more VCAs and tracks i would have to play find waldo everytime i take a break from the project and return later, or even just try to see what kind of grouping hierarchy i have.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:05 PM   #11
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(it's a big image, open in new tab)

This is from an actual project, simplified and trimmed.

It seems complex at first glance, however I think after a few minutes you'll realize how simple it is...

If we use Justin's method, now "Rhythm VCA" will have 9 routings instead of 4. Guitar's VCA is 6 instead of 2.

Even further... with Justin's method if you want to add a new track then you have to remember to add it to extra groups. A Chorus Harmony track would need to be added 6 places to: Harmony Part VCA, Harmony Vox VCA, Vox VCA, Chorus VCA and "Soft Part VCA".

With VCA stacking it's added to 3 VCAs: Harmony Part VCA, Harmony Vox VCA and Chorus VCA.

I'm sure this seems contrived (it is, uh... I trimmed it from a real project though!), but if you use VCAs for mixing for post or film then it gets WAY crazier and Justin's method of 'many masters' is incredibly complex to manage.

This is a 17 track mockup with only 3 parts. Imagine how terrible it gets in REAPER with 300+ tracks and 60+ parts. It really sucks.

That's not all though! Stacking VCAs also lets you easily cascade automation coalescing (Apply VCA in REAPER). This can be a big deal! I don't think I need to explain why.

Stacking VCAs is vastly superior.

And once again.. thanks for putting up with us. I know this is a minor thing for 98% of the userbase.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:31 PM   #12
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OK thank you that is helpful.

It's actually a relatively simple change on our end, just need to decide whether or not to make it optional (old projects could conceivably be affected though I'd imagine since it wasn't useful to have a VCA master also a slave of a different group...)
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:46 PM   #13
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As a quick sidenote: I love the way you guys (devs) pick up ideas (thanks admiralbumblebee for the great visualization) and try to weave it into the existing structure. This is truly unique in the DAW scene and one of the main reasons why Reaper is my #1 DAW.
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
OK thank you that is helpful.

It's actually a relatively simple change on our end, just need to decide whether or not to make it optional (old projects could conceivably be affected though I'd imagine since it wasn't useful to have a VCA master also a slave of a different group...)
Having the current method available is useful for quick changes.

Nested VCAs are superior in most every way, but not everyone is able to (or needs to!) visualize their project in such a way, and the 'multiple masters' method is quick/easy to setup for simpler projects.

Is there a technical reason why you wouldn't allow a VCA to be routed anywhere a fader exists? (besides backwards compatibility)

I could pull the "but another DAW..." card here
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Last edited by Robert Randolph; 03-16-2019 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Randolph View Post
I could pull the "but another DAW..." card here
Might wanna save that card for something like area selection, maybe
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Might wanna save that card for something like area selection, maybe
Too late! I pulled it by mentioning I could pull it.

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