Old 01-12-2015, 12:19 AM   #1
gpunk_w
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Default VCA UI Discussion

Just to remove the UI discussion from the pre threads, for tidiness

I shall throw some ideas out (Keep in mind any screengrabs are done with my own theme, not v5 theme)

MCP slave visualisation
I think the key is to stay unified, just use the same slots as inserts/sends, you can already toggle between inserts/sends in the MCP or view them both, so the same options to toggle and show all and we are done, as per the mockup the slave VCA slots would show an indicative level of the connected master VCA level


MCP Master visulaisation
Here i think that a simple layout for MCP VCA master is needed, however it needs to change automagically when a track becomes a VCA Master, for this i think that we need track tagging, this would be useful in the long run for a lot of UI tidying in terms of tracks

Tag a track VCA Master = VCA Master layout
Tag a track Divider = Divider layout + Remove track from audio pathway (The bane of divider layouts)
Tag a track folder = Folder layout

So on and so forth, this would allow for expansion for track types within the single track type ethos of Reaper, allowing scripters/coders/users to develop types and auto layouts based around that simple tagging system

VCA creation
This seems to me to be in the wrong place, personally i think it needs to be unified as a mix processor, in this sense i would suggest it needs to go in to the track routing panel, as we can drag n drop sends right now with a left click and drag, then right click and drag from routing button on VCA master to any track would make that track a VCA slave, opening routing panel would show the familiar drop down list, you also still have the ability to use the matrix, but routing instead of grouping.


Obviously the routing button imagery would need some extra states to have indicators ala sends/receives/Master Parent/VCA, you could have two VCA indicators on here, one for master and one for slave


TCP slave visualisation
As there is no inserts/sends slots on the TCP, I suggest that the routing button indicator that we use now for routing indication would serve the same purpose, see imagery above

TCP Master visualisation
See tagging/layouts above
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:21 AM   #2
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A big +1 from me on all this. This seems to me to be the logical way to create and manipulate VCA's and would be much faster during mixing (at least it would for me given my heavy use of the MCP in all situations).

Love the GUI suggestions too. Makes sense to put the VCA's where the inserts and sends are and this visual keeps things consistent and makes implementing this new feature intuitive and logical.

I have no issue with VCA's remaining in the routing matrix AS WELL though. I personally don't use the routing matrix very often so would find the MCP (and TCP if we can) implementation hugely advantageous.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:39 AM   #3
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Excellent ideas!
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:01 AM   #4
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Nice ideas GPunk.

There are also some good ideas below in Pyramix. Pyramix is (philosophically) a lot like Reaper in that they seem to focus more on function than looks. In version 9 they solved a problem for complex mixes by having meter coloring or track highlighting that ID's routing on the fly, which is nice. That part is at 7:00.

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Old 01-12-2015, 07:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpunk_w View Post
Just to remove the UI discussion from the pre threads, for tidiness

I shall throw some ideas out (Keep in mind any screengrabs are done with my own theme, not v5 theme)

MCP slave visualisation
I think the key is to stay unified, just use the same slots as inserts/sends, you can already toggle between inserts/sends in the MCP or view them both, so the same options to toggle and show all and we are done, as per the mockup the slave VCA slots would show an indicative level of the connected master VCA level
I like these controls better than a ghost fader (especially as I use a theme with 'sliders' like these for volume and pan rather than a fake fader cap).

Would be great for the TCP to have a Walterable VCA block that recreated a lot of the functionality you've described here, with a slider for each VCA send and receive (of course having a similar block for 'regular' sends and receives would be great too and they could all work together!)
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:12 AM   #6
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good ideas!
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:30 AM   #7
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On top of that..

I kind of like the idea of having an adaptive "panel" with the relative faders and meters all in one place (like reaper's current send/receive panel but with meters etc too).

Having it all shown additionally in one window/panel we can call up from the view menu could be quite useful for quick overall mix adjustments.

I know we could simple move all the faders into one area but something tells me this panel would come in handy
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:36 AM   #8
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The "ghost faders" idea, a wireframe/transparent overlay on the normal faders is a new one to me, but as long as it's optional/switchable, I would welcome it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timothys_monster View Post
Here's a little LiceCap of how Sequoia handles the creation of VCAs and the ghosty fadercaps. Maybe it helps:



translation of the 1st context menu:

Fader is VCA Master
Create new VCA group/channel from selection

I don't think we necessarily need MCP "slots" taken up by VCA master indication (although I wouldn't object to it as another option).

On large format live consoles, we annotate VCA assignment (and sometimes, mute group assignment) with a vertical stack of LEDs on each channel (usu 8 to 12).






This is a tidy and succinct way of showing which channels are assigned to VCA groups/masters. As we have 32 track groups in REAPER, I wonder if it would be useful to have something simlar, maybe in a 4 rows of 8 format? This could be compact and have a very small footprint; it could also be shown in a single MCP slot and easily on all but the most compact TCP layouts.

Channels tend to be laid out in multiples of eight in consoles and control surfaces, and it's an easy number to recognise without counting. The "LEDs" could be the same colours as the track group colours, and it could function as a general indicator to other track group assignments apart from VCAs if needed.

Just another idea....




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Old 01-12-2015, 07:40 AM   #9
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The coloured line through the fader cap is quite a good indication I thought when watching the pyramix video.

If you can either also print the group name on the fader cap or have it as a tool tip then even better.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:57 AM   #10
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The routing coloring of both the meters and the mixer highlighting there is a really great idea, especially there where most users are doing post and may have huge track counts.

That's the ... dichotomy? is that the right word? dunno - with comparing daws. That the older daws are sometimes lagging behind in what might be considered more modern workflow methods in some cases, like overall UI, drag and drop, etc, etc, while at the same time being way, way ahead in some other technical things like some of the things Pyramix does, things that actually directly help the operator manage a large mix.

The trick for newer products (imo) is to copy some of that stuff and have the best of both worlds, even if users don't think or realize they need it yet. Sometimes users actually don't know what they need because they haven't been exposed to enough really good things to know that yet.

Back on topic, GPunks mockups are nice.
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:17 AM   #11
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having WALTER for theming makes any new UI work much harder in my opinion. Devs should work on the default theme without limitations of current WALTER and add any WALTER element they want whenever they wish. Make themes incompatible with new versions? It doesn't matter. Theme creators should maintain themes with each new version that adds WALTER modifications.
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
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having WALTER for theming makes any new UI work much harder in my opinion.
WALTER definitely isn't for the casual themer. Otoh, looking at how those Logic mods are done, that isn't either.

I'm not sure there is such a thing as a workstation that can change so many things on it's UI like Reaper and Logic that actually has a really easy or user friendly way to do that so anyone can easily do that without much trouble. If that exists, I haven't seen it yet.

That is to say (without knowing) that kinda of thing, absent some work on the back end to make it easier for the masses, seems to always bring a certain level of complexity.

I was mulling over the idea of making a VB app that does WALTER themes, drag and drop graphics and set options and generate WALTER code, but... it would take a lot of work to cover all of the various potential WALTER options and of course, one needs to first actually fully understand the inner workings of WALTER to even do that.

Maybe some enterprising LUA dude will knock up a WALTER designer in LUA.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Nice ideas GPunk.

There are also some good ideas below in Pyramix. Pyramix is (philosophically) a lot like Reaper in that they seem to focus more on function than looks. In version 9 they solved a problem for complex mixes by having meter coloring or track highlighting that ID's routing on the fly, which is nice.
That meter coloring is awesome!!!!!
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heda View Post
having WALTER for theming makes any new UI work much harder in my opinion. Devs should work on the default theme without limitations of current WALTER and add any WALTER element they want whenever they wish. Make themes incompatible with new versions? It doesn't matter. Theme creators should maintain themes with each new version that adds WALTER modifications.
I think that it's entirely a matter of perspective, I found WALTER relatively straightforward (and trust me, I'm no programmer) and managed to put together a theme, out of components other people had made, and that works for me in quite a straight forward fashion. If an item to show VCA controls (or sends, or fx) were available to be coded in to a space then I could code them in there.

On the other hand, apart from some very rudimentary colour changes, put me in front of GIMP or Inkscape and I'm utterly lost.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:36 AM   #15
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I think the Walter discussion has little to do with VCAs, but Walter is simple enough once you know it.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:46 PM   #16
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Sorry I didn't explain myself well.

I was thinking from the developers perspective. I know enough WALTER to modify default theme for my needs. And I am grateful for WALTER. It is great. But I was thinking that adding new UI features to REAPER would be faster for the devs if we didn't have WALTER. When adding new UI buttons or anything, they have to think to make it customizable by WALTER and that's more work. That's why it is harder to implement new features in REAPER than maybe in other software.

For example, let's do new UI for VCA. Would devs create a new UI with great features as being shown in this thread, making new WALTER elements for it breaking current themes? Or just adapt things to be compatible with current themes and be less adequate UI for the new features?

All I was saying is that devs shouldn't worry to add new WALTER elements and make 4.x themes incompatible with 5.x themes, giving more priority to UI development than theme compatibility. And hopefully we see some great UI ideas for VCA as we see in this thread.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:07 PM   #17
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Actually everything i have shown would work out the box with v4 themes.
However, lets not assume that Walter has made the developers life harder, i would suggest it makes their life easier, would be good to get a word from the devs on this, to nip it in the bud one way or the other
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:10 PM   #18
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GPunk, I've thought about it and I'm not sure that VCAs should be executed as sends. The current paradigm of using the grouping system seems to make more sense.

Besides, It looks like Justin has already implemented it as a sub-function of grouping, so changing it to a send/receive function would probably require a rebuild that I'm not sure is necessary at all.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:29 PM   #19
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I personally thinking grouping is completely different, grouping is linking things, this sort of control is not linking things, it is a level offset which is a mix process.
And it would be far from a rebuild, just a different location in the UI.
But this may be moot anyway, the devs may never even read this thread haha.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:40 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daxliniere View Post
GPunk, I've thought about it and I'm not sure that VCAs should be executed as sends. The current paradigm of using the grouping system seems to make more sense.

Besides, It looks like Justin has already implemented it as a sub-function of grouping, so changing it to a send/receive function would probably require a rebuild that I'm not sure is necessary at all.
I agree, I use both my Routing Matrix and Group Matrix a lot and my Routing Matrix get's cluttered and messy as it is. Add VCAs to that and it could get almost unmanageable.

Using the Group Matrix as Justin has it now makes it very clear and easy to see at a glance.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:05 PM   #21
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It's control, not signal -leave it in the track grouping matrix.

People will have enough problems coming to terms with the fact that the signal doesn't got through the VCA group master without aligning it with sends.


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Old 01-13-2015, 02:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpunk_w View Post
I personally thinking grouping is completely different, grouping is linking things, this sort of control is not linking things, it is a level offset which is a mix process.
.
Exactly

Whatever the underhood technicalities or definitions or analog origins, whether little magic elves turn invisible screws in the background: the net result for end user is its a mixing related tool, that does more if you wish.

For example
4 backing vocal tracks whether they are in a folder or not are already a 'group' philosophically, I then may wish to set up a vca to better 'control' them in my mix - this to me is not a grouping exercise, the vca is acting on a group but could act on a single track. Its a mixing aid.

So although it is in theory linking or grouping, philosophically it is not grouping.

Just my pennies. All discussion is good am sure it'll help galvanise devs into a good direction.

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Old 01-13-2015, 02:39 PM   #23
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I REALLY like the "Ghost Fader" idea of Sequoia mentioned above.
Coming from years of working on Neve Flying Faders, I really crave visual feedback. SSL VCA automation used to drive me nuts...not having a visual at the fader, but having to look at on-screen bars.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:21 PM   #24
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I'm trying to get a handle on what problem GP sees with the ghost fader idea. I think he's interpreting it directly, where REAPER will take a themer's fader-cap artwork and make an outline/dotted-wireframe version of it.

I think, anticipating the themers' craving for total visual control of panels, it would have to be a separate construct-item/element(?) so that they could add it as whatever "ghost" image they like, not necessarily a fader cap. It could be implemented then as a side bracket, indicator bullet or pointer/arrow to suit the design and feel of the theme. This would give them the extremity of control where they could use a completely transparent element to preclude the use of the ghost control or a full-coloured version to override the normal control. This pretty much allows full control of how a theme indicates VCA resultants.


I really do think the VCA level bars should be saved for a track inspector type window -for overview use of MCP and TCP, some indication of track group membership is all that is required. Yes it would be good to optionally add it to the mcp slots (like we can add priority FX parameters to the MCP now), but as the main VCA indicator, it's just too much (repeated) information and too much screen estate used.

I'm not against it as an option -it will be useful, but it will be more ergonomically direct and succinct to use a group membership indicator (squares/dots/current ribbons) and some variant of the ghost control.



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Old 01-13-2015, 03:30 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetnine View Post
I'm trying to get a handle on what problem GP sees with the ghost fader idea. I think he's interpreting it directly, where REAPER will take a themer's fader-cap artwork and make an outline/dotted-wireframe version of it.

I think, anticipating the themers' craving for total visual control of panels, it would have to be a separate construct-item/element(?)>
I'm 100% with you on this one!
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:59 PM   #26
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Im guessing you will get your ghosted caps shoutty seems to be the way to get heard and the ghost caps people while not in the majority are definitely more shoutty, so im out of this discussion now until somebody shows me something usable and not just copied from another app.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:20 PM   #27
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Don't take this as a personal attack GP, you've spent some time thinking on this and come up with some great ideas.

I think your level-bars are good info and would welcome them in a track inspector window and as an option in the MCP slot area, but as someone who regularly drives VCAs as a job, the only thing missing is some kind of direct feedback as to what exactly three or four VCA groups are doing to a channel fader.

You get a good idea at a glance if it's local faders assigned (my hardware), but, like in BB's case where its external/sequenced control, or here, where automation could be the control, some direct indication is needed.

Read my post above -it doesn't have to be a transparent fader -given a separate element for the "ghost" indicator, it could be anything that fits in with the theme -it doesn't have to look like some "ugly add-on" and could be whatever design or colours wanted. I'm presuming this method would prevent the theming/layering issue you described earlier?


Let's see if we can get both ideas incorporated.



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Old 01-13-2015, 04:35 PM   #28
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Those bars are a direct indication, that is why they have levels on them, they are meters, not sliders
But the whole conversation has gone in to loop mode now, on top of that we have people professing that they use VCAs all the time and they "have to be like blah" you know what, if everybody thought like that we would be looking at Reels on our screens and not a linear arrange page.
Im staying out of it now.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:45 PM   #29
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yeah....bars, ghost faders, whatever. All good ideas, as long as there's some indicator at the fader as to what's going on. The routing/inspector bar indicator is fine as an overview. That's very helpful. But for VCA's, seems to me that having visual feedback at the fader will help prevent confusion and freakouts in a complex mix.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:56 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenK-msx View Post
Whatever the underhood technicalities or definitions or analog origins, whether little magic elves turn invisible screws in the background: the net result for end user is its a mixing related tool, that does more if you wish.

For example
4 backing vocal tracks whether they are in a folder or not are already a 'group' philosophically, I then may wish to set up a vca to better 'control' them in my mix - this to me is not a grouping exercise, the vca is acting on a group but could act on a single track. Its a mixing aid.

So although it is in theory linking or grouping, philosophically it is not grouping.

Just my pennies. All discussion is good am sure it'll help galvanise devs into a good direction.
I'll swap you a 'philosophical' question for one of those pennies, then: when you are mixing in REAPER, what else are you doing besides *controlling* track volume / pan / mute (etc.) parameters, using their associated *control* elements such as 'faders', 'dial knobs', and 'buttons' on the GUI (or perhaps using a hardware controller)?
Quote:
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I personally thinking grouping is completely different, grouping is linking things, this sort of control is not linking things, it is a level offset which is a mix process.
It would offset the level of the *control* signal, which in turn affects the level of a track. But those are still two different things, and the confusion between the former and the latter may arise because of the specific example. If you would (also) consider track panning rather than (only) track volume for an example, the conceptual distinction between control signal and source/target parameters seems more clear.
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Old 01-13-2015, 05:18 PM   #31
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when you are mixing in REAPER, what else are you doing besides *controlling* track volume / pan / mute (etc.) parameters, using their associated *control* elements such as 'faders', 'dial knobs', and 'buttons' on the GUI (or perhaps using a hardware controller)

all kinds of voodoo... no, the point was whether the vcas should fall under the umbrella of 'grouping'.

i do not associate folders and busses with grouping although you could technically.
my last touched controller is not 'grouped' to the thing it controls, its just the wrong word!. nor did i set it up in an area reserved for 'grouping' nor 'linking' even though you could argue it makes sense to.


i use folders everytime i fire up reaper, grouping matrix? never. thats just me of course.
when people say grouping in reaper i think of item grouping which i imagine we all use a great deal.

i anticipate using vcas as much as i use folders, in addition to folders, replacing them or 'other'.
don't see vca's falling under the umbrella of 'grouping' when its a day to day mix thing.

and if a console does/did i am not too fussed, this is reaper's interpretation in the digital realm of vca type behaviour - it doesn't need to be all like it was on a console


say we have 4 backing vocal tracks are controlled by a vca track.

in my head and am sure in many others, the vca and vocals have not been 'grouped'
once created i could think of the vocals+vca as a kind of group. but most likely and in reality i'll think of them as my backing vocal VCA or just 'Backing vocals' with the original tracks getting hidden for example.

as it is i am having to dust off a never used area of reaper to setup an 'every session' thing, which although no disaster just doesn't make workflow sense to me.

just hope in addition to the comprehensive options in grouping matrix, there is an easy mcp method just as easy as creating folders/sends etc.

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Old 01-13-2015, 05:48 PM   #32
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On analogue consoles, you hit a "VCA assign" button, followed by the VCA master's assign button, followed by the assign buttons of the channels (tracks) you want in that VCA group. When you've finished, you toggle the "VCA assign" button back off. Much easier to do than write down, but quickly: "assign" - master - channel - channel - channel - channel - "unassign".

On digital consoles it's similar, but you can do it from the VCA master end (one master many channels) or the channel end -think "track inspector" on the console (assign to multiple masters).

We can do both at once with the track group matrix, or given API access, a one-button box can be scripted to do the above for that push-button "legacy feel" with track selection


Edit: a quick check seems to show that live consoles do call them "VCA groups".



>
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:41 PM   #33
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Edit: a quick check seems to show that live consoles do call them "VCA groups".



>
absolutely. its more than plausible more than one vca could be called a group! - its a name for it.
this is DAW land - groups/grouping has many meanings already. and to create that vca 'group' on your console you hit a few buttons on the mixer, you didn't flip it over and stick pins in the 'grouping matrix'.

your first example is nice and simple and done 'at the mixer'- thats all i mean.
if we had that in reaper it and it was labelled 'the groupy group vca grouper of groups' i'd be cool with it. mostly

i shall cease labouring the point. all good fun.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:21 PM   #34
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I understand why people want a visual of what the individual track is doing WITH the VCA. What I don't understand is why the need the visual WITHOUT it.

I don't mind the ghost idea that you guys like but I hope we can get an option to turn it off and have the individual faders move along with the VCA.

My apologies if this is too much like the way Pro Tools does it. It's only the #1 DAW for professional mixing.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:30 PM   #35
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My apologies if this is too much like the way Pro Tools does it. It's only the #1 DAW for professional mixing.
OK, so PT is the number 1 DAW for professional mixing, you have a great PT set up surely, and you have access to big consoles too, why are you here ?
Reaper does things a little different and i would presume that is exactly why you are here ?
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:35 PM   #36
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BenK has really punched the elephant in the room here, "it needs to be grouping, not a mix feature" well yeah thats cool, so the groups on your big console group items do they ?
See the issue with that association ?

Man i was gonna keep out of this haha
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:45 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I understand why people want a visual of what the individual track is doing WITH the VCA. What I don't understand is why the need the visual WITHOUT it.

I don't mind the ghost idea that you guys like but I hope we can get an option to turn it off and have the individual faders move along with the VCA.

My apologies if this is too much like the way Pro Tools does it. It's only the #1 DAW for professional mixing.
It's sure to be optional. The UI discussion with the devs is going to happen once the DSP is sorted first and foremost. I'll be waiting for that to be sorted and then worry about how to set the VCA flags, and how resulting volume level is displayed.

Gpunk, you know full well you can use more than one DAW. Do any of us have bugs to report for VCA functionality yet ?
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:49 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by gpunk_w View Post
OK, so PT is the number 1 DAW for professional mixing, you have a great PT set up surely, and you have access to big consoles too, why are you here ?
Reaper does things a little different and i would presume that is exactly why you are here ?
All I want is everything I can do in Pro Tools and more if that's possible.

Yes. I expect Reaper to do this even better and no, I'm not as smart as the dev. I just don't want to ignore what Pro Tools got right in the process.

Most people's complaint (to me) has been the way Reaper handles automation and the lack of VCAs. I'm rooting for Reaper here.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:53 PM   #39
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It's sure to be optional.
I'm just hoping that the option is not just to have the ghost caps on or off.

Off without the faders reflecting the VCAs is pretty useless to me.

Thanks
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:06 PM   #40
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I dont mind the slave faders moving as long as it indicates somehow its not 'true' seems better than the other way around.

Anyway, Question to vca veterans:

What tends to happen with metering?

Playing around earlier I'd set up a little vca on some tracks and envisioned in a big mix particularly as it comes to an end point hiding the slaves leaving key elements on a few faders etc etc.

What would be missing from this scenario IMO is some metering of the slaves on the vca masters. Not always wanted depending on scenario but useful.

Edit:

Sure you could create a new track and send the slaves to it and untick master/parent but seems bit OTT.

Don't like suggesting sending slaves places.. Sounds wrong :/

Last edited by BenK-msx; 01-13-2015 at 08:14 PM.
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