Old 12-07-2017, 06:12 PM   #41
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I can see how this VCA dubbing as a Folder can save on the number of tracks in a project.

I got into VCA routing a week ago thanks to this BRBWaffles's template:

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=185672 (Note: there's a neat video on how it works, with great mixing tip included).

I may try to modify the template.

[edit] I just spent the last hour modifying my template. It works like a charm. I'm liking this new workflow. The VCA volume track is great because it is tied to my reverb and delay buses ( i.e. changes the loudness of the instruments track and the buss all at once), and now has the advantage of showing a loudness meter and hosting FXs if should need some (not that FXs should be needed once the signal makes it to this section of the workflow, but eehhhh)

Thanks guys for the insight, explanations, and examples. I took me a while to understand it all, but I'm there!

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Old 12-08-2017, 03:58 AM   #42
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I think the best solution to the problem we're looking at is this clever idea: https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=200027 Post #17

It uses a multi-channel folder track. Channels 1/2 carry the audio from the child channels of the group (a submix of the child channels). Any Sends from those channels are routed, not directly to their actual destination track, but via additional channels of the Folder. So, if you only have one Send from the child tracks to (say) a reverb, then route the Sends from the child tracks to channels 3/4 of the Folder track (which then acts as a submix of the sends). Then create a Send from channels 3/4 of the folder track to the Destination channel for the Reverb.

This way, no VCA is needed. If you reduce the folder fader, then the level of both the "Main submix Ch1/2" and the "Send submix 3/4" will reduce by the same amount, so everything stays perfectly in balance.

No need to put the Reverb inside the Folder with this method, so tracks from within different folders can share the same FX busses.

Obviously if you want to send to lots of different Send Busses from within the folder, then you have to create more channels in the folder track (so for example a folder with tracks sending to 8 different reverbs/delays would end up as an 18-track channel!) but it does seem to achieve the goal of having a single fader which acts as control for the group channels and their sends, as well as keeping the tidiness of being able to expand and hide the child tracks by clicking on the folder.

Kudos to user ashcat_lt for coming up with this idea.
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Old 12-08-2017, 04:06 AM   #43
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I think the best solution to the problem we're looking at is this clever idea: https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=200027 Post #17

It uses a multi-channel folder track. Channels 1/2 carry the audio from the child channels of the group (a submix of the child channels). Any Sends from those channels are routed, not directly to their actual destination track, but via additional channels of the Folder. So, if you only have one Send from the child tracks to (say) a reverb, then route the Sends from the child tracks to channels 3/4 of the Folder track (which then acts as a submix of the sends). Then create a Send from channels 3/4 of the folder track to the Destination channel for the Reverb.

This way, no VCA is needed. If you reduce the folder fader, then the level of both the "Main submix Ch1/2" and the "Send submix 3/4" will reduce by the same amount, so everything stays perfectly in balance.

No need to put the Reverb inside the Folder with this method, so tracks from within different folders can share the same FX busses.

Obviously if you want to send to lots of different Send Busses from within the folder, then you have to create more channels in the folder track (so for example a folder with tracks sending to 8 different reverbs/delays would end up as an 18-track channel!) but it does seem to achieve the goal of having a single fader which acts as control for the group channels and their sends, as well as keeping the tidiness of being able to expand and hide the child tracks by clicking on the folder.

Kudos to user ashcat_lt for coming up with this idea.
Don't you just love Reaper :-)
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Old 12-08-2017, 04:51 AM   #44
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Yup :-D
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Old 12-08-2017, 08:21 AM   #45
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Strewth!! ... another variation of ashcat_it's excellent idea for a VCA Folder, courtesy of ericzang.... Here's his post

https://forum.cockos.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=11

I've tested this and it seems to do everything that I want it to without doubling up on folder volume changes or having to use additional audio channels to route the FX sends

i.e. a FOLDER that:

- acts as a VCA
- has metering
- contains normal child tracks with easily understood Sends routing
- can have 'folder-level' FX applied to it

The secret is that any child tracks can send to "pass-through Send tracks" (within the folder), which are themselves routed to the actual FX Send tracks (outside the folder). These pass-through send tracks have post-fade sends to the real FX Send tracks and have their Parent Send disabled.

Importantly these pass-through send tracks are VCA slaves to the folder, which is itself, of course, the VCA master.

The child tracks are simply just that - audio or VST tracks with their Parent Send checkbox enabled. Critically the child tracks are not VCA slaves.

Thus, reducing the folder fader turns down both any child tracks and the pass-through send tracks, thanks to the VCA relationship. But, because the pass-through sends do not contribute to the folder audio, there is no 'doubling' of volume changes.

I'm doing a quick video demonstrating this. I'll post that shortly

Brilliant :-)

Much kudos to EricZang and Ashcat_IT and Tod.
Bravo Reaper!
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Old 12-08-2017, 08:39 AM   #46
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Strewth!! ... another variation of ashcat_it's excellent idea for a VCA Folder, courtesy of ericzang.... Here's his post
...
I'm doing a quick video demonstrating this. I'll post that shortly
...
https://youtu.be/YpPoOJ8M9zg
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Old 12-08-2017, 08:54 AM   #47
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Sounds like it's doing pretty much the same thing as the original idea.

The original (with the "pass through sends" hidden in the multitrack routing of the folder will look neater in the project, as you don't have to create a whole bunch of extra dummy tracks.

But the second way is probably easier to work out what's going on if something isn't working right!

Andy
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:34 AM   #48
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Sounds like it's doing pretty much the same thing as the original idea.

...<cut>...

But the second way is probably easier to work out what's going on if something isn't working right!

Andy
Yep - for me, having the available sends clearly named (albeit as "passthrough verb" or whatever) at the point of creating/adjusting a send on a real track, rather than sending to folder channel 7/8 is more appealing.

Once (if) we get channel aliases then, as ashcat_it wrote, then his solution will win the day.

I'm now thinking about a consistent naming convention for 'passthrough sends' and then creating some custom action (a cycle action using CONSOLE select commands, basically) to hide/show them all. Once they're set up in a folder I can't see any need for them to remain visible
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:32 AM   #49
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Whereas for me, I'll include these in project templates with probably 8 Sends on every channel so I really don't want to see all those extra faders!!
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:09 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by andyp24 View Post
I think the best solution to the problem we're looking at is this clever idea: https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=200027 Post #17

It uses a multi-channel folder track. Channels 1/2 carry the audio from the child channels of the group (a submix of the child channels). Any Sends from those channels are routed, not directly to their actual destination track, but via additional channels of the Folder. So, if you only have one Send from the child tracks to (say) a reverb, then route the Sends from the child tracks to channels 3/4 of the Folder track (which then acts as a submix of the sends). Then create a Send from channels 3/4 of the folder track to the Destination channel for the Reverb.

This way, no VCA is needed. If you reduce the folder fader, then the level of both the "Main submix Ch1/2" and the "Send submix 3/4" will reduce by the same amount, so everything stays perfectly in balance.

No need to put the Reverb inside the Folder with this method, so tracks from within different folders can share the same FX busses.

Obviously if you want to send to lots of different Send Busses from within the folder, then you have to create more channels in the folder track (so for example a folder with tracks sending to 8 different reverbs/delays would end up as an 18-track channel!) but it does seem to achieve the goal of having a single fader which acts as control for the group channels and their sends, as well as keeping the tidiness of being able to expand and hide the child tracks by clicking on the folder.

Kudos to user ashcat_lt for coming up with this idea.
I'm afraid that if I try doing that in my current project I'll end up like this:

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Old 12-08-2017, 04:32 PM   #51
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Haha... Yes, I think it's a method best suited to setting up as a project template, rather than trying to create from scratch each time.

😀
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Old 12-08-2017, 04:40 PM   #52
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I think the best solution to the problem we're looking at is this clever idea: https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=200027 Post #17
Yeah, I agree, but doing it that way, would be nearly the same as using a VCA and adding an outside track for the child track outputs.

Here we have the VCA folder which is a VCA master that has 3 child tracks controlled by the VCA as slaves. However, the Child outputs do not go to the VCA Folder track, they go to the VCF Output track which you could call a bus. The Child 1 track is sending to the Verb Bus.

I think this would basically have the same advantages that ashcat_lt's folder has, although I'm not absolutely sure.

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Old 12-09-2017, 05:21 AM   #53
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I think it achieves the same result, but at the expense of having an extra fader in the mixer. If you mess with the level of the VCF fader, the "dry" output will change, but the "wet" (ie Send to Reverb) won't, so you can mess up the balance if you grab the wrong fader.

The other method is definitely more complex to set up, but once it's routed, there's only the one fader for the group which controls the output of everything in it correctly, so less potential for mixing mistakes...?
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:15 AM   #54
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I think it achieves the same result, but at the expense of having an extra fader in the mixer. If you mess with the level of the VCF fader, the "dry" output will change, but the "wet" (ie Send to Reverb) won't, so you can mess up the balance if you grab the wrong fader.
No Andy, I think you misunderstand, the VCF Output doesn't go to any Aux busses. Well not unless it's a separate send then the child tracks. The child tracks themselves will go to their respective Aux busses.

I think it's an easier setup, and has no more tracks, maybe less.

Quote:
The other method is definitely more complex to set up, but once it's routed, there's only the one fader for the group which controls the output of everything in it correctly, so less potential for mixing mistakes...?
I can't see this being a problem, the VCA Folder shows like any folder and the VCF Output can go anywhere. Also it adds another final volume adjustment.

I've been using this for a long time, and usually, nearly always, my VCA master tracks and the slave tracks will be in the TCP where I will be automating their envelopes and the VCF Output bus is in the MCP, and serves as a final adjustment in the mix.

The only difference now is that I'll be making the VCA track a folder track, basically giving me the same convenience as a regular folder.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:36 AM   #55
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Maybe I do misunderstand.....

Can you explain to me what I've got wrong in the following scenarios - assuming one Folder, containing one audio child track, which has one Send to a Verb buss from it (to keep it as simple as possible), and that the aim is to allow control of both the Dry (track) signal and Wet (send) signal together.

-----------------------------

This is what I think your method does:

There are 4 faders: the child track, the folder, the VCF buss, and the Verb buss.

ROUTING:
Child Track Audio -> VCF Buss (not to folder, so Master/Parent unticked)
Child Track Send -> Verb Buss

The Folder is acting as two things - one is a container for convenience so you can hide and minimise the track in it easily; the other is a VCA master for the Child Track.

Operation - set the level of the Child Track as desired. Set the level of its Verb send as desired to give the right dry/wet mix. If you want to reduce the level of this child track AND its reverb, just bring down the folder fader.

Drawback - if you acccidentally turn down the VCF Buss fader, the Dry output of the child track will reduce, but the reverb send won't so the sound will get wetter.

---------------

This is what I think ashcat_it's method does:

There are 3 faders: the Folder, the child track and the Verb buss. No VCAs are used at all.

ROUTING:
Child Track Audio -> Folder channels 1 and 2 (via Master/Parent send)
Child Track Send -> Folder channels 3 and 4 (routed in the Send dialogue)
Folder channels 3 and 4 -> Verb Buss

The folder acts as the convenience function still (you can hide/minimise the child track). It is also the "Master fader" for the child track.


Operation - set the level of the Child Track as desired. Set the level of its Verb send as desired to give the right dry/wet mix. If you want to reduce the level of this child track AND its reverb, just bring down the folder fader. The Dry child track audio reduces, and so does the send to the verb buss (because it's also routed through the folder on channels 3 and 4), so the dry/wet mix is always preserved. There is no other fader to move accidentally and mess up the dry/wet balance.

---------------------

What have I misunderstood, which makes your (1st) method as good as ashcat's (2nd) method?

Andy
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:16 PM   #56
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Maybe I do misunderstand.....

Drawback - if you acccidentally turn down the VCF Buss fader, the Dry output of the child track will reduce, but the reverb send won't so the sound will get wetter.
Hi Andy, that's just it, when you turn down the VCA it turns down the child tracks and their outputs. Since the output(s) of the child tracks are also going to the Aux FX bus, then it's operating as it should. Here's a gif of what I'm talking about.

Track 1 is the Output bus for the Child tracks.
Track 2 is the VCA master and is also the Folder track.
Track 3 is Child 1 and has 2 sends, one to the Output bus, the other to the Aux FX bus.
Track 4 is Child 2 and it's just going to the Output bus.
Track 5 is the Aux FX bus which is receiving from track 3, Child 1.



Quote:
What have I misunderstood, which makes your (1st) method as good as ashcat's (2nd) method?
I'm not saying it as good or better, that's kind of subjective. I think ashcat's method it great. However, I think what I show here may end up with less tracks and for me it's a little easier to get my head around.
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:10 PM   #57
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Hi Tod,

My question was: what happens if you accidentally change the level of what you originally called the *VCF track*, and here you called the Output Folder?

(Not, what happens if you turn down the Folder track which is the VCA)

That Output Folder (confusing name as it's not a folder!) has the audio from the child tracks routed through it, but is not connected in any way to the Aux FX buss. So if you turn down the fader on that track (track 1) you will reduce the Dry signal, but not the Wet signal going through the Aux FX buss. This in my opinion is not desirable.

Also, if you want to put shared FX (EQ, compression etc) on child tracks in the Folder, you can't do that on the folder because no audio goes through that. You have to put them on the Output track 1, which does pass the dry audio from the child tracks. So if you want to change the level of the "group" (child tracks and their FX sends), you alter the Folder fader. If you want to adjust the processing for the same "group" you have to go to a completely different channel. This strikes me as inelegant and potentially confusing.

With ashcat's method, there is only one "Group" track - the actual folder track. Audio passes through it (on channels 1/2) so you can put EQ and compression etc on it. Sends pass through it (on channels 3/4 etc) so the track fader keeps the wet/dry balance intact.

So (as well as using 1 fewer track per "VCA folder" because you don't ever need to separate the "VCA" from the "output") ashcat's method does seem more elegant and error-proof. It does take a little bit of getting your head around the routing of it at first, but then it's not hard.

I can see why you might prefer the more obvious routing of sticking to 2-channel tracks, but it does have disadvantages for sure.

Andy
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:06 PM   #58
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Hi Tod,

My question was: what happens if you accidentally change the level of what you originally called the *VCF track*, and here you called the Output Folder?

(Not, what happens if you turn down the Folder track which is the VCA)

That Output Folder (confusing name as it's not a folder!) has the audio from the child tracks routed through it, but is not connected in any way to the Aux FX buss. So if you turn down the fader on that track (track 1) you will reduce the Dry signal, but not the Wet signal going through the Aux FX buss. This in my opinion is not desirable.
Hi again Andy, I agree about the names, but I actually called it "Folder Output", because that's basically what it is. Maybe just call it the "VCA Output Bus", or better yet, "VCA Summing Bus". I hate long names and might just call it the "VCF_S-Bus", "VC" tells me it's a VCA, "F" tells me it's a folder, "S" tells me it's either a "Sub" or Summing, and although "Bus" can be many things, I would know what it relates to here. If it's okay, lets just call it the "VCF_bus".

And no, the the VCF_bus is not connected to the FX_bus, only the Child tracks are connected to it. But I get what I think you mean, if you change the level of the VCF_bus, it doesn't change the relationship of the Child to the FX_bus. To do that the FX_bus would have to be routed to the VCF_bus, which in may cases is not a bad idea.

There are a lot of scenarios for all this and what ever is done needs to fit the situations. It sounds like most of your work is doing live mixing and I'm sure you have your setups for the various agendas. Of course a lot depends on whether you're working with a single band or many bands.

Quote:
Also, if you want to put shared FX (EQ, compression etc) on child tracks in the Folder, you can't do that on the folder because no audio goes through that. You have to put them on the Output track 1, which does pass the dry audio from the child tracks. So if you want to change the level of the "group" (child tracks and their FX sends), you alter the Folder fader. If you want to adjust the processing for the same "group" you have to go to a completely different channel. This strikes me as inelegant and potentially confusing.
This I'm not sure what you're getting at. The FX would go on the VCF_bus and I don't see any problems with the relationship of the Child tracks here? Heh heh, so what am I not seeing, or better yet, what is this old brain not comprehending.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:42 AM   #59
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Apologies for my misreading of your "Folder Output" track - that is a little clearer, although I'd probably prefer not to have the word Folder in it at all, so as to make identifying the different types of track obvious at a glance.

And no, there's no live music mixing going on in my setup at all :-) Although I use Reaper when dabbling in my own music creations, in my work life I use it for radio programmes/video/film...

For me, the whole point of setting up this "VCA" kind of arrangement is that

1) you have a single control which turns up/down a set of tracks AND their Sends so that any FX balance you've set up with Reverbs etc is preserved. That can be done JUST by creating a VCA group to control them.

Also

2) the whole point of routing a few tracks to a Buss is so that you can control their level together and put shared Insert FX on them. This can be done by a traditional Buss Send or putting them in a Folder.

3) The Folder has the added advantage of neatness in the project by being able to minimise its tracks easily.

If you want to achieve ALL of these targets reliably, ashcat's method is the only way I've seen. Yours has a VCA group (on the Folder track) which achieves targets 1) and 3), and an additional Buss track which achieves target 2). Unfortunately the Buss track is also capable of breaking target 1) if you move its fader (because the Sends/FX returns don't go through that Buss).

If you were to Route the FX return channel back through your Buss, all you've effectively done is make a Standard Folder again! You could get the same effect by making a normal folder, and putting the Child Tracks AND FX busses in it.

The problem with that is that in my work, I need FX tracks which receive from different Folders. So I might have a Dialogue Folder, a Foley Folder, and several Sound Effects folders, and want to send all tracks from all of them to a single Reverb for one scene. I can't put that Reverb in any of those Folders because I must be able to change the level of one Folder without affecting the FX sent from another folder.

With ashcat's routing (slightly complex though it is to get your head around at first) I can make a Dialogue Folder with the Sends from all the child dialogue tracks also routed through the folder, so it accomplishes the "VCA"-type ganging of those controls, but the Reverb track itself is totally separate from that Folder and can be shared with other tracks or Folders. There's no additional Fader visible in the TCP/MCP (your Folder Output buss) which I could move accidentally and spoil the FX balance for that Folder, and any Folder FX (eg overall Dialogue compression) live on the Folder, so I have a single track to look at whenever I want to adjust anything....

Level of all tracks in the Folder and their Sends = Folder Fader
Overall level of all Sends from child tracks = Send level to the FX Buss from ch 3/4 of the Folder (if I do specifically need to adjust this deliberately)
Insert FX applied to all child tracks - Folder FX slots.

I think when mixing with your Routing I would find it very confusing that if I wanted to adjust the EQ on a Folder of tracks, I'd go to the Folder_Output_Buss track, but then if I wanted to change the level in response to that change, I'd have to go to the VCA_Folder track instead of moving the Folder_Output_Buss fader.

All that said, if your method works well for you in what you do, go ahead and use it! There's more than one way to skin a cat. Discussing it with you has helped clarify my understanding of the pros and cons of each method, so I know which I will find most useful in my work, and hopefully if anyone else has the stamina to read through all this, it might help some other people get their heads around this tricky topic.

Thanks, Andy

Last edited by andyp24; 12-12-2017 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:58 AM   #60
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All that said, if your method works well for you in what you do, go ahead and use it! There's more than one way to skin a cat. Discussing it with you has helped clarify my understanding of the pros and cons of each method, so I know which I will find most useful in my work, and hopefully if anyone else has the stamina to read through all this, it might help some other people get their heads around this tricky topic.
And thanks to you Andy. Yeah it does come down to specific situations and you explained yours well. Heh heh, I've never actually thought about it this deeply myself.

Although I've been an audio engineer and producer for nearly 50 years, now days I'm just producing single artists, mostly song writers. Each song will be different and although I do have a few "Project Templates", I never know for sure what I'm going to need for each song.

The way it generally goes, my client will play acoustic guitar rhythm and sing the song. Then I take it from there, 95% to 99% will be midi, and depending on what kind of song it is, it can take a lot of tracks, a high percentage of them being VSTi outputs.

The drums usually have the most FX, 4, 5, or more reverbs and a couple of parallel compressors. I have a summing bus for all the drum outputs I call "Sub Drums" which is where all the drum FX also go. I very seldom need to automate the drums.

Most of my automation is done right on the midi tracks, so I don't have a lot of need for folder tracks. However some of the songs will have a string arrangement and I usually end up with a folder track for some final automation on the various sections.

Well, this has all been fun and enlightening and I've learned some things.

Thanks again Andy.
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