The Elf wrote:When VCAs were introduced there was this hug gasp of amazement that they were something completely new, but it was simply existing Channel Linking with an extra fader.
I suspect that the main reason you have that impression is because VCAs haven't been implemented properly in Cubase — notably, no track can slave to more than one VCA fader at a time in Cubase, whereas in some other DAWs they can.
Nonetheless, even with Cubase's implementation, VCA Faders can be more useful than basic channel linking in several scenarios...
For one thing, you can automate VCA faders and edit that automation later, without impacting on any automation already written to the slave tracks.
For another you can preview the channels with/without the VCA automation simply by putting the VCA fader in/out of Read mode.
For another you can nest VCA faders and put them in a folder at the top of your project... and that allows you to break a big mix down for use with a Mackie-type control surface really easily, without forcing you to route the audio through group busses, and it still allows you to place your tracks and groups where you want in the mixer.
For another, all the other channel controls such as record enable, mute and solo remain separately controllable on the slave tracks if you wish, without having to set that all up separately.
For another, you don't have to keep creating and dispensing with different group selections to do your linking.
So I see why you think they're similar. But they are not the same. And if Steinberg pulled their finger out and revamped this system, it could be a lot more powerful than linking...
My control surface works in banks of 8, in common with almost any control surface I know (with 8+ faders)
But you get the situation where, for example I have a drum VST (or the drums from my hardware synth whatever) and my drums consists of....
Trk 01 - kick
Trk 02 - snare
Trk 03 - Side Stick
Trk 04 - HIHat Open
Trk 05 - HiHat Open
Trk 06 - Cymbals
Trk 07 - Crash
and on Trk 08 I have Vocals 01, but I have 4 vocal tracks
Trk 08 - Vocs 01
Trk 09 - Vocs 02
Trk 10 - Vocs 03
Trk 11 - Vocs 04
So if I want to alter a value on say Trk 05, and then I want to alter Trk 10
Because of the way control surfaces are it all goes out of kilter. So I tend to construct things in groups of 8 (even if I have to create some epsilon tracks. So, when I go from bank to bank, Fader Number One on the control surface is always the first in the group.
Which is fine, but say I have 32 tracks/channels, I am altering the level of whatever is on track 29, for example. If I want alter the level of one of the drums, or indeed all, I have to Bank, Bank, Bank left till my control surface displays tracks/channels 1-8 (where my drums live)
But if I have groups/linked channels for example
Group 01 (tracks 1-8) - drums
Group 02 (tracks 9-16) - vocals
Group 03 (tracks 17-24) - VSTis
and so on, then in one bank on my control surface, I can control drums, vocals etc without banking left and right.
But of course that only allows me to alter the value of all the faders subsumed by the respective group fader, that's the point of it all, but I might get all the levels right in respect of each other but I might want to change the level of just one of the levels in that group. If I Group or send them to a VCA fader, I can still change the value of a single track/channel i that group, but if those tracks/channels are hardware MIDI channels, yes I can link several tracks/channels but I cannot change an individual level - move one fader in that group of faders, then all faders move.
Or they did until Elf told me about using the ALT key, in other words over-ride the default setting, so job done, problem solved. The other alternative is to go out and buy a mixer with say 64 faders!
I once used an 01v96, 16 faders and DAW control layer -great I thought, but when for example working on a project with more than 16 tracks, I would select the bank button, but even with 16 faders, it only banked across in jumps of 8