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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Jul-16 > VCAs, Groups and Aux channels

VCAs, Groups and Aux channels

Logic’s three-tier solution to channel grouping seems complicated at first. Mark Cousins explains all – and gives you the lowdown on VCAs, Aux channels and Fader Groups

Technique Logic In Depth

One of the most confusing recent introductions to Logic Pro X has been the new VCA faders system. While the concept of VCAs on a console will be familiar to many working engineers, their exact role and function in Logic Pro X isn’t immediately apparent. The confusion stems from the fact that VCAs are primarily used as a means of grouping related channels, a task seemingly already addressed by Aux channels and Fader Groups. So, what do VCA faders offer that the other two solutions don’t, and how best can you integrate VCA faders into your workflow?

To best understand VCAs, therefore, we’re going to take a look a the three main ways you can group related tracks in your Logic mix: Aux channels, Groups, and VCA faders. As you’ll see, although the three solutions broadly achieve the same outcome, each brings slightly different benefits into the equation. Rather than being an either/or solution, the right combinations of all three solutions are essential to creating a professional mix, especially when you’re dealing with large track counts.

Auxiliary reserve

Probably the first solution for signal grouping in Logic is its Aux channels system – also known as bussing – or for that matter, the Track Stack feature. In essence, the Aux channels system uses Logic’s internal bussing system as a means of routing the output of one or more faders to the input of another. You can create an Aux channel either by changing a channel’s routing output assignment, or by creating a summing Track Stack. Once routed in this way, you can then attenuate or lift the amplitude of all signals routed to that Aux channel simply by raising or lowering the fader.

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