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VCA grouping

A description of the technology and function of VCA grouping in mixing consoles.

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Many large consoles offer a function known as VCA grouping.

Subgrouping is a technique by which several channels can be routed through groups, which are then in turn routed to the main outputs.

For examples, the eight or so channels of a drum kit are balanced to give a good mix, then they are routed to two group faders (used as subgroups) for convenient overall level control of the kit, without disturbing the internal balance.

On a console with VCA grouping, all the channel faders have a small switch that can select one of (usually) eight VCA masters.

When a VCA master is selected, that controls the overall level of all channels set to that group. So, the level of the entire kit is controlled by one fader.

With conventional subgrouping, the audio is mixed through the group fader(s).

With VCA grouping, the VCA fader simply sends out a control voltage to the channel faders.

By David Mellor Tuesday February 1, 2000
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