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The CAS Console Automation can handle VCA Groups in several ways. In addition to dynamic VCA groups, which can be configured during the mix, static software VCA Groups and hardware VCA Groups are possible.
Dynamic VCA Groups
A dynamic VCA group uses one of the channel faders of a VCA group as master. The 0 dB position is automatically calibrated to the position of the fader when the group is configured. This principle makes it possible to install a group at any time without the need to readjust the fader settings. The disadvantage of dynamic VCA groups is that the channel fader that is defined as master can no longer be moved separately. So dynamic groups are mostly used for stereo pairs or blocks of faders with a constant level relation. The great advantage of dynamic VCA groups is that no additional hardware is necessary. So, dynamic VCA groups are a nice, free feature.
|The amount of dynamic groups is not limited, however, all groups are limited to one level. This means that a particular fader can only be assigned to one master. Acutally, each fader is considered as its own master unless another master is defined by the software. This limitation of course limits also the total amount of dynamic groups to a maximum of 50 % of the faders, because every master needs at least one slave.|
|Static VCA Groups
Static software groups use a special group module, 8GR, that contains 8 faders with computer interface. These faders are used as VCA group masters. In difference to the dynamic groups, which use a channel fader as master, the 0 dB position of the static masters is always the 0 dB point of the fader sacle. The number of static VCA groups is not limited. It is possible to use not only one 8GR panel but two or three. Of course, every 8GR units needs 8 fader interfaces on a console interface board. The static VCA groups can be configured during the mix, just like the dynamic groups. Actually, there is no difference as far as the software is concerned. The only difference is, that the static VCA group is installed as static group in the configuration file of the computer.
Hardware VCA Groups
Hardware VCA Groups are actually hardware systems, not computer systems. The entire hardware VCA group is not handled by the computer system. However, hardware VCA groupmasters can be handled like normal faders by the console automation computer. This makes it possible to store and redproduce the data of the hardware group master just like any other fader. Since it is possible to assign hardware group master faders as slaves to software masters, a second VCA group level is possible with such a system. The picture show the GR5SL VCA Group Master Fader.
The software simply adds the value of the fader to the alue of the VCA group master that is assigned to that particular channel. If no master is configured an offset value is added to compensate the 0 dB position of the group master. The data of the slave and the master is stored separately. This means, that the data of the group master fader is not calculated into the data of the slave. The final position of each fader is processed by a runtime routine, that adds both values of master and slave before the data is send to the DA converter. This principle has an important advantage. If the group is deleted, the fader values of the group master are no longer added to the slave. This makes it possible to add an offset to some faders, that can be removed at any time, since the slave fader data is remains unchanged.
In addition to the run time configuration of VCA Groups during the mix it is possible to install a default VCA Group set in the setup program. This setting becomes the default group setting when you begin a new mix. Of course it can be deleted and modified at any time. The VCA Group configuration and the mix data are stored separately. If you delete a mix, the VCA Group setting is still valid. If you load an old mix, the group setting of the mix overrides the acutal setting. A powerful software function makes it possible to delete all VCA-Groups with a single command.
VCA Groups and CUT
Actually, e.ach VCA Group is a CUT-Group too. The Cut of the VCA Group master is forwarded to the slaves of the particular group. Every VCA Group can operate as a CUT group if the fader remains unchanges
Cut Groups and Write Groups
In addition to the VCA Groups, Cut Groups and Write Groups are possible. Up to 10 Cut Groups and 10 Write Groups can be defined at any time. Both Cut and Write Groups are software group sthat do not require any additional hardware.These groups can be activated and canceled by a keystroke sequence on the keyboard or a menue operation on the screen. In addition, it is possible to assign keyboard shortcuts or dedicated function keys.