Add VCA Capability

Please add VCA capability to allow for better grouping control of tracks. VCAs are not the same as groups or folders, as they take no input, provide no output, and can’t be side-chanined. They only control the attached faders directly. This is extremely useful when your sounds include reverb via a send. Below are several links where others explain this much better than I ever could from various user perspectives.

Sound on Sound: How To Use VCA Groups
DAW Grouping Techniques
iZotope: The Difference Between VCA and Sub-Groups in Mixing
Bitwig - Missing Features: VCA

Many more explanations can be found on the Internet.

What problem(s) would this feature resolve?

A unique way of fader control, unlike Grouping where summing of the grouped tracks occurs and are routed to that single track as a composite sound. VCAs provide an entirely different approach.

How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?

It would allow a different approach to grouping tracks that provides a much different capability than what is currently possible.

Is there already an alternative way to achieve this on Bitwig?

No.

Could it be implemented using Bitwig components or APIs, without Bitwig team’s support?

No.

Could it be provided by a VST or something else reasonably integrated with Bitwig?

No.

Are there other products that offer this feature?

Yes, e.g., ProTools.

Relevant links (optional)

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How would this be different than putting a Tool on the end of the chain & using a sidechain (or whatever) modulator on the volume or amplitude?

I don’t think it would be different if you think only about it as a “grouping”. But a VCA is much more than that, and I’m not sure what you describe would do what the VCA is capable of, or at least as easily as a single fader on the mix board. Two points:

(1) the SOS article I posted has a single paragraph that I think really sums up the value. I repeat it here:

Well, for one thing, the existing system can cause problems with post–fade effects. If you are adding reverb to individual tracks from a post–fade send, and use a conventional group channel and fader to bring down the level of all those tracks, you will end up with a wetter signal, because the gain has been reduced in the dry path but the wet path has stayed the same. If, however, you use a VCA group, the group fader is changing the gain of each channel, so the amount of signal fed to the post–fade send also reduces by the same amount and the dry/wet balance is maintained. Another advantage of VCA groups is that you can ‘group’ channels that are routed to different outputs, which would be impossible using conventional grouping and group faders.

(2) A VCA appears on the mixer as a separate fader, whereas, if I understand what you are saying above, you’d have a knob on the end of each track’s device chain that you wanted to control, or at best, create a separate track with a tool that is then linked to all of those individual knobs to create an equivalent VCA control “group”, but that seems like a lot of work where in PT and Logic you select a bunch of tracks and create a VCA which appears on the mixer as a normal fader. I’m not sure that still addresses the post-send effect issues.

It’s a macro fader whose sole purpose is to adjust the levels of the faders attached to it. If you attach 4 faders to the VCA group and bring down the VCA fader it will physically bring down the group track faders whereas a bus fader doesn’t move the channel faders, it just attenuates the signal of the channels being bussed through it.

AFAIK you can’t really set this up with existing components in Bitwig.

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