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  #1  
Old 2010-07-23, 18:03
selig's Avatar
selig selig is offline
 
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Record: Groups Done Right

Groups in Record (EDIT: SHOULD be "Groups in REASON") ;-)

Here's my take (after much thought) on how best to add this much requested and often misunderstood feature to Record, and how to do it in the most 'PHead' way possible - simple on the surface, with the advanced features/options waiting just below the surface.

This one feature suggestions elegantly encompasses multiple feature requests including Fader Groups, Sub-Mixes (w/proper solo/mute logic), Edit Groups in the Sequencer, Extra routing busses, and a way to show/hide tracks in the Mixer and Sequencer.

This is accomplished by merging these related features/functions (Audio Sub-Mixes, Fader Groups, and Sequencer/Edit Groups) into a single new feature:

Record 2.0 [edit: Reason 7.0!]
New Feature: "Audio Groups"
New Mixer Channel: "Sub-Mix Channel"


To create a new Audio Group: Simply select one or more tracks (any combination of Audio Tracks and Mix Channels), and choose "Create Audio Group".

Three things will happen:

1-A new "Sub-Mix Channel" is created in the mixer to the right of the last selected channel, and all the selected tracks are automatically moved next to each other and routed into the Sub-Mix Channel (they are also moved to be together in the sequencer, with the Sub-Mix Track located below the last member of the group).
2-The Faders of the Grouped Channels are Grouped (but can always be disabled)
3-The Sequencer Tracks are Grouped for editing (and can also be disabled)

Additionally, there is some 'behind the scenes' routing that occurs, as well as some 'logic' control for the Solo and Mute buttons. Read on for details.


The new Sub-Mix Channel
It's similar to a Mix Channel, but it is only created with the "Create Audio Group" command and has no input jacks on the rear. When "Create Audio Group" is selected, all selected tracks are automatically routed and summed into this Sub-Mix Channel (behind the scenes). Channels can be always added or subtracted from the group at any time. All Inserts, Dynamics, Filters, EQs, and Sends on the Sub-Mix Channel work just like they do on Mix Channels and Audio Tracks, including side-chaining and CV control.

Soloing and muting work simply and intuitively: mute or solo a single track and it does just what you expect (it mutes or solos that track and it's FX!). Mute or solo a Sub-Mix Channel and it TOO reacts exactly as expected (mutes or solos the entire group including FX).

The Solos in an Audio Group work as follows: if you solo the Sub-Mix Channel, all the grouped tracks automatically solo as well - But if you solo one of the grouped tracks you will hear just that track, as you would expect. What happens in this case is that the grouped track AND the Sub-Mix Channel will both automatically be soloed when you solo any grouped track(s). This will also ensure that all FX sends on grouped channels work as expected, BTW.

Muting - mute any track in the group and it will mute as always. Mute the Sub-Mix Channel, and it will automatically also mute all the grouped tracks. This will prevent 'ghost' FX tracks from coming through.

Fader Grouping is simple - move one fader in the group and they all move together. Automate one and they all automate. A modifier key will temporarily disable the grouping, allowing you to adjust a single fader. Fader Grouping can be turned off for each individual Audio Group, or Globally.

Sequencer Grouping is necessary for multi-mic'ed instruments like drums or electric guitar or piano, and also to allow proper editing of "grouped fader" automation tracks. Sequencer Groups can be turned off per Audio Group or Globally, or temporarily disabled with a modifier key.

As if that's not enough
One more feature will set Record apart from other DAWs. In all other systems, if you pull down a Sub-Mix fader, any FX sends on the grouped channels are NOT trimmed, causing the dry signals to decrease relative to FX signals (result: a quieter but wetter signal). In Record 2.0, the "Audio Groups" feature will allow you to pull down the Sub-Mix Channel's fader, and the FX sends on the grouped channels will follow 'post-fader'. This issue has never been addressed before to my knowledge, and yet is simple to implement - would love to see Record take the lead here. :-)

Another bonus feature of "Audio Groups" is that they are 'collapsable', both in the SSL Mixer and in the Sequencer. This is a great organization feature for the mixer AND the sequencer, allowing you to 'hide' groups of tracks and just work with the Sub-Mix Channels/faders. This can be a great way to mix if you only have an 8 Fader mix controller - just collapse all the Audio Groups leaving only the Sub-Mix faders (and the master fader) on the controller and you can mix the entire song with just 8 faders or less!

Integration
The beauty of combining these related 'group' features into a single command is that they are usually thought of as a single concept anyway, plus this makes grouping a VERY simple process. And yet (in true PHeads fashion) it is flexible enough to accommodate many different workflows. For example, you can disable the fader groups or the sequencer groups (or both), allowing you to choose only the grouping features you need for each Audio Group.

In Use
For most folks, I imagine that they will just group their tracks and mix like they normally would. They'll probably never need to understand what's actually going on behind the scenes, as things will "just work" as you would expect them to work! At least that's the goal… ;-)

Last edited by selig; 2011-12-07 at 17:32.
  #2  
Old 2010-07-23, 19:36
StormCanada StormCanada is offline
 
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UI Feedback
As tracks get pulled together in the mixer, for visual feedback, all tracks become one colour allowing easy visual selection signifying a group. This allows the user to quickly break down the groups that have been assigned when mixing.
  #3  
Old 2010-07-23, 20:41
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Notacet Notacet is offline
 
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Why make it invisible? Let's update the mix channel. It's too similar to audio track-devices anyway. Let's make an expandable "audio interface"-like extension to it in the rack, with 16 stereo inputs. Then, let's make it possible that when multiple audio tracks are selected, one could right click, and select "group channels", then Record would create a single mix channel and automatically route the audio tracks to its multiple inputs.

To the visual aspects, the mix channel device could automatically rename itself to "group channel" if there was more than 1 input used. There should also be an option to keep track order in the mixer so that audio tracks are on the left, mix channels in the middle and group channels on the right.
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  #4  
Old 2010-07-24, 01:13
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selig selig is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
Why make it invisible? Let's update the mix channel. It's too similar to audio track-devices anyway. Let's make an expandable "audio interface"-like extension to it in the rack, with 16 stereo inputs. Then, let's make it possible that when multiple audio tracks are selected, one could right click, and select "group channels", then Record would create a single mix channel and automatically route the audio tracks to its multiple inputs.
I first considered that approach, but could think of no actual situation where you couldn't do what you wanted with the 'hidden' approach. Making it hidden is a way to keep it simple, but if you can think of a routing situation that can't be accomplished with the existing direct outs, inserts, and FX sends, then you may have a point. Otherwise, if there's no advantage of the clutter, then why? Just wondering... But I still think we need a specific Sub-Mix Channel for reasons I mention below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
To the visual aspects, the mix channel device could automatically rename itself to "group channel" if there was more than 1 input used. There should also be an option to keep track order in the mixer so that audio tracks are on the left, mix channels in the middle and group channels on the right.
But you've left out the hard bits that make the concept 'work': the logic routing for Solo and Mutes to function transparently, and the other 'hidden' routing to provide post-fader routing of grouped channel's sends. There has to be some way for the Sub-Mix Channel to know about every channel in the group, and actually control it (and be controlled by it) as well. If you do it in the way you suggest, what are we getting beyond what we can already do with spiders (other than the 'auto name')?

As to track order, I prefer grouped tracks to stay with their Sub-Mix track, partly because of the option to 'collapse' them (like folders) to clear out screen clutter (I work this way all the time in my 'other' DAW). But there could certainly be options. :-)

My overall thought on this is that if you want the 16 virtual jacks, you will still need a new mixer channel 'type' because of the other 'grouping' issues that need to be addressed. But I'd like to find a routing that CAN'T be done with the hidden routing before suggesting adding jacks and patch cords, even though I must admit it's the PHead way.
  #5  
Old 2010-07-24, 09:22
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Notacet Notacet is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selig View Post
I first considered that approach, but could think of no actual situation where you couldn't do what you wanted with the 'hidden' approach. Making it hidden is a way to keep it simple, but if you can think of a routing situation that can't be accomplished with the existing direct outs, inserts, and FX sends, then you may have a point. Otherwise, if there's no advantage of the clutter, then why? Just wondering... But I still think we need a specific Sub-Mix Channel for reasons I mention below.
What immediately comes to mind is changing the configuration. How about changing the routing, taking some tracks away from the submix. How would you do that without the visual clue that propellerhead is known for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selig View Post
But you've left out the hard bits that make the concept 'work': the logic routing for Solo and Mutes to function transparently,
The hard part on soloing, group channels could "know" when we solo a track under them, and be solo themself too. This would of course be an option in the preferences called "group channel auto-solo".

Quote:
Originally Posted by selig View Post
and the other 'hidden' routing to provide post-fader routing of grouped channel's sends. There has to be some way for the Sub-Mix Channel to know about every channel in the group, and actually control it (and be controlled by it) as well.
option to "group channel sendFX auto-mute"

Quote:
Originally Posted by selig View Post
If you do it in the way you suggest, what are we getting beyond what we can already do with spiders (other than the 'auto name')?
We get the main point, which is to group tracks fast! In addition to that, we get configurable simplicity, and we clearly see what goes where.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selig View Post
As to track order, I prefer grouped tracks to stay with their Sub-Mix track, partly because of the option to 'collapse' them (like folders) to clear out screen clutter (I work this way all the time in my 'other' DAW). But there could certainly be options. :-)
Yeah this is good. So in the mixer there should be 3 ordering choises:

1) free
2) categorized (first audio, then mixes, then groups)
3) grouped (collapsable groups with group channel first and its audio tracks then)
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  #6  
Old 2010-07-24, 09:30
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Notacet Notacet is offline
 
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I've got another idea too for quick submixing. I think the mixer channel strips are a bit bloated. Let's take insert effects away, they're perfectly useable in the rack. Instead let's put at least 8 small grouping buttons in there. A bit like octorex. Buttons should be next to each other, like pattern selection on ReDrum. And in the master section would be 8 volume sliders for them. I don't like this approach that much, because you don't get other channel strip options, such as putting reverb on the submix etc. And some people certainly use insert effects in the mixer, don't you?
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  #7  
Old 2010-07-26, 17:34
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selig selig is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
What immediately comes to mind is changing the configuration. How about changing the routing, taking some tracks away from the submix. How would you do that without the visual clue that propellerhead is known for.
Changing to WHAT? Tracks can be easily added or subtracted from the group, and they will 'move' and 'change color' to indicate they are included or not included with the group. I hope to have already made that part clear. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
The hard part on soloing, group channels could "know" when we solo a track under them, and be solo themself too. This would of course be an option in the preferences called "group channel auto-solo".
Well, you COULD do it that way, but you'd have to go into the prefs every time you wanted to change it.
With my approach, you get group solo by default, unless you press a modifier key when you solo and then it's individual solo like before. Same for mutes. I work this way already, so I know it's a quick and natural way to work. But I may also be biased since this is the way I'm used to working!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
option to "group channel sendFX auto-mute"
This is already covered in my OP - when would you NOT want this behavior? This is one of the biggest complaints about the current Sub-Mix creation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
We get the main point, which is to group tracks fast! In addition to that, we get configurable simplicity, and we clearly see what goes where.
But in this case, everything goes to exactly the same place! What I'm looking for is an example of how you would patch things DIFFERENTLY than the default patching, and WHY. I'm thinking that you can already do everything you would want to do, but without having to have the extra clutter and confusion. Why do it if it gains you nothing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Notacet View Post
Yeah this is good. So in the mixer there should be 3 ordering choises:

1) free
2) categorized (first audio, then mixes, then groups)
3) grouped (collapsable groups with group channel first and its audio tracks then)
This COULD work - I can see that someone my want to rearrange their grouped tracks and mix them up with non-grouped tracks. But I've NEVER wanted to do that myself (even on huge mixes) so again it's my personal bias taking over! But it would be GREAT if it were even simpler than this, so as not to confuse folks further (since grouping is already a complex subject).
  #8  
Old 2010-07-24, 00:46
selig's Avatar
selig selig is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StormCanada View Post
UI Feedback
As tracks get pulled together in the mixer, for visual feedback, all tracks become one colour allowing easy visual selection signifying a group. This allows the user to quickly break down the groups that have been assigned when mixing.
Forgot to add that (it's in my notes - no, really!) :-)
  #9  
Old 2010-08-03, 13:39
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JiggeryPokery JiggeryPokery is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selig View Post
Groups in Record


One more feature will set Record apart from other DAWs. ;-)
There are still other DAWs?

The only other DAW I used has been shown the door

Seriously though, your OP is very well thought out ... I think, I kind of got lost after the first paragraph!

Fully supporting this thread. Would be very very useful.

/Matt
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  #10  
Old 2010-08-05, 10:38
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mattias800 mattias800 is offline
 
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Hello!

In the console world, these are called sub groups and VCA groups respectively. It is a good thing that you mention the difference, I would love it if Record had both!
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