Metering on DCA faders

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    Profile photo of Bob Briessinck
    Bob Briessinck

    The possibility to choose wether you’d like metering of the combined assigned channels to a DCA fader (aka group but without the processing)

    I’d love to be able to implement my Pro Tools workflow into my dLive:

    – Kick bus
    – Snare bus
    – Tom bus
    – OH bus
    -> drum bus -> LR
    – Bass bus -> LR
    – Guitar bus -> LR
    – Vocal bus -> LR
    – maybe FX bus -> LR

    Since this adds a lot of latency to the system this way of working is nowhere to be found in live sound.
    Therefore I had the following idea:

    Now my drums usually take 12 faders, bass 2, guitars 4, vocals 3 to 4.
    I could scale down all those faders into 12 or less DCA faders (1 fader per ‘Pro Tools bus’ using only 1 bank on my C3500), and have DCA spill pop up my assigned faders (Midas Pro style) when needed. But! There is no metering on those DCAs, which actually makes me feel a little ‘claustrophobic’. If some mic or line cuts out or cracks because of a broken cable or whatever, it’ll be harder to quickly figure out where the problem is. I feel like I don’t know what’s going on anymore without metering. Not the best arguments but I’m sure there are more pros to this idea than cons!

    Even an X32 has DCA metering, you can do it, A&H! 🙂

    I’d love to hear people’s opinion on this!

    Profile photo of DavidCo

    You know a DCA doesn’t carry audio, right? Where do you think you would source the meter from on a DCA? Why not just use an audio group?


    Profile photo of Bob Briessinck
    Bob Briessinck

    Hey DC,

    Sure, I know that. 🙂

    That’s why I wrote ‘metering of the combined channels assigned to the DCA’.

    By that I mean have the DCA metering act like a group, but drop the processing. Just like for example X32 DCA. I think it’s a great feature.

    Why not use audio groups is also mentioned above. My main goal here is to reduce the numbers of faders used to control the most important elements of my mix. 2 kick faders become 1, 2 (sometimes 3!) snare faders become one, 3-4-5 tom faders become 1,… get the point?

    If I want all those individual channels to be controlled by 1 fader per mic pair ánd have them with metering I’d need audio groups. But then I won’t be able to send my drums to a drumgroup, since they’re already sent to groups. That’s why DCA with metering would solve my problem here.

    Profile photo of DavidCo

    Can you clarify “combined”? As in, mix the audio signals? At that point, it is no longer a DCA, but a group. So what you are in fact asking for, is an audio summing group without the processing? That still requires the audio to be summed somewhere. If you do in fact still mean DCAs, then I refer you to my original post.


    Profile photo of Loloverde


    From the hard logic, there is nothing to meter in a DCA group. It is a multiplier of the assigned channels. Shure you can calculate something like X32 does.

    To minimize the number of faders with two kicks and two snare mics I use ganging (only fader active). Maybe a combination of groups and ganging can help you.


    Profile photo of Bob Briessinck
    Bob Briessinck


    By combined I mean, as Rainer just said, the calculated total signal of all the assigned faders. Not the actual signal, but a series of 1s and 0s that -would- be passing through the ‘group’. Which isn’t, since it’s a DCA. Again, X/M32 style. I don’t think calculating this will take the computer too much effort since the console has an insanely powerful computer.

    Also a group doesn’t have the Spill function. That’s the whole idea. I want to have the spill without losing overview of metering. (Metering screen does this but not as easy to see as the LEDs above the faders)

    That’s actually a good idea. But then there won’t be a DCA spill function available. I like the idea of pressing the ‘master fader’ (aka dca) mix and seeing the assigned faders immediately. In this case I prefer the spill without metering over ganging with metering. 🙂

    Profile photo of EliAudio


    I get what Bob is saying, I work with DCA a lot, in combination with groups… My right fader-bank is something like this:
    Grp – Drum Kit
    Dca – SnareTop/SnareBtm
    Dca – Snare Reverb
    Dca – Bass
    Dca – Guitars
    Grp – Keys
    Dca – Backing Vocals
    Dca – Lead Vocals
    Dca – Intro Tunes
    Aux – Delay Send
    Dca – Vocal FX Returns
    Grp – Master

    Only 4 out of these 12 faders will have any metering available. And although it has not bothered me, I could go for a visual assurance that something is happening there!

    Profile photo of DavidCo

    I’m not certain how the X32 does its DCA metering, but I cannot think of a way of doing it without effectively lying to the user or actually summing the audio. ie, I don’t think there’s any possible way for DCA metering based on the meters of channels assigned to the DCA to behave exactly the same as if those channels were summed in an audio group.

    One way I can think of doing X32 DCA metering is to just take the maximum meter level of assigned channels. This wouldn’t account for summing or coherency of signals.

    Another, more computationally involved method would be to convert all relevant meters of assigned channels from log to lin, add them up, then convert the result back to log. This still wouldn’t account for coherency of signals.

    Or are you guys happy with misinformation?


    Profile photo of Scott


    The hottest signal of the group is the only one that would need to be displayed. This would be a nice feature.

    Profile photo of Dale

    I would like this feature too. I am not looking for reference metering. Just confirmation of signal at a glance. You can PAFL a DCA. Why can’t you just feed that signal to the meter?

    Profile photo of MJCElectronics

    I believe early versions of iLive firmware had DCA metering active but the feature was removed due to a combination of user requests and confusion according to a post by stix in the iLive forums 8 years ago.
    As he said there, it would be nice as an option that could be enabled if wanted.

    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H

    Hi @dalekasperson and all,

    Unlike a DCA, the PAFL bus (due to being a bus) can combine/mix signals.
    When you PAFL a DCA, you actually combine the members of that DCA using the PAFL bus, which is something that can then be metered.
    [notice how when a DCA is PAFL’d, the PAFL key of the member channels will flash].

    As there is only one PAFL bus, it would be impossible to use this method for simultaneous yet individual metering of DCA’s.

    Without summing the channels, any metering would be incorrect, and providing incorrect information to the engineer is much worse than providing no information at all!

    The best way to check the combined signal level of DCA members is to actually mix them, which is exactly why the ‘ignore PAFL additive on/off and route all members to the PAFL bus when a DCA channel strip PAFL key is pressed’ feature was included 🙂


    Profile photo of audiobo

    Without summing the channels, any metering would be incorrect, and providing incorrect information to the engineer is much worse than providing no information at all!

    Hello, Keith. I don’t agree with your statement. As an operator it is at my discretion to decide whether information is helpful for me or not, as long as I know how this information comes about.

    For 3 years now I have been technically realising a special event, which would not have been possible at any reasonable level without a metering of the DCAs. And I would really like to specify the dlive for it, but unfortunately this is not possible.

    best regards

    Profile photo of Ethix

    Can anyone name a desk that has dca via MCA metering apart from the one named above. Just interested. Never come across it myself in o or twenty years of live mixing

    Profile photo of SteffenR

    As far as I understand it now… it would be a good solution to indicate al least clipping within the DCA group

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