Good call. I’m just going to ramble for a moment, but bare with me it’ll cover a use case touching this very topic (mixers and VCAs), presets, and why someone would want a “thru” Maybe it saves someone time, or maybe even give someone else a chance to show me a better way to do what I’m doing or compare notes!
I’d hope that saving a unit preset would be self explanatory through the UI. Up to the user how / where to store that preset. By default the ER-301 will place you in the
presets/<unit-name> folder which I think is a good place to start. Over time I found myself wanting more specific organization so I place my own presets into folders with the following structure:
/ ... etc etc drum-synths, synths, poly
_ prefix is just so my folders show up at the top.
util is where I put things like
block and some other nifties like
fx-return-(3) which is a “boilerplate” mixer unit with 3 custom controls (
3). The input chain of this preset contains three mixers in series (renamed to 1, 2, and 3). Each one of those mixers contains a Linear Unipolar VCA within it (sound familiar? ) whose
level parameter is mapped to one of the preset’s custom controls. This is the entirety of the preset. When patching if I want to add an FX return setup on one of my chains, I can just drop this preset and place my effects directly after the three mixers (taking care to make them 100% wet) and then go into the three mixer input chains and find what I want to send, either via local routing or globals. Saves a good I don’t know, 5, 10 minutes of work? And that brings me to “thru”…
Say I have a chain with 3 mixers for drums (BD, SD, and HH) and I want to use these with my handy FX Return (3) present. I’ll drop the preset directly after those three drum mixers, and use local routing to route the BD, SD, and HH signals via the FX Return’s mixers (1, 2, and 3). When selecting the drum unit via local routing you can’t actually select the top mixer, though! This will not work because the mixer will contain a mix of it’s own input chain and everything that is coming in from the left (I mean, it’s a mixer ), but for the sends on the FX return you want a signal of each drum mixer independently, so you have to select the last unit inside the drum mixer’s input chain.
That is all fine and good, but what happens when you want to add an effect at the end of one of those drum chains? Or a limiter? Or anything? Well, if you want that to go to the FX return you’ll have to go back to the FX Return and redo the local routing. Not fun. So this is where “thru” comes in handy. If you put a Thru at the end of your chain and always make sure it’s the last unit, you can always use THAT as the local routing, and won’t have to experience this problem again.
Hopefully that all makes sense.