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A group channel assigns the output of different audio channels to this group channel. By adding automation or effects to this group, you affect all the audio channels assigned to this group. For example, if you don't have a multiple output sound card, you could assign different tracks to group tracks and use the groups as submixes . Typically, you could send all the drum and percussion tracks to one group, all the back vocals to another group, and the strings (if you have violins, altos, cellos, and contrabasses, for example) to another group. Then, if you want to increase the string section, all you have to do is raise the group channel fader rather than raise the audio channel faders for each string instrument.
Group tracks do not contain any recorded or imported events (audio or MIDI). Since MIDI tracks sending events to an external device don't actually create any sounds, just data, you can't send them to group channels either. This is because the audio aspect of these tracks is not handled by Cubase, but rather by the sound module itself. On the other hand, you can control MIDI automation through the Mixer panel. This said, if you have assigned a VSTi to your MIDI track, at least two channels are created in your Mixer panel: one representing MIDI control and another for audio control. In some cases, a VSTi might even generate more than two such channels as they offer multiple outputs for greater routing flexibility. For example, this is the case of the HALion sampler. Since all VSTi use your computer's sound card to generate their sound and Cubase's audio engine controls your sound card, the audio channels of VSTi can be assigned to a group track.
The Inspector area of a group track offers the same controls as an audio track with a few exceptions:
You can't record on a group track so there are no Record or Monitor buttons .
Group tracks take their input from other channels you may assign to them, so you won't find any input selection field. You can, however, assign the output of the group to a desired bus (or even another group) for output.
We take a closer look at how to use group tracks later in Chapter 12.
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