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The annual question... Who is using Cubase Expression Maps

Dewdman42

Senior Member
I've always used expression maps and have just recently learned new things about them I previously never understood. I have now created even more complex and extensive maps and it was totally worth it. It's all cleaner and more compact than before while covering even more articulations and variations of stuff I can choose from freely.

I would never want to work without them. The feature is not perfect and does need an overhaul, but even in it's current state it's invaluable, and I truly believe that if someone says they're not worth it, they probably never really understood the concept.

Any chance you can elaborate about what you figured out?
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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I don't understand the problem with VePro here

There is no problem with VEPro. The problem is, is that if you are using a midi track connected to a Cubase Rack Instrument and you want to layer an articulation that you can play on that Midi track... and then you duplicate the midi track, you don't have two separate tracks with their own outputs. You have a duplicate of identical parameters and there you cannot layer articulations like that. Hope this helps.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
I'm still not understanding. By the way I'd rather try to find a way to avoid duplicating a source midi track also. But anyway you can have two midi tracks feeding one rack instrument..right? The only difference would be that the midi channel would need to be different on the duplicated midi track. yes? Might it also be possible to route a single source midi track through another midi track that only does one thing to clone the notes to a second midi channel..or something like that?
 

ed buller

Senior Member
When you look at a score the pizz and arco aren't on separate lines. They're on one line with a note on which technique is active so you can see the harmonic structure independent of the playing technique. ExpMaps let you do that in MIDI without having to remember which keyswitch goes with which artic. My template has 30 artics for some instruments, all on one track. There's no way I'd remember which keyswitch goes with which technique across all libraries.

And here's the other benefit: when set up correctly they work across libraries. So if I have a viola line with legato, staccato and trill and I drag it to a clarinet, guess what? It correctly plays legato, staccato and trill.

this is why I spent so long programing them...It's SUCH a great idea...but TBH i find it goes wrong so often !.....I gave up.

best

ed
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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I'm still not understanding. By the way I'd rather try to find a way to avoid duplicating a source midi track also. But anyway you can have two midi tracks feeding one rack instrument..right? The only difference would be that the midi channel would need to be different on the duplicated midi track. yes? Might it also be possible to route a single source midi track through another midi track that only does one thing to clone the notes to a second midi channel..or something like that?

The point is, with an instrument track, you duplicate the track and then you have a second instances of the instrument with it's own dedicated output. You now have two different tracks with the same instrument but completely different versions.

With VEPro and Midi... Let's say all 16 Midi tracks are used... and you want to duplicate one of the arts, you can't do that because there are no more midi channels. It is exactly why, when building a template in VEPro, I have already thought of this and created a duplicate with it's own midi channel.
 

youngpokie

Active Member
I am using Expression Maps with SA Studio Orchestra in Cubase. It took a really long time to set up, the way I did it was one Kontakt instance per instrument or per group (e.g. Oboe 1 or Oboes a 2 or Violins I). The maps are locked to CC32 for UACC KS and send to channels corresponding to each respective patch. As I use it, I find a mistake every now and then, but I can fix it in 5 seconds and simply re-save the map.

Then in the MIDI Editor, I set up 2 presets: one for articulations and velocity only, the other for controllers. So I use the articulation preset only once per MIDI part and can then edit without any visual clutter in the other.

I really really love them, but there are some bugs. For example, I cannot set multiple types of trill to a single trill symbol and so I have to write trill in words instead of using notation. The other is that the articulation lanes in MIDI editor are the same color and so sometimes not easy to find right away.

I am sure there's a way to make them even more convenient (e.g. the divisi), but I don't have the time to dig into that.
 
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24dBFS

Member
Used them for a while, stopped using them, used them again and so forth. I can see some of my clients use them a lot and some not at all, so I think it all depends on the workflow. It takes very long to set them up properly for every library we use but once done correctly it really is a time saver. What I am always worried about is that Steinberg will give us some update of Cubase/Nuendo and all the stuff will stop working or just work differently. Had this issue already few times with some of the updates they did. Suddenly orchestral templates done with C9 had to be redone with C10 because some things didn't carry over etc. For now I mostly use combination of Instrument Tracks with multiple articulations switched via UACC (if SF libraries) triggered from my touchscreen or via KS, some are set with Expression Maps but not that many as I used to. Enable/Disable tracks or VEP7 instances is the best combo for my workflow. Cheers!
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
The point is, with an instrument track, you duplicate the track and then you have a second instances of the instrument with it's own dedicated output. You now have two different tracks with the same instrument but completely different versions.
Well if you are using midi tracks feeding rack instrument...then I don't see that being the case. Don't use instrument tracks.

With VEPro and Midi... Let's say all 16 Midi tracks are used... and you want to duplicate one of the arts, you can't do that because there are no more midi channels. It is exactly why, when building a template in VEPro, I have already thought of this and created a duplicate with it's own midi channel.

I think what I am understanding from you is that in the non-VePro method you have been employing.. you have an instrument check where the midi channel is irrelevant. If you duplicate it, then you are duplicating not only the midi but also the instruments. They are separate instrument tracks. So it can be duplicitous.

With VEPro you can have two mixer channels listening to the same midi channel..which can provide the layering without any tricky stuff in cubase. Right?
 

babylonwaves

Darth Fader
I think it is a great technology with a rather horrible user interface resulting in a mixed user experience. yes, it takes time to set it up and get used to it but all in all, it can enrich your music immensely. working with attributes allows you to use chords that consist of different playing techniques. i like to have the option to switch top notes to con sordino to make things sound a little less in your face. or, as mentioned before, make ostinatos sound less static by varying the length of single notes (stacc/spicc/spiccatissimo). try to do that with a track per articulation concept ...
i usually have a track for long notes and a track for short notes. so when I really need to cheat and layer things, i borrow the second track for a moment.

it takes discipline for sure but after getting used to it, i would not like to go back anymore.

on thing i recently started to discover for my self is using maps in a different way. here, i have a kontakt multi loaded with different mixes of HZ percussion. i can switch in between the mixes for every single note in the drum pattern. below shows kontakt in logic but the idea is the same.

all you need is a map which uses midi channels to switch.

1578863492632.png
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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Don't use instrument tracks.

I'm not.


I think what I am understanding from you is that in the non-VePro method you have been employing.. you have an instrument check where the midi channel is irrelevant. If you duplicate it, then you are duplicating not only the midi but also the instruments. They are separate instrument tracks. So it can be duplicitous.

With VEPro you can have two mixer channels listening to the same midi channel..which can provide the layering without any tricky stuff in cubase. Right?

I'm not using Instrument Tracks. And I am definitely using VEPro so I'm lost as to what you are talking about.

I have to ask, do you use VEPro?
 

Symfoniq

Senior Member
Yeah, I just really want to love Expression Maps but every time I have set them up, I quickly go back to disliking them immensely.

Maybe I'll ask again next year :laugh:

Same. I tried several times to use expression maps in Cubase. Just not worth the hassle and quirks IMO.
 

youngpokie

Active Member
I forgot to mention one other thing - the Expression Maps also have an option for dynamics with velocity and CCs. As I understand it, this option is combining velocity, CC1, CC11 and then creates percentages for dynamics from ppppp to fffff and uses a combination of all 3 to drive them. Not sure, but remember seeing something about VST3 volume. I haven't used that option, but if anyone has, would be interesting to hear...
 

rgames

Collapsing the Wavefunction
What quirks are you guys finding? The only quirks I've encountered in the last several years have turned out to be user error in programming the maps. It can be a bit complicated but it's just a MIDI mapper. It requires attention detail and some thought about the best way to map everything out. But once you set up the maps it does what you tell it to do (at least it does for me!). You can certainly create cumbersome maps but, well... don't do that!

My only real gripe is the controller lane display - it does get cramped. As mentioned above it would be much better to just show which one is active in the lane and give you some way to change it. There is the indicator above but that's not the best way to show it because you can't see what's coming up.

rgames
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Do you know of any good places to get more information about programming the maps, aside from whatever is included with Cubase docs? I'm a pretty technical guy, but I must admit when i first dabbled with this for one afternoon I was lost and confused.

The way they have decided to handle the controller lane for expression maps mystifies me too. I mean if the current articulation is mutually exclusive to the others then you don't need a 30 row grid like that. I could see something like that being useful if they provided a way to have layered or overlapping articulations or something.. its just wasted space.
 

MarcusD

Senior Member
As the author of an articulation management system for a different DAW, I'm always interested in these threads, and to see the frustrations users experience with their own DAWs.

One thing that perplexes me about the Cubase implementation is the UI. I just don't understand how it scales when you have a library with dozens of articulations. It seems like the interface is just dominated by articulation rows.

Which of these UI approaches do you prefer?



or


Cubse would be better if the articulation list could be collapsed and expended. When expanded you can draw them in as useual. When collapsed , see 1 row listing what articulation is currently triggered. Maybe have a right click pop up list to select a different articulation, to work both ways. That'd be cool. When there's a lot of maps it can feel clumbsy
 

youngpokie

Active Member

Pablocrespo

Senior Member
I cannot recommend using attributes instead of directions enough. Please try it. Don’t use the lanes.

You just select the notes and then pick the articulation from a menu. I even recorded the mouse movements and can trigger them from a touch screen.

Please do a simple one with attributes and try it for a week or so. I it’s a game changer for me at least
 
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