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

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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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What are the best tutorials on Expression Maps. I believe the greatest one I have ever seen is the one that JXL did in his studio time series.

Hmmm, I might watch it again and have another play about with them.
 

ed buller

Senior Member
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

My Gripes...they don't work consistently....Some libraries ( spitfire ) just don't like em and play up. Sometimes your playback during a Pizz section and it's Arco....drives me fucking spare.............never have that problem now..........!


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ed
 

Jdiggity1

Senior Member
Moderator
My Gripes...they don't work consistently....Some libraries ( spitfire ) just don't like em and play up. Sometimes your playback during a Pizz section and it's Arco....drives me fucking spare.............never have that problem now..........!


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ed
Yep. Admittedly I've had the same issue. It's essentially like the midi note is read before the expression map data is, so there's a delay in switching articulations.
I've worked around this sometimes by inserting a "dummy note" somewhere out of the instrument's range, with the same articulation as the upcoming notes, as if to give it time to prepare.
Doesn't happen all the time, but I suspect it happens more on busy sessions with high latency due to plugins etc.
 

ed buller

Senior Member
Yep. Admittedly I've had the same issue. It's essentially like the midi note is read before the expression map data is, so there's a delay in switching articulations.
I've worked around this sometimes by inserting a "dummy note" somewhere out of the instrument's range, with the same articulation as the upcoming notes, as if to give it time to prepare.
Doesn't happen all the time, but I suspect it happens more on busy sessions with high latency due to plugins etc.

Yup.......total ballache.........I am happy now

best

e
 

jeffreycl

New Member
I've never had any issues using expression maps. I do understand the issue with screen real estate being taken up with articulations. But, I use TouchOSC to manipulate the screen so if I want to change articulations, I press the articulation button and up pops my articulations. After making changes, I press the appropriate button to change to the CC's I want to manipulate next and the articulations go away and I just see the appropriate CC lanes.

However, Pablo's post earlier about using attributes versus direction sure did give me something to consider. I have been using direction but may just change. He's given me something to think about. My whole world is starting to spin out of control...wait...that might just the wine causing that.
 
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Pablocrespo

Senior Member
I've never had any issues using expression maps. I do understand the issue with screen real estate being taken up with articulations. But, I use TouchOSC to manipulate the screen so if I want to change articulations, I press the articulation button and up pops my articulations. After making changes, I press the appropriate button to change to the CC's I want to manipulate next and the articulations go away and I just see the appropriate CC lanes.

However, Pablo's post earlier about using attributes (although he referred to them as articulations) versus direction sure did give me something to consider. I have been using direction but may just change. He's given me something to think about. My whole world is starting to spin out of control...wait...that might just the wine causing that.

Oh. Yes. Attributes!!! Not near the computer and my memory failed me. I will edit the post.

I use a Steinberg CMC PD (as keyswitches mapped to C-2 and forward so I don’t lose any keyboard) to select articulations when recording and trying stuff,

and then in the key editor I can use the attributes list on top with the touch screen Or the mouse. I can also copy a part from CSSS to spitfire solo strings and the attributes remain (I have them mapped similarly)
It has changed my workflow in a big way.
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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Yep. Admittedly I've had the same issue. It's essentially like the midi note is read before the expression map data is, so there's a delay in switching articulations.
I've worked around this sometimes by inserting a "dummy note" somewhere out of the instrument's range, with the same articulation as the upcoming notes, as if to give it time to prepare.
Doesn't happen all the time, but I suspect it happens more on busy sessions with high latency due to plugins etc.

Yeah this kind of behaviour is totally unreliable and unacceptable. I would like to know if this ever happens with Tom’s @Real JXL template as he’s a guy that will surely have a bulletproof template. As I’ve previously said, I want to love expression maps. Perhaps I’ve been using them wrong in the past. Maybe not.
 

rgames

Collapsing the Wavefunction
Yeah this kind of behaviour is totally unreliable and unacceptable. I would like to know if this ever happens with Tom’s @Real JXL template as he’s a guy that will surely have a bulletproof template. As I’ve previously said, I want to love expression maps. Perhaps I’ve been using them wrong in the past. Maybe not.
Make sure you send the expression map change before the MIDI note. I think you can attach the expression map data to the note and maybe that's what you're doing. That's not a good idea because, remember, it's just MIDI data and you can't be sure how the instrument will react to simultaneous MIDI data. That problem has nothing to do with expression maps, that's a MIDI timing problem.

It's like quantizing a keyswitch to the note it's affecting: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You have to send the keyswitch in advance of the note. Same thing with Expression Maps.

Again, Expression Maps are just a MIDI mapper. They work as well or as badly as MIDI. So yeah they're not perfect, but they're no worse than MIDI.

rgames
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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So yeah they're not perfect, but they're no worse than MIDI.

With Midi on separate tracks there is zero error. Everything always plays as programmed. So I’m not sure I can agree with that.
 

emasters

Active Member
I found them confusing at first. But after creating many expression maps, it's now straight-forward. I can relate to the folks who struggle, as the process does seem more complex that it needs to be. That said, it helps keep the track count down (versions a track per articulation), and is helpful when transposing. What I really like is the approach with Iconica, where HALion will setup the expression maps inside Cubase, as needed - really slick, especially if instruments change in the sampler. Wish more instruments did this. This would really simplify the whole thing.
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
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Well then you have attained a level of perfection that I cannot! Even without expression maps my VIs don't always respond the way they're supposed to.

rgames

Not at all. If I have a midi track with data and that midi track is connected to a Rack instrument and the midi channel is assigned to, for example, String Spiccato... Then it ALWAYS plays String Spiccato.

If you use Expression maps, then you never know with 100% accuracy if the art will change.

You said...

So yeah they're not perfect

Thanks
 

Jdiggity1

Senior Member
Moderator
Expression maps have two 'articulation types' - Direction or Attribute.
Direction works like a latch keyswitch where you trigger it once and all future notes will follow that articulation until you trigger a different one.
Attribute works on a per-note basis, letting you choose a different articulation for each note.
To use a screenshot I posted earlier, you can see that the longer notes are using the Direction type, indicated by the long bars in the articulations lane. The short notes and trills are triggered as Attributes, which is made obvious by the fact each note has it's own little articulation indicator.

MIDI Editor - Bassoon.jpg

It sounds like Richard uses Direction, which allows you to change articulation before a note is triggered. That method essentially solves the issue described above, which is caused by using the Attribute method, where it is essentially trying to trigger a keyswitch AND midi note at the same time.

I should also add, this issue of delayed switching does not seem to happen if your expression map is set up to trigger different MIDI channels, which is how I like to use mine most of the time.
You set up a custom multi with different articulations on sequential midi channels, and have each articulation in the expression map route to the appropriate MIDI channel.
Note to @jononotbono : If you set it up this way (as a multi), you can still have separate MIDI tracks for each articulation for the purposes of stacking. Just have the expression map loaded on channel 1, and split it out into as many MIDI tracks as you need. Like so...

1578881816795.png

Now I can have all midi data on the "Floot Exp Map" channel using the expression map to switch between articulations, OR I can use the individual MIDI tracks. Ultimate flexibility.
 

RoyBatty

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


the fact that you can edit maps in a Reaticulate in a single file using a text editor with like Brackets is so much nicer to work with than Cubases clunky click fest of an interface. I also like that it is closer to live keyswitching, so you can setup multiple switches independently and do not have to have a slot for every freaking variation/combination.
 

studioj

Active Member
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.
After experimenting a bit with Cubase expression maps and attributes I can not get them to trigger a chord with more than one articulation reliably. Unlike Logic which does this very well. In Cubase I must stagger the notes slightly to get different articulation within a vertical structure. (Using spitfire libs with uacc keyswitch). Are you getting different results?
This was one thing that disappointed me about Cubase Expression maps after working with Logic Articulation settings for a while. Also it’s unfortunate that you can not set the input trigger for the art to be a CC. Only KS or program change. One last gripe- if working with a map that uses different midi channels to change the art, it resets the art to the first articulation on transport start every time. Even if the first slot is set to empty. With just a little update Steinberg could really improve this system. It’s too bad that they’ve let it sit for so long seeing they were the first to get something like this going.
Oh final gripe- file management within map sets is not very well thought out or flexible in many ways.
 

trumpoz

Senior Member
I used Expression Maps in Cubase for a while, but the stopped for the precise reason that I like to stack and layer articulations. Whilst the concept is logical from the point of view of someone who learned how to play music the traditional way, the execution with sample libraries is that there are some cases where stacked articulations just sound more appropriate.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Played around some more with it tonight. I think I have a handle on it now. The groups feature is pretty cool I will definitely use that. I would love to hear how other people are structuring their expression maps. As the CSS article showed above, its also possible to combine channelizing with some creative multi-instrument use to achieve a few things.

I experienced the same thing as someone else noted, with poly-articulation chords, it doesn't work right if the chord notes all start exactly on the same spot. I didn't seem to have any problems so far with the keyswitches being late, but I'll be on the lookout for that.

Does anyone know what the DYNAMICS lane does?
 
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