Expression Maps – Complete overhaul according to modern standards

The Expression Map feature lacks requirements according to modern scoring standard and needs a complete overhaul.

  1. The biggest drawback, which is a reason why a lot of people (including me) stopped using them, is the lack of setting negative delay compensation on separate articulations. There are several libraries that are inconsistent in dealing with actual playable latency. Cinematic Studio Strings is an example which has totally different delays between all articulations, and therefore takes a million years programming when using expression maps. It looks like a mess, difficult copy/pasting/moving around events, and midi cleanup afterwards is a nightmare. There is no time dealing with this kind of manual editing when working on a deadline, it’s faster just having one articulation/track. Which is a shame.

  2. Also, it would be useful with a new take on layering several samples. Sometimes you want to layer a long string sound with a short string to intensify it’s attack. This is currently not possible in a convenient way without creating a complex maze of articulations taking every possible layer situation into account.

  3. The articulation lanes in the Key Editor are not convenient when you have many articulations. They are not readable. It would be better to have a right-click menu, or a fixed menu (like Logic) choosing the articulation. This would also be convenient when layering, that you can just select multiple articulations (as long as they are on separate channels).

  4. Overall, the editor can also be optimized. There are too many mouse clicks to create an articulation. I’ve automated it with a mouse click macro, but still, we should have an optimized workflow in the software instead of “hacking” it.

There are more things, but this is from the top of my head.

Isn’t that something the library developer should do properly, instead of the user (or the MIDI host) taking care for these issues …?

Well, it’s not possible to do it in another way. Legatos have 3 different speeds, depending on sound. That’s just how it is. The longest have 160ms latency. If they were to put that all over the library, you’ll turn out as Nashville Scoring Strings, where basically everything is unplayable.

Also, trying to standardize hundreds of sample manufacturers to do exactly the same will be impossible. Also from a musical perspective, it’s not possible either. Realism in samples tends to be in the attack slightly before the note is played, so to end up with everything quantized, negative track delay is the only way. The problem is very easily solved in the DAW by adding that. It should be attached to every articulation, that is how most of the industry work.

Nuendo/Cubase lacks a feature that most people are using. It’s as simple as that.

Logic definitely has a slight upper hand here on some parts, although they also don’t allow track delay per articulation.

Things I would also add:

  1. Allow the organization of maps into folders instead of one unsortable list.
  2. Stop resetting to the top articulation on transport stop/play
  3. Allow me to widen the Expression Map Setup window
1 Like

You can at least use the pulldown menu at the top. It also helps to show note color by Sound Slot. This is how I’ve been using it lately instead of the lane.