Expression Maps

I’m getting excited about Expression Maps and would value some guidance.

Am I right that only certain Halion Sonic SE instruments are capable of responding to an Expression Map (i.e. acting on key switches)? Those whose names are “[GM 041] Violin” won’t respond, but “Nylon Guitar VX” will because it has a VX suffix? Also, that the absence of the “Import Key Switches” option from the Expression Map dropdown indicates that there are no key switches available for the chosen instrument?

If I want a Violin instrument to make use of an Expression Map, then should I buy the HALion Symphonic Orchestra package, for example ? But is it any good? Is the Vienna Symphonic Library better and does it work with Halion?

Regards, Richard.

You’ve gotten confused over two similarly named but different things - Expression Maps & Note Expression.

Expression Maps allow you to set & change articulations on Instruments that support on-the-fly changing of articulations. The most common use would be VSTi’s that use Key-switches to change articulations, but you can set them up to change lots of different parameters if needed. Maps happen entirely on the Cubase side so there is no need for the Instrument maker to do anything special to work with them. In order to use an Expression Map you need load an existing map (or create one) - it is not something that is part of an Instrument.

Note Expression needs to be built into an Instrument so while anyone in theory can do that, in the real world it is mostly (only?) Steinberg Instruments (these are the VX patches). Note Expression let’s you change parameters on single notes on an individual basis. This differs from Expression Maps where each change affects all the notes that follow.

As far as I know none of the big library packages supports Note Expression.

You can import Expression Maps from VST3 instruments that support key switches, such as some Halion presets and Halion Symphonic Orchestra.
https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro_artist/v9.5/en/cubase_nuendo/topics/expression_maps/expression_maps_based_on_key_switches_used_in_instrument_creating_t.html

Halion instruments with Key Switches can be easily identified by looking at the virtual keyboard. The notes with key switches will be colored differently:

Most of the instruments in the full versions of Halion 6 and Halion Sonic 3 have key switches, while most of the sounds in Halion Sonic SE are older sounds taken from the original Yamaha Motif, and wont have key switches.

Expression Maps for VST2 instruments must be made manually or downloaded from the internet.