Faster workflow for Expression Maps Editor

So. I’m working on a new, very large template and we all know that this is a time-consuming process. Luckly, it is not something you do everyday, but when you set yourself to the task, it’s something that can take weeks.

I’m mapping TONS of instruments with Expression Maps and I am spending hours thinking at how many things I am forced to to that can, and should, be automated. Cubase’s ExpressionMaps are fantastical and offer lots of flexibility, but I think there is a serious UX problem in the workflow. A well-thought interface should make a no-brainer, and fast as possibile, to do the most obvious and commons things, and let you dig deeper if, and only if, it is need.

When mapping instruments and setting key-switches, 95% of the times what you want is as simple as "Create note-on, switches from C0 to G#0 of type ‘duration’ " or “Make 10 channel base key-switches from channel 1 to channel 10 of type ‘attribute’”. And you then add the names for the various articulations. This very simple, very common, very tedious task now requires LOTS ok clicks: click to add the sound slot, double click to set the name, double click to create a custom articulation, double click to change it to text, type again, double click to set it to duration, click to add the note on event, double click to set “C0”… Now repeat for all the other 10 articulation.

All these clicks really should be necessary for those times when you need to unleash the power of the Expression Maps, but having a new, simple Kontakt library patch with 7 articulations what you want to map to key switches should’t require more time than writing down the names of the articulations themselves.

Agree, the Expression Map Editor could use a serious update.

Until then you can reduce the amount of clicking & setup somewhat by creating an Expression Map 'template" and use it when creating a new Map. I have a Expression Map setup with 30 slots that all linked to a unique Direction Articulation. These are just left to whatever values they defaulted to. Then I change what is needed and delete the unused slots. I’ve found this can save me about 30% of time used creating maps. You still need to do a lot of editing, but it helps enough to be noticeable. Especially if you are making lots of Maps.

A little tip, when entering the output mapping, double click and scroll instead of typing. Less going back and forth from keyboard to mouse. If it doesn’t work to begin with, move the mouse cursor to the left.

I feel your pain.
Setting up Expression Maps may be dangerous to your health. :laughing:

When I was building my Expression Maps I have been affected by the carpal tunnel syndrome (search on the web).
I couldn’t touch my mouse for several days.

And my maps are still not complete.

Indeed way too many mouse clicks are needed to set up the maps.

Yes the Expression Map feature works great if the maps are correctly configured and all combinations covered, but its setup user interface needs a complete overhaul in my opinion. Not to mention the rest!

NOT designed for libraries with 120 articulations. :hot_face:

I reckon when Expression Maps were designed the idea that such libraries would actually exist would have seemed like science fiction. We live in a magic time (at least for music tech).

Yeah, but as of 20 years ago, these libraries became a reality. So it might be time for Steinberg to address this area.

I’d expect Steinberg will need to do a total revamp of how Cubase works with MIDI in order to accommodate MIDI 2.0. Seems like that would be a good time to improve Expression Maps too.

I’m continuing this thread because it’s a big problem and people are noticing. JunkieXL has a video on Expression Maps and even he complains how tedious the process is. It’s too bad because this feature really sets Cubase apart from many other DAWs and I believe it’s one of the reasons many composers choose Cubase.

There’s a thread on VI-Control addressing the many issues with it, I’ll just post the link here because the information is good: