Improve Expression Maps

We should not have to create a sound slot for each and every combination of overlapping functionality. if we have two different sound slots on two different groups, then both of them should be able to be active at the same time, with appropriate key switches sent for both sound slots. Right now the first one on the list, prioritized by group number, will be chosen and used and if there is another matching articulation lower down the list on a different group, its ignored. This causes people to have to create super large expression maps to account for every combination, and that in and of itself is very unwieldy when looking at it in the piano roll.

Dewdman42 hello,
I’m glad to see someone else asking about such improvement. You are also member of Sonic Scores’ forum :slight_smile:
I did the following post related to overall composing tools improvement here: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=285&t=149903
Since you are familiar with Overture 5.5 you’ll clearly understand my point. :slight_smile:
Expression Maps cannot be improved on it’s own… Few other things should be also re-designed in order to have Score Sheet like workflow in Cubase.
Everything that must be done in Cubase already exist in Overture 5.5. :slight_smile:
You can support my post by sharing your wish and opinion there. :slight_smile:

Greetings :slight_smile:

I do not see overture as being a viable alternative at this point. Also if you are more interested in scoring duties I think dorico will be the future competitor of overture and likely will be better in every way, but Steinberg does need to get on the ball about improving expression mapping in both products.

I have spent significant time learning the ins and outs of LogicPro’s articulation management. It also has areas needing improvement that are just not quite adequate for current sample libraries. At least in LPX it’s possible to write midi scripts to handle every situation, though most users are not up for that. A few third party scripted solutions bridge the gap considerably though they are quirky too.

I just got cubase and already have dorico and I am going to follow it for a while but I have to say that for now I feel better about LPX’s articulation handling, despite the quirks.

I am investigating also the possibility of using simple program change keyswitches in front of every note and then deferring the complex generation of articulation handling to a third party script using bluecataudio scripter tool and perform that inside Vienna ensemble pro since cubase also appears to have lack of elegance in terms of the midifx slot in between track and instrument.

I think expression maps could be improved just slightly and gain a lot of ground. For example I think it’s really annoying that the piano roll is designed like a drum editor where you need a whole row for each sound slot. It could be a single lane with an automation style line where each value of the automation curve represents an articulation value. There is no need to have overlapping articulations because they don’t support that anyway, but maybe they should, then we wouldn’t need 100 soundslot combinations for a track and the drum editor view would make more sense. It’s very cumbersome right now.

It’s also clear from all the posts I have seen on the internet that most musician types do not understand the way it searches down the list looking for a “match” and if it doesn’t find a match uses the closest. Nor why there are four columns I have seen various false explanations around the net. This paradigm is good for someone that understands database theory perhaps but not for orchestrators that just want to get their music to hit sample libraries correctly.

The underlying concept of expression mapping that is cool is that you could have an articulation lane with meta events on them which map to different kinds of keyswitching and channelizimg depending on the map that is active, but it falls short beyond that I am not very impressed and there is little opportunity for third party tools to improve the situation.

Still it’s better then nothing and I will make some music with it but it’s not going to handle some of my libs very well. LogicPro wins the contest for now due to its Scripter plugin and use of articulation ID’s, which can be programmed by the user to do just about anything. Nobody else can touch that, including Overture5

Here is what I would find incredibly useful as an update towards improving Expression Maps:
Currently, there are but two choices for input: Keyswitch notes and program changes. I would very much like to see MIDI CC (MIDI Controllers) be added as an input option. Here is an example of why that would be so useful:
My Yamaha Montage has a row of 8 buttons used for “Scene” changes within the Montage. These buttons send out MIDI CC messages, not note-ons. As such, they cannot be used as keyswitch input to Expression Maps. For me, it would be much more convenient to use this row of buttons to act as keyswitches, instead of keys from my keyboard, which are much better used for, you know, playing notes! Since the Montage buttons light when selected, it also would provide much better external feedback of what I might have selected for the Expression Map output. This idea is certainly not limited to the Montage by any means. Many synths have similar controls (including other of my synths!), which can be easily be re-purposed as MIDI Master keyboard function, which should include use for switching articulations on VST instruments.

Orchetect posted this last year (https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=252&t=132201). Love the ideas!!!

+1 - ok, you get the idea…

I hate to break it to you, but UNFORTUNATELY, MIDI and related tech that composers use have been relatively untouched in a decade (yes, it’s really been =that= long.) For the past 10 years basically -all- major improvements to Cubase have involved Audio. So literally hundreds of obvious and easy to implement improvements in MIDI and things like LE, PLE and Expression that composers have begged on skint knees for have gone unheard.

I mention not to frustrate you, but just to tell you how it is. Or… in case you’re NEO and you can somehow kung fu the hell out of whoever needs beating the hell out of to get some action. Most old-timers like me are beyond frustrated.

Good to know. Thanks suntower.

I do share some of your frustration concerning Steinberg’s development with MIDI. However, a decade of non-improvement in that area is not really accurate. Note Expression was added not terribly long ago, and is a huge feature for those of us using MPE instruments.

What has bugged me the most (including actual bugs that I exposed and was ridiculed for) is that since the advent of VST instruments, Steinberg seems to think that no one uses external hardware synths with MIDI anymore, and that most certainly qualifies as an area they given no attention to for some time now.

Nevertheless, as one of the original MIDI sequencer programs since it’s inception, it’s still offers better MIDI implication than most other DAWs.

+1 We also need to be able to have multiple midi ports per map to be able to have more than 16 midi channels per map. Another thing is that the inspector tabs need to be re sizable so we can see more than 12 articulations at a time. As of now, all my maps are maxed at 16 because I use midi channels with multi-timbral instances of kontakt and Play 6. Another thing they need to fix is midi channel reset on stop. A revision of the expression map is long overdue.