Inconsistent Expression Map Switching

Hi community, hope everyone is well

I am currently experiencing inconsistencies when using expression maps. This is typically the case when I move the playhead back to the beginning of the piece. When I do this, it is often the case that articulations do not change back to what they were at the beginning of the piece. Additionally, there are occasions in which articulations randomly fail to switch - this is quite inconsistent. For background, this issue applies to several different VSTs by different companies, all using Kontakt 6

I have attached an image containing the inspector, Kontakt window, key editor and expression map window. From left to right, the expression map window in the inspector is set to Legato, however Century Brass is still registering a staccato (the switch to staccato happens later on in the piece). If I were to move the cursor around the piece for a while, eventually the articulation would correctly switch back to Legato, but it requires some playing around. I wondered if there is something I am missing.

Greatly appreciate any help and happy to provide more info.

Thanks

Not an expert by any means, but have been working with EMs a lot lately. I find maps built on “attributes” to be much more reliable than those based on “directions”. I also personally prefer the workflow as the lower articulation pane takes up a lot of screen real estate. You could try changing the current articulations to attributes and renaming/saving the map to say, X_Flugelhorn (attrib).*. Load the new map and give it a try.

Thanks that is a great suggestion. I have been working with expression maps for a long time. They tend to be reliable so unsure of why I’ve been having difficulty lately. I’ll try switching to “attributes.” The only difficulty is that this mean clicking the articulation on the key editor for every note which is a little bit cumbersome for a long legato passage for example.

True - in your example, I’d “select all” (Ctrl-A), set to legato, then set other notes individually. The trade off for the extra workflow step is more room to see and work with controller data at the bottom of the Key Editor. I also set the first slot in the Expression Map to my most used articulation, in this case, legato. Notes that do not have another articulation set will default to the first slot in the EM. I’ve become used to this method and now much prefer it. Good luck!

I’m having problems with this as well. The articulation switching is generally unreliable.

One super easy way to reproduce it (at least in my case) is to click the timeline at the top to change location while playing. I have one track that has just a single articulation event (staccato) that extends the entire length of the track, and after just a few seconds of clicking around to move the playback position it will revert to expression map entry 0.

That’s not the only thing that triggers it though. Sometimes (maybe 1 in 10 times) even while playing the whole sequence it will just jump to articulation 0 in the middle.

I wonder if this is a new bug. I don’t remember having this much trouble with expression maps in the past (although I’ve been using them more heavily lately.)

Ned,
Sounds like you’re using a “direction” map? I’ve found those fiddly at best, buggy at worst. Try same project, same scenario, after changing all map Articulations to “attribute“. Rock-solid for me, with one caveat: sometimes when changing arts, it takes a second stop/start cycle to “lock in” the correct articulation.

This is precisely the issue I have been experiencing. Just as you said, I don’t recall having this much trouble with expressions maps in the past either. Will try out Rhenn’s idea of switching to “attributes” as a compromise, but I have reached out to Steinberg in the meantime.

I’m going to try using attribute mode.

One other tip that I’ve seen is to set a dummy articulation in slot 0 that doesn’t send any keyswitch or anything. It seems like the problem is usually that it randomly jumps to slot 0.

This issue is particularly painful in my current situation. Basses in the string section playing super low velocity staccato but audio level cranked way up in the mixer. The failure mode is that it jumps to the non-velocity-sensitive legato and BWAHHHHH!!

Just wanted to report back that switching to “attribute” rather than “direction” worked way better for me. Everything worked (mostly) consistently on a large project with a ton of articulation switching. I was worried about MIDI channel switching per articulation with that method with MIDI CCs (how will notes on different channels pick up the CC values on channel 1?) but there’s a very helpful feature that actually sends the current CC value on the proper channel along with notes.

The only problem is that sometime the wrong articulation plays in the key editor.

The whole ‘Expression Map not playing the right articulation’ thing has been reported to Steinberg. We could probably expect a fix soon.