Negative delay compensation in expression maps

I have thought a lot about this the last few days. We are talking keyswitches, expression maps and negative delay compensation.

For those that do not understand negative delay compensation it’s to be found in Cubase under the volume control in the Inspector. Easily ignored, it’s vital for correct timings of samples. Basically, when samples are recorded, the developer leaves a short gap before the full sound is heard. When a sample is played the gap is the beginning of the playback rather than the sound. This puts out the timing by milleseconds. The exact size of these gaps varies from articulation to arrticulation and developer to developer. Thedelay compensation slider in Cubase is an attempt to compensate for this but…

Getting back to Dorico and Cubase. Many people use Keyswitch instruments. It’s impossible to create the correct delay compensation for keyswitches because the delay is different for each articulation.
The only workaround for this is to have one articulation per track but this is very bad for scoring as the holy grail of one track, per one staff, per instrument is severely breeched. Orchestral Templates are already huge and this multiplies the number of (keyswitch) tracks by a factor of 10.
One might think that one can simply drag the notes back a bit in either Cubase or Dorico and use display quantize to tidy up a score. Firstly this is not good practice, it’s also fiddly and can encounter numerous consequences. in key editors and score editors - its untidy and unsatisfactory.

The Solution is SIMPLE. Steinberg needs to provide a mechanism for providing negative track delay per articulation.
This can be done in various ways. I cannot speak too much for Dorico as I am a Dorico apprentice, but in Cubase, either in the key editor, or in the Expression map editor, provision of delay compensation per articulation would fix this issue. Expression maps are more than ten years without an update, it’s well overdue.
This would be huge for composers and it would be vital for integration between Dorico and Cubase ( which I do accept may not yet be on the horizon). Composers would be able to play back samples in time without the need for proliferation of tracks and the ideal of one track per staff per instrument would be preservable without compromising timing.

I hope Daniel agrees with this and can convey this matter to the development team, it’s really come home to me that these innaccurate timings are frequently unavoidable cvurrently and can be sizable


I’ve changed your subject line.

We are well aware of the requirement to allow you to specify an offset on a per-switch basis in the expression map, and plan to implement this in a future version of Dorico.


Am I correct in assuming, that this delay ist meant to adjust the starting position of the resulting sound, rather than the timing of when the switch is sent?
In this case, even though unrelated to the OP, I’d like to also make a case for allowing to set an offset for the timing of keyswitches themselves, if possible.

Thanks for consideration!

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Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you mean, but isn’t this already possible?

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Hi, yes, that is a control I think for compensating certain latency issues with different libraries and I believe it’s global, i. e. works for all keyswitches.
I was thinking of an adjustment per keyswitch, so that switches can also be sent after the note-on event or a certain amount before the note-off events.


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Ah, I see what you mean - a positive or negative offset in ticks for any given base switch. Yes, that would be nice. But I’d also take an additional third Velocity/CC Control option, a copy of “Secondary dynamic” any day.

I’d really like this too. There a quite a few libraries where things like jazz articulations have to be triggered while the note is sounding so note-on and note-off events currently don’t work.

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