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View Full Version : Template: Vast track counts Vs Expression Maps


jamieboo
03-02-2016, 09:02 AM
Those of you going the separate track per articulation route with consequently vast templates, what made you go that way as opposed to something like Expression Maps (For Cubase users)?

I have always used separate tracks for separate artics, but my new Hollywood Orchestra template is getting quite large. And because in Cubase strange things happen with more than 126 staves in the Score Editor (I've heard that Cubase 8.5 actually has a 127 stave limit) - and I oddly/foolishly do most of my work in the Cubase Score Editor, I'm now thinking I should go the Expression Maps route to make track/stave count more manageable.

Just want to know if/why others haven't opted for the Expression Maps route.

Even using Maps I don't think I would ever get down to just one stave/track per instrument, because I like to double, and might occasionally want controllable polyphonic legato lines. But even with 4 or 5 tracks per instrument that would still be a leaner track count than I have now.

Just be interested to hear some thoughts on this.

Thanks.

jamieboo
03-10-2016, 05:04 AM
Anyone? :)

jspencer
03-10-2016, 09:23 AM
I tried the expression maps, but with my limited knowledge of formally writing music, it was tricky and time consuming (and I hate keyswitch patches). For those who write this way, it is a brilliant tool. What do you mean by vast track counts? 50 tracks? 100? 500? I prefer to have a giant template loaded up in VEPro (typically 200 tracks), and go from there. The great thing with VEPro is that you only load your template once, as everything remains loaded between projects.

jamieboo
03-10-2016, 09:55 AM
Thanks for getting back to me jspencer.
I don't use keyswitch patches either. The expression maps would function via simple channel changes.
My template was around 150 tracks, but like I said I prefer to work in the Score Editor and at present the Cubase Score editor can't handle more than 126 staves without glitchy behaviour. So I've had to reduce my track count to beneath that threshold.
If I worked with Expression Maps I could have numerous articulations on a single staff and get the track count down to well under 90 I reckon.

arkogelul
03-10-2016, 04:54 PM
I don't know how much into detail you want to go, but I ended up giving up expression map all together after trying really hard to make it work.

The idea is great for sure, but on the field the expression maps won't always work, sometimes it will not trigger the right channel when you ask it to, it will get stuck or whatever..
I faced the problem of CC controller. Lets say you want to have one track for your 'violin I', CC11 will control the dynamic of the legato patch but it will also control the volume of the shorts.. Witch is not something that you want at this stage. And there is no way to avoid that (at least to my knowledge, and at that time a called Steinberg directly and even them couldn't help me).
I ended up dealing with a huge template and using the (very handy) hiding feature to show only the tracks I'm working on, and it's much easier that way.

I'm using Cubase 7.5.3.

jamieboo
03-10-2016, 05:26 PM
I must say, this is something I've wondered about.
If your Expression map in Hollywood Orchestra includes things like sustains and legatos as well as shorts then drawing a nice CC1 curve will affect sustains and legatos, but do nothing for the shorts (other than actually change the short articulation if it's a 'short mod' patch). So you'd have to then duplicate the contour of the CC1 curve onto velocity for the duration of the short note bit. Can be done of course, but it get's a bit clunky I would imagine. And that's beside the possibility of the 'things not triggering' bugs that you mention Arkogelul.
Hmm.

arkogelul
03-11-2016, 12:34 AM
Maybe things have changed in Cubase 8 (I don't think so but who knows).
The best thing you can do is try for yourself, maybe you'll have a different approach, and you'll find something that suits you.
I really wanted to make something as easy to use as possible, and was willing to spend a lot time to "rig" my template. I also tried to manipulate the CC controller through the MIDI input transformer, but it seems that it's not "connected" to the expression maps. Nothing happening in the expression map will affect the input transformer, which is really sad.
Besides the bugs happening with the expression map itself (randomly changing channel, getting stuck ..), if you could change the CC (like most, if no any, library using Kontakt) in Play, the problem would be solve.
And I still have some hope with Play Pro ... :)

trumpoz
03-11-2016, 01:57 AM
I used to use Expression Maps in Cubase. I thought they were great. I would run 3 tracks per string instrument.
Legato
Shorts (mod speed) with expression maps to switch b/w arts
Everything else with expression maps

Brass were
Legato
Everything else (expression maps)

I find it easier to go with separate tracks now for things like layering, particularly now that I have orchestral libraries from different devs - there are times where I want a marc or stacc attack layered or stack some other articulations. I now find it easier to keep a track of what articulation is being used at any stage in the arrangement. I also prefer to balance my template using Cubase's faders as opposed to within Play or VE Pro at this stage. But then again I don't switch between projects constantly so I can afford the extra time it may take.

At some stage I will probably get fed up with a 350+ track template and want to go smaller again.

arkogelul
03-11-2016, 02:00 AM
I find it easier to go with separate tracks now for things like layering, particularly now that I have orchestral libraries from different devs - there are times where I want a marc or stacc attack layered or stack some other articulations. I now find it easier to keep a track of what articulation is being used at any stage in the arrangement. I also prefer to balance my template using Cubase's faders as opposed to within Play or VE Pro at this stage. But then again I don't switch between projects constantly so I can afford the extra time it may take.

+1

jamieboo
03-11-2016, 04:21 AM
I used to use Expression Maps in Cubase. I thought they were great. I would run 3 tracks per string instrument.
Legato
Shorts (mod speed) with expression maps to switch b/w arts
Everything else with expression maps

Brass were
Legato
Everything else (expression maps)

I find it easier to go with separate tracks now for things like layering, particularly now that I have orchestral libraries from different devs - there are times where I want a marc or stacc attack layered or stack some other articulations. I now find it easier to keep a track of what articulation is being used at any stage in the arrangement. I also prefer to balance my template using Cubase's faders as opposed to within Play or VE Pro at this stage. But then again I don't switch between projects constantly so I can afford the extra time it may take.

At some stage I will probably get fed up with a 350+ track template and want to go smaller again.

My plan, if I were to go the Expression Map route, would be to have 3 or 4 tracks per instrument, but with exactly the same Expression map for each. I, like you trumpoz, like to layer patches together. Having three tracks would give me plenty of opportunity for layering.
I think! ;)
But, after hearing of people being dissatisfied with the Expression Map method, I might stick with separate tracks per articulation and work round the Score Editor glitches.
OR I might have another experiment with different articulations set to different channels as normal, and then set the target track to midi channel 'All' so I have all the articulations available in a single track, and changeable by simply switching the midi channels of the notes in question.
Anyone tried that method recently?

Piano Pete
03-11-2016, 03:58 PM
For me, as someone who is used to staring at orchestra scores, I use expression maps to maintain that sort of organization to my projects. While I do use expression maps for each instrument, they are not perfect. I regularly duplicate tracks. Violin I Track 1 may be continuing detache, and Violin I Track 2 may be sustained. This makes it easier to layer articulations when keeping it in a single track becomes a hassle. Most of the time, I can get away with just using expression maps and a single track. This keeps me from constantly changing tracks to polish something. This is especially helpful since I import my midi data from Finale :). Just remember that when you use expression maps, you have to keep track of what your CC data is altering when you switch articulations.

I also have tracks that do double the work depending on what instrument is playing. An example would be my choir vowels. I do not have a separate map per voice -- soprano, alto, tenor, etc. Instead, I have Bass/Boy Vowels all going to the same channels. This did require me to keep track of how I loaded everything into VEP.