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Old 12-09-2017, 09:55 AM
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Default Keyswitch improvements

This suggestion comes from many many ours or searching for a solution to my East West template. Unfortunately, it's not quite there yet.

I'm working with Cubase 9.5 and expression maps. For those who might not know, Cubase's expression map is a very handy way of assigning keyswitch instruments to different parts of your score. You can also use it to assign different midi channels so you can build your own ''keyswitch instruments" in a multi-timbral instance of Play. You can have up to 16 articulations of your choice of the 1st violin on one instance/track for exemple.

There are 2 problems to this setup. One is that whenever I stop playback, the midi channel resets to CH1 and so does my articulations. That does not happen with real keyswitch instruments. I can start and stop playback and the chosen articulation stays selected.

The second problem with midi channel switching, is that it's maxed at 16 articulations per instance/tracks.

Unfortunately, As of now, Hollywood Orchestra only offer very limited and small KS instruments. Other libraries like Symphonic Orchestra's 18v or Gypsy's Violins the 18v offers 20 to 30 articulations on a single patch. That is way more that the 16 midi channels can offer in my current setup.

Can we expect some improvements in this area on future Play updates? I would really love to be able to chose and assign all the articulations I want of an instrument to a single KS instance.

Another HUGE advantage to KS instrument that when selecting your mic positions, you dont have to do it 16 or 23 times for a single instrument.

That's the kind of workflow improvement I would gladly spend my money on.
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:52 AM
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Peter Schwartz's SkiSwitcher macro and scripts for Logic Pro X have made it possible to have multi-articulations in an instance work like keyswitch patches, as well as KS, but better, because you always hear the correct articulation anywhere in the project when you click on a note. Changing an articulation later is just a matter of changing the MIDI channel. So I no longer really need Play to be able to do this.

I thought Cubase Expressions Maps was similar but I have no experience with it.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Asher View Post
Peter Schwartz's SkiSwitcher macro and scripts for Logic Pro X have made it possible to have multi-articulations in an instance work like keyswitch patches, as well as KS, but better, because you always hear the correct articulation anywhere in the project when you click on a note. Changing an articulation later is just a matter of changing the MIDI channel. So I no longer really need Play to be able to do this.

I thought Cubase Expressions Maps was similar but I have no experience with it.
Yes, Cubase's expression map is exactly that. It assignes the articulation to passages or individual notes you you dont need to go back to the KS triggers on playback and that is great.

I wrote to support on the the SkiSwitcher website asking a few questions but I never got an answer.

But maybe you could answer this. One of my question was if it was Logic only plugin and if the KS where made using the midi channels.

Midi channels switching, that I can do inside Cubase with expression maps and a multi-timbral instance of Play so I would not need a 3rd party plugin for this. It works pretty well besides the fact that it's 16 channels only and always reverts to Ch1 when I stop playback.

I works perfectly if it's recorded in the expression map's CC lane or timeline but when playing around, before actually recording the notes, it's very frustrating.

I've actually discovered a way round that yesterday. I use arturia's beatstep but you could use any midi controller that has an arpeggiator or step sequencer built in. I have is setup running a single note sequence at 64th notes at a very fast tempo. I then change that note with a rotary knob on the beatstep to choose the midi channels assigned those notes chromatically in my expression maps.

So now, whenever my playback stops, Cubase tries to revert the track to Ch1 but the arpeggiator does not allow it. It actually changes to Ch1 for a fraction of a second but it's too fast to hear or even notice.

But it's still a workaround and requires a second controller with a step sequencer or areggiator.

All of this would be a lot simpler if we could build our own KS patches inside Play 6.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbeauvaisc View Post
Yes, Cubase's expression map is exactly that. It assignes the articulation to passages or individual notes you you dont need to go back to the KS triggers on playback and that is great.

I wrote to support on the the SkiSwitcher website asking a few questions but I never got an answer.

But maybe you could answer this. One of my question was if it was Logic only plugin and if the KS where made using the midi channels.

Midi channels switching, that I can do inside Cubase with expression maps and a multi-timbral instance of Play so I would not need a 3rd party plugin for this. It works pretty well besides the fact that it's 16 channels only and always reverts to Ch1 when I stop playback.

I works perfectly if it's recorded in the expression map's CC lane or timeline but when playing around, before actually recording the notes, it's very frustrating.

I've actually discovered a way round that yesterday. I use arturia's beatstep but you could use any midi controller that has an arpeggiator or step sequencer built in. I have is setup running a single note sequence at 64th notes at a very fast tempo. I then change that note with a rotary knob on the beatstep to choose the midi channels assigned those notes chromatically in my expression maps.

So now, whenever my playback stops, Cubase tries to revert the track to Ch1 but the arpeggiator does not allow it. It actually changes to Ch1 for a fraction of a second but it's too fast to hear or even notice.

But it's still a workaround and requires a second controller with a step sequencer or areggiator.

All of this would be a lot simpler if we could build our own KS patches inside Play 6.
SkiSwitcher is not a plug-in, it is, as I said, it is a Logic Pro macro and Logic MIDI scripts, so yes, only for Logic. And yes it uses MIDI channels and for me, 16 is always enough, but if you need more articulations per instance, Peter has an articulation ID based version called ArtZ ID. And the beauty of them is they work with Play, Kontakt, Engine UVI, EXS24, etc. so you are not dependent on a developer's solution.

Sounds like either Cubase has a problem or your understanding of how Expression maps works is incomplete. Not sure which, as I don't use it.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Asher View Post
SkiSwitcher is not a plug-in, it is, as I said, it is a Logic Pro macro and Logic MIDI scripts, so yes, only for Logic. And yes it uses MIDI channels and for me, 16 is always enough, but if you need more articulations per instance, Peter has an articulation ID based version called ArtZ ID. And the beauty of them is they work with Play, Kontakt, Engine UVI, EXS24, etc. so you are not dependent on a developer's solution.

Sounds like either Cubase has a problem or your understanding of how Expression maps works is incomplete. Not sure which, as I don't use it.
There's really not much to expression maps, they're very simple easy to program and they work 100% when working with KS patches. There's just this one flaw when they're mapped with midi channels instead of keyswitches. Believe me I did my homework. It's not a bug it's just not well designed.

It's hard to explain because technically, it works 100% when you write down the music. It's just not practical when playing. Anyway that all should be in a Cubase forum.

Now this suggestion is for EW to integrate the ability to build our own KS instruments. There would be great advantages to that like mentioned in the OP.

16 channel is often enough I agree. But on a few instruments like the Jazz Trombone in Hollywood Orchestra, it's not.

The ability to mix the mic positions from a single patch and have it impact all the articulations loaded in the KS patch would be a huge time saver. Right now if I want to move the close mics for 1st Violin, I have to go manually change it to the 16 articulations in my muti-timbral template.

Thanks for the suggestions though. Too bad SkiSwitcher is only for Logic. I would have given it a shot.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:07 PM
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Well, not interested in starting a DAW war, just saying that as someone who uses Play, Kontakt, UVI, Engine, etc. it is just no longer an issue for me with Logic Pro.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Asher View Post
Well, not interested in starting a DAW war, just saying that as someone who uses Play, Kontakt, UVI, Engine, etc. it is just no longer an issue for me with Logic Pro.
I'll keep that in mind if I ever shop for a new DAW but I doubt very much that it would be Logic since I've always loved to build my own personal computers. I don't think I could not let go of the freedom to mix parts from different manufacturers and let go of PCIe slots. Not that I'm a big fan of Windows 10. It's all about hardware. Maybe I'll try a hackintosh someday and give Logic a shot.

But all this is besides the point. The point is that EW could implement a KS builder that would benefit all users regardless of the DAW you're using. It could go beyond 16 articulations and bring a better workflow environment for every single Play users.

Don't forget the ability to mix the mic positions globally for all the articulations of a patch when they are KS instruments. I guess that might not be an attractive feature for a Composer Cloud members who only gets 1 or 2 mic positions. But for everyone how has 3 to 5 mic positions and likes to take advantage of them, it's a nightmare to mix. When there's up to 16 channels to move for a single instrument, I often end up not taking full advantage of them just because it's too long of a process.
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:32 AM
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Hi guys,

I'd also love to see comprehensive key switch patches in Play, for the Hollywood strings sections especially. I use Reaper, which while it doesn't have anything like expression mapping built in, is extremely flexible and easily customised, and I found a plugin for it to support building my own key switches (using a MIDI channel switch method) pretty easily.

In the process of doing this however I came to see what's probably the reason why EastWest haven't just gone ahead and provided these kind of key switches for us within Play. There are significant complications that come up in terms of playability, due to the fact that there are several different control schemes used across different articulations. Short sounds use velocity to control dynamics, some long sounds use CC1, others use CC11. So sure, you can set up key switches to cut around between legato and sustain patches, but unless you stick to patches that use the same CC mappings it's frustrating trying to get a smooth expression curve that flows over the top of the articulation changes.

Just my thoughts on the matter of course.
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:44 AM
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A good keyswitching system would be fantastic. For things like the mixing of mic positions, that would be also be great if that could be CC assignable so users don't have to go into the interface to adjust these settings. For someone like me who uses a multiple computer set-up, I find myself reaching for Kontakt libraries more frequently because of ease of use on things like this - I have a control surface mapped to purge/load and fader control all of the mic positions individually and would LOVE to use this in PLAY too.

Without naming names, there is another company that produces a great build-your-own keyswitch patches that also enables a legato functionality BETWEEN articulations (e.g. you can have a legato transition from tremolo to trill to sustain, etc.). This is a really great way of adding an extra layer of playability.

In regards to the different CCs on different patches - there are a bunch of unused generic CCs that could easily be repurposed to allow for a more consistent CC mapping across the board that doesn't get confusing.
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:30 AM
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Just remembered something else that got a bit weird when I was playing with this (sorry, it's been a while since I did these experiments actually, a bit hazy on some of the details). Anyway there was some odd behaviour with slurs and portamento patches when you started using MIDI keyswitches to stick other articulations between such notes. Basically you wouldn't get the slide into a note triggering properly - or might in some situations even get it triggering in from the wrong direction, sliding up instead of down or vice versa - because the last preceding note the portamento or slur patch was "aware" of wasn't the last note played in the line. If that makes sense.

Something like that anyway. I do remember that between slur/port issues and the hassle of sorting out the differing CCs, I pretty much gave up on my DIY keyswitches and went back to just using separate tracks for the major string articulations.

Which all boils down to - yeah, I'd love to see them properly implemented too!

Bruce.
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