Building a MainStage Live Looping Setup with LoopBack – Part I

Part 1 | Part 2 |Part 3

MainStage is a live performance host for logic and other Audio Unit plugins. Mainstage 2 brings a few new features, a looper (LoopBack) and a backing track unit (PlayBack). All the pieces are there for a wonderful live tool, and I’ll show you one way to assemble them.  This video gives an overview of a possible setup.  The next two videos show you how to achieve a similar setup.




  1. Hi Sam,

    Just wanted to let you know I really appreciate your videos. I perform live-looped music for a living using hardware-based effects and a Boss RC-50. I’ve been looking into a Mac setup that will give me more flexibility and I think this may be the route I take. Keep the vids coming!


  2. Hi Sam,

    What if I’m not using a pre-pregrammed drum loop? No count in. In other words, I play with a drummer–we’re in real time. How do I get Loopback to follow me (tap tempo while the drummer is laying down the groove?)? Can this work like the Boss RC 3 pedal works? I’m using Mainstage 2.

    • Rose Ann,

      You would set your LoopBack to ‘no sync’ in the lower left and when you record your first loop along with your drummer, MainStage will calculate tempo from it.

  3. Thanks Sam.

    Another question re: Loopback

    I am playing 2 patches, a bass (LH) and keyboard of some sort (RH)–do I need to group these into Loopback? Can you help me with that? I want them both to be recorded at the same time (since I’m playing a composite groove from them both).

    While I’m at it, can you recommend a simple, but sturdy foot switch/controller that can handle such quick and precise maneuvers as looping requires?

    • Rose,
      You would use a bus and send both your instruments to the looper. I believe it’s covered in the MainStage video – setting the LoopBack up at the concert level and then bussing your patch instruments to it. I use the FCB1010 for pedals, as it’s pretty cheap and rugged. There are other options out there, but most are pricy or have less button.

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