MainStage Essentials Part 3

(part 1)(part 2) | (part 3)

More fun with MainStage.  It’s all the sounds of logic with some awesome looping capabilities, effects and toe super easy mapping.

Learn how-to:

Map a keyboard with floating splits – bam.

Add some drum pads for more triggering – zam.

Do you have an XY controller?  You can map your XY all over the place in MainStage!

Audio instruments, UltraBeat sequences controlled via pads, sustain pedal, UltraBeat parameter automation, set organization and mastery master class.

You will be subjected to a short musical ‘performance’ to whet your whistle for your new performance contraption.

  1. I have Mainstage 2 running with my MacBook Pro. Works like a charm live except…I play patches that are split– of traditional keyboard sounds (piano, org, rhodes) in the upper register and bass sounds (acoustic, electric) in the lower register. In my headphones or at home everything sounds great, but in a live setting, I have trouble controlling volume levels between patches and most esp. the bass sounds. Keyboard bass is very hard to get crisp and tight in a live room.

    Question 1: Can I put a limiter (?) plug-in on my patches (or set or concert for that matter) so that when I go from patch to patch there are no surprising jumps?

    Question 2: In a patch with multiple instruments, how can I bus the output of one sound into a different channel? Specifically, with bass guitar sounds, it would be great if I could isolate the output from the rest of the patch. This way, it can be controlled or compressed (or whatever) and the sound people won’t kill me at the gig…

    Should I be using an audio interface with the capacity to separate output channels? If so, can you recommend a reliable, basic and affordable one?


    • Rose,
      You can definitely put a compressor and/or limiter at any level in your song. Here is what you can do to answer question 2: Create two aux channel strips at the concert level. Pan one left and one right. Route all your bass instruments to the left aux channel strip and all your mid/treble patches to the right. Now you can feed a stereo signal to the mixer which the sound engineer should be able to separate and mix independently. However, you should try and get your sounds as even as possible – both volume and eq-wise. Don’t count on the sound guy or gal to make you sound great – it’s really up to you. If they seem interested, ask them what you could have done better after the show.

      You’ll want to get an adapter to go from stereo 1/8″ plugs to two separate 1/4″ plugs. Those will be plugged into a pair of DI boxes on stage. If you are serious about this, you can bring your own. I had a rack of 4 DI’s from behringer I picked up discounted on ebay. This looks interesting – seems to cheap though. If 2 outputs is fine for you, then you already have them – no need for an outboard audio interface if you haven’t been having buzz and hum problems.

      I’d recommend testing your keyboard through an outboard speaker system of some kind before you get to a show. Almost everything sounds great on headphones! Get inventive – plug your computer into whatever you can (aside from guitar or bass amps as they can be damaged). Have someone go into another room and listen. It can also be easier to judge levels when your amplifier is at a lower volume.

      On the subject of compression/limiting – dynamics processing can be very helpful at shows. It can also take away impact and nuance from your performance. Depending on your style of music, you can get away with it. A synth bass might love some hard compression, but a piano might sound flat. Make sure to turn your master volume down – put it on some speakers and have a listen. Good luck!

  2. Sam,

    a question regarding the panning–since I pan bass sound L and pianos etc. R, am I really feeding a true stereo signal to the mixer? Isn’t it just one channel mono, each for L and R?

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