MainStage Mondays: Simplifying Smart Controls

The smart control panel was one of the big additions in MainStage 3, making it much simpler to match the controllers onscreen to the instrument you’re using. There’s a few issues with it: you have to map hardware controls to every smart control template, and often I find myself hunting for the basic attack, decay, sustain, release, cutoff and resonance settings, and they’re not mapped to the smart control. Here’s how I simplify the smart controls, without reducing their functionality: 

1. Open MainStage 3. Load up a template (I’ve shown how to do this in lots of other blog posts, so I’m assuming you know how to do it by now. If not, see the previous blogs on this topic). 

2. Select a synth patch. I prefer to keep the templates the same for piano and organ patches, but we are going to modify our synth templates. 

3. Click on the smart control. 

4. Below in the Screen Control Window you’ll see the option to change smart control templates. Let’s switch it to the “General Audio 12” template. 

5. Select the first knob, and delete the mappings. Then open up your synth, click the “assign and map” button in the RH corner of the screen, and map it to Cutoff. 

6. You may need to change the label to cutoff in the attributes section of the Screen Control Inspector. 

7. Repeat with resonance, attack, decay, sustain, and release. 

8. Do the same for all other synth patches, using the same smart control template (make sure you map everything in the same place on each synth). 

When you map your midi controller to the knobs, you’ll not have to hunt for which knob controls which, and you’ll never have to re-assign your knobs to new templates. 

Bonus tip: for added simplicity and to keep you from having to remap your controls for each template, change all your smart control templates to a single template.