As most of you know, I love the music program MainStage. I started blogging about it about 5 years ago when I started this blog, and it quickly became a popular topic. Earlier this year I split out my MainStage interests into a full fledged patch creation company called www.patchfoundry.com, and this week we launched a brand new way of controlling MainStage’s sounds.
After working on it for several months, I am officially moving all of my MainStage blogging, tutorials, and patch design to a separate website. When I started focusing on MainStage about 3 years ago I had no idea how much this part of the site would grow, and it’s finally time for it to have it’s own dedicated space on the web. The new site is called Patch Foundry. The new site offers a completely retooled series of patches built from the ground up using the tricks I’ve learned from some of the best sound designers and mix engineers in the world.
MainStage works just like a pro-grade DAW, and it’s possible to pull off many of the techniques studio engineers use. One of the most useful studio techniques is bussing. Bussing allows several instruments to send audio through a signal effect, reducing CPU usage and creating a more “glued” sound (yes, that’s super unspecific. Bear with me). Here’s how to make one:
One of the problems some of my users run into is saving there presets at a specific value, then having them switch when they go back to them. For instance, you might want to have a cutoff set at a certain place. You make the adjustment, switch patches, but the next time you go back to your patch it’s back in the wrong position. Here’s how to get around this problem:
I’ve always wanted to be able to use my iPad to control MainStage, and Apple made it possible to do it with their free Logic Remote app. Originally designed to control Logic Pro, Apple blessed us MainStage users by including us in the fun. Here’s how to use it with MainStage:
MainStage included a really innovative feature in their 3.0 update last year called Smart Controls. At first I thought this was nothing but a skin feature that made the knobs look more like the instrument you’re controlling, but I quickly realized it was much more than that. Smart controls can change the number of controls you have intelligently based on the patch, switch which hardware controllers are mapped to which on-screen controls, and a bunch more.
MainStage has a slightly confusing layer of MIDI mappings that I haven’t seen talked about much online (probably because it’s so geeky). It’s possible with MainStage to assign specific MIDI CC values to on screen controls at the Layout mode. Why is this confusing? It’s also possible to assign controllers at the edit mode, as well. Before this gets too techy, here’s the advantage to each:
MainStage allows you to customize the beginning and end point any midi controller. For instance, you could set your volume faders to end at a neutral zero DB of gain instead of the default 6+ DB setting. This can be extremely useful for a number of controls, but we’ll focus on volume for our example. Here’s how to do it:
I was just wondering if it is best to use a compressor on the patch itself, or on each individual instrument? (compressing the entire patch at once}. I use multiple keyboard controllers on each patch.. thank you.
This week’s quick MainStage tutorial is about compressors. Compressors are plugins that manipulate the dynamics of the sound source, creating everything from a “squeezed” punchy sound to subtle level control. MainStage just updated their main compressor plugin, and I’m a big fan. Here’s how to use it:
Don't see a tutorial that answers your question? Search hundreds of free MainStage tutorials instantly.
E-mail me for a free step-by-step guide to adding chord charts to your patches.