1 2 Previous Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Jan 3, 2014 4:37 PM by rdas7
Eyekon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi everyone,

I have a macbook pro running MS2 and I'm wondering if I am missing something. I have the Logic Pro 9 suite and I'm new to mainstage but have some MIDI background.

Currently in a live situation we have a sequencer keyboard (Korg Triton) playing the backing tracks/samples, and from an aux out its click track goes to the drummer, the L+R out to the house desk. The MIDI out from this device then changes the FX units. We want to move away from this setup as its restrictive in terms of the sounds and the size/weight of the keyboard.

Basically, we want to replace this heavy keyboard for the live setting, and I was hoping my MS would take over like this:

1) The drummer will use a MIDI controller to start and stop songs, and move through the set list of songs (I have this working).

2) Each song has 1 channel with the playback plug-in and 1 with a MIDI out channel.

3) I want MS to send the click track out to the drummer, based on the time information from the file (haven't got this working yet in MS ... and suggestions?).

But here is where its going pear shaped:

4) MS to send MIDI program changes to external FX units at pre-programmed intervals in the songs (ie: go from verse to chorus etc).

So my question is... how do I get mainstage to send those pre-programmed MIDI out patch changes? It seems that MS can receive MIDI no problem (see step 1), but I cant seem to send the program changes at all. I'm using the Playback plug-in but I'm also unsure if the file types contain the MIDI information (I've tried all 3 types that playback supports with no luck), or even worse.... MS is not sending them or capable of doing so. These backing track files are originating from Logic, where I keep 1 track of stereo audio and 1 track of midi program changes.

Where am I going wrong, or is mainstage incapable of doing this? Is it the wrong tool for the job and if so, what do people suggest please? I can't believe the MS cannot do this... or am I doing something wrong and missing the obvious? :)

Thank you all in advance!

  • 1. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    Shark4 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm a bit in the same positions, I found yesterday this video, hope it answer your question, or part of it... for me I search how to play/stop logic from mainstage now...


  • 2. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    Eyekon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi thanks for the response!


    I have posted this question in a few forums, if I find an answer, Ill be sure to post the solution here.


    Thank you for posting the videos, I have seen them before and actually I learnt how to do the play/stop actions from one of his videos! That guy is very very good, and he explains things very clearly.


    From what I can recall in his videos, you just need to add a button to your interface. You can stretch and resize them, and change their colours too. Mainstage then has a "learn" button that allows you to quickly map a midi controller function to it, click the learn button, then hit the button on your midi control 3 times, and click learn again. MS then stores this.


    Next, look at the "screen control inspector" at the bottom section of the screen, there will be events, like play, stop, next song etc that you can apply. Note too that you can add this functionality to the button at patch, song and concert level. Ive setup my screen to work this way at the concert level and other buttons to skip to back and fourth through the tracks lists. To add an action like playing a file, you will need to have added a channel strip and the playback plug in to it. Load your audio file into playback, then in the inspector, look for your channel strip name, it will be something like "audio 1" if you didnt rename the strip.


    Click on audio 1, then playback, transport and finally choose play/stop(current position) to stop and start the song.


    Hope that helps - but if its unclear, check through through Jas' youtube account, the video will be there.. I cant seem to see it at this moment: http://www.youtube.com/user/JasTheMusicman?feature=watch


    Hope that helps

  • 3. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    EnjoyRC Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have many of the same desires as you.  I recently moved from Ableton Live 8 to MainStage 2.  Ableton Live is a monster.  Incredible application.  Does far more than what you and I want.


    Ableton Live can easily;

    Streams a backing tracks (Wav, MP3, etc...)

    Play MIDI loops, tracks to VSTs and External equipment

    Hosts AUs & VSTs

    Sends MIDI program changes and CC as set times during the song

    Receives MIDI CC info to remote control

    Sends click out a designated MONO output


    I've succeeded in reproducing many of the Ableton Live features in MainStage.

    Stream backing tracks (with playback)

    Play MIDI files out to external equipment, but not to a AU  (* this might be what helps you)

    Host AUs but not VSTs (that's ok.. most of my VSTs have AU equivalents)

    I can send MIDI program changes only at the beginning of a patch

    Receives MIDI CC info to remote control

    It's not that easy to send click out a designated MONO output.  Wish this was easier.


    * It may be possible to have a MIDI file have patch changes in it at designated times.  Simply start the MIDI file at the beginning of the song.  It'll basically send nothing until the moment in the song where the Program Change is needed.  You'll have to make the MIDI file in another application.

  • 4. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    micdim Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    This is how you need to use a Live Sequence set up. MainStage 2 is so cumbersome it's not funny! We should have the ability to use LOGIC and ONLY LOGIC for Live situations.

    Take a look below at SONAR...

    You'll notice on the left...

    - The Song/Project List with infinite number of songs. Open up next song Automatically or user defined. Change Song/Projects around on the fly with the mouse. Yes you can have the next song open up automatically, or user defined such as any delay you wish before the next song starts, or start the next song by pressing the spacebar.

    On the Right...





    click to see image full size...


  • 5. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    Eyekon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Im not familiar with that software... I take its Sonar 7 from calkwalk?


    For those interested, we came to a solution... or more a work around. This is what I've done:


    1) Bounced the audio from all my tracks into high quality audio files

    2) Created a new song in Logic, called SETLIST1, made up of 1 audio channel and a few MIDI channels.

    3) I Copied in the bounced songs 1 after each other with a sizeable gap after each one in the order I want to play the set.

    4) Created Markers at the start of each song and each markers length is the same as the audio.

    4) Copied in any time changes from the original tracks into the automation keeping with the audio positions.

    5) Copied in the MIDI tracks for each and aligned them up with their audio as well.


    Ive then setup a MIDI control surface and used the keyboard shortcuts to bind buttons on it to actions in Logic to skip back and fourth between markers (Next marker, previous marker etc) and play, stop and pause.


    Our mac laptop is then connected to our audio interface and its outputs feed the front of the house and monitors if needed.


    It took a while to get my head around all this, but I think it will work. One thing to look out for if anyone else is going this route is to make sure that you laptop is on a spongy or audio absorbant platform - if there is excessive vibration, the mac OS will interupt to try and save the disk (thinking that its falling or in danger) and will audio playback stopping.


    Pros with this system is that you only have one piece of software running, logic. You can feed as many audio tracks as your machine can handle but we felt that just using 1 stereo was fine. You would have no limit on the amount of MIDI though. Another output feeds metronomes to various members. In the near future we will also use an additional audio track and route it to seperate outs for in ear monitoring with say custom metronome sounds or speech messages like "end of solo in 3..2..1..." etc like Porcupine Tree do for live.


    Cons: Its a little inflexible, or at least you have to be a little careful - if I want to move the 2nd song to the 5th position for example, I have to make sure Im dragging all the correct information (markers, time changes, tempos, midi tracks, etc) to correct location and leaving nothing man behind! We would never do this live - it would all be pre-composed prior to a gig - and we also have the option of using the MIDI interface to jump to songs... so its not really a problem, more a weakness.


    Hope that helps !

  • 6. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    micdim Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    Hi Eyekon,


    No that is Sonar 6. Sonar 7 is even better! Really easy when it comes to the song list feature.


    If Logic had that feature I would be in heaven, as well as so  many other musicians using logic.


    I'm familiar with what you're doing Eyekon, and it's an OK solution, but once again it's just too comberson, and we should not have to be forced into doing this. Way too much extra work.


    Here' s another good product for what your doing. It has an interface with up to 30 songs in each window, and opens up any Logic project by using a midi controller, or just pressing the appropriate button. However it does not have the user customization that Sonar has, thus falls short of what we should be able to use.


    Here's the link: (using this software, you will be able to have each song in it's separate project)



  • 7. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    Eyekon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi micdim,


    Thanks for the help man! Ill look into Sonar 7 too and see how it goes. I did get the system working in ableton live too, and may yet return to it but opted for logic as I splashed money out on it already. You are right though, its cumbersome to do what I want it to do and mainstage should be able to do what we want, even if logic cant. I originally started using mainstage to get to the system I wanted... but it falls way short, even with the midi "ugprade" it got.


    I can kinda see why Apple dont make logic easier to use for something like this, as its main goal is to record, edit and mix etc... but apple should at least make mainstage more flexible and allow it to play midi files in side it and trigger them with audio - it should be their version of ableton.


    Thank you for the link suggestion too - Im familiar with OnStage, its a nice program and I tried to use it before for what I wanted but isnt ideal either: it can take some time to open a new project sometimes, I couldnt find how to map a midi device to its buttons (maybe thats my short fallings!) and its interface is too small for quick reading/use. They should allow it to be increased for easy reading:)

  • 8. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    micdim Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    You're welcome,


    Don't get me wrong, I've been using Logic since Emagic owned it and called it Notator on an Atari Computer System with only 2-4mb of ram. I don't even think I had more than a few mb of of storage either.


    Anyhow I'm very happy Apple bought Logic from Emagic. I think Logic is the best out there, but It's also very important to bring to the forfront where Logic falls short... and as we know one major flaw is the Song List feature.


    It's not very difficult to create such a feature. That way we can use Logic for everything from recording, mixing, and live use, etc.


    All the best Eyekon!

  • 9. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    StevenChell Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've been looking all over to try and figure out how to have mainstage automatically change to the next patch when a new marker comes up on the backing track through playback.


    Basically, when i'm playing to a backing track, i sometimes play The pads and keys on mu Akai MPK49, nd when a new section comes up and i need need to change my synth sound, i don;t physically have enough hands to change to the next patch. I've read a load guides, but using the AIC drive in Logic seems far too complicated and I'm getting a bit out of my depth.


    The whole point of me using markers is to identify different sections with different instruments, but I have to change between them manually anyway?


    Is there a way to have the Marker automatically change the patch? The only other way i can see of getting round this live is having a midi footswitch to automatically cycle through the patches, which means Markers are of no use to me in my 'Perform' view really.


    Any help would be amazing!

  • 10. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    bhbowen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Not sure if you found your answer, but I use Logic to Change Mainstage using the IAC Driver.


    It's really simple:  Dedicated track in logic for mainstage, can control volume, pan, anything really if you want it to, notes will even play in mainstage if you want. I only use it to control Mainstage patch changes. I also use seperate track to send change song commands to OnStage (which was mentioned in an earlier post).


    One thing you have to do is setup the Environment in Logic so Mainstage doesn't get the crazy "stay offline" loop warning. Command 8 -> Click & Ports - > Remove the Line from left to your input.


    Create an external midi Track and assign it to a channel on your IAC Driver (See youtube videos on how to install this).


    Under the patch attributes in Mainstage give each patch a unique number and put that in your logic midi track. I even have solo patch changes programmed in so all i have to do is play. Patches change automatically throughout a song.


    Just insert a program change in your logic midi track with the Val set to whatever you put in for the Program Change in Mainstage. [Nice feature of Mainstage is it will actually tell you if two patches in a concert have duplicate program change values!]


    Hope it helps.

  • 11. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    StevenChell Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've seen someone do something similar to this, I just to understand it a bit better, but it sounds ideal. In this case, would your backing track also run in logic, rather than triggering it in mainstage in Playback plug in? Or is there a way to trigger both simultaneously? The only problem i forsee is not being able to blend different songs together smoothly.

  • 12. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    bhbowen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I use logic and play bounced tracks out of there. I actually put full sets together one track to the next.  I use my axiom pro to stop/start between songs.  My band tends to run 3-4 songs together and this way I save them in blocks and we practice with that existing timing so gig wise we know exactly what to expect.


    We actually control lighting from logic as well as click track and instrument settings (guitar players use pods).  It is a great setup with lots of automation but we keep it live and light and focus on stage presence while performing.

  • 13. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    StevenChell Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I can't get mainstage to recognise the PCs from Logic it's driving me mad! I use an Akai MPK 49, so that's what i have as my Midi Port on Mainstage, with Channel 1 from the vysex editor controling keys, and Channel 2 controlling pads.


    I'm chaning my midi port to my IAC driver, but it's just not working. All i want to use it for is backing track and patch changes.


    Also, I must be doing something wrong somewhere as Mainstage 3 crashes constantly.

  • 14. Re: Can mainstage2 send automated MIDI program changes ?
    bhbowen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Is Mainstage crashing or giving you the "Panic - Use Offline" message?


    If it is the Take online/use offline it is because your Logic environment isn't setup properly. (see previous post re:Command 8).


    Mabye these screenshots will help???Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.42.09 AM.png


    Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.42.28 AM.png

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