7 Replies Latest reply: May 16, 2012 2:19 AM by CCTM
Lio Eters Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hello,

 

I would like to switch between different software instruments (as plugins in Mainstage) during a performance, as well as switch between programs within the plugins themselves.

 

I have a MIDI keyboard with 8 knobs and buttons, so the buttons will be for this purpose, and I also have available several other unassigned buttons on another MIDI controller.

 

I understand that Mainstage uses MIDI program change commands to switch between patches, so these can be used for switching to different software instruments (or multiple instances of the same instrument).  For this, I should load whatever instrument I need at the patch level -- is that correct?

 

As for switching between programs within the active instrument plugin, is it possible for some MIDI program change commands to bypass Mainstage and be sent to the plugins?

 

I know there are many possible ways of managing this depending on my own preference, but I was wondering if there was a common-sense approach that I'm not aware of... And curious how others have set up multiple instruments and programs, and how to quickly switch among them.

 

Thank you for any advice.


MainStage, Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • 1. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    CCTM Level 6 Level 6 (9,015 points)

    Lio Eters wrote:

     

    Hello,

     

     

    I understand that Mainstage uses MIDI program change commands to switch between patches, so these can be used for switching to different software instruments (or multiple instances of the same instrument).  For this, I should load whatever instrument I need at the patch level -- is that correct?

     

    Yep... generally the way forward is to create MS Patches loaded with the required Instrument Channel Strips and Instrument plugs etc., and then change MS patches to get to the next sounds you need. There can be advantages to having Instrument channels at Set or even Concert level.

    Lio Eters wrote:

     

    As for switching between programs within the active instrument plugin, is it possible for some MIDI program change commands to bypass Mainstage and be sent to the plugins?

    No. MS either uses the PG messages to change MS Patches, or it ignores them. It is not possible to send PG messages to the plugins.

     

     

    Lio Eters wrote:

     

     

    I know there are many possible ways of managing this depending on my own preference, but I was wondering if there was a common-sense approach that I'm not aware of... And curious how others have set up multiple instruments and programs, and how to quickly switch among them.

     

    Patch changing with MS can be achieved by a variety of methods, including:

     

    Program Change Messages

    Key Commands (next/previous Patch)

    Clicking on a Screen Control Patch List

    Clicking on a Screen Control mapped to Next/Prev Patch (Concert Level)

    Assigning in-coming MIDI to the Screen Controls mentioned above

    Assigning In-Coming MIDI messages to next/prev patch actions using the new Assignments and Mappings Pane

    Map a screen control to Action:Current Patch (or Program) number

    Assign in-coming MIDI to this screen control

     

    etc

     

     

    CCT

  • 2. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    Lio Eters Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, CCTM! That was a very helpful. I'll be referencing what you wrote to help me set up.

     

    Too bad MS doesn't pass program change to plugins, because I often use those messages to switch sounds within the instrument's bank, e.g., NI Kontakt. I'll have to find other ways of achieving that, with MIDI assign in the plugin itself and perhaps the keyboard (send CC from buttons instead of PG change).

     

    To have multiple instances of the same instrument in several patches would be inefficient.. So, I'll put the different instruments in its own patch, and figure out how to switch programs within each instrument.

     

    Thanks again.

  • 3. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    CCTM Level 6 Level 6 (9,015 points)

    Lio Eters wrote:

     

     

    To have multiple instances of the same instrument in several patches would be inefficient..

    Check out Alias channel strips

     

    Also check out using an Instrument channel as a 'multi-timbral' instrument: eg 1 Instance of Kontakt, loaded with 16 sounds on different MIDI channels

     

     

    CCT

  • 4. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    Lio Eters Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ah, that's what I had overlooked, alias channel strip. Thanks for pointing out this basic function. As you can see, I'm fairly new at MS.

     

    So, if I understand correctly, it's possible to have aliases of the same instrument in several patches, with each patch routing the MIDI notes to a different sound in the instrument. I believe this solves my dilemma.

     

    The multi-timbral approach may help me also, although my keyboard doesn't allow for easy switching of output MIDI channel.

     

    I'll work with the helpful info you've given me, and post on the final setup.

     

    I really appreciate it, CCTM.

  • 5. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    CCTM Level 6 Level 6 (9,015 points)

    Lio Eters wrote:

     

    So, if I understand correctly, it's possible to have aliases of the same instrument in several patches, with each patch routing the MIDI notes to a different sound in the instrument. I believe this solves my dilemma.

     

    Yep... excluding any potential RAM or CPU issues

     

     

    Lio Eters wrote:

     

    The multi-timbral approach may help me also, although my keyboard doesn't allow for easy switching of output MIDI channel.

     

    There is no need to change MIDI transmission channel on your controller, simply assign the Instrument Channel Strip (or Alias strip) to have a "MultiTimbral" MIDI input in the Inspector, then choose the desired Keyboard/Channel in the popup:

     

    MultiT.png

     

    CCT

  • 6. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    Lio Eters Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Aha! So each patch can send to a different MIDI channel on the aliased instrument. Makes sense, that allows for a lot of flexibility.

  • 7. Re: Managing multiple soft instruments and program changes
    CCTM Level 6 Level 6 (9,015 points)

    Hi

     

    Exactly :-)

     

     

    CCT