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What's the best hardware to use Mainstage live?

5721 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: May 29, 2009 8:25 PM by rc tech RSS
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theunbeliever Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 21, 2009 7:19 AM
I am thinking of getting a macbook to run Mainstage for gigs.
I just wanted to know if I need to have any sound cards pre installed or anything?
I use a Roland RD 300 which has midi and a usb port and a Rolandxp80 which has no usb.

Can anyone tell me if I need additional interfaces for outputting audio to the PA and inputting midi to
the laptop?
If I get the cheapest macbook but up the ram to 4 gig will that be powerful enough?
Mac Pro 2 x 2 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 4 GB Ram -Logic 8-Motu 2408 Mk2-Motu MTP AV
  • gilapuki Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
    You'll be better off with a MacBook Pro; the cheapest version should be OK, especially if you add extra RAM.

    You will need an audio interface for best sound quality.
    I don't think you can input MIDI without an interface
    iMac G5: MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • Blueberry Level 4 Level 4 (2,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 22, 2009 6:53 PM (in response to gilapuki)
    THe most recent MacBook should be fine - if you don't need Firewire.
  • Bobbi Flekman Calculating status...
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    Mar 24, 2009 3:24 AM (in response to gilapuki)
    gilapuki wrote:
    You will need an audio interface for best sound quality.
    I don't think you can input MIDI without an interface

    You can input MIDI through USB. Many controllers support that. Though I have the same opinion: get a good sound interface. Normally they also include MIDI connections.
    iMac, Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6), Logic Studio 8.0.2, and a whole bunch of softsynths
  • Bobbi Flekman Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    theunbeliever wrote:
    I assume the audio interfaces attach via USB or Firewire ports.
    My Mac Pro has a PCI card fitted internally for my motu so I just
    wanted to make sure the macbook didn't need any thing fitted.

    Correct. The MIDI/Audio interface goes into the FW/USB. MIDI cable from keyboard to interface, audio cables from interface to mixer/amp/whatever.

    theunbeliever wrote:
    Can you recommend a good but not too expensive audio/midi interface?

    Define expensive... I have two interfaces that I like, one is a Mark Of The Unicorn (MOTU) 828 MkII, the other is a Tascam US-144. The MOTU is more expensive, but higher quality. I use the Tascam as a simple quick road thingy as it is small (not a 19" module).

    theunbeliever wrote:
    If I was using it just for gigs, wouldn't the built in audio output be good enough? Say with a stereo mini jack to 2 xlr or 1/4 inch jack- cable?

    You can try, but I sincerely doubt it. Just hook it up and listen to it. If you like the sound, go for it. I didn't like it, not on my Macbook Pro or on my iMac.
    iMac, Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6), Logic Studio 8.0.2, and a whole bunch of softsynths
  • Bobbi Flekman Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Keyboard 1(MIDI Out) > Keyboard 2(MIDI In)

    Keyboard 2(MIDI Thru) > Tascam (or whatever MIDI interface you're using).

    Either that or you will have to use MIDI Thru boxes.

    This way you will be able to play instruments on two different MIDI channels and MainStage can send the MIDI data to separate channel strips. Be aware that you will have to add another keyboard to MainStage setup.
    iMac, Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6), Logic Studio 8.0.2, and a whole bunch of softsynths
  • shane blyth Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 29, 2009 10:06 PM (in response to theunbeliever)
    i use the built in audio output and the sound quality is fine even on piano sounds. I use usb midi cable to a cheap midi controller keyboard and can set things at 128 so latency is super low. I have a firebox from presonus and found no increase in the quality of sound and latency and cpu load where if anything slightly worse. So i give the built in soundcard a big thumbs up
    I suggest you dont buy an audio interface but try it with the built in soundcard. If u dont like it take your rig down to a music dealer and try it there... I always suggest listening through your own headphones so that the acoustics or sound system they are using wont color your sound.
    17"Macbookpro 2.33ghz 3 gb ram 320gb 7200 rpm drive, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • celebutante Calculating status...
    I use a Novation XioSynth 49- it's a combination controller/virtual analog/audio interface along with an ancient 76-key Roland MKB-300. The Xio has been very reliable- this way I have a stereo audio interface and a 49 key controller, all powered off USB bus. The only bad things about it- no MIDI in for the MKB-300, so I have to use an M-Audio Uno USB interface, and the knobs literally fall off (nice QC guys). I just removed all the knobs except volume- I don't really use them anyway.
    G5 dual 2 gig, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • carsimm Calculating status...
    I use an Apogee Ensemble. Rather expensive, but great sounding and highly reliable. There have been posts touting the Apogee Duet also. I use an RD 700 for one of my keyboards, and it works fine along with an Axiom 61. Both are usb.
    G5, Macbook Pro 17'' 2.33 Ghz Duo-3Gb., Mac OS X (10.4.11), Apogee Ensemble, Logic Pro, Arturia Minimoog, Ivory, Omnisphere, Axiom 61, RD700
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