9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 16, 2009 1:16 PM by NMcQ
odie602r Level 1 (0 points)
I'm a keyboard player using Mainstage for playing the software instruments. I play regularly in the same setting that has a PA system set up in mono.

I plug into a single DI channel. Currently I am doing this using the built-in Mac audio output and have a stereo 1/8" to mono 1/4" lead to do the job.

I've just ordered an M-Audio Profire 610 to handle the job instead of the built-in audio (for better sound quality etc). The 610 has 8 balanced analog outs. How do I route Mainstage's output just to Output 1 on the 610, not Output 1-2? I can't seem to find how to change Mainstage's output to mono, rather than stereo.

I'm sure it's easy to do, if only I knew how ...

MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.6), 4Gb, 200Gb, 15"
  • Zuelito Level 4 (1,515 points)
    Since no one has answered your question I'll give it a shot. I haven't really used Mainstage, but I do recall from my messing with it a while ago (it's no longer on my system to confirm this) that the channel strips are almost identical to those in Logic. So I'll give the Logic answer to this question, and perhaps it applies to Mainstage too.

    This question as it pertains to Logic does pop up every once in a while, as it is somewhat baffling. You can't actually change a channel strip so it has a mono output. All of the outputs on Channel Strips will always be stereo. But all you need to do is hard pan any channel strip left or right, and it will only be sending to one output. So if you just want your audio to go out of 1 on your interface, select 1-2 output, and then pan hard left.

    My apologies if there is another way to do this in Mainstage. But this certainly will work.

    Good Luck!
  • odie602r Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the suggestion. Can you confirm for me though, is all the sound from a given patch/channel strip/s then being sent to, say the Left, if that's the way I pan it?

    What I mean is, on some channel strips or patches where there's a chorus effect or similar that oscillates its effect from L to R, will panning to L only mean all the sound normally sent to R will be missing, or is it now all sent to L?

    I assume too you mean panning the actual output channel strip (eg Output 1-2) rather than each individual channel strip on each individual patch?
  • Greg Hodge Level 1 (95 points)
    Here's a concept that should work. (Not tested, I'm not at my mainstage machine today.)

    At the concert level, route your stereo onto odd & even buss strips instead of the OUTPUT strip. Create mono audio strip that source the busses and route them to the outputs. This method will make sure both sides of your stereo signals make it to the outputs.

  • odie602r Level 1 (0 points)
    I didn't quite understand what you meant, Greg. The sound from a channel strip from what I can see can't be routed to both an odd and even bus - it's either/or (unless I'm missing something, which is certainly possible).

    Here's something that I've tried (I've now received my Profire 610). It comes with a software mixer control panel application. On this application (which controls the profire's in and out volume levels), I've set channel 2's output panned hard to left, which is the same setting as output 1 (which is where I have the mono (obviously) lead plugged in). So, the software mixer is sending all of output 2's signal to the left (output 1) not to the right (output 2).

    I'm then leaving Mainstage untouched. So, having Mainstage left as is, and using the software mixer, I can mute output 1 of Profire (which is where lead is plugged into) and still here signal (slightly weaker level though) because I have panned output 2's signal to left.

    Can someone confirm that this is indeed doing what I was originally after?

    I can't believe no one has asked this before - isn't it common practice for PA systems to be running mono (hence the signal input from audio devices need only be mono?)? After all, unless you're in a lounge room or studio, you can't really hear any stereo effects ...
  • CCTM Level 6 (10,590 points)

    How about using a Gain plugin inserted on the Output channel.. switched to Mono in the Gain plug?


  • celebutante Level 1 (10 points)
    Yes, inserting a "gain" plug-in switched to mono in out 1-2 is the way to go- that's what I do. You can then pan out 1-2 hard left if you need to use output 2 on your audio interface for something else. (I used both outs on my audio interface, but route one to house, and one to a JBL Eon monitor).

  • NMcQ Level 1 (5 points)
    On your new audio interface, can't you just use a Y-Cable to go from the two stereo to one 1/4"? This is what I do, because I've been told that since all or at least most of today's samples AND effects are designed in stereo, to take them to mono is a bad idea, mainly because just using one side, eg. panning left, could easily leave out sonic elements that the sound designers have purposely placed on the right side of their sample or effect setting.

    OTOH I've also experienced phase problems with mono-summing stereo sources, which is not related to the above.

    Just my $0.02, I'll be interested in reading more on this.

  • jazzalactic Level 1 (10 points)
    Noooooo! Y cables are (with caveats) usable as splitters, but not combiners. Combining two signals requires a mixer (or some [usually active] circuitry).

    The phase problem can be very real, notwithstanding that a Y cable is not the way to combine to signals.

    I normally run in mono live, because I don't believe in attempting accurate stereo imaging in clubs or hotel ballrooms (not to mention that a stereo Leslie sim sounds whacked out when the mains are 30 feet apart). The best answer I have for running mono with Mainstage (though I would like a better one) is pick left or right at random, and just use that. On piano patches, for example, I would expect Left to be slightly bass heavy and Right to be treble heavy. AFAIK the Mainstage / Logic virtual instruments don't have a Left/Mono out (like my yamaha S90) or a Right/Mono out (like my Nord Electro). I don't know if those boards do anything fancier than just sending the channel whose output is selected, but one would sort-of hope so.

    However, I recently did a session with the S90, in stereo, and we discovered that it's main piano had phase cancellation problems when we summed it to mono. So they clearly can't be giving me a left/right sum when I run from the L/mono output, because I don't hear phase cancellation then...

  • NMcQ Level 1 (5 points)
    I defer to your expertise but since I have used y cables as combiners (knowing it's not as good as using a mixer but needing to solve a problem on the spot) would you kindly explain why they'd work in one direction but not the other, so I understand the underlying issues?
    Thanks much,