14 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2012 2:09 PM by mickey swift
Darcy Phillips1 Level 1 (55 points)

I am quite confused by the signal flow in mainstage.  The main problem I have is this:  I want to be able to control the level of the patch, independent of the other patches in my concert.  I need to be able separately address and save the output level of each patch, so that I can.... balance them all.  Or maybe there is a better way to do that.  Anyway, I thought the most natural way would be to change the output of each channel in a patch to a bus, or aux, send that bus to the main output, and use it as my master output level for that patch.  Problem I find is that if I select a new bus from the menu in the output box of the channel strip of an instrument in my patch, a new bus is created at the concert level.  Doesn't work, because then it's not separately controllable for this particular patch. 


Even if I create the aux using the + button in the channel strips pane, I can't seem to select it as an output for my channel strips, a new aux keeps getting created at the concert level. 


I'm sure part of this has to do with how incredibly confused I am by this whole bus/aux terminology.  I've got channels that are bus 3, for example, but called Aux 4.  If I create a new aux, what bus is it?  I don't know how to tell.  And I really can't follow the logic of having a bus seeming to need to have itself as it's input.  What?  Why does an aux even need an input, isn't its input what is fed to it by the sends on the channel strips?  Or by the output selection in the channel strips. 


Yikes.  I'm not doing well.  And I am taking this whole rig before a fairly large TV audience in a couple of weeks, and a major tour after that.  So I have to brush up, fast.  Sorry for the rambling, but I'm really not even sure what the exact problem is here. 


Maybe there is some kind soul who can explain any little piece of this for me, and I thank you in advance.



  • chiccorosso Level 1 (145 points)

    To control the volume of the patch, as you say, i would operate like that:


    1. set up the patch with all your virtual instruments (or audio or whatever you have)

    2. balance each volume of your channel strips so that the mixup is correct

    3. select a control in edit mode (a fader or a knob ora pedal)

    4. go to the screen control inspector (the pane at the bottom) and link your control to each and all your patch channel strips volume

    5. in the first tab of the screen control inspector select "Respond to Hardware Move: RELATIVE"


    Now by moving the knob/fader/pedal/whatever each volume will raise or lower accordingly.


    To have a channel strip that takes all the inputs from your patch do like that:


    1. in the channel strips pane click on "+" and create a new AUDIO strip. Format: stereo, Input: Bus4 (or the first unassigned bus), Output:Output1-2 (or your main output)

    2. go to your virtual instruments channel strips and select "bus4" as the audio OUT (Under the label "I/O")

    3. repeat step 3 for each channel strips

    4. there you are.


    I hope this helps a bit. Good Luck

  • Darcy Phillips1 Level 1 (55 points)

    2 great ideas!  Thank you very much.  I wouldn't have thought of using an audio strip for that job. 


    I think I'm gonna be ok.  I'm loving many things about mainstage, but some things are driving me nuts.  i.e. if I use an alias of a software instrument, I can't mute it in the new patch without it getting muted in every other patch that uses an alias of that instrument, including the original instrument?  Please just let me re-use the instance of the software instrument and pan and mute and send it however I like on each alias!  w. t. f.


    Thanks again!  Cheers.

  • chiccorosso Level 1 (145 points)

    I'll be happy to answer, just... what do you mean with "alias of a software instrument"?


    If you mean a channel strip created at concert level, just create a knob (or fader or etc etc, won't repeat it anymore ) and map it to the volume of the strip while having your concert selected on the left pane.


    then you go to the patch you want to change, select the same knob and check "override Concert mapping" and then "on patch change: RESET".


    You can also create a button and map it to bypass or mute or expression so that your volume will remain unchanged and you'll just have a button activating or disactivating your virtual instrument.




    Mainstage is very object oriented and interface oriented. So rather then using it as a DAW you should use it as a synthesizer building facility


    Once you'll get accustomed to its different principles you won't be able to detach anymore.

  • Darcy Phillips1 Level 1 (55 points)

    Had a chance to fool with your ideas-  f'ing fanatastic!  It feels very solid, predicatable, and controllable.  I just learned how to map more than one parameter to a control.  You're right, it's a great way to go, and a bit of a paradigm shift for sure.  Thanks again for helping me see the light.


    Oh, "alias of a software instrument" means an alias of a channel strip, copied and pasted "as alias" from one patch to another.  I haven't fooled with the concert level stuff too much, it seems like it would take away too much control.  But, maybe with your ideas it doesn't have to.


    Cheers!  I owe you a beer- or whatever your poison of choice!  Darcy

  • Darcy Phillips1 Level 1 (55 points)



    A question further to this topic.  I have a patch where I have built an onscreen button that mutes a channel strip (a channel strip that is an alias).  If I happen to leave it muted when I exit, I find the original is now muted in it's own patch, and all the other aliases of it are also muted!  I assume this is a feature, not a bug.  It is causing me a bit of a grief, as I constantly am having to trace my steps, and always find things muted and have to figure out why I did that and where I did that, etc.  It's a bit of a pain! 


    Anyway, how can I mute this channel strip, then leave the patch and not be changing my settings in other patches?  I wonder in what kind of workflow would this be useful?  Sure is hard to keep working around right now...


    Any help greatly appreciated!  Darcy

  • chiccorosso Level 1 (145 points)

    1. First of all you should be sure to link that mute button to your channel strip mute in every patch.

    2. while in edit mode click two times on that button (first click to select it, second to activate) in order to have it muted or not muted, the way you want to find it when you select the patch.

    3. in "attributes" select "on patch change: reset".

    4. repeat steps 2 and 3 for every patch that uses that alias (plus the original one of course)


    Now whenever you select a patch that mute button will revert to what you prefere for that patch.


    Remember you can also manage that "on patch change" preference in whole application preferences.


    PS: thanks for the virtual beer (I'd rather prefere a ginger, i don't like beer ;-) ) cheers!

  • Darcy Phillips1 Level 1 (55 points)

    I was afraid that was going to be the answer.  It seems very odd to me that when I'm building the 20th patch of my show and decide I want to mute a channel, I have to go back over the previous 19 patches and re-link the button and make sure it's off.  I'm sure there's a good reason for it, but in this case all I have is an instrument that I use a lot of, and that I now want to have muted, or mutable.  Doesn't seem like a very unusual situation, yet seems to demand a considerable workaround. One solution would be to let me define the state on the exit of the patch.  Or better yet, just let me mute it without muting everything else!


    So there, there's my rant about that.  A good scotch, perhaps?

  • chiccorosso Level 1 (145 points)

    hmmm, maybe you can go with the application preference setting...


    If this piece of information can help you, i am at my third concert and I learned a lot from the past two... For sure, like in any software, you learn from past errors, I think it's unavoidable.


    thanks for the scotch anyway pal ;-)



  • mickey swift Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey chicorosso,


    You seem to be the man in the know so here goes. I liked your workaround for the initial problem posed in this thread. The only problem is, that once it's set up this way, it seems impossible to change the volume of an individual channel, without undoing all the mapping. If I do attempt to change the new 'main' out control the individual channels returnto the position they were in before the mapping was executed.


    If I use he bus method, then I need a new bus for every patch which can get a bit messy having loads of channel strips.


    Is there a happy medium? A 3rd majical workaround for this task?


    Thanks buddy



  • CCTM Level 6 (10,315 points)

    mickey swift wrote:


    Is there a happy medium? A 3rd majical workaround for this task?




    How about using a Screen Control mapped to Expression (cc11) via "Send to ALL". This way the individual strips volume faders can be set (or adjusted), and the CC11 will turn up/down all within these overall volume settings.




  • chiccorosso Level 1 (145 points)

    Yes that's a solution. Or you can route every patch to a single bus. Link a slider to that bus for the overall volume and setup other controls to each patch.

  • mickey swift Level 1 (0 points)

    I got round this by creating aux channels at the patch level and now only the aux channel relative to the patch open is visible. Keeping it tidy.


    One more question. Is there a way to automatically stop the click when a backing track has finished? It's just some times we go into free jams at the end of songs and the drummer doesnt want the click in his ear for it, or to have to press spacebar etc....


    And another. Is there a way to auto play the next patch when I hit the down arrow key? At the moment it starts the click in the new tempo of the new patch but doesnt start the audio backing track.


    These are my last two issues and then Im ready to make a fulltime switch from Ableton to Mainstage!!



  • CCTM Level 6 (10,315 points)

    mickey swift wrote:



    And another. Is there a way to auto play the next patch when I hit the down arrow key? At the moment it starts the click in the new tempo of the new patch but doesnt start the audio backing track.




    You can do this within the Action menu in the Playback plug: choose Start on Patch/Set change



  • mickey swift Level 1 (0 points)

    As if i missed that!!!!! Cheers bud. Finally any idea how to get the click to stop automatically when the backing track is finished???


    Cheers man