Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: May 26, 2013 7:35 PM by myfz6
Thieson Level 1 (0 points)

Hi all,


Yesterday for the first time I set up my full rig for testing the usage of mainstage 2 in a live setting.

I was a bit dissapointed. I would have thought my MBP would withstand the ordeal perfectly fine, but it didn't seem

stable enough.


My setup:

I have a MBP 17" 2.8GHZ dual core, with 4 GB RAM. 5200RPM WD hard drive

I run Mainstage 2 with logic samples and Kontakt 5 from Native Instruments.


I have a Yamaha MO8 and a Yamaha S30 as controllers

and I also have an iphone for triggerpads connected as midi controller over WiFi.


I seem to get a lot of problems with samples not playing, latency, other glitches and things.


What is wrong?

MacBook pro, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • Kappy Level 10 (265,883 points)

    I have no experience with what you are doing, but if it involves an moving of audio to and from the hard drive or if you are streaming audio, then you hard drive is too slow. You need a 7200 RPM drive with as large an onboard cache as possible but at least 16 MBs. If you have a 2011 model then the drive can be a 6.0 Gb/s drive, otherwise it's limited to 3.0 Gb/s.


    I would also consider more RAM, as well. Doing audio can be very resource intensive.

  • Thieson Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanx for your quick answer...

    As i'm not really into the deep technical specs of hard drives:

    Can you recommend a specific brand / type for me?


    I bought the MBP in march 2010 I think.



  • Kappy Level 10 (265,883 points)

    The Seagate XT500 is a hybrid drive that uses some onboard flash memory to help speed up the hard drive to improve performance. I've several of them installed in my laptops. The HGST 500 GB Travelstar Z7K500 is another with excellent specs.


    Look for them at OWC together with tools and tutorials on installation which you can do yourself.

  • dhjdhj Level 2 (160 points)

    Well, I have had 7200 rpm drives in my laptop (same model as you have) and it didn't really help with MainStage that much. You don't mention what I/O Buffer Size you have setup in MainStage and if you can increase that value without introducing too much sloppiness (depends on what kind of sounds you're creating), that might help.


    The other thing I did (for reasons other than speed but I got the speed benefit too) was replace my hard drive (and CD drive) with SSDs. Unlike hybrids, these are 100% solid state drives and they make a huge difference.


    OWC sells SSDs as well.

  • Kappy Level 10 (265,883 points)

    I think the drive will only matter if you are performing a lot of disk I/O or streaming audio. Otherwise, it probably won't make any difference as you say.


    I didn't mention SSDs because of their cost. Certainly if you are doing a lot of audio streaming an SSD would help.

  • CCTM Level 6 (10,590 points)




    1) You would definately benefit from a 7200 rpm drive, and an SSD would be a vast improvement with regard to disk access speed and a complete lack of vibration sensitivity. (Note that Kontakt generally streams samples from the HD)


    2) Kontakt can be particularly RAM and CPU hungry. Turn off as much of the internal FX within Kontakt as you can.


    3) More RAM would help, allowing you to run with the benefits of MS in 64bit mode, with Kontakt's memory server OFF. Check how much free RAM you have with your Concert loaded.


    4) Investigate using Channel Strip Alias to save loading multiple instances of Kontakt and other Plugins.


    5) Optimise/minimise the use of CPU-hungry FX (use Aux sends to  FX plugs)


    6) Consider an OS update to OSX.6.8 (Backup first)







  • dhjdhj Level 2 (160 points)

    Do channel strip aliases allow you to have different patches loaded in the single instance? That is, when you switch from one patch to another, can the channel strip alias in the one to which you switched load a different instrument into e already instantiated Kontakt?

  • CCTM Level 6 (10,590 points)




    dhjdhj wrote:


    Do channel strip aliases allow you to have different patches loaded in the single instance? That is, when you switch from one patch to another, can the channel strip alias in the one to which you switched load a different instrument into e already instantiated Kontakt?




    Assign each patch in Kontakt to a different MIDI channel, then use the Channel Strip Inspector in MS to setup a "multitimbral" assignment. Change the channel assignment as required for each Alias.




  • dhjdhj Level 2 (160 points)

    Sorry but that's a hack --- you still have to have all your instruments preloaded. You might as well just put a single instance at the set level or concert level.

  • CCTM Level 6 (10,590 points)



    Hmmm... seems I mis-read your post regarding the loading of a different instrument. You have to have all your instruments pre-loaded either way.


    Concert or Set level works, but does not offer the flexibility of layers/splits per Patch as conveniently, and allows for a more flexible organisation within the Concert.


    Your milage may vary :-)




  • dhjdhj Level 2 (160 points)

    No, you didn't misread it --- I understand the difference but the inability to unload stuff you're not using and load what you need is the biggest flaw in MS for me --- even a preload of the "next patch" in a setlist would have been very beneficial and unload stuff in previous patches would have made a hugh difference is ability to support lots of instruments. That's the main reason I gave up MS and switched to a home brew solution.


    But I keep watching MainStage development in the hope that they will eventually address such things....conceptually, MS is brilliant.

  • Extrovertus Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a Core 2 Duo 2.4GHZ MPB with MS2 using Logic and Kontakt 5 samples.


    I found that the more Kontakt instruments I introduced, the less stable it became - mainly CPU maxing out and fans running like a jet engine. Another glitch appeared where moving between patches that had Kontakt instruments in would max out the CPU and cut off the sustained sounds. For a couple of years I had used it without Kontakt and could have layer upon layer quite happily.  Some of the Kontakt samples are brilliant so I wanted to keep using them but I had to do a lot of pruning like cutting out Kontakt instruments effects. I moved to an SSD which helped boot time and smple load times but didn't help CPU maxing.


    I tinkered endlessly with I/O buffer sizes, sample rates etc because I didn't want crackles or pops during a performance. It never failed me on stage but I bit the bullet and bought a new 2.6GHz quad core 16GB MPB last week. So far it has behaved better with regard to CPU load so I will now reintroduce my missng layers.

  • sadiscord Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm with you - Kontakt is just too good to give up. The 8dio and Project SAM stuff sound amazing, way better than anything you can get with Reason or Logic's EXS Sampler.


    I upgraded from a Macbook Air to the new 13" Retina: 2.9 Intel i7 w/ 8 GB ram and a 250 gb SSD - I've been able to load a concert with 4-5 instances of Kontakt, multiple EXS, EVB, etc. and a few other random VSTs (Massive, etc.) 30-40 total patches, lots of effects, two aux channels, and a 512 sample rate I'm able to keep the CPU load under 50% unless I slam on all the keys at once with the sustain pedal on.


    Kontakt still glitches though...particularly if I'm running things off and external HD (even over usb 3.0), or I have Logic or something else open at the same time as MainStage. No major problems during a live set...yet!

  • myfz6 Level 1 (10 points)

    I ran Logic Studio perfectly on my 2008 late MBP w/ 4 GB of ram.   I did upgrade to 8 GB though apple says only allows 6 GB of ram when I went with 8 GB OF RAM I noticed a major improvement and I could open a 100 programs and logic never would fail.    I am anxious to run logic on my new 2013 MACBOOK PRO RETINA so far Mainstage is running awesome.   I would see of there is something in ur laptop that is not allowing all of ur ram to work properly

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