A technical support community for Apple Logic Pro users.



 
GMP24
Topic Author
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:32 am

Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:19 am

Hi,

I have a basic question. I am a (so far) studio musician, looking to do some live work.
Currently using LogicPro. I play keyboards.

Aim: To reproduce some of my Logic Session tracks but play the main keyboard parts live.

So I need my computer to play the Drum, bass and guitar parts as session. Keyboards would be a mix of software (Logic) sounds and dedicated outboard stage piano/synths.

So do I need Mainstage for this or just Logic?
Can both do this job?
What are the advantages to either? No experience of Mainstage.
Currently using a Focusrite Sapphire interface in the studio.

Really appreciative of help.

Thank You.

GMP24
 
User avatar
Ploki
Posts: 3738
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:59 am
Location: Slovenia
Contact:

Re: Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:30 am

PROS:
Mainstage:
- easier to assign and select specific VST instruments, fancy GUI feedback, easier hardware assignment and bus labeling
Logic:
- Automation, tempo tracks, rigid playback system, especially for multi-tracks, extremely easy file management and playback track replacement/on the fly edits

CONS:
Mainstage:
- i find playback engine unreliable, and GUI is laggy and clunky to design
- hard to have "overview" of all routing
- Concert > set > patch hierachy and signal flow can become confusing if you're not very strict.
Logic:
- It's best that you have a dedicated macOS/Logic installation, because some global settings that are best for Live are terrible for studio
- hardware assignments are again GLOBAL, so if you have a dedicated macos/logic installation that's not an issue.
- bus labels are GLOBAL
- need to fiddle in environment to hard-route midi controllers to software instruments, so you're not depending on record arming, and if you open the project while a hardware controller is disconnected you need to hardwire it again.

I played a few mainstage shows, but 2 had inexplicably dropped playback, and since switching to Logic for live, I had 0 issues and CPU usage went down.

However, I don't use a lot of VSTs, 5 tracks, and one VST has 6 different presets (u-he hive) (there's plenty of audio and submixes going on tho)

If I had tons of different presets i'd probably try to use a combination of both (send patch changes from Logic to Mainstage) because it can be tricky to setup in logic.

So really, depends, but from my experience i vote for logic. I think most of what can be done with Mainstage can also be done with logic (especially if you fiddle in environment)
2018 Mini i7 | 2018 13" Quad i5 | Mojave 10.14.6 | Logic 10.4.6
RME FireFace 400 | ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 | ROLI Blocks
 
User avatar
Dewdman42
Posts: 1880
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:01 pm
Location: Park City, UT

Re: Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:10 pm

MainStage has a few features that logic does not have for live performance ,which MOST people will benefit from. The biggest thing is that you can setup a set list of patches and instantly change patches via program change command, with each patch being whatever mixer config you want with instruments, sounds, audio strips or whatever you want. For most people, I think that is the way to go for using software instruments on stage.

That being said, for live playback of backing tracks, it starts to get murkier. As you get more complicated, MainStage can't really handle it...then you'd be better off in LogicPro, but you'll lose the Patch setlist capability, which for me is major.

My advise is to keep your backing track playback as simple as possible. Just record your backing tracks as MP3's fully mixed and let them playback from somewhere. MainStage can handle that, and if it can't, you can always just put them on an iPod and hit play from there. Simple. Don't mess with midi sequence playback on stage. Its a fools errand in my opinion. You can always record a click track MP3 also and send that to the drummer or whatever.

If you somehow need to insist on being able to do advanced created things in the sequencer in a live setting, then definitely go LogicPro because MainStage's playback capabilities are rudimentary and sometimes flukey to figure out, but personally I would would avoid doing that kind of stuff live. Keep the setup simple.

As far as being able to use software and hardware synths to play on... (not midi sequencing), that can all be handled by either product, but I just think its easier to setup a setlist of songs in MainStage...where you can send it a program change and have all your software instruments and external synths change to the right sound, etc.. MainStage is perfect for that and LogicPro is not, then you have to jump through hoops in LogicPro and do complicated environment setups to try to achieve stuff like that.. so pick your poison...
5,1 MacPro 3.46ghz x 12 128gb ram, OSX 10.14, Logic Pro 10.4.7, Mainstage3, Cubase10, StudioOne, Reaper, DP9, VEP, VSL, too many plugins to list
 
GMP24
Topic Author
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:32 am

Re: Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:51 am

Thank you both for your comments. Definitely some things to think about. I will try both I think but your thoughts are very welcome.
Another up-front question. How would you efficiently handle a set list in Logic and launching each song/track?
 
User avatar
Ploki
Posts: 3738
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:59 am
Location: Slovenia
Contact:

Re: Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:58 pm

I have each song contained inside an "Arrangement marker", and at the end of each track i have an empty region which does the following:
- meta event [stop playback]
- midi CC113 going to IAC Bus1 (Which is routed back to logic) which i assigned to "go to next marker"

that way when i shuffles songs around, i can always play from the beginning and it will automatically go to next track, so my Arrangement track is essentially my playlist.

+ i wholeheartedly agree with everything Dewdman42 said. He's a Mainstage maestro and really helped me out when i was creating my concert, but the complex playback (7 separate playback tracks per patch, altogether 42 WAVs in a concert) + midi sequencing turned out to be too much for Mainstage to handle.

And it was Mainstage, not MacBook, because CPU in the end didn't even flinch when playback was dropped.
2018 Mini i7 | 2018 13" Quad i5 | Mojave 10.14.6 | Logic 10.4.6
RME FireFace 400 | ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 | ROLI Blocks
 
User avatar
Dewdman42
Posts: 1880
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:01 pm
Location: Park City, UT

Re: Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:30 pm

Well, scripter maestro, not so much mainstage ;-) cheers though

I think if you have advanced playback needs mainstage is not the best choice. If you can keep your playback needs simple then I think mainstage will work great and provide the song set list capability, which for me is the main point of using it.

People differ in this point of view but many people are opposed to the idea of using prerecorded backing tracks. In some way they feel that if they have midi playing synths it’s somehow less of a cheat or something like that. But I think the audience can’t tell the difference between midi play back and fully mixed mp3, nor do they care as long as you’re playing some live instruments of some kind and giving them a live experience. I once started to be in a band where we were going to be a three peice with recorded backing tracks on almost every song. Eventually it became obvious that all the tech would be a million times easier and the sound better if we just premixed a simple mp3 of each song with the backing tracks we wanted, and drummer can still use click track.

What you can do with mainstage is load the wav or mp3 into the playback plugin of each song patch. If you create the audio in logicpro you can also beat map it and save it as an apple loop format and then in mainstage you will be able to change the tempo, of perhaps other things you want to happen in some ways related to bars and beats, but at a minimum you can hit play and hear it play back. The biggest thing is that if it’s beat mapped you can use arps and stuff from mainstage and they’ll play in sync to the backing track.

But at some point if you’re getting in touch with your Thomas Dolby, and doing some tricky tech things in performance with complicated sync and what not, then logicpro will work better but the song set list management will always be way more complicated with logicpro, it’s just not designed for that.
5,1 MacPro 3.46ghz x 12 128gb ram, OSX 10.14, Logic Pro 10.4.7, Mainstage3, Cubase10, StudioOne, Reaper, DP9, VEP, VSL, too many plugins to list
 
Dragonwind
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Logic or Mainstage for Live work?

Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:58 pm

A couple of things to note. In LPX if you are playing a VI before you start playback it will cut out. I use DP just for the track playback and Mainstage for all the VI’s.
http://www.chriscaouette.com
• LPX 10.4.6, Latest Mojave build, Mac Pro 5,1 64gb Ram 12 core all SSD drives