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Loading of softsynths/patches via MIDI with MainStage


Maddcow

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Hi all. I'm a sax & wind controller player who's always used external hardware for live gigs until now (i.e. synths, FX, mixers etc). I'm now trying to reduce as much external hardware as possible for traveling (as well as for my back!!) and so I just bought a new MacBook Pro 17" and have a MOTU Ultralite Mk3 on order. I'm still undecided about MainStage and Ableton Live and would love some advice! BTW, my MBP is a Penryn 2.5gHz, 4GB and 7200rpm HDD.

 

I plan on running softsynths for my windcontroller and also use the host app to add FX to my sax, in addition to processing a mix of both for FOH and a separate mix (inc. FX) for my in-ear monitors. I know that both MS and Live can do both but that MS is generally better with CPU usage. And I'm not overly concerned about the audio processing, mixing and FX for my sax as the MBP should handle this ok.

 

However, what I'd really like to know is how MS can be configured to switch between the softsynths & patches via MIDI from my FCB1010 MIDI foot controller.......WITHOUT having to pre-load a zillion instances of each softsynth for all the patches I might use during a live gig. I know it's possible to have everything pre-loaded and then use MIDI to select a patch, but surely there's a more efficient way to do this?

 

I guess what I'm asking is this: can MS be configured so that I can just have my 6-8 different softsynths running but trigger the loading of patches for each synth via MIDI as I need them....just as you'd do with hardware synths? I use between 20-30 different sounds for each live gig and having them all pre-loaded has got to chew up a lot of system resources, even if I'm only actually using 1-2 sounds at a time.

 

I'd greatly appreciate any help you guys can provide. I also want to use Reason but I'll leave that for another thread!

 

Cheers, and thanks in advance

Gary

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I know it's possible to have everything pre-loaded and then use MIDI to select a patch, but surely there's a more efficient way to do this?

 

I guess what I'm asking is this: can MS be configured so that I can just have my 6-8 different softsynths running but trigger the loading of patches for each synth via MIDI as I need them....just as you'd do with hardware synths? I use between 20-30 different sounds for each live gig and having them all pre-loaded has got to chew up a lot of system resources, even if I'm only actually using 1-2 sounds at a time.

 

Have you tried loading 30/40 sounds?

 

Can you be more specific as to What softsynths?

 

For example, if you were to use the EXS and you wanted an instrument at the bottom end of the list, the instruments would have to scroll through the entire list to get to the one you want - then load it. It would be easier to have them pre loaded. I haven't tried to load up that many to see what would happen.

 

I played out and tried two different ideas:

 

1.) I pre loaded 5 patches of guitar settings, Each patch had 2 channel strips

I used an A/B box to switch inputs to use channel 1 or channel 2. Same idea with the next 4 patches. In this method I selected the patches (and songs in Logic using the up down arrows. NO FCB involved.

 

2.) I used the FCB and 5 patches with only 1 channel strip.

I also used the FCB to select the next random song by using a pedal to go up/down the list of songs in the audio bin.

 

I liked the 2nd method better.

 

You say you use 2 or 3 of the 20 /30 sounds at a time. So, one of my questions would be how many instruments do you need to have loaded per set?

 

I would imagine you may need any of them at any time without the rest of the band (or audience) waiting for you to find them and load them. Then it is a matter of what set of switches to tromp on.

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Have you tried loading 30/40 sounds?

 

Can you be more specific as to What softsynths?

I've tried loading about 16 and CPU/memory were really starting to fill up....and that's without playing anything.

 

As far as softsynths, I'm still working out which ones are best for wind controller use but EXS24 is a definite - so easy to configure for wind controller. I'll also be using WIVI (for brass) and am also looking at V-Station, Zebra and Kontakt. I need a softsynth that's great for lead synths and has a really diverse range of sounds available but is also easy to re-program for WX5. I love Reason for these reasons (no pun intended) but the whole Rewire issue with MS is a real PITA. I just can't understand why Apple didn't make MS Rewire-compatible.......

 

I played out and tried two different ideas:

 

1.) I pre loaded 5 patches of guitar settings, Each patch had 2 channel strips

I used an A/B box to switch inputs to use channel 1 or channel 2. Same idea with the next 4 patches. In this method I selected the patches (and songs in Logic using the up down arrows. NO FCB involved.

 

2.) I used the FCB and 5 patches with only 1 channel strip.

I also used the FCB to select the next random song by using a pedal to go up/down the list of songs in the audio bin.

 

I liked the 2nd method better.

Some good ideas there..... I was really trying to get away from having to be near the computer to see what I was doing i.e. set up my gear so it's out of the way and just have the FCB near me on stage so I can just hit a pedal and away I go with a new sound, new FX etc. And it looks the only way to achieve this is to have eveything pre-loaded and simply assign program changes to each of the patches so that they can be triggered by the FCB.

 

You say you use 2 or 3 of the 20 /30 sounds at a time. So, one of my questions would be how many instruments do you need to have loaded per set?

 

I would imagine you may need any of them at any time without the rest of the band (or audience) waiting for you to find them and load them. Then it is a matter of what set of switches to tromp on.

Yep, you're exactly right with your thoughts here. 99% of the time I don't even know which song is next, let alone having a set list! You see, I work freelance and primarily only do corporate gigs with bands that use tracks as the core and only use live vocals, perc, horns etc on top. We usually have a rough idea of what the client wants as the gig progresses but there are no set lists, and this is why I need ultimate flexibility. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm going to be able to make this work.
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This is a program for Logic that can be controlled via FCB and does 20 songs at a time.

 

http://fluqe.com/

 

You can name a file for each group of 20. The neat part is that you only load 1 song at a time. So, I am thinking if you have groups of 5 or 10 instruments per song, that would be a combination of (5 x 20 ) or (10 x 20). They may have a demo that limits you to four out of the twenty.

 

The biggest problem is not know what song is called out next.

 

BTW, I am now using a wireless controller (Tranzport) to select my songs from the audio bin and to Play/Stop. My Macbook now seems like a glorified ipod.

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