Jump to content

Multi-keyboard setup, independent patch changes possible?


Recommended Posts

Hi all, been out of the loop for a long while because I've been gigging loads.


I'm still with Mainstage 1.0.2 and not sure if there are any major differences with recent updates, but hope you can help me with this setup.


I'm going to MD a show that needs 3 keyboards playing a variety of sounds. I want to know if I can use a single instance of Mainstage to do this. It will require each keyboard to have the ability to change its sound without affecting the other keyboards.


Any ideas? Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I do this all the time, but it may seem convoluted. Each change of song is actually changing all the keyboards, but with copy and paste only the keyboard you want to change has to change.


Forgive me if I'm more explanative than you need. I really don't know at what level you're using MS.


You can set up multiple keyboards on your main screen and each channel strip can be run off of the keyboards you have configured. Once you've laid in your keyboards on the main screen, simply click on each keyboard and/or pedal, click the learn button, and touch or activate the device. You can name them, individually as well, and in turn, under the midi section of each channel strip, you will be able to choose the keyboard controllers from a drop down list.


You have set list, and in each set you have multiple songs.


Each song contains a completely new set of channel strips, but contains the same choice of keyboard and pedal input devices.


How I set up a set is to configure it song by song. I may select a hammond B3, a piano, and a lead synth, for instance. In some cases, I may split the keyboards in half and add additional sounds to match. Additionally, you can add velocity settings to a section of the keyboard that will allow you to layer multiple sounds on a single keyboard when a higher velocity is used on that section of keyboard. A good example would be setting up a pad that will play on all velocities, but adding a percussive patch when the controller is played harder.


You can get very complex and focus on the song itself, not the overall set.


Moving onto the next song in the set, you have two options. You can start fresh, or copy and past the current song and then modify.


Simply put, if you want one keyboard to be a piano for the whole set, just copy it along to the next song, or go to a song that has the piano assigned and right click copy the channel strip and go to the new song and paste it.


In more complex compositions, you can actually create multiple song (sections) and simply hit the down arrow on your keyboard mid-song to move to the next song-section, giving you the ability to have a completely new channel strip set, or a slightly modified version.


When you start out, it seems daunting, but once you have a few songs under your belt, it becomes largely a copy-paste affair. Since each song and set can be saved, you never have to loose a set up. You can always pull a saved set off the disk and either use it as is, or modify it to fit your next set of songs.


Incidentally, when you save to disk, you save the keyboard selection, as well. This means you can edit the setup for when you only use one or two controllers.. That file, however, will globally only have two keyboards available.


Does that help?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There shouldn't be. The patch should continue until you release. The next trigger then would be playing the "new" patch, which is the same patch.


There are still some bugs here and there, but I've been pretty happy with the tool.


I've often used Reason underneath, rewired in. I don't think continuity is as smooth when you're using AU instruments or rewired tools, but its still pretty solid.


Still, it the beat-all rig for me, just in the terms of setup and execution. I can usually program my gigs while I watch The Office, with a laptop, headphones, and a 30 key midi controller sitting on my ottoman.


I've had one problem, and its probably a midi clock issue. If your rig is up and running for hours I've seen some cases where one of the controllers seems to be sending messed up messages. (For instance, I'm playing a piano patch and it plays a muted momentary note, even though I'm holding down a key) My theory is the midi clocks can get out of sync over time if they are slightly off.


I've never had the time to research it out, but it only happens if my rig is up and running for 6 or 7 hours and more. Just cycling the controller off and back on fixes the problem. There's also a midi reset command that would probably work, and restarting MS worked, as well.


Also, I'm careful to be conservative with my CPU with Mainstage. I love Omnisphere, for instance.. Its lush and full and amazing, but under MainStage, running on my 2.4GHz 800 Mhz bus MBP, I don't use it live unless its one of only a few patches I have running. It's a hungry mistress, and Mainstage doesn't do well with it. I'm hoping my next MBP (or a new version of MS) will make it a good live tool, but I've come to grips with only using it as a studio tool for now.


Note: If I run it under Ableton Live!, it seems to do fine, but Live! isn't as good a host for live performance.


As long as you know the limits, its proven dependable for me.


One other thing. Make sure you have good firewire cables/USB, etc. During a rehearsal, once, I had a bad one cause a fatal OS crash. (Apple's version of the blue screen of death) In my experience, I've only seen those with hardware errors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 years later...

I know this thread was from a looooong time ago but had a similar question.


Is it possible to have 2 keyboards and change patches for each on the fly, without needing to pre-write or pre-determine the patches?  I sometimes need to be playing a piano/rhodes on the bottom and may have the need for either horns, strings, or synth on top depending on the moment.... and then with the bottom keyboard to B3 or something.


How are people handling this in MainStage 3.3?  


Thanks in advance for any input.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...