I’ve had lots of questions over the last few months about pad sounds and how to mix them in with a piano sound. In another video, I demonstrated the setup on my own keyboard, but what if yours doesn’t have the same capability? Enter Mainstage. This $20 application from Apple is almost limitless in its possibilities. You can dial up and mix a large number of high-quality keyboard sounds, use it to replace your guitar amp and pedal board, even use it to process effects on vocals. It is extremely powerful and flexible, but those words never go with “user-friendly.”
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of months getting comfortable with Mainstage. There’s lots to learn, but twenty minutes with my newest video will save you hours and hours. I’ll show you how to set up four sounds: piano, Rhodes, pad, and strings – and how to mix them together. It takes a few steps:
1) Create your layout with all your keys and controllers (to mix sounds, I use the knobs on my MIDI controller*).
2) Link your hardware controls with those in your layout.
3) Add channel strips and set up your sounds.
4) Map the software knobs to control different sounds’ volumes.
You could alternately register for and download the free template – it gives you the end result. I still recommend watching the video so you know how to tweak things for your needs. Happy Mainstaging!
*In the video, I don’t say anything about equipment needed.
– To use Mainstage, you’ll need a Mac computer and a means of getting the sound out of it. That could be as simple as a headphone to RCA cable. Or, for higher quality sound, try a USB or Firewire audio interface.
– To connect your keyboard to Mainstage, you need a MIDI connection. If your main keyboard has USB connectivity, you can use that. If not, check out the ART MConnect for a simple cable and interface solution in one:
– To mix sounds, you need assignable knobs or sliders – at least four. Check out the Akai LPD8 and the Korg Nanokontrol.