Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Ask questions and get answers about how to make music in any particular way. Hardware or songwriting or whatever.

Moderator: Mods

Kill Me Sarah
Goron
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:51 am
Instruments: Guitar, GarageBand
Recording Method: GarageBand, TonePort UXII, Reaper, MXL 990 & 991 Mics
Submitting as: Kill Me Sarah, Bonfire of the Manatees, Hurrikitten
Location: Tacoma, WA

Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby Kill Me Sarah » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:44 am

I have a quick hardware question. I've been recording a lot with GarageBand and would like to use some of those sounds when I occasionally play small shows for friends. I'm interested in running everything thru it (guitars, vocals, keys). I'm wondering what hardware interfaces I need to make that possible. I have USB keys, but what would I need if I wanted to add guitar, midi, and mics? I currently have a Line6 Toneport UX2 I can use that has two line in and two XLRs, as well as a PA system. How do I make it all go together in the best way possible (on a budget ;) )?
"[...] so plodding it actually hurts a little bit" - Smalltown Mike
User avatar
ken
Notable Hylian
Posts: 3140
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:10 pm
Instruments: Guitar, bass, drums, keys
Recording Method: BLA modded MOTU 828mk2, Cubase 5, UAD-2
Submitting as: Ken's Super Duper Band 'n Stuff
Location: berkeley, ca
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby ken » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:48 am

I'm not sure if Garageband will work in real time, but you should be able to go into your Toneport through Garageband and out into your PA. Pretty simple really. Just like recording, but instead of hearing it in your headphones, you would send it through the PA.
Ken's Super Duper Band 'n Stuff - Berkeley Social Scene - Tiny Robots - Seamus Collective - Semolina Pilchards - Cutie Pies - Explino! - Bravo Bros. - 2 from 14 - and more!

i would just like to remind everyone that Ken eats kittens - blue lang
User avatar
fluffy
Ganon
Posts: 9324
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:56 am
Instruments: sometimes
Recording Method: Logic Pro X
Submitting as: Sockpuppet
Location: The Plaidlands (also, Seattle)
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby fluffy » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:16 am

Ken: Mainstage is a separate application that uses the Logic engine (also used in GarageBand) for real-time performance. The Logic engine is actually pretty low-latency, and quite nice for real-time.

KMS: I've played with Mainstage a bit but not enough to get really comfortable with it, and I never got around to spending the $20 or whatever for Mainstage X (I just played with version 9 since it was free with Logic). It seems to behave as a glorified effects box, and from what I could tell it was pretty difficult to have multiple instruments going simultaneously, but X probably changed a lot of stuff.

Hardware-wise it depends on what you're trying to perform. If it's just you and a guitar and mic a 2x2 audio interface will be enough. You'll probably also want a USB/MIDI keyboard as a controller, and I know you can get MIDI stompboxes for that purpose as well. If you want a whole band, increase the number of interface inputs by the number of audio signals that'll be going through it. OSX also lets you aggregate multiple physical interfaces into one virtual one (in the Audio/MIDI tool), but that increases the latency somewhat.

If you just want to buy a new chunk of gear for this purpose and plan on handling a buttload of instruments, the PreSonus FireStudio (12x12 + MIDI) is probably everything you'd need. You can set up a few submixes (for example, the raw inputs get routed directly to your monitors and the PAs only get the output channel). I love my FireStudio and I can definitely help with setup issues there. :) Note that it's a FireWire device so if you have a newer Mac you'll need a Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter for it.

If the TonePort has enough inputs for your needs, just make sure that it's possible to disable hardware monitoring, so that the only audio output that comes from it is what MainStage produces. Also, via the device aggregation I mentioned above you could set it up so that MainStage sends a separate monitor mix to your computer's headphone jack (which is hooked up to your monitors) or whatever, but again, latency might be an issue there.
User avatar
jb
Notable Hylian
Posts: 3523
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:12 am
Instruments: Guitar, Cello, Keys, Uke, Vox, Perc
Recording Method: Logic X
Submitting as: The John Benjamin Band
Location: WASHINGTON, DC
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby jb » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:38 pm

send Roymond a private message, see if he'll respond to this thread. he uses mainstage a lot.

JB
Kill Me Sarah
Goron
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:51 am
Instruments: Guitar, GarageBand
Recording Method: GarageBand, TonePort UXII, Reaper, MXL 990 & 991 Mics
Submitting as: Kill Me Sarah, Bonfire of the Manatees, Hurrikitten
Location: Tacoma, WA

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby Kill Me Sarah » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:09 pm

Thanks guys! This was kind of what I was hoping to hear. But I didn't want to drop the $30 on Mainstage if it wasn't going to work. I'll pick it up and see how it works out. Supposedly Mainstage is supposed to handle multiple instruments pretty well now. That's what their marketing material says anyway.
"[...] so plodding it actually hurts a little bit" - Smalltown Mike
User avatar
Caravan Ray
poopbutt
Posts: 8006
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 1:51 pm
Instruments: Penis
Recording Method: Garageband
Submitting as: Caravan Ray,G.O.R.T.E.C,Lyricburglar,The Thugs from the Scallop Industry
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby Caravan Ray » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:50 pm

Oh good - there is already a thread for this. I had a similar question!

I have just become a professional musician!! Getting paid to run an open mic night in a few weeks.

I got a little Behringer mixer:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/QX1002USB.aspx

and a very cool Yamaha PA/speaker:
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/live_sou ... /dxr/dxr8/

Just playing in the small front bar of a pub, with 2 mics and 1 or 2 guitars - depending who wants to play with me.

Anyway - while the mixer should be good enough to get a decent vocal sound - I am not very experienced with them. What I am experienced with is using Garageband. So was thinking of taking an old laptop with just GB on it, running the 2 mics through my USB interface into a track each in an empty project - then back out as a single channel into my mixer with the guitars.

Likewise - if I were just playing solo - I could put both vox and guitar into GB (I have a 2 channel interface) - skip the mixer all together and just go straight to the amp

That way - I can use the vocal/guitar presets in GB that I am familiar with.

Does this seem like a doable thing? It is adding an extra couple of links to the process which probably shouldn't be necessary.

Otherwise - forgetting the GB - any tips on a good starting point for getting a decent vocal sound in a small room? (my mixer has 3 eq knobs and a compression knob. And the option to add reverb through the on-board effects).

NB: I had a look at that Mainstage - it doesn't seem to be of much use to me. It just seems to be a collection of effects - I have more than enough effects on standard GB
User avatar
fluffy
Ganon
Posts: 9324
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:56 am
Instruments: sometimes
Recording Method: Logic Pro X
Submitting as: Sockpuppet
Location: The Plaidlands (also, Seattle)
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby fluffy » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:15 pm

The point to Mainstage is that it provides Logic's (and therefore GarageBand's) mixing environment into a UI intended for live performances, with some added stuff for stomp pedals and so on. I haven't played with Mainstage X yet but the older version (whichever one came free with Logic 9) never really seemed to do things how I wanted them to, and I kept on just wishing I was using Logic instead.

How many inputs does your interface have? Or, do you have multiple interfaces you can hook up? There's a way to chain together multiple interfaces into one single "aggregate interface" in the Audio MIDI Setup app (which is I think in the Utilities folder under Applications, or you can just launch it with Spotlight like I always do). Just open Audio MIDI Setup, then go to the Audio Devices window (cmd-1 if it isn't visible), then click the plus sign in the corner, then "create aggregate device." Then you can chain together all of your interfaces into a single one that GarageBand will let you use uniformly. And then you should be able to do without the mixer.

But the mixer isn't a bad way to do things either, if you just have a single 2-channel input and don't mind all your things having the same effects on them, and for the setting you're talking about that's probably fine since you probably just want to put on some reverb.

For that matter, what's the house audio like? They probably have a mixing board with some basic effects on it already, and there's not much reason to bring a computer into it at all.

I wouldn't use the exact setup you described, though. GarageBand adds some latency, and it won't sound like you're singing in-time with the guitar since your vocals will be delayed a bit. Really, every live part should be going through GarageBand. What I'd do with the gear you described (assuming it's a stereo mixer with a single bus) is:

Vocal mics on channel 1 and 2 of mixer, panned left
Guitars on channel 3 and 4 of mixer, panned right
Mixer to USB interface. Two tracks in GarageBand, input 1 is vocals (with vocal treatment), input 2 is guitars (with guitar treatment).

If your mixer has effect sends then you can do more interesting things but my wrists hurt too much to explain that in detail if you don't have that gear anyway.
User avatar
fluffy
Ganon
Posts: 9324
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:56 am
Instruments: sometimes
Recording Method: Logic Pro X
Submitting as: Sockpuppet
Location: The Plaidlands (also, Seattle)
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby fluffy » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:26 pm

Oh, just looked at the product page for the mixer. So the mixer IS the USB interface? That makes things easier (and doesn't change what I said at all). But it looks like the mixer has built-in effects including compression and such too, so I'd just learn to use that stuff effectively and skip GarageBand altogether.
User avatar
Caravan Ray
poopbutt
Posts: 8006
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 1:51 pm
Instruments: Penis
Recording Method: Garageband
Submitting as: Caravan Ray,G.O.R.T.E.C,Lyricburglar,The Thugs from the Scallop Industry
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Contact:

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby Caravan Ray » Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:19 am

fluffy wrote:Oh, just looked at the product page for the mixer. So the mixer IS the USB interface? That makes things easier (and doesn't change what I said at all). But it looks like the mixer has built-in effects including compression and such too, so I'd just learn to use that stuff effectively and skip GarageBand altogether.

Yes - the mixer is a USB interface, but I also have a 2 channel Tascam interface.

Didn't think latency would be an issue - I have used the gear once before (without mixer) and just put guitar and vox through the Tascam => GB => PA.

But yeah - would be easier (and less gear to lug) skipping the GB thing.

Could put everything through Behringer mixer=>GB => one line out to PA. Then I will have the GB guitar effects too.
Kill Me Sarah
Goron
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:51 am
Instruments: Guitar, GarageBand
Recording Method: GarageBand, TonePort UXII, Reaper, MXL 990 & 991 Mics
Submitting as: Kill Me Sarah, Bonfire of the Manatees, Hurrikitten
Location: Tacoma, WA

Re: Using Mainstage for Live Performance

Postby Kill Me Sarah » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:32 am

Caravan Ray wrote:
fluffy wrote:Oh, just looked at the product page for the mixer. So the mixer IS the USB interface? That makes things easier (and doesn't change what I said at all). But it looks like the mixer has built-in effects including compression and such too, so I'd just learn to use that stuff effectively and skip GarageBand altogether.

Yes - the mixer is a USB interface, but I also have a 2 channel Tascam interface.

Didn't think latency would be an issue - I have used the gear once before (without mixer) and just put guitar and vox through the Tascam => GB => PA.

But yeah - would be easier (and less gear to lug) skipping the GB thing.

Could put everything through Behringer mixer=>GB => one line out to PA. Then I will have the GB guitar effects too.


Hey Ray, I'm jumping back into this discussion to see what your results have been so far with that mixer. I see they also have a 12 input version which intrigues me. We've successfully done a couple shows now where we ran my guitar through the toneport and a keyboard through MIDI to USB into my MBP and I really like how we can set up the gig ahead of time and then just click each song when we're ready to move on and get all of our effects and synths are instantly loaded. I'm trying to understand if I had that mixer if I could pull that TonePort out of the mix and run everything through that mixer, into the Macbook as separate channels and then out to the PA. Is that the gist of how it works?
"[...] so plodding it actually hurts a little bit" - Smalltown Mike

Return to “Help and How To”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest