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Logic Studio apps Mainstage playback question

Discussion in 'MainStage' started by whampton, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. whampton

    whampton New Member

    Greetings everyone! I have been reading alot on the forum about Logic and Mainstage. I am currently using a very old version of Sonar on a very outdated machine. I am looking to use a laptop to play back multiple tracks and output them to 8 outputs of a MOTU 828. We no longer have a bass player and would like to run bass plus some sequenced keys, harmony vocals, and extra guitar parts. Our sound guy would like to mix each channel as if it were a live performcer on stage. We play in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 songs per night.

    Here are my questions:
    1. Will mainstage load and run 8 tracks of playback through 8 outputs reliably with that many songs?

    2. How big of a machine should I be looking to buy?

    3. Anybody gone from a Windows program to Logic? Do you like Logic better and why?

    I know this is alot of ground to cover but I want to make sure I'm investing in the right tools for the job. Thanks in advance for your advice!
     
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  3. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Speaking only about MainStage, it should be able to handle that although I've never come close to pushing like you want to. You may find you have to load a new concert per set - easy enough and only takes a minute. You can route out to your sound guy as mentioned, so he can mix the backing tracks as needed.

    A new laptop should be OK - get the fastest CPU you can afford and fill it with RAM (look to other sources than Apple for additional RAM - Crucial Memory is one good location). You could also buy a Mac Mini (not any faster) or a new iMac (much faster!!)
     
  4. Playback in use for Live sets?

    I have the same question - we have a church band that sometimes has missing members. I arrange all the tracks today on Logic 5 (yes 5!) and play them back at practices, muting tracks for musicians that are there.

    I'd really like to be able to do this in live services but L5 takes ages to switch between songs. Hence my interest in Playback in Mainstage.

    Is anyone doing this? All I've come up with in my searches so far are "electronic musicians" playing loops and stuff.

    If it works I'd junk my PC setup and go to a Mac (MacBook Pro I wonder?) in a flash.
     
  5. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Well, if you can afford a new Mac and an update to Logic Studio 2 (containing Logic 9 and MainStage 2) I'm guessing you're in for a pleasant surprise (and a little bit of a learning curve).

    Within MainStage you'll need to get the Playback plug-in mastered - it's not hard. You'll need to convert any MIDI tracks in Logic to audio - MainStage doesn't do MIDI tracks.
     
  6. Thanks Doug - yup I'm expecting a bit of hard work. I convert all MIDI tracks to audio already so that won't be a problem.

    Is it easy to load up a setlist of songs (concert maybe? duh?) and then switch quickly to the next song? How do most people do that? MIDI foot control I wonder?

    And, is it quite easy to repeat a chorus (all my Logic 5.5 songs have markers)? How do you do that? A key cmd?

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  7. PS., Doug I see you say a new iMac is much faster than a MacBook Pro. I was playing with one at the airport last week and it was gorgeous. Is it really up to the job? I've seen these ILugger bags and I don't need battery power. i7 cores or something too - does that mean Logic can spread out a bit more than in a MB pro?

    Only one FW but I guess that a 1TB internal SATA drive woud be ok (if I had a MOTU traveller or something on the FW?)
     
  8. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Patrick, most welcome.

    MainStage (and its screen controls) is the liaison between your hardware controller and the contents of your channel strip(s). So once you get some basic mapping down and a patch or two built, you can copy and paste and it can go pretty quickly.

    You'll probably need to put your Playback plug-ins at the patch level, unless you want different patches per song, then the Playback plug-in would need to be at the set level (you can change patches beneath the set without affecting the set level plug-ins - it will all make sense, really!)

    The i7 mac is supposed to be pretty fast! Faster than the current generation of laptops. I have only read reviews, haven't used it. The ports (or lack thereof) are a consideration - not sure how these compare with the MacBook Pro. It may well be plenty for your needs.

    Regarding changing patches - any controller can be set up for that. I have a GiO that does it and I have a few keyboard controllers that I can map for such.
     
  9. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Just a little heads up for everyone following these current threads about Mainstage: Doug has created the definitive tutorial video series on Mainstage 2. It's brand new, and comprehensive. This thing is the BIBLE, as far as I am concerned, on using Mainstage. And I just noticed that Groove3 has dropped the price on it. You can check it out here:

    http://www.groove3.com/str/mainstage-explained.html


    Disclaimer: Yes, I also have some videos available at Groove3. But this is a sincere endorsement - I think Doug has done an incredible job covering every conceivable aspect of Mainstage 2.
     
  10. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Thanks Eli! :D Kind words indeed.

    Point to be noted, I spent endless hours RTFM-ing, playing with it and checking out user groups to see what issues were coming up (and what people were trying to do with it) to learn it well and also finding quirks, bugs and work-arounds.

    I think most people will have to spend some time with the manuals, videos, or both. The short getting started manual that comes with it is actually quite good. It really walks you through the concepts quickly and gets you up and running.

    It's a very nice program - it just requires a little study, as is true with any powerful program. I'm using it on a gig this week-end and am having fun tweaking my patches for the material I'm working with.
     
  11. whampton

    whampton New Member

    Thanks for the advice Doug. I had not even considered the iMac. My only possible problem would be getting it to gigs, but with a little careful packing that shouldn't be an issue. Plus it's less expensive than the powerbook with a bigger screen!

    The version of Sonar I'm using now has a playlist feature that allows you to open projects in a certain order which is handy and technically works. However it seems like the more projects that are open at the same time the more likely it is that the computer gets overloaded and crashes. That has happended to me two nights in a row. Granted it was on an old machine during rehearsal, but that does not make it acceptable. This is why I was looking at Mainstage. It seems perfectly suited for what I want to do.
     
  12. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Please note I don't sell or represent Apple products in any way.... Not necessarily recommending the i7 iMac, just mentioning it's faster than the current generation of laptops.

    MainStage loads an entire concert into RAM, thus facilitating the instant switching. So RAM is important, and CPU horsepower will dictate the amount and/or complexity of your plug-ins. The i7 iMac might be better suited for multiple instances of Sculpture or Omnisphere, for example.

    One thing MainStage won't do is play MIDI sequences for program changes or CC info. So if you have that programed in your Cubase projects that could be an issue. People are exploring some work-arounds on that, however.....
     
  13. whampton

    whampton New Member

    Thanks Doug. I am probably going to do all wav files and maybe some guitar effects. I'm still not sure about the guitar. I like my Line6 stuff pretty well and using it should help save some memory for Maintage to push the tracks.

    So the more RAM the better I'm guessing. I'm going to price both the powermac and iMac this weekend. (I'm a school teacher so I should get a little discount). I'm still toying with using Sonar, but leaning toward Logic.
     
  14. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    I'm interested in what you get, and how much you can push it. You may well be able to use Amp Designer, etc. should that work for you in lieu of Line 6 stuff.

    Please feel free to post a follow up at some point.
     
  15. Doug, another idiot question (will help me get started) - to change a song I need a patch change?

    Well, I've ummed and ahh'd and ordered a 4G iMac i7 (a few days to arrive) - it was either a MBP or that ($$$s) and I don't need battery power so - i7 iMac - hope it's fast enough. I want to record 16 audio tracks at once. I'm looking into how/if I can upgrade from my Logic 5 platinum so soon I'll be hands on and the idiot questions will start to fly. I must get some training books/DVDs too.

    How did you get on playing live with Playback?
    Patrick
     
  16. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    You could change songs two ways - via a patch or set change and using a new playback plug-in containing the new song (recommended) or you could try to use one long audio file and denote the songs with markers and navigate via markers.

    The plug-in has behaved well for me. You'll need to spend a little time reading about it to set up its parameter choices.
     
  17. How did you get on playing live with Playback?
    How many songs / minutes in a typical setlist?
    Patrick
     
  18. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Playback has worked fine but I've only used it on short events where I just needed a few songs with backing tracks. I think you'll find it's easy. Some people actually prefer to load a new Concert per set (doing it on the break - only takes a minute or two) to spread out a the night's material.

    Remember, if you want to change patches during a song, you need to set the Playback plug-in on the Set level.
     
  19. That sounds pretty hopeful. We only usually need to do about a 25minute set (it's for a Church praise band). I arrange all our songs on Logic and I'll just want to mute the tracks of anyone who is actually there. So it's basically just audio playback. Although it would be cool to midi up the e-drums and keys and actually play them from Logic. Hmmm..

    Thanks
     
  20. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    It should work fine. You'll need to set up a Playback plug-in per instrument and mute if not needed. They can all be synced together for start and stop purposes.

    Let me know how it all turns out.
     
  21. OK - have a little experience now

    with both Logic and MS :)

    As you say, now I see MS is a way of accessing EXS's, effects etc easily for live usage. I'm a guitarist and use hardware pedals happily so probaly won't go there... (Although maybe I'll try it one day)

    As for Playback;
    I've opened up some sample patches and dragged an audio file in between the ch strips, brought up the playback window and pressed go and got the audio to play. So far so good.
    Now, I'm not interested in playing s/w instruments or effects at all - just playng back my logic songs.
    When I build my small setlist I just have a patch for each song I guess?
    (When I use Logic live I have all the song markers and "dummy, named sequences" across the top to see instantly where I am. I use this a lot in rehearsing the band - to do a chorus again or whatever.)
    Is there a way of seeing that info? I believe (but haven't tried yet) that I can jump between markers. Do you do that?

    As for the i7 iMac.
    I'm extremely impressed. For my sort of stuff it's blisteringly quick. And ooh what a lovely screen.. 27" i7 4GB and 1TB all for (refurb) $1900. Seems a great way to get into Macs :) The cpu meter just about shows 1 tiny bar. What a difference to my Logic 5.5.
     

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