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Logic Studio apps Mainstage "song library"?

Discussion in 'MainStage' started by Patrick Randall, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. :redface: I'm still realizing Macs are a bit different to PCs - I keep putting stuff places on disk that work but I can't find!

    Now I have a goal of having all my performance stuff on a portable FW drive that I can use to creat at home and take with me to play out. I do ok with Logic files but for some reason I just can't see how I should organize my MS files. I just took the defaults when installing.

    Can some kind-hearted soul take pity on me and tell me how to store all the MS files so that when I unplug and replug the FW drive everything will be there again.

    My goal is to have a library of songs (patches with playbacks of stems) that I can pick from to construct a setlist (about six songs).

    Sorry about this basic question.

    Edit 17th July - whoops now I'm in trouble I just realized I double posted my problem in the same forum. I'm so sorry.
  3. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    And what would be the role of Mainstage, where are the live signals, which controller do you use etc? Mainstage is built as a stage application, for live playing. Playing audio files alone is a job for an iPod. If you want to use a Mac, play the files right from a folder in the Finder, number them for a certain order.

    I suspect you have something in mind but did not tell us yet ;)

    You are not in trouble. Nobody except spammers should ever be in trouble in the LUG. I removed your almost identical post from the other thread and we will continue here. You are welcome.
  4. A bit like Graeme wants to do (is doing?) - you and I had some discussion on this in another thread somewhere if you recall - you proposed using Logic with markers (which I have tried but swapping songs takes a little while and I'm still exploring MS). I arrange a song (with markers) for the (10 piece) band in Logic, bounce down groups of tracks into AIF stems and load those into multiple synched playbacks in a mixer patch. I can then use the MS patch to rehearse the individuals in the band and ultimately deliver the set live with anyone who is actually there (hopefully most!) muted. It actually works rather well now I can use the space bar and up down mac keys to control MS. I don't use a controller on stage yet, just a macbook on a stand. I've figured out how to start the next patch automatically with patch change and Graeme's tip completed the solution.

    Now I'm starting to build repetoire in MS patches but am still dithering about how to hold my growing library of patches. I hope that's clear!
  5. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Ah yes, now I remember this discussion. Since the Logic approach was not good for you, let's try the Mainstage way.

    First suggestion:

    Maintain one big Mainstage concert with all your songs/patches, properly organized, with sets for categories, style, whatever your criteria are. This is your library and everything should work there. For each gig, duplicate the whole thing, give it a meaningful name and delete what you don't need. You can change the order of the remaining song by just dragging them in the patch list. With a controller, you would have to re-assign the patch changes.

    This is the basic idea for the library. We have to look closer to find the best system for the individual performances. And that dictates the organization of the main library. You need to know the details, otherwise you would rebuild your Mainstage setup for each gig, which is no fun.

    Your variable band members force you to mute certain channelstrips depending on the musicians who finally show up. You have to mute the playback strips of those members who are playing.

    For now I assume that each player has his individual channelstrip but the setting of the strip does not change, it remains the same for each song. In this case I would put the player's live strips on concert level. Each patch (= song) would contain the playbacks. In a patch, you have the first playback strip for guitar, the second playback for organ and so on.

    Before the performance begins you could step through all patches and mute or delete the playback strips you don't need.

    Maybe this is already what you want and 10 songs aren't too much for this method.

    I think a more elegant way is to output all guitar playbacks to a "PB-Guitar" bus, all organ playbacks to a "PB-Organ" bus etc. The playback strips would be on patch level, the buses on concert level.

    With this method, you just go to concert level and mute the playback bus of each playing musician. Only once. Their playback files will still get started by the patch but you don't hear them because their outputs, the playback buses, are muted.

    If the musicians have different channelstrip settings for each song category or each single song, you can handle the playbacks in the same manner, via buses. Just the musicians can no longer be on concert level but rather on set- or patch level, whatever fits better.
  6. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Nice tip!
  7. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    I am looking to use either Logic Pro 9 or MS2 for live backing tracks as well, and am debating on whether or not to invest the better part of a day watching Doug's MS 2 Explained video (No offense Doug, your videos are all great!)
    The ONLY limitation of Logic Pro 9 for this application as far as I can tell, is the lack of a speedy and efficient way to move between projects. I have flirted with the marker idea, and of creating one project that is set up as an entire set in the show. However, this does not lend itself to any flexibility, and a potential for disaster live. Until now, I have been using L9 to produce the tracks, only to import the bounced audio AIFFs into Sonar Producer, as that platform has an easy-to-use (heck...even the drummer can figure it out..!) Playlist feature which allows the user to easily move between Sonar Sessions. However, I hate using my PC laptop, and having to go through this extra step...

    In short, is Mainstage 2 the way to go for this application? Again, this is BACKING TRACKS only (multitrack audio backing tracks)
    Sorry for the long question, and thank you in advance for your response.
  8. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hi Bradley,

    I'm not a Mainstage user, so can't comment on playing back the tracks through it. But I can tell you that my band uses Logic 9 on a laptop live to play back backing tracks and it is extremely fast to open/close/load the individual Logic 9 projects. If ti is only to play back audio files; you should have no problem. The trick is to make sure there are no unnecessary software instruments or effects plug ins loaded in. They will cause the loading to be prolonged. But a nice sleek Logic project playing back audio only with just the audio tracks you need loaded in should pose no problem.

    Our keyboard player uses the command-tab feature to switch back to an open Finder window while Logic is playing so that he can cursor up/down to get ready for the next tune (we call our play lists on the fly). And no worries about closing the fist project before opening the second. Having multiple projects open simultaneously is not a problem when plug ins and instruments are not involved and all you are doing is hitting play and stop. Once the set is over, or we are playing an unsequenced tune, he closes the open projects one at a time.

    Mainstage may also work great for this - I don't know. But it does work with Logic.
  9. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Eli's use of Logic makes sense especially if you A) only use backing tracks (no software instruments) and B) don't like to work with a fixed set list.

    In MainStage you would be limited to a concert and whatever tracks you choose to put in there. However, you can create quite a few patches/sets within a concert and can navigate pretty easily through them. (You can always load another concert, but that does take a little time.)

    My guess is MainStage will bring up a new patch/set a bit faster than Logic can load a new project, but I've never A/B'ed them. If you use Logic, you don't have to take the time to export your tracks and bring them into MainStage. However, MainStage has features that you may find useful if you get beyond just tracks.

    Oh yeah - I don't know if I'd want to spend a day watching my videos either ;) No offense taken!
  10. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    If you have only one backing track per song, the easiest way for a songlist in Logic would be the solo function. You bounce your backing tracks to single stereo files and put all files on audio tracks in one Logic project. Then you hit the S key on the computer keyboard and the timeline goes pale yellow. Click on one audio region and it will play solo. Click on another region on another track and this one plays solo. You have to start/stop Logic to play a track. Don't hit the S key again or all files would play at once. This should not happen because while in solo mode the selected regions have a clearly visible yellow frame.

    Of course you can make a "single solo" function in the Logic environment and map the buttons and the start/stop functions to a foot controller or something else. You can also use Mainstage for playing the backing tracks and there the controller functions are built-in.

    And you can play audio files directly from the Mac's finder by hitting the space key. And you can play files in iTunes. But I am still not sure if it is a good idea to use a computer on stage just to play audio files.
  11. FWIW I'm still flip-flopping around trying to decide which way to jump - (I have bounced Logic stem files for the players in the band - I mute the tracks for members present). I first did the L9 lots of songs open at once, renamed for the set a 1songa,2songnameb etc so they sorted in the window and the jump to next was easy) then I tried MS - I was well into MS on V2.1 (I think it was) and liked the "cycle button combined with wait till end of section" which gave flexibility to repeat choruses (essential in a worship band)
    then 2.1.1 introduced a bug (reported to Apple) that rendered that feature unuseable currently. Now I'm loading the stems into Ableton Live and trying that.
    Why doesn't Apple just have a "jukebox" facility to trigger Logic songs in a setlist order. ARghh.
    My 2c
  12. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Maybe because Apple has no Jukebox program? Logic is mainly for composing, arranging and mixing. Mainstage supports playing musicians on stage. Please don't get me wrong but you people who have no musicians on stage must develop your systems to get comfortable playback functions from applications that are not built for that.

    It is possible in Logic but may require some environment work to become flexible and usable. And the Logic Environment is not far away from a graphical programming language. It is possible in Mainstage but also a lot of work. I do not know which application is better to get something like a songlist and, more complicated, to enable/disable instrument tracks. For the latter and a short song list, I would bounce the various combinations and on stage select the project or concert that applies to the situation. Guit+Organ+Bass or Organ+Bass+Keys or whatever.

    If one wants a specialized system, neither Logic nor Mainstage will do this out of the box. Maybe another program. Max/MSP may be an option, you can almost do what you want there but it is a programming environment and not easy to learn.
  13. "...Logic is mainly for composing, arranging and mixing. "
    Yes but with just a little bit of work they could make it very useable for live (multiple instances of playback playing stems) work. It would just need a "setlist" add-on. DP, AL et al can do it - why not Logic?
  14. rzzz

    rzzz Member

  15. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Simple and effective, yes. OnStage seems to be a good thing for many people. If you have just a few songs and want variable backing tracks depending on the available musicians you could mute the tracks you don't need right in the projects.

    OnStage is a good idea for audio playbacks because Logic projects with only audio tracks load very fast. You can of course do the same by manually closing and opening projects but with a price of $25 I would take this application.

    It may not be such a good idea if you use large instruments in EXS, they take a while to load. If you have a pause between your pieces, this isn't a problem.
  16. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    Thank you for the quick reply Eli-
    A couple of questions regarding using Logic on stage...

    1.) I generally create all of the tracks using MIDI, VI's etc. I then Bounce the tracks to audio and keep the original MIDI tracks within the project. I Freeze/Protect/Hide these MIDI tracks so I can use them later for editing purposes. I tend to have 8 or so stereo Audio tracks when all said and done. Will this help the project open much quicker, and lower CPU STrain??
    2.) Will a little automation contribute to a slower opening of the project?? (simple volume, pan...) ALthough I realize that ANY insert plugins will slow down this process, I would like to have ONLY Waves Ultramaximizer 3 instantiated on a couple of outputs if possible... THoughts?
    3.) I will be using 4-8 outputs. Will this slow things down?? And speaking to Peter's point about not being sure about computers on stage. I am with you...! .. However, there will ALWAYS be an IPOD with 2 trk stereo MP3 files with the click panned right, program material panned left, old school style. at the ready.... The main purpose of using this setup is that I am trying to send multiple stems of stereo audio to FOH, and also have the ability to run video, have MIDI messages control DMX lighting, etc.... (That is certainly for another discussion!)

    I realize that Logic Pro is intended for studio use, and I do alot of work with it there as well, but I am simply trying to make it work for me on stage as well.
    Thank you for your responses everyone!
  17. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    While I realize that Logic is not intended for the stage, I do agree that it should have some type of Playlist or Jukebox feature. I know that many people do not agree with, or are not sympathetic with folks who use tracks on stage, but the reality is that one cannot make the $$$ with 8-12 musicians on the gig any more. Tracks do not drink too much, argue with their bandmates, forget to bring gear to the gig, or play out of tune or time:)
  18. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Watch out for the EXS. Logic tries to keep the samples in memory but if it cannot hold them across projects, they will get reloaded and big sample libraries take their time to load. Not only the EXS, all sample players need time to load the libraries. Hiding the tracks does not prevent the samples from loading.

    For playback purposes I recommend bouncing everything and removing the instrument tracks. Projects with audio only load super fast because the audio data doesn't get preloaded.

    Automation does not slow you down so far I know. Plugins do, you see it everytime you open a project. It will not be different on stage :)

    But if you bounce all audio for backing tracks you would not have any automation. Just projects with audio files, ready to play.


    Ok, so you will have a couple of MIDI tracks. But no need for virtual instruments or did I miss something? If you want quick song switching, audio and MIDI tracks are ok. Virtual instruments and a lot of big plugins may not be ok for you.

    I think my statement "This is a studio application!" came across the wrong way. Of course you can use Logic on stage and it is very powerful there. I just wanted to say that it is not thought for that and has no convenient interface nor specialized functions for live performances. Maybe the following examples describe what I mean:

    • Backing tracks only: Logic.
    • Very simple backing tracks: maybe the Mac's Finder is enough.
    • Convenient and quick song switching with backing tracks, probably MIDI controlled: use something else.
    • Backing tracks and live instruments with short setup time: Mainstage.
    • Complicated systems with playback, light control etc: Logic.
    • For gigs that involve a lot of switching but a few MIDI processing: Mainstage.
    • Systems with complicated functions and much MIDI processing: Logic.
    • For CPU-hungry plugins: Logic or standalone programs plus Mainstage, if the computer is strong enough.
    • and so on ...

    I hope this makes it clear. There is no jack-of-all-trades application. Since Mainstage we have a specialized application but we still have to think about the system we need, test it and find out what is best for the particular usage.

    It seems logical that the program one is most familiar with, is the first candidate for the live performance too. But this is not always the right decision. One single feature you may need can make the work on stage complicated if the program does not support it on its own.
  19. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    Great points Peter. Thank You
    Just to clarify, even if tracks containing instances of the EXS are frozen and hidden, this could still pose a problem??
    I suppose that I could have projects with all of the MIDI tracks with instances of VIs, EXS, etc on one drive, and projects containing purely audio tracks for live use in another....
  20. I've run video tracks synched to the song with good success. Anyone know if Logic can display jpegs as well / instead? (Or simple text in this application - when running a praise band you need to run the words on overheads so the congregation can sing along).
    Again, this is live usage but, as Peter observes, it save time making MS tracks. Also, watching a (big) logic song move through with markers gives good feedback as to where we are in a song. Having the lyrics appear as well would be even better. For praise bands it would be very useful.

    I'm probably going with the fluqe app.
  21. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    Patrick- I would be curious to know about Logic's ability to output Jpeg or text.
    I could run a spare monitor over by the lead singer for use as a TelePrompTer of sorts??

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