Mainstage Mondays: Live Playback Tracks In Mainstage

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As many of you know, I’ve been on tour with a Trans Siberian Orchestra tribute band for the past month, and many of you have been asking how Mainstage has factored into my touring rig.

To be honest, I opted to go with the rock-solid stability of hardware synths for my main two keyboards (a Nord Stage midi-synced to a Korg M50), and leave Mainstage to cover the most important part of the show- the playback of the narration and a few atmospheric pads to play under it.

Here’s 5 things I’ve done to make this all work:

  1. Every patch has two elements- a playback track with the proper narration (labeled carefully to avoid mixups), and a software synth with an atmospheric patch selected.

  2. I’ve set up two separate faders on my midi controller to control the volume on the narration track and the software synth track separately.

  3. I’ve made a few notes on some songs to cue certain elements using a notes element.

  4. Our lighting designer asked me to make a playback countdown big enough for him to see from the orchestra pit, so I added a special section to do a countdown on the track.

  5. I added a CPU indicator at the bottom of the screen to make sure that I’m not maxing out my computer during a show, which could cause a crash.

  6. I’ve set the narration to trigger automatically when I switch patches, that way all I have to do is press a button on my midi controller to change both the preset of my keyboard and trigger the narration tracks.

  7. I added a clock in the right hand corner of the screen to keep me up to date on how we’re doing with our show’s time, and make adjustments to the speed of certain songs accordingly.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them. Thanks!

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