Mainstage Mondays: 5 Mainstage 3.2 Features I Love

With the release of Mainstage 3.2, there’s been a ton of small additions that I’m loving. Here are my top 5 favorites: 

 

5.  A bunch of new smart templates

 

These include new strings templates, and a special template for Alchemy. Smart templates help you quickly understand what’s mapped to what, and it even maintains the same midi mapping when you call up the same smart template on a different instrument. This helps me make tweaks quickly on the fly live, and adds some much needed eye-candy to Mainstage’s minimalist design.

With the new strings template, you can actually keyswitch to different string articulations in the template.

With the new strings template, you can actually keyswitch to different string articulations in the template.

4. 1,000 new audio loops

 

Why does this matter to the live player? Having extra tracks you can drop into your Playback plugin is super handy for adding textures live, or getting inspired. There are loops for drums, but I’ve been fascinated by the many instrumental loops. Using them in Alchemy have been inspiring, and I plan on posting a blog about this experimentation soon. 

Playback ain't no Ableton Live, but will work great for simple backing tracks when you don't want to run another program live. 

Playback ain't no Ableton Live, but will work great for simple backing tracks when you don't want to run another program live. 

 

3. X/Y pad for the Layout screen

 

If you have an X/Y control on your keyboard, this is a nice addition for added control of synths like Sculpture. I use a Novation Remote SL frequently, and using the X/Y controller to morph sounds on the ES2 has been both fun and useful. 

The XY pad is freely assignable to any two parameters, which opens up a ton of interesting programming possibilities. 

The XY pad is freely assignable to any two parameters, which opens up a ton of interesting programming possibilities. 

2. 15 gigabytes of extra synth sounds

 

Alchemy comes with 15 gigabytes of extra synth sounds, and they sound amazing. I’ve only been through a couple hundred of the presets, but the sounds I’ve heard are top quality, and range from the traditional super saws, to bizarre modular samples. 

1.  Alchemy synth

I posted a review of this amazing new synth last week, and the more I work with it the more I realize just how powerful this thing is. Check out this link to read all about it. 

Alchemy is incredibly difficult to learn, even for pros. I spent over 4 hours learning the basics, and am just now beginning to experiment with synth design. That said, it's still worth using for just the presets alone. 

Alchemy is incredibly difficult to learn, even for pros. I spent over 4 hours learning the basics, and am just now beginning to experiment with synth design. That said, it's still worth using for just the presets alone.