MainStage 3 3.5/5

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MainStage 3

By Apple (Apple Inc.)
Supported Devices : Mac OS

Release Notes

6/10/2016 | Version : 3.2.4 | Size : 1.1 GB
This update addresses overall stability and performance issues

4/1/2016 | Version : 3.2.3 | Size : 1.1 GB
This update contains numerous fixes and enhancements including:

• A collection of 27 plug-ins have been redesigned to add Retina support and improve usability
• Numerous improvements to Alchemy including Apple Loops support and 11 new spectral effects
• Alchemy supports 3rd party Expressive MIDI Controllers including products from Roli and Roger Linn Design
• Allows faster changing of your I/O device with large concert files
• Clicking on an instrument layer in the workspace now selects the corresponding channel strip
• Improved VoiceOver support

1/7/2016 | Version : 3.2.2 | Size : 1021.0 MB
This update contains stability improvements and bug fixes.


MainStage 3 lets you take your Mac to the stage with a full-screen interface optimized for live performance, flexible hardware control, and a massive collection of plug-ins and sounds that are fully compatible with Logic Pro X.

The Ultimate Live Rig
• Perform live with more than 80 instrument, effect, and MIDI plug-ins or work with Audio Units plug-ins
• Add your sounds from Logic Pro X and GarageBand to bring your studio sound to the stage
• Combine instruments and live audio, such as keyboards and vocals, in a single Patch
• Switch between Patches without stopping sound output or cutting off held notes
• Design rich keyboard Patches using splits and layers, the Arpeggiator, and other MIDI plug-ins
• Perform with stereo or multitrack backing tracks using Playback
• 64-bit architecture uses all the RAM in your system for larger sampled instruments

Hardware Control
• Connect your favorite hardware and use it to play and control your plug-ins
• Use USB and MIDI-equipped controllers like keyboards, foot pedals, and drum pads
• Instantly set up a large variety of hardware using automatic device recognition
• Quickly assign hardware knobs, buttons, and faders to onscreen controls
• Manage sophisticated rigs using the Assignments & Mapping overview

Designed for the Stage
• See only what you need during your performance using a customizable, full-screen live interface
• Screen controls adapt for each Patch using Smart Controls
• Smart Controls offer dynamic performance controls that change with each Patch
• Easily view your Mac screen from a distance using a high-contrast, full-screen performance view

Instrument Plug-ins
• Play deeply sampled, professionally mixed, and fully customizable drum kits provided by Drum Kit Designer
• Perform electronic beats with the Ultrabeat drum machine
• Play classic ’70s- and ’80s-style synthesizer sounds using Retro Synth
• Play faithful models of vintage keyboards with Vintage B3, Vintage Electric Piano, and Vintage Clav
• Perform inspired sounds using a collection of synths that provide analog, wavetable, FM, additive, granular, spectral, and modeling synthesis
• Quickly find sounds or create unique new ones with Alchemy, the ultimate sample manipulation synthesizer
• Play or create a wide variety of rich sampled instruments with the EXS24 Sampler
• Turn your favorite hardware synthesizers into sampled instruments using new Auto Sampler plug-in

MIDI Plug-ins
• Transform simple ideas into elaborate performances using nine MIDI plug-ins
• Instantly turn a simple chord into a rich performance with the Arpeggiator
• Play a single note to trigger predefined chords with Chord Trigger
• Perform a part and conform notes to a specific scale using Transposer

Creative and Production Effects
• Play your sounds through realistic acoustic spaces using Space Designer convolution reverb
• Use a range of multi-tap, vintage tape, and stereo delays
• Add movement to your tracks with a variety of modulation effects
• Get the perfect mix with a collection of EQs, dynamics, and other mixing tools

Guitar and Bass Gear
• Build your own guitar or bass rig with Amp Designer using vintage and modern amps, cabinets, and mics
• Design a custom Pedalboard from a collection of delay, distortion, and modulation stompboxes
• Access a full-screen Tuner to quickly get in tune

Sound Library
• Over 1800 instrument and effect Patches
• More than 750 meticulously sampled instruments
• 4600 Apple Loops in modern urban and electronic genres

Minimum System Requirements
• Display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher
• OS X v10.9.5 or later
• Requires 64-bit Audio Units plug-ins
• 6GB available disk space for minimum install / 45GB hard disk for full Sound Library installation


Overall :
#16 : Top Paid Mac Applications
#22 : Top Grossing Mac Applications

Categories :
#2 : Top Paid Mac Applications [Music]
#3 : Top Grossing Mac Applications [Music]

Screenshots Mac OSX :

Screenshots Mac OSX Screenshots Mac OSX Screenshots Mac OSX Screenshots Mac OSX Screenshots Mac OSX


Entertainment , Music

Comments and Ratings for MainStage 3

Chromed (3.2.4)
11/21/2016 9:20:00 PM 5/5 By megaton leviathan
i am standing in as synth slinger for a psychedelic cyber punk outfit that has been around for 40 + years they used a poly moog , mini moog and other- vintage hard to find synths on a lot of their songs. i paired this up with a Nektar keyboard and a moog voyager for the crucial space rocking bleeps and bloops. so far right out the gate i am getting really close if not dead on approximations of vintage pads and leads with very little tweeking to the preset as i am building the set list of patches. im pretty impressed and the main man of the band is very impressed as well with the string sounds in particular... you arent going to get the raw analog sound but man its pretty nice being able to flip through a set list. i love the delays and phasers. you can make some pretty twisted sounds with MainStage for sure. so far its been stable.

slowed down instrumentals?? (3.2.4)
9/7/2016 6:05:00 AM 1/5 By Zarb Ebner
Anytime I import an instrumental, new project file or old ones that I’ve already performed with, the playback slows down like 50%. When I mean slow down, I mean like the tempo, and also the pitch of everything is super low. Absolutely no clue, but it’s made this program useless. UPDATE: even DELETED the program, redownloaded, reloaded new instrumentals, and this problem still exists. I cannot believe I wasted money on this. Can’t even find help online for this issue.

Unreliable… at least for me. (3.2.4)
8/21/2016 5:35:00 AM 1/5 By trebailey
I’ve been using a different program for running VSTs, and I decided to “upgrade” to Mainstage since it’s sort of “the thing” amongst fellow players. I’ve been horribly disappointed. It’s incredibly unstable for me. I can’t change/instance a plug-in without crossing my fingers that it won’t crash. On top of that, it takes FOREVER to load, it treats every little operation like it’s trying to render 4k video or something… It just crashes SO much. It’s a complete headache that I don’t need. That being said, I know tons of my friends use and love MainStage, so… I’ll simply say that for me, I hate it, but for others with perhaps more capable machines (I’m running a late-2011 MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM), perhaps it’s more stable and very intuitive and wonderful. The user interface is great- I love the look and what it is capable of when run under the best circumstance; however, for me, I need it to run perfectly even in the worst circumstances. Heaven forbid I’m mid-set and this crashes… Unfortunately, I won’t even risk it. I spent $30 on this, and at this point, it was definitely not worth it. I’ll await an update or maybe see if it works better when I get a new laptop— either way, I’ll be going back to my previous software (Akai’s VIP).

Great Value (3.2.4)
7/16/2016 5:45:00 PM 4/5 By Testiphied
If your looking to add some studio feel to your live sets this is the way to go! cpu does tend to be tricky i ended up getting the older mac book pro and upgraded the ram to 16gb you can swap out the hdd for an sd as well as using an external sd to run your library from so that one drive isn’t doing all the work which may smooth things out a bit, I havent tried that yet but yes be aware that 8gb is the minimum for this to run ok not great but ok, look at your plug ins as well and how much theyre taking up when you play theres alternatives to get paticular sounds if you take the time to tweak things

Incredible Value (3.2.4)
7/6/2016 6:28:00 PM 5/5 By BAMA 14 in the bag
I have been using mainstage for the last 3 years in a live performeance situation. I use Vir 2 (Kontakt Player 5) as a plugin but 99% of my sounds are generated by MainStage. Getting the settings right were a little tricky but once I found the right combination the program works reliably and sounds fantastic. It is the only sound generator I use in live performance. The fact that this program only cost $30 makes it a must have for any musician that owns a Mac. Many live artists are now using this software for live performance, inculduing Billy Joel’s keyboard player who actually uses Mainstage rigs live. I have wanted to upgrade my Kontakt player to the fullblown version but just the upgrade will cost me $250 bucks, and though it samples, would not give all the function I have my $30 mainstage software. Get it. It’s a no brainer.

Completely Useless (3.2.4)
6/6/2016 10:23:00 PM 1/5 By RosslynK8
This app will not run properly on my mac book pro regardless of what settings are used for buffer etc. Playing one single chord on a piano sound with no plugins or effects peaks the CPU out to 500% (no really sure how that is possible) and the sound is full of glitches. This same computer is used for film scoring and runs Nuendo, all east/west sample libraries and BFD2 flawlessly. I have since installed the full version of Ableton Live which runs perfectly and uses approximately 5-10% of my CPU power when running many instruments and plugins concurrently. Long story short, you get what you pay for.

The best way to transition from studio to stage (3.2.4)
5/28/2016 10:26:00 PM 5/5 By sflogicninja
Every artist that I work with ends up with a Mainstage session that allows them to bring the studio experience to the stage with the least amount of stress possible. The app is incredibly affordable, easy to use and POWERFUL. Every artist should have this app in their arsenal.

slowed down instrumentals?? (3.2.4)
5/27/2016 4:22:00 AM 1/5 By Zarb Ebner
Anytime I import an instrumental, new project file or old ones that I’ve already performed with, the playback slows down like 50%. When I mean slow down, I mean like the tempo, and also the pitch of everything is super low. Absolutely no clue, but it’s made this program useless.

Great App for live performance, and sound design (3.2.4)
5/20/2016 10:13:00 AM 5/5 By Reeko-Bot
For anyone using Logic Pro X to record and write music, this app will be very easy to understand. Even if you are not a full-time performing musician, this app can serve many purposes. If you are a producer that uses Logic, you can save channel strips in Logic, and any of the patches/tracks/instruments you create can be used in Mainstage. As a producer/engineer, I am able to give my clients the same exact channel strips that were used in their recording sessions, and fully mixed productions. If you work with bands or performers that use Mainstage for their instruemtns, guitar amps, vocal efx chains, or backing tracks, this can be a big help and save the artists/musicians a lot of time, and potentially put a few extra bucks in your pocket for providing this additional service. 5 stars for convenience, Logic to Mainstage compatibility, design, ease of use (if you understand midi functionality), cost effectiveness, and managing as many patches in a concert as you need. I’ve been using Mainstage since v1, and $30 is a steal. There are tutorials available at or Groove 3 that will have you up and running in no time.

The best $30 you will ever spend! (3.2.4)
5/1/2016 8:33:00 PM 5/5 By mrforged
This application is worth a lot more than $30. Over the years, Apple has purchased quite a few gems like the Halion sampler, the Alchemy synthesizer, and the Redmatica Automated Sampler - all of which are included in MainStage. Just one of these virtual instruments alone used to cost a couple hundred dollars! You could easily spend thousands of dollars on an integrated keyboard workstation like the Kronos or Phantom and get a lot less than you get from this $30 gem. Believe me, I have owned both of those workstation, I know. So what is MainStage, really? Think of it as Logic without the tracks. Or, think of it as the live version of Logic. You can actually save your channel strip settings in Logic and then import them into MainStage. If you use Logic, knowing this will undoubtedly make you grin from ear to ear because you realize that not only can you take the exact same instruments and effects you used in your Logic session and onto the stage, but you also get to transfer all of the settings, the order of effects, and other parameters, saving you a lot of time. If you do not use Logic, that’s OK too. Mainstage does not require you to be a Logic user and you don’t even have to have Logic installed. Mainstage will allow you to create ‘concerts’ that are further divided into ‘sets’ and ‘patches.’ This makes Mainstage very flexible and suitable for almost any live performance situation. You could group all your favorite piano sounds, for example, into a set and then use a different set to group all of your favorite synth leads, for example. In this way, you could build a concert that has all of your favorite patches, quickly accessible. You could also use sets as songs, for example. Grouping all of the patches for a certain song within that one set, and so on. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. The power of Mainstage comes from its flexibility. Spend the time getting to know the software and you will be rewarded with unlimited sonic possibilities. You will appreciate how Mainstage intelligently switches between patches, seamlessly transitioning from sound to sound. Mainstage’s layers will open up all sorts of possibilities as well. And you will absolutely fall in love with the Alchemy synthesizer. And this is just the beginning. With Mainstage, you will get access to the same powerful effects processors, virtual instruments, and channel strips included with Logic Pro X and a few others that are specific to Mainstage. You also get the Redmatica autosampler, which has now been integrated into Mainstage, so you can sample any of your hardware MIDI synths and sound modules painlessly. Additionally, you get the ability to create custom patch lists and beautiful screen control panels whose knobs, sliders, and buttons can be assigned to any controllable parameter of your AUs and VSTs (yes, Mainstage supports VST 2 and 3 instruments and effects) and then mapped to any MIDI message sent by your MIDI controller(s) for total expressive control when perfotming live. But all of the things described above woudl be worthless if Mainstage was unreliable. Luckily, that is not the case as Mainstage is super stable and rock-solid. However, these is always the possibility of a rogue VST bringing down your Mainstage session, just like it happens in any other DAW. Apple should rethink its approach to plugin handling to prevent this from happening in both Logic and MainStage. Until they do, just avoid using plugins from shady developers and you should be OK. All in all, Mainstage is an incredible value at $30. Buy it. Get to know it. You will wonder how you did without it.

Underpriced at $30 (3.2.4)
4/26/2016 8:33:00 AM 5/5 By tomtayl
MainStage might not be perfect, but this “little” app is seriously underpriced at $30. Just the software instruments and effects alone costs hundreds of dollars a few years ago. The trick with this app is to take the time to get out what you need. While on the surface it looks like a nice little app like GarageBand, it seems to be designed for pros and as such takes time to learn certain things.

Thanks for the fixes (3.2.4)
4/24/2016 2:42:00 PM 5/5 By PeteT1975
Apple clearly monitors the feedback and listens to the customers. Thank you for that! MainStage has been my tool of choice for my setups for many years.

Great for live performance (3.2.3)
2/23/2016 8:31:00 PM 5/5 By outjet
I’ve been using Mainstage as my live keyboard rig for worship music for the last 2 years and it’s been remarkably solid. Instead of building out full-fledged “Concerts” I have settled with one Mainstage Concert that I use regardless of what I’m playing. I typically use the same collection of pianos, EPs, organs, pads, bells to get me through 95% of my performances. I’ve also recently added on Native Instruments Komplete which has really expanded the sound capabilities, but Mainstage is quite capable with what you get for free.

Problem with sustain pedal when using multitimbral Instrument (3.2.3)
2/8/2016 11:13:00 PM 2/5 By Hornacek acevedo
Before this update I was able to sustain all of my instument’s sound coming from my pluging (ex. Kotankt) as long as they were in the same patch, but now I can only sustain the instrument sound that goes to channel midi 1. All of the other midi channels (2-16) within that plugin wont recieve sustain information. This bug renders mainstage 3.2.3 useless for me. I had to go back to the 3.2.2 version to be able to play my gig. Please Fix soon!!

Bug in Routing and Saving is PAINFUL!!! (3.2.3)
1/22/2016 6:09:00 AM 1/5 By Larry Seyer
I have several concerts that have large amounts of routing aux busses. ALL of the Aux busses were renamed and the audio did NOT pass through them like it did using version 3.2.2. In addition, even though I have unchecked ‘save EXS samples’ in the save options, it still re- saves them (3.2.2 did NOT do this unless they were checked)…. This saving procsess happens EVERY TIME and takes FOREVER and basically hoses my machine EVERY time I hit ‘save’. So until they fix those two things, I’m sticking with 3.2.2.

Awesome Update (3.2.3)
1/22/2016 5:01:00 AM 5/5 By arvidtp
This update is awesome. Fixed the main bug that I was experiencing (way too much CPU taken up for feedback detection that could not be turned off in 3.2.2). Makes a few UI changes that are key (Mixer can take up more screen space) and has updated plugins! Quicker audio interface switching is also very nice. So far, very impressed. Mainstage is great. Yes, it has limitations and some things that I still sctrach my head over as to why (like only 16-bit stereo audio recording), but its a fantastic, cheap way to get a bunch of awesome synths and effects going live, which is really useful in combination with a more flexible but less friendly program like Max/MSP.

ONE STAR! (3.2.2)
1/14/2016 12:48:00 PM 1/5 By Norm6777
I try to load a preset and I get this warning “No document could be created. The file isn’t in the correct format”. So I can’t use the program without figuring out how to work around the problem. Apple got the money and I am stuck with half a program.

What’s with the mediocre reviews? (3.2.2)
1/8/2016 2:00:00 AM 5/5 By SF_audio_geek
MainStage is my guitar workhorse. I use it every day, and have done so since version 1 appeared. There’s no equivalent product from anyone else. MainStage has all the power of the best DAWs (no surprise — it’s a Logic spinoff), but optimized for live performance. The ability to design custom setups to suit your instrument, gear, style, and musical needs is unprecedented and unique. Many of the complaints here seem to be standard Apple beefs. (“My fly-by-night interface manufacturer is slow to respond to Mac upgrades,” or “It won’t run with my 1987 Mac Plus.”) Assuming you have a Mac from the last four years or so and have upgraded your OS in the last year or two, there should be no unsurmountable problems. There is literally no competition for this brillaint and open-ended musical tool. Plus you get access to almost all the great plug-ins from Logic at an almost comically low price. (And contrary to what another review states, my MS sets are packed with NI Kontakt instances, and I’ve never encountered issues. Some people may need to read up on optimizing setting in MS and Kontakt, though.) Don’t believe the haters — MainStage is IT for customizable OS X performance software.

There are so many problems with this.. (0)
12/21/2015 2:55:00 AM 1/5 By Stacie_123
..I don’t know where to start. I’m a keyboard player and I’ve been using MS for two years professionally and since updating, much functionality has gone out the window. Frequent glitching and crashing when using Rewire and slave DAWs like Reason. I have now gone back to Ableton Live and my work has suffered greatly. Apple promises certain things in the updates are fixed but some are complete lies. Apple, you are arrogant liars! Shame on you. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that is good about MS, especially the concept, which is why I’ve persisted to give it every chance. But I can’t work with the miriad of problems. I have written about these in the Apple community, of which Apple never responds to. 0 stars, if I could.

Super Powerful-Super Sketchy (0)
12/18/2015 2:23:00 PM 2/5 By buckinjo
I have used MainStage On Mountain Lion,Mavericks,Yosemite and now El Capitan. Mountain Lion and 3.0 (?) was the best in terms of “it just works”. Now I hear pops and clicks when sounds decay and Kontakt 5 is completely unusable, even with turning off multi core support,etc. Apple has always had bugs with MS3 and at each “update” never solves the most common. It has so much going for it and is great if you stick with only the included plug ins.

Yes, so close... (0)
12/12/2015 9:44:00 PM 1/5 By Griffon
Great user interface, great concept, great value (with all the synths and effects). However, I do own a hexacore 2013 Mac Pro with 64GB RAM. Even with such a fast workstation, I was often missing a beat (quite literally) with MainStage due to unexplained CPU spikes: CPU use would stay around 25% and then suddenly (even when I was not playing anything at all) would peak around 200% the next moment causing very annoying drop outs and delays. This makes the application completely useless for professional use (and even for hobbyist use). Judging by what I read on the internet, I am not alone with this problem.

Need a warning listed befoe you buy (0)
11/28/2015 4:30:00 PM 3/5 By Dglsell
Hey the thing is that as a new user of Mainstage and Mac I feel like I was misled when I purchased both the mac and the software. There are so many usb audio devices that are not yet compatible with OS X 10.11 that it makes it unusable on stage at this time. How long are we supposed to wait for a fix from various hardware audio devices? It’s been months now and they are just now reporting some of the problems that occur, meaning even if some hardware devices dont show incompatibility issues, they could find some in the future. My Sternberg UR22 Audio interface seems to work fine for an average time of about 15 to 25 minutes and then the audio just disappears. You might say that’s not the fault of mainstage but since it is an apple software and there are soooooo many interfaces that are not compatible then please warn us, or better yet, update a list of devices that do work with it. Moving on to other issues I have with the software. The learning curve of this software and all its terms. Its great that we have a fully customizable program and can do a lot of cool things with mainstage but wow its a little overwhelming to get started. I have purchased many software programs and learned their nuances and ways of operation from video editing and other recording programs but there are a number of things that could be done to make the whole thing take less TIME. I am a father and husband and the time I spend in the mornings before work should be enough to set up and learn how to operate this program. Sure I am figuring it out but I had to watch a youtube video just to get the basics. The truth is I may end up loving the software but until more interfaces are compatible with OS 10.11 it’s not so great especially since I just bought mine less than a year ago and it worked fine with Windows 7.

So close…. (0)
10/23/2015 8:19:00 AM 3/5 By 3point5to5
I love mainstage and it is fantastic. Still having issues with 3rd party plug ins (kontact) breaking up when my meters are below 50%. If you guys could fix that then my 5 star rating will be soon to follow! Thanks for all of the work you guys have put into this program!

What happened? (0)
10/17/2015 12:10:00 AM 1/5 By JonBonanni
Had MainStage 3 working perfectly then updated to El Capitan and NOTHING will open. Saying the files aren’t in the correct format????

3.2.1 Broke MainStage (3.2.1)
10/10/2015 8:03:00 PM 1/5 By Sparticus.121
Do no update! If you already have and Mainstage will not open for you, you can hold down option and click the mainstage icon (keep holding option). It should open the main window for you instead of the last concert. At that point, it won’t open any concert for me (including the default ones). Your results may vary but I hope this helps you.

audio unite (3.2.1)
10/8/2015 8:28:00 AM 1/5 By IO2579
quisiera saber que esta pasando con la nueva version de el capitan, tanto en logic y mainstage algunos gestores audio unit no me estan reconociendo y sobre todo no están funcionando los gestores de absynth 5, masiva y los de mainstage también me marcan como no validos ….. esto paso apartir de que instale el nuevo software EL CAPITITAN….

Wish I would have read the reviews before updating. 3.2 is terrible. (3.2)
9/23/2015 7:59:00 PM 1/5 By Rock-A-Mole
Foolishly updated after 3.2 was out for about a month. I figured if there were any major issues with the new version, that they probably would have got them ironed out by now. Big mistake. 3.2 has more bugs than a dumpster and it’s convinced me that I need to ditch Mainstage in favor of a real music progam.

3.2 is BUGGY BUGGY BUGGY!!! (3.2)
9/11/2015 8:40:00 PM 3/5 By MattMcCleskey
Since updating to 3.2 on El Capitan, I’ve lost the status wheel, all Kontakt plugin support, and the visual layout disappears and the patches are named incorrectly more than half of the time. To say this program is “buggy" is a huge understatement. That’s like saying the entire known universe is “big.” DO NOT UPDATE until the next update, or you’ll be sorry. This update has taken a 5-star program and made it almost unusable.

Version 3.2 is a disaster (3.2)
9/11/2015 5:33:00 AM 1/5 By Iwuv2readalot
After updating to this version, MainStage now no longer saves external instrument inputs. You can assign an external instrument to an input channel, save the concert, quit MainStage, and when you reload the concert all of your inputs are defaulted to no input. Also have problems now with CPU overload messages, even on concerts that do not have any plug-ins on them. Just plain audio routing. Avoid this build if you are a working musician.

What’s with the glitchy update????? (3.2)
9/8/2015 6:10:00 AM 1/5 By Eric Larson
After Mainstage’s most recent update, the program is glitching like crazy. None of the input settings will save. This is supposed to be a professional program. Get it fixed yesterday.

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