Mac people: is anyone using MainStage?

This is (mostly) for the Mac guys: is anyone of you using MainStage? It is, as I understand it, sort of the on-stage variant of GarageBand, i.e., you can customize settings for a gig, and use it as pedalboard, amp sim, recording gear, and other stuff.

Any experiences with this software?



Hey Joergkutter, I use mainstage for recording audio at home so that I can import audio tracks in my DAW (Ableton). Garageband lacks good export features so in my humble opinion it is really a great buy just for that feature alone. :smiley: I think you also get more audio customizations then Garageband (not sure tho) and ofcourse better tools for live performing/recording.

If you are also looking for editing and mastering software (and you own a Mac) then you should consider Logic Pro X or stick with Garageband. I already own Ableton but I prefer Logic’s way of creating audio so mainstage is perfect for me. It’s also a lot cheaper. :wink:


Thanks, @Paul, much appreciated!

So, let me see if I understood your workflow correctly: you record using mainstage and then move the audio track to Ableton (for post-processing? Mixing??). Why is mainstage better in recording than Garageband? Or is it the fact that once you recorded in Garageband, you can’t move the audio track as easily?

Could you use a Mac, a DAI, and mainstage to replace, say, a multieffects board and use this combo in the rehearsal room or on stage? And route the output from the DAI to an amp or PA?

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Exactly, I build my tracks in Ableton and I use mainstage mainly for the single track export feature which Garageband does not provide. It’s a lot of fun experimenting with different plugins and sounds in mainstage. Garageband and mainstage are equal with sound quality and recording and offer the same interface for creating audio. Mainstage just includes a bit of functionality which is also available in Logic Pro X.

So yeah, you can replace multi-effect boards and whatever input really as long as you route the output from your digital interface to your monitors (hooking up to an amp needs a bit more research since your interface has to support and provide a good line out to your amp).
It’s funny that you mention this since I think it is a really affordable way to play around with different pedals and amps tones without buying all the analog stuff first. I was looking at @JoshFossgreen topic about his pedalboard. Software simulation is just getting better and more affordable these days and provides an fun way to experiment with new sounds. For example I was just looking at for awesome bass tones but you also have nice plugins/software for guitar, drums, vocals, etc.

But I also love analog interfaces & pedals where you just play with big buttons, switches and knobs. :wink:


There has been a lot of discussion on pedalboards and analog vs digital here in the forum recently (a bit spread out over two or three threads, however :slight_smile:)

Thanks for your input - I think I will check out Mainstage and also have a look at the Darkglass plugins you mentioned!



Welcome @Paul!


Thanks @howard!

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