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Eric Barfield

Founder + Patch Creator

Patch Foundry

Ask Patch Foundry: Using MainStage To Control External Synths

Ask Patch Foundry: Using MainStage To Control External Synths

I received this email from a reader this week: 


Hi Eric, 


probably that's a stupid question for you but: on MS3 how can I play a VST and an hardware synth (a Roland boutique in This case) on an external instrument track with the same controller without having them playing together but mute the ext track as I'm on the VST. LPX the external instrument plugin solves this, but on MS3 there's no source to choose


Thanks, you've been very helpful so far. 




Hi Richard,


Glad you’re enjoying the blog! Here’s how to set it up so it’s possible to control an external synth or sampler: 


1. Open MainStage, and select a template. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 7.07.21 AM.png


2. Under the Channel Strips section of the MainStage concert, click the “+” button. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 7.08.11 AM.png


3. In the dropdown menu that appears, select “external instrument”. Then set the midi channel of your external instrument, which midi output you want to use, and more. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 7.08.54 AM.png


4. To get the audio to be heard from your external synth through MainStage, select the audio input and output that you’ll be using with your audio interface. (This isn’t necessary if you’re running your synth directly into a mixer in the studio or stage, but handy for controlling volume). 

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 7.10.37 AM.png

Once you've set this part up, simply add an Instrument channel to create a VST instrument. I usually use the mute button on my VST instrument channels to turn off any VST instruments I need off when I'm blending hardware synths and virtual synths. 


Good luck! 


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