We received this email from a reader this week:
I use Mainstage in worship, using macpro, the church keyboard is dated and is a 15 year old alesis which I midi and then out put is via a DI. We have analog desk at one church site and a digital desk at the other.
The problem we encounter is when the guys on the sound desk eq my my sounds they for example eq the piano sound from Mainstage but this leaves the strings,synths etc a bit thin sounding. Is there a way this can be improved, we discussed using the pan on Mainstage instrument strips to group piano and pan the other sounds in another group so that the sounds can be equalised more effectively.
Would this work or do I need something on the output to improve the quality? I hope this makes sense.
This is definitely a great solution if you’re running mono on your main sound system, but your pads and pianos can lose depth and width if your sound system is running stereo and you’re staying in mono. Here’s a couple of ways you could work around things:
• Have your sound engineer EQ the piano inside of MainStage. MainStage has some amazing EQ plugins, and it’s easy to get a good sounding piano using just the built in plugins. Once your sound engineer has tweaked the piano the way he likes it, just use the copy and paste to put the piano EQ on every patch that has piano.
• Ask questions about what the sound engineer is trying to fix/tweak. If you can figure out what the sound engineer needs from you, you can probably fix it on your end.
For instance, when I was in high school I had a sound engineer constantly complain to me that my patches were feeding back. I went back and discovered I was playing some really high notes that sound identical to feedback in a mix. Instead of cutting out my high end, I simply tweaked my patch.
• Consider getting a multi-output audio interface. Audio interfaces are cheap enough now that it’s very affordable to get one with two sets of stereo outputs (here’s one I recommend). If this is an option, in MainStage simply run the piano out of a output 3-4, and everything else through the main outputs. This will allow you to keep things stereo, maintaining that thick wide sound that really brings out pads and pianos. Good luck!