Sunday Keys for MainStage 2021: Automate Tonic Parameters on Patch Change

In Sunday Keys, Tonic is set up to work independently from your patches by default. This video will show you how you can set up Tonic to automatically change settings when you change to a new patch. 

Be sure to check out all the other video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article.

Check out the video or the steps below it to learn more about how to automate Tonic to change settings: 



In Sunday Keys Tonic is independent from patch changes by default. Many times this is exactly what you want, as it allows you to change between keys sounds seamlessly while Tonic continues to generate the ambient pad. When you want to change a setting in Tonic you have to do so in advance during preparation or in the moment, in real-time.

At times, it may be desirable to pre-program changes to Tonic’s settings and trigger them during a live performance when you change to a specific patch. We call this function Tonic Automator.

In this video, you’ll learn how to set it up. **Take note, that this is somewhat more advanced tutorial video so if you're new to MainStage or Sunday Keys and this feature isn’t immediately important to you it may be a good idea to come back to this video at a later date once you’re more familiar with the software. But don’t worry, if you take your time and follow the steps you’ll be just fine.

Before we get started, I’d like to acknowledge that the midi script that makes Tonic Automator possible was written and generously provided to us by a Sunday Keys User named Manuel Van Rijn. If you join our Sunday Keys User Community group on Facebook and happen to come across Manuel, be sure to thank him for his contribution to Sunday Keys!

How to set up Tonic Automator

  1. Click the spotlight icon in the top right of your screen and begin to type in the words “Audio Midi” to locate the Audio Midi Setup app on your computer. Double click it to open it up.
  2. When you open Audio Midi Setup you'll see this window, the Midi Studio, or this one the Audio Devices window. Click Window in the toolbar and choose “Show Midi Studio” if you don’t see this window by default.
  3. Double click on the red icon that says “IAC Driver”. In the window that opens up, first make sure the box next to “Device is online” is checked.
  4. Click the “Plus” button at the bottom left of the window below “Ports”. When you do, you may notice a pause for up to 10 seconds while the port is created. Then you should see a new option in the list under “Ports” likely named something like “IAC Bus 1 or Bus 2”. Click on the name of the port and change it to exactly “Tonic” with a capital T, then click “Apply” in the bottom right corner of the window. Now, you can exit Audio Midi Setup and open or return to your Sunday Keys concert. To make sure you only have to do this set up process once, we recommend you use the Sunday keys concert that you will use as the basis for all other copies of the concert. This will likely be the Sunday Keys concert file you started out with and connected your keyboard, mod wheel, sustain pedal, and any other midi controllers to.
  5. Now, inside Sunday Keys, click the “Layout” mode option in the top left corner of the window.
  6. Click on the onscreen keyboard and then drag it up a bit in the workspace to reveal a black bar with white text hidden below it.
  7. Then, click just outside the black bar, drag over the bar, then release to select it. You must click outside the bar and drag over it, clicking directly on the bar will not have the necessary setup effect.
  8. After clicking outside the black bar and dragging over it to select it, look up towards the top of the left side of the display and locate the “Midi Port” option. You may already see the words “Tonic IAC Driver” here, or you may see something else. Either way, you must click on the dropdown and select the White text that says “Tonic IAC Driver”. When you do, you’ll notice a pause of several seconds and some of the controls in the workspace may flicker or move slightly while the change is taking place. This is normal, so don’t worry about it.
  9. Now click and drag the onscreen keyboard back down into its normal position, then head back over to Edit mode.
  10. At this time, hit ⌘S on your keyboard to save your concert or choose file from the toolbar and select save from the menu. Make sure to save, so you don't have to repeat this setup process in the future. Then be sure to use this concert file as the basis for any duplicates of the concert you make as you prepare setlist in the future.
  11. Now, add a new patch to the concert via the + icon in the top right corner of your Patch List, then choose the Patch Library tab of the inspector, click on ‘User Patches’, then Patch Builder and select the patch at the bottom of the folder titled “Tonic Automator”.
  12. Look at the Tonic Automator channel strip at the right side of the screen. If you don’t see any channel strips, click the show/hide channel strip button right above where you’d expect them to be. On the Tonic Automator channel strip scroll up to the top where it should say “MIDI Output”. If you don’t see the midi output area, right click on the channel strip, hover over the words “channel strip components”, then click on the words “Midi Output”.
  13. Next, click on the grey rectangle just to the left of the words “Midi Output” and select “Tonic IAC Driver”.
  14. Then, hit ⌘E on your keyboard to save the Tonic Automator patch. In the window that opens, click the MainStage folder in your favorites bar. If you don’t have MainStage in your Favorites bar, search for it in Spotlight, then drag the blue folder into the favorites area and let go when you see a blue line with a dot on the left side.
  15. Once you’re inside the MainStage folder click on “Patch builder- Sunday Keys” at the top of the list, then click Export.

Tonic Automator is now setup and ready to be used in your Sunday Keys concert.

How to Use Tonic Automator

To use Tonic Automator, you need to combine the Tonic Automator patch with the patch you’d like to have trigger changes to the tonic drone.

  1. Click on Tonic Automator, hold down the command key on your keyboard, then click on the other patch. If you did this correctly, you’ll see both patches highlighted in blue.
  2. Then, click the settings cog in the top right corner of the patch list and choose “New Patch from Selected Patches”. This patch can now be used to automate changes to any parameter within Tonic. You can remember that the patch contains Tonic Automator by noting the red word “AUTO” in the bottom left corner of Tonic.
  3. Now, choose how you’d like to affect the parameters of Sunday keys when this patch is selected. Head back to the channel strip area on the right side of the screen and scroll if necessary to locate the Tonic Automator channel strip. Within that channel strip click the green rectangle at the top that says “Scripter”. If you don’t’ see the green rectangle, right click on the channel strip, hover over “Channel strip components”, then click the words “MIDI FX”. When you click on the green Scripter plugin, a window will open.
  4. Within the Scripter plugin you can use the menus, checkboxes and sliders to change whichever settings in Tonic you’d like. You can choose whether or not you’d like to change the volume of Tonic by checking the “Change Volume” box. If the box is not checked, then Tonic’s volume setting will be unaffected when you change to the patch. Once you’ve chosen the desired settings for Tonic, you can exit the window. Now, the next time you select this patch, Tonic will change to the settings you chose. 

All changes when you select the patch will be immediate, but changes between keys should still fade smoothly. Keep in mind our best practices for transitions between keys and making changes to the Drone Preset and Drone Center controls.

Now that Tonic Automator is set up and you’re familiar with how it works, you can combine the Tonic Automator patch with any pre-built layered patch or include it when you combine patches in patch builder to enjoy this functionality.


Be sure to check out all the video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article!

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