There are some basic on-screen sections and features that make up The Simple MainStage Template. In this article and video you’ll also learn some important terminology you’ll want to know for other video tutorials about the Simple MainStage Template. Be sure to check out all the video tutorials over on the Simple MainStage Template Resource Page.
Check out the video or the steps below it to learn more about how to open the Simple MainStage Template:
First, some basics about MainStage. (If you're truly looking for all the basics - check out our free MainStage Basics Course)
MainStage has three views or modes:
- Layout mode: where you make connections between your midi hardware and the onscreen workspace
- Edit mode: where you can build your sounds and connect those sounds to the onscreen workspace
- Perform mode: where all the connecting and sound building you’ve done in Layout and Edit modes come together and all you see is that nice big workspace fullscreen
After initially setting up The Simple MainStage Template, which you’ve likely already done if you’re watching this video, you’ll spend most of your preparation time in Edit mode. (You can go and complete the 3 installation steps at the top of the Simple MainStage Template Resource Page if you have't already)
All About Edit Mode
In Edit mode, the entire left side of your screen is your Patch List. Each patch is made up of one or more channel strips which can be seen on the far right side of the screen. Channel strips are what’s responsible for creating the sounds in The Simple MainStage Template. We’ve programmed all the channel strips in advance, so you shouldn’t have to worry about them much unless you decide you want to go behind the scenes and make more advanced tweaks. You can hide or show the channel strips via this button. just above the channel strip area.
The bottom third of the screen is the Inspector. The Inspector dynamically changes based on the last item in MainStage you clicked. For example, when I click on a patch in the Patch List, the inspector shows me details related to that patch.
Lastly regarding the inspector you can show or hide it via the “i” icon just to the right of the Perform mode button.
So the left side of the screen is the patch list, the right side contains channel strips, and the bottom third is the Inspector.
That leaves the big area right in the center called the Workspace.
We designed the workspace in The Simple MainStage Template to be easy to understand and immediately intuitive.
The Help Button
You'll find the help button in the bottom right corner. You can regain access to the Simple MainStage Template Resource Page and browse a list of help topics at any time from within MainStage, by clicking the help button while you’re in MainStage’s Edit mode and then clicking the link that appears in the Inspector at the bottom of the screen.
Two Starter Patches
There are two starter patches in the Simple MainStage Template. One that features a great worship piano sound and one that features a few different flavors of electric piano sounds. Each of these two patches also features three different worship pad sounds that you can blend in with the piano or electric piano.
- Each section has a large, white title at the top and right below it a level indicator that lets you see visually how loud that specific sound is at any moment.
- You can adjust the volume of each sound via the vertical fader. For the piano and electric piano the knob above the volume control adjusts the amount of reverb. For the pads the knob will bring in a great shimmer effect that is great for adding additional ambience to your sound.
- Each section also includes three labeled buttons that will change an element of the sound. For the piano you’ll find a “soft” button that mellows out the piano sound, a “delay” button that adds a great delay effect, and an “octave” button that adds an octave above every piano note you play which is perfect for powerful, lead piano parts.
- For the electric piano and pad sounds both these three buttons will mute or unmute different sound layers. If a button is glowing, that sound is currently active. The electric piano features three different classic electric piano sounds which can be used one at a time or in any combination.
- The pad section features three unique pad flavors that go from lowest intensity via the “soft” option to the most intense and bright via the “Bright” option. Again, you can use one or more of these sounds at once to dial in just the right sound. When you have pad sounds turned on you can use the mod wheel on your keyboard to increase or decrease the brightness and power of the pads. Moving your mod wheel up will increase the brightness and moving it down will decrease it. When you select a patch the pads will always default to the ‘down’ position on the mod wheel.
- Each of the four main sections contains the same exact onscreen controls. In The Simple MainStage Template, the sounds are designed with simple to use, sound shaping controls that we call modifiers. Each section may contain modifiers to adjust the amount of a given effect like reverb or delay, a tone control that make a sound brighter or darker, and various other modifiers like a chorus or octave effect programmed to a button.
- Across all sounds in The Simple MainStage Template, the left fader in each section will always be a volume control for that sound.
About the Extra Section (the right side of the MainStage workspace)
Taking up most of the right side of the workspace is what we call the Extra section. This is a large, simplified instrument section with a space for a text label, a level indicator and a horizontal volume fader just below that.
Song specific patches that you buy from Sunday Sounds will be pre-mapped to the Extra section where you’ll see a large display of Song Section Notes as well as the Easy Transpose feature for quick transposition of song patches.
When you’re not using a song patch the Extra section can be used as a place for notes, reminders, and even Chord progressions that you’d like to display.
How to add notes in the Extra Section in Edit Mode:
- Click the patch in the Patch List you’d like to add text notes for
- Click the “Click Here to Add Notes” area at the bottom of the Extra section.
- Click the empty field in the Inspector at the bottom of the screen and type in whatever notes you’d like. You can also adjust the size, color, and formatting of any text via the “Font” button in the Inspector.
- You can type in different notes for each patch in your Patch List, just keep in mind that when you’re using a Sunday Sounds Song Specific Patch that the included text notes from the patch will display over the top of any text you place in the field manually, so it’s best to rely on the song patch’s included text when using song patches.
Above the two main sound sections and the Extra section we have some additional features inside The Simple MainStage Template.
- Above the piano and pad sounds area is a Patch List display. It exactly mirrors the Patch List column on the left side of your screen. when you’re in Perform mode it’ll tell you which patch you have selected, and which sounds are coming up next. The buttons located in the Patch List can be used to select the next or previous patch.
- To the right of the patch list is the Tonic Pad Player. Tonic plays an ambient drone pad in the key of your choice that you can use to glue together the sound of your band and nail transitions between songs and keys. You can turn it on at any time by pressing the “On” button in the bottom right corner of Tonic. Press the same button again to turn it off. Check out Video 2: Using Tonic on the Simple MainStage Template Resource Page for more info on using Tonic.
- Output section:
- Overall level indicator
- Master volume knob: you can use this volume control if you need more or less volume from The Simple MainStage Template in general. Just be sure that you don’t see red, clipping signal in the level indicator above the volume knob if you turn it up.
- The Panic button: this resets all audio and midi when pressed and can be useful if you’re running into an issue in the moment and need to essentially start over.
- The Tap Tempo button: this can be used for tap tempo to easily lock in to any tempo in real-time. Just tap quarter notes a few times and it will pick up the approximate tempo. You can also pre-set the tempo of any specific patch in Edit mode, by clicking the patch in your patch list, Clicking the Attributes tab of the inspector, then checking the “Change tempo to” box and typing in a specific BPM.
- The Mono button: if your sound board is not stereo or if you only plan on running a single instrument or XLR cable from your keys rig to the soundboard then you’ll want to make sure the mono button is engaged. Otherwise, you’ll lose some audio quality.