If you are running a metronome in MainStage, there's a couple important concepts to grasp about MainStage, the metronome and MainStage's beat clock that can help:
- The green Play button represents MainStage's beat clock. When it's green it's running. When it's not it's off.
- Anytime the beat clock is turned On, MainStage initiates a midi reset (unfortunately). This is why Tonic shuts off, sustained notes cut off, etc. One solution is to just leave the play button On all the time (thus leaving MainStage's beat clock always running as well).
MainStage's metronome is forever linked to that beat clock, whether it is "On" or not. The metronome button in the top right corner doesn't actually start or stop the metronome, it just mutes/unmutes it. So, you have to get used to having to pick out the downbeat when you use it. You can also disable the downbeat at the concert level in the "Metronome" tab of the concert inspector if you want to.
If you need a downbeat, you can load an .AIF click loop file into an instance of Playback running at the concert level with the Sync mode set to "Bar" and Flex turned on to allow for tempo manipulation. This would allow you to leave MainStage's clock running at all times, and then map a button to "Play/Stop" within that instance of Playback- Playback would wait until the next bar indicator to come in, so you would not have your downbeat problems.
Check out this tutorial for more about the basics:
How to Send a Metronome to Your Band:
If you don't have an audio interface, and you want the metronome separate for recording or sending to your band there are a couple choices. The headphone jack on your computer is the “Built-In” output. This is considered 1 stereo out. So if you wanted to separate click and keys, the only way using just the headphone jack is to pan all the keys channel strips hard left, and the metronome channel strip hard right. Then you can use a cable that is 3.5mm to 2x 1/4” TS if you want to send those 2 channels to a sound console/mixer. The cable splits the left and right signal so you have one with the keys and the other with the metronome. You could also separate the left and right in software if recording.
It's better to use an interface and set up an aggregate device so you can keep the keys in stereo, and send the click mono:
Changing the Metronome Sound:
Follow these steps:
- Locate the metronome channel strip and replace the "Klopfgeist" plugin with Ultrabeat OR EXS24.
- Load in a preset within the instrument plugin that has the type of sound you want (there are lots of percussion presets in both plugins)
- At the concert level adjust the note values in the Metronome tab for "Bar" and "Beat" until they trigger the samples you want to use.
- Save your concert and enjoy your new sounds!
Or, check out this tutorial that can walk you through it:
How Do You Map the Metronome to a Button?
If you want to map the metronome to a button, you'll do these steps:
- In Layout mode, create a button and then assign it to your hardware by clicking the “Assign” button and then pressing the physical button while in the Layout mode. Make sure the type is set to “Single Value."
- In Edit mode, click that button you created- and then click “Map Parameter” so that, “Map Parameter” is red. Then click the metronome button to map the button to the metronome.
As long as the play button (green arrow button) is on, the button should require only one press to turn on/off the metronome. I would just leave the green play button on all the time. However, the beat may not start on the “beat one accent” so to fix that:
- Go to the concert level and choose the “Metronome” tab.
- Change the “Bar” note to match the “Beat” note. This way there is no accent on beat one. In other words, every beat could be beat one
Having this concert level mapping to the metronome is fine and it will not change the individual patch tempos, as the mapping is to the metronome and not the tempo.
If you are setting up an arp, here are some additional things to check:
- You will want MainStage’s green play button to be off (top right corner).
- In the “Keyboard” tab of the Arpeggiator, you will want to make sure “Input Snap” is set to “none.”
- To make the arp feel better (personal taste), go to the Arpeggiator’s “Options” tab and set the “Cycle Length” to “As Played”.
- Change the mode to be set to “Reset”.
Also note that there are some effects that will follow a background clock- even when the background clock is turned off, and this is a glitch. For example, the modulator seems to sync to the clock all the time, as does the LFO in EXS24. Thus, we have worked around these limitations in Sunday Keys to create effects like “Sidechain” via MainStage’s Auto Filter effect.
Creating a Visual Metronome in MainStage
You might want to make a visual metronome in your MainStage layout if you're starting a song solo or vamping for a while and want to make sure you're near the right tempo or you don't want to commit to an audio metronome but want a bit of reference for your team's tempo:
Create a Tempo Knob: