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Mainstage 2 glitches


Daniel Heslop

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I'm not sure there is a solution to my issue, but here goes.

 

First the set up:

I teach children in rock band set ups...drums guitars bass vocals and of course keyboards. I am having a concert for them in a month or so.

 

There are 7 bands and a couple duos, starting from age 9, with a wide variety of keyboard needs. Some simple piano on bottom organ on top, some with some splits and layers, and some where due to vocal issues, I need to transpose (no I'm not having them relearn songs in a new key for this.)

Also I play drums in a couple bands, so I'm not available for on the fly fixes, and there is no sound man or anything like that. It is simply a little student concert/fund raiser for my Buddhist Temple.

 

The Rig:

Mainstage 2 on mac mini. Korg sp250 DP and m1 as controllers.

I have been using the keyboards onboard sounds up until now but to simplify sound changes and transposition, I would like to use mainstage.

 

The problem:

So I set up all the songs in order and it sounds pretty good.

The problem is that Mainstage likes to randomly do weird things:

Sometimes the damper stays on.

Sometimes sustained notes die after a second or two.

Sometimes the wrong sound is sounding despite what is on the display

 

All of this is corrected by simply re-starting mainstage. My concern is that it is random and it happens more often than I am comfortable with.

I would guess roughly 15-20 % of the time I use Mainstage, something weird happens. Of course you don't know something weird is happening until you start playing.

 

I like so many things about it and if I could trust it, it could make things so much easier, but the idea of for example the damper staying on in the middle of a song and traumatizing an inexperienced 9 year old, has me feeling like I might need to stick with using the m1 and sp250 themselves

 

I am far from a computer expert, but does anyone have any simple advice to make it more stable?

I'm thinking no, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

 

 

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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I would have to update my operating system for MS 3, and that will cause issues with other things I need.

Ultimately I plan on getting a macbook, but probably not within the month.

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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I'm not sure there is a solution to my issue, but here goes.

...

I am far from a computer expert, but does anyone have any simple advice to make it more stable?

I'm thinking no, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

I'm afraid I can't give a technically informed answer as to what may be happening, or what will fix it (Apart from reading few reports that MS3 is far better than MS2).

 

There's a more prudent question, to which I think you know the answer already: has your setup been truly, rigorously stress tested? You've said what is at stake: you don't want kids to be traumatized by system failures. And the only way you can avoid that is to torture-test your system extensively, *before* committing to it.

 

Hardware boards undergo this kind of stress testing, to see if the components work together well. Has your Mac Mini rig undergone the same level of testing?

 

In your position, I would setup some kind of automated testing using an external sequencer - that will send lots of polyphony, and more importanly, random patch change commands (whatever you use to switch patches in MS). I actually do this, and leave my system running with random notes/patch changes for about 3 hours, and use diagnostic tools to measure system performance, etc. (Forte has built-in tools for just this, but it's Windows-only).

 

In your position, if I'm not truly, utterly confident about stress testing, I would seriously consider alternatives, like hiring a Motif or a PC3 on rent.

 

- Guru

 

 

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Well it is a month away. This week I'll be using it for all classes and see how it goes. Today in a class the damper stuck on, but I was testing a sound for level with my mouse at the same time the kid was messing about, so maybe getting info on the same keyboard from 2 sources simultaneously was an issue. I was also running iTunes because the drummer was sick so I recorded his parts.

 

I don't change programs within any songs and Im just using the Mac keyboard to go from one song to the next.

 

If I am not pretty confident by the end of the next week or two I won't risk it.

I'll just use the onboard sounds from the m1 and sp.

 

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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For what it's worth, MS3 has indeed been more stable than MS2 for me, but only in terms of not crashing.

 

What you're describing sounds like bad MIDI messages.

 

What MIDI interface are you using?

 

What does the MIDI configuration look like (i.e. how are keyboards routing)?

 

Also, are you using any non-Apple plug-ins?

 

-John

 

 

I make software noises.
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I'm using a midiman and an m-audio midi to usb things. I am using 25 ft cables.

 

However for my own uses, I also add an m audio keyrig 49 directly through usb, and I have also used an emu midi 1 to 1 (all of them are 1 to 1) and have had these issues crop up. My hunch is it is either software or cpu maxing out that is the source of the issue.

Mostly I've used MS 2 for my own Rick Wakeman tribute project, so the demands have been pretty high with a lot of sounds, splits, layers and 3 or 4 controllers, but for the student thing it is mostly pretty simple, so I am hoping that has less impact on the stability, but......

 

For my own work I use sample tank, and I'm experimenting with trial versions of mini V and Monarch, but for this project with my students, it is all mainstage sounds, or maybe garageband sound or two.

 

I maybe have to see how much upgrading my os will affect other things, and bite the bullet so I can get MS 3.

I really really like MS 2 if not for these random occurrences.

 

I do appreciate all these suggestions. I'm not sure I can do the things Guru suggested, as I just don't have an external sequencer outside the m1 which is obviously severely limited (even in it's own time it was).

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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One thing you could do is set up an external disk with the OS that'll run Mainstage 3. A brand new, fresh install of OSX with only the stock Apple components and MS3. This would of course entail a decent time investment and wouldn't guarantee success, but I would choose this over troubleshooting the issues you're dealing with now.
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To the OP: Since you don't have too many patches, you could try out Bidule as an alternative to MS2. There's a slight learning curve, it's a different approach from Mainstage, but *might* perform much better than MS2. There's a free demo available, which will actually run till April 30th 2014, so you really don't lose any $$ in trying it out.

 

@Reezekeys: surprised you didnt suggest this...! Any particular reason?

 

- Guru

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Yea Bidule would be a good alternative, but the OP already has presets set up in MainStage and is familiar with it. Going from MS2 to 3 is probably not that much of a leap (and I'm assuming MS2 presets would be readable in 3). And Bidule really is a very different approach IMO. I love it because I have some programming experience (strictly amateur & self-taught) and enjoy the challenge of building a custom environment that does exactly what I need it to do. Not everybody shares those feelings though.

 

Having said all this, I do want to add that Bidule has been rock-solid & stable for me over the eight years I've been using it. Absolutely zero crashes. No gigs with show-stopping issues. And my setup is very involved, with lots of routing & processing going on.

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After watching a couple tutorial type videos on Bidule....I'm intimidated.

I think I definitely prefer the MS interface. The stability sounds awesome though. It just looks completely foreign to me is all.

 

So I am running os x 10.6.8.

I searched for mountain lion and I seem to come up with os x Mavericks.

Is this the upgrade I need for MS 3?

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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After watching a couple tutorial type videos on Bidule....I'm intimidated.

I think I definitely prefer the MS interface. The stability sounds awesome though. It just looks completely foreign to me is all.

 

So I am running os x 10.6.8.

I searched for mountain lion and I seem to come up with os x Mavericks.

Is this the upgrade I need for MS 3?

 

Yes Mavericks is the latest and it and MS3 are 64 bit only.

 

But you mentioned CPU and RAM overload, there is meter displaying both in edit mode, can you replicate the patch and sustain use and see if the meters show as maxed out.

 

It seems more likely you have a midi message issue, assuming the CPU and RAM are not maxing out can you test with different shorter cables to see whether you can replicate the issue. Also are you using a converter from midi to USB? These could also be the issue.

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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The meter maxes out when I first start up MS for a few seconds, then goes down.

 

For some more intense set ups it also maxes out....Arthur from "Myths and legends" is a song where there is so much going on it can max out, but all that happens is the sound drops out for a second almost like a clipping effect. I filtered dampening from the string layer with the piano and that solved that.

 

Obviously it is less of an issue if I don't have anything else running as well. Funny thing is there are other songs where I feel like there is more going on than Arthur, but they work just fine. Anyway none of the stuff for my students is even close to that level of complexity of set ups.

 

However the freezing, or damper freezing or MS crashing or other issues are pretty much random.

I could try shorter midi cable with a studio revamp, but even just using my m audio usb keyboard is can happen, so I don't think it is midi cables.

Come to think of it, to that end, even with a single sound set up it has glitched so I guess really the complexity of the set up is irrelevant.

 

The m-audio and midiman things are basically mouse shaped boxes with female midi in and out on the side, and usb on the end.

 

The only other info I can add is that with my keyrig 49, which is almost always connected to my computer, very often when I start up sibelius, or music time (entry level version of "Encore" for notation) I often have to turn the keyrig off and back on for these programs to respond to it.

 

I think it is just that for whatever reason on my mini, MS 2 is glitchy.

I am strongly leaning towards installing Mavericks on the weekend, and getting MS 3.

 

btw, I love this board! It is so great that people will take the time to try to help someone out.

 

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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Some options,

Make sure MainStage is the only software running and wireless, bluetooth etc are turned off.

If it all operates fine until the CPU is maxing out then this most likely is the issue, why not make a copy of the concert and trouble shoot the concert copy by removing patches one at a time and see whether you can narrow down the issue to one or two patches.

 

If you can identify the patches that are causing the issue then you may be able to rebuild these with smaller or different samples etc. Generally speaking the GB samples are much smaller in size than those supplied for use with EXS24.

 

Also are you using an existing concert modified for this show or did you start a new concert from scratch. If an existig concert delete anything not relevant for this show.

 

Also whar CPU do you have and how much RAM. Upgrading to Mavericks and MS3 is a low cost option but if a lack of system resources is the issue there is the possibility that running a 64 bit OS and MS3 will not resolve an issue caused by insufficient machine resources. It may behave better when it runs out of resources but that is not necessarily going make the show any better.

 

If the issue is buried some where in the concert you may still have to debug the concert to get it running smoothly in MS3.

 

BTW I know this is the bleeding obvious but check that you have each controller on a different channel.

 

Good luck

 

 

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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  • 2 months later...

So in the end, I just used the m1's on board combis instead of the mac mini.

I've extensively overhauled my m1 sounds over the years so it isn't as bad as it might seem. I also used my korg sp250 for piano sounds, so the m1 was for hammond, horns strings choir, sax and synth sounds.

 

However since the coffee house, I decided to update my os and install mainstage 3. (The incentive came when NI put monark on 50% off sale, but it required mavericks)

 

So the only issue is Mavericks slowed down my mac considerably and I find I need to restart a couple times a day, but that is another topic for another day.

 

Mainstage 3 has indeed proven to be much more stable, and so far the only glitch is once it couldn't find Monark's presets, so I just restarted MS3 and the problem was solved. So far no phantom damper on issues or anything else.

 

I'm a bit sad that sample tank doesn't work with it, as I use Mellotron sounds extensively, but I have created pretty convincing imitations with the MS sampler. I will still consider a virtual mellotron down the road though.

 

The only thing I am dissapointed in with MS3 is on MS2 if I changed from one "combi" to another within a song, it was seamless. On MS 3 there is silence for a second. It isn't a huge thing, but that was a feature I really loved with MS 2.

 

So I hope in the next couple months to pick up a macbook pro with 8 gb of ram to use for a student concert at the end of June.

 

 

 

aaaaaaaand I spoke too soon.

Today with a student band a horn section in the middle of the keyboard with a 3 way split, completely disappeared.

I mean the sound was gone. It was there at the beginning of the lesson. We did two other songs and then came back to it and the sound was gone for that.

 

So MS3 appears to be more stable than MS 2, ....but still not 100%

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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Never worked with MS3, but dumped MS2 after trying to use it for a few months. Not stable, similar strange things happened...

 

I used Bidule for years live and was stable as a rock!

In the end I just used Kontakt standalone. Very powerful when using scripts, also very stable.

All on a macbook pro.

The control within Bidule is fantastic. Intuitive and when you have an idea you can work it out in Bidule.

 

After a year of only using hardware synths, i'm moving into a new experiment: Acer Aspire netbook with XP (clean, no virusscanner/internet access) en Bidule running Kontakt.

I'll only use this live after months of testing.

Nord Stage 3, Nord Wave 2
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aaaaaaaand I spoke too soon.

Today with a student band a horn section in the middle of the keyboard with a 3 way split, completely disappeared.

I mean the sound was gone. It was there at the beginning of the lesson. We did two other songs and then came back to it and the sound was gone for that.

 

So MS3 appears to be more stable than MS 2, ....but still not 100%

Could also be easily explained by not having saved the concert after you created the split:)

 

I have opened and closed MainStage nearly everyday and often several times a day for the past two years and it has always opened the selected concert in the last SAVED state. But then so did Cantabile the software I used before MainStage.

 

 

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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No it was saved. I created the concert earlier in the day. Re-opened MS 3 for the lesson and ran through that specific song twice. Then we went to other songs within the same concert, and then came back to the first song.

Everything appeared correct. It was a brass sound from Garageband, but there was no sound coming from that zone of the keyboard, either from the keyboard or using my mouse on the keyboard on the monitor. The sounds on the top and bottom of the keyboard and on a lower keyboard worked fine.

I restarted MS 3 without saving anything, and when it re-loaded the sound was back.

I wish it was user error because I want to have confidence in MS, but sadly...it wasn't my fault.

 

It does have me re-thinking things. Maybe I'm just too old school, but now I'm considering instead of buying a macbook, maybe getting a Korg Krome instead.

Can anyone comment on the build quality of the Krome? The keybed? (synth action) I know it sounds pretty good, and the architecture is more or less an updated m1 in terms of how programs and combis are done, so I'm pretty familiar with it.

I just worry a bit about the build quality on a lot of newer gear. I mean I'm a guy who still uses an m1 and a mono/poly, so clearly I like things that are built to last. Of course that is not where most of the manufacturing world is at anymore. I am on a limited budget but the more I look at the Krome the more I like it. i tried one a year or two ago in a store, but I was pressed for time and didn't really get into the details or take note of the action or anything.

Maybe I should start a thread on that.

 

As for Bidule. I looked at it a bit back earlier in this thread, but it looks really confusing to me. Probably not so bad once you dive in, but on the surface I am intimidated.

I've also considered using Sample tank. I don't like the interface much and I"ve really only used the mellotron sounds. I messed a bit with the free sample moog sounds and the orchestra stuff, but the free versions didn't really give you enough to judge imho, but at least it has always been solid for me.

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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The cause of this issue could with hardware or machine resources. The fact that you are getting these issues with both MS2 and MS3 with Mavericks would indicate it is a hardware glitch somewhere.

 

If its not then maybe the machine is running out of resources or one of the VST's in the concert is hogging memory. So many places to look if I were you I would cut my losses and get an alternative in place.

 

Or try a dedicated Logic-MainStage support forum for help.

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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