Today, Apple finally released the much anticipated MainStage 3.3 with tons of new features and fixes. Here they are!
New Features and Enhancements
A New Modern User Interface
As expected, MainStage 3.3 adopts the same design cues from Logic Pro X’s recent redesign. Interface elements are noticeably flatter and more minimalistic, and sort of resembles Ableton Live’s UI.
Text spacing has been increased in the Assignments & Mappings window. It feels much less cluttered now. Good job, Apple!
Touch Bar Support
MainStage 3.3 brings Touch Bar support for Apple’s latest 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros with Touch Bar. In addition to basic functions like saving and switching modes, the Touch Bar can also be used as a virtual piano with customizable scales.
Better Stereo Panning
Apple’s release notes says “true stereo panning provides more control and discrete manipulation of stereo signals”. I assume this is a better stereo panning algorithm. Cool.
Software Instruments as Sidechain Sources
In MainStage 3.3, software instruments can be used as an input source for sidechaining. Previously, a software instrument’s output had to be sent to a bus before it could be used as an input source for sidechaining.
Colored Set Folder Icons
The color of set folders can be changed in MainStage 3.3. This is a great feature for organization.
This one’s pretty self explanatory. The toolbar can be customized in MainStage 3.3.
MacOS Sierra Disk Space Management
MacOS Sierra introduced a new disk space management feature, which frees up hard disk space by moving rarely used files to iCloud, regularly emptying the trash, removing unnecessary files, and more.
MainStage 3.3’s official release notes says “supports Disk Space Management on macOS Sierra”, but I’m not exactly sure what this actually means.
Below are other fixes in this massive MainStage 3.3 update. Most noticeable are the CPU performance improvements, Auto Sampler updates (hopefully this plugin actually works now…), and support for Logic Remote 1.3.2.
- Exiting Full Screen mode from an Edit window no longer cause MainStage to become unresponsive.
- Improves CPU performance on portable computers with integrated graphics.
- Includes several improvements to CPU performance.
- MainStage now displays a warning dialog if the computer gets warm enough to cause audio dropouts or other anomalies.
- Includes general improvements to CPU performance.
Stability and Reliability
- MainStage no longer hangs in certain rare cases when dragging patches in large concerts.
- MainStage no longer becomes unresponsive after the Please quit ReWire applications first dialog appears.
- MainStage no longer quits unexpectedly when:
- Accessing pop-up menus from the Hardware Input dialog in the Assignments & Mappings window.
- Dragging an AAC file into the Playback plug-in.
- Loading certain 3rd-party Audio Units plug-ins.
- Loading a stereo audio file into a stereo instance of Playback that already has a mono audio file loaded.
- Closing the Auto Sampler while the Velocity window is open.
- The name and path of audio files in Concerts saved without assets are now properly saved.
- MainStage now reliably displays Playback markers in concerts saved in MainStage 3.2.
- The Clean Up command no longer deletes files used used by the Loopback plug-in.
- Incoming MIDI CC messages, including Sustain, are now duplicated for all channels specified in a multitimbral setup.
- All mappings now continue to work after re-opening the concert, when the same screen object is mapped to more than one parameter.
- Pasting a patch that contains multi mappings as an alias no longer sometimes causes the mapping tabs to be lost.
- Loading a multi-layered patch that was created from an alias no longer creates an unexpected extra layer.
- The Tab key now moves the focus between parameter fields in Inspectors.
- Concerts created with Save As now properly retain Audio, Loopback and Impulse Response files.
- The Reverb and Ambience Smart Controls in the Keyboard quick start template now add effect as expected.
- Mapping for the metronome volume is now maintained when a concert is reloaded.
- Patches are now saved by default to ~/Music/AudioMusicApps/Patches.
- The Show Detailed Help key command now works correctly when the Help Viewer is already open.
- Drag and dropping a folder containing sets into MainStage no longer causes extra copies of each patch within the sets to be duplicated below each set.
- Screen controls now reliably send external MIDI messages.
- The Smart Controls for Reverb and Ambience in the Quickstart Keyboard template now consistently work with all patches.
- Renaming a Concert and then using the Cleanup command no longer can lead to some used assets being removed.
- Consolidate now consistently places used Impulse response (IR) files into the concert package.
- The Audio Output preference menu now immediately updates to show newly connected audio devices.
- Holding Option and clicking controls on a Mixer channel strip with multiple channels selected now reliably sets the control on all channels to the default value.
- Aux inputs from sources that are Aliases are now maintained when opening a saved concert.
- Exporting a patch that is an alias and reimporting it now correctly relinks to original patch.
- Patch buses that have been dragged to the left side of the Mixer are no longer renamed to Sum when the concert is saved and then reopened.
- Right-clicking in the channel strip labels area in the Mixer now brings up a contextual menu.
- Bus routings are now shown in plug-in side chain menus.
- Routing for ReWire Auxes is now properly maintained when a concert is saved and then reopened.
- Changing a stereo output pair to dual mono on systems with more than two outputs no longer leaves the outputs in the wrong order.
- Custom plug-in names are now displayed as expected in the Mixer.
- Auxes in aliases of multi-output channel strips now retain their input settings when the patch is reloaded.
- The view in the Logic Remote mixer no longer sometimes jumps erratically while adding a large number of new tracks in quick succession.
- Negative values for Input Gain now display correctly on channel strips.
- Channel strips at the Concert level now display properly in cases where there are no keyboard or MIDI activity objects in the workspace layout.
- Using the Change All command in a channel strip output menu to change the audio routing for all channels no longer sometimes causes a mono signal to be output from channel strips even when the fader is all the way down.
- Keyboards deleted from the Layout no longer continue to appear as MIDI input sources on channel strips during the same MainStage session.
- All Auxes with inputs assigned to the same bus now remain active when a channel strip outputting to that bus is soloed.
- The following plug-ins have been redesigned with Retina-ready interfaces: Exciter, Echo, Modulation Delay, Noise Gate, Pitch Shifter and Match EQ, BPM Counter.
- New Loudness Meter plug-in provides support for LUFS metering.
- The Modulation Delay plug-in now includes a Feedback Filter.
- The Chorus and Modulation Delay plug-ins now each offer a D-mode button.
- The Noise Gate now includes a ducker.
- The Noise Gate plug-in now offers a filter characteristics menu which may be set to either Band Pass or Band Reject.
- There are now independent Hold buttons for the Analyzer, Goniometer and Level Meter sections of the Multimeter plug-in.
- When the Multimeter is in Display view, Ctrl- or right-clicking the display area allows the display to be switched between the Analyzer and Goniometer.
- When the Multimeter is in Meter view, Ctrl- or right-clicking the meter area allows the meter to be switched between Peak, RMS, Peak & RMS, True Peak, and True Peak & RMS.
- 32-bit Audio Units plug-ins added via 32-Lives now work properly when MIDI clock is sent to MainStage.
- MainStage now properly displays third party plug-ins in the categories they have been placed into in Plug-in Manager.
- Pop-up menus in EXS24 now open as expected on macOS 10.12 Sierra.
- When an alias is used for the EXS24 Sampler Instruments folder, MainStage now reliably finds the samples if a copy of the original volume containing the instruments is mounted.
- Audio data for Loopback instances is now reliably loaded from saved plug-in settings.
- The count-in button on the Loopback plug-in now works as expected.
- Preset names for Audio Units v3 plug-ins are now displayed correctly.
- The I/O plug-in now has a Mix control.
- It is now possible to set the sample rate when creating IRs in the Impulse Response Utility.
- Plug-in side chain menus now display full routing information for busses, as is done on channel sends.
- The Feedback value in the Stereo Delay is now properly maintained if the Routing is changed from Straight to another preset and then back to Straight.
- A plug-in’s Compare button now activates when a parameter is changed by a MIDI hardware controller mapped to a Smart Control.
- Changing parameters in the Exciter plug-in during playback no longer causes audio artifacts.
- Signal passing through a Compressor side chain set to SUM is now at the correct level.
- Audio Units plug-in windows no longer sometimes get stuck at a certain position on the screen.
- If a plug-in produces latency, the help tag shown when hovering over its plug-in slot shows the amount of latency the plug-in is producing.
- External mod wheel events no longer sometimes cause unintended percussion retriggers in the Vintage Organ instrument when it is in morph mode.
- Timing for the ProcessMIDI() function in the Scripter plug-in has been improved.
- Multi-Output Audio Units instruments set to output to multiple mono Auxes no longer skip output 2.
- When a voice is dragged from the Ultrabeat import sheet to an instrument slot, the slot now shows the name of the imported voice.
- The Peak readout in the Multimeter and Level Meter now continues to work after switching from True Peak to RMS mode.
- The Phase knob is now dimmed as expected in mono instances of the Phaser plug-in.
- Audio Units software instruments that support both mono and surround can now be loaded as multi-mono instruments.
- The Modifier MIDI plug-in can now process Program Change messages.
- Reordering effects in the Vintage Clav plug-in on macOS Sierra no longer sometimes leaves the effects tiles overlapping one another.
- Deselecting the Dcy checkbox for Groups in the EXS Instrument Editor now disables decay for the Group when Trigger = Key Release.
- MIDI plug-ins can now remote control any automatable plug-in parameter on the same channel strip.
- A list of up to four of the most recently used plug-ins now appears at the top of the plug-in menu.
- The sustain pedal now works consistently when controlling the Latch button in the Arpeggiator plug-in while in Add Temporarily mode.
- Loading patches that contain an instance of the Bass Amp Designer plug-in no longer sometimes causes a popping noise.
- If a plug-in has been renamed in the Plug-in Manager, the help tag now shows the edited name of the plug-in when hovering the pointer over it.
- Pitch bend range is now adjustable in the EFM1 instrument plug-in.
- The Modulator MIDI plug-in now offers a 1/128 LFO rate.
- Undoing the loading of a patch no longer causes samples on other Kontakt instruments to be unexpectedly reloaded.
- Changing the sample rate no longer sometimes causes unexpected changes to the sound of the Flanger, Chorus, Vintage Clavinet, Retro Synth, and the Pedalboard Chorus and Flanger plug-ins.
- The Plug-in Manager no longer allows duplicated custom plug-in names.
- Space Designer can again load plug-in preset files saved to custom locations in Logic 9.
- Plug-in parameters that are controlled by fader events from the Scripter plug-in now remain functional if the order of plug-ins in the channel strip is changed, or new plug-ins are inserted.
- Renaming a category in the Plug-in Manager no longer causes the category to unexpectedly move to the bottom of the list.
- A keyboard set to Multi in the Vintage B3 Organ Split view now maintains the setting when the view is changed to Presets or Controls and then back to Split.
- The grid in Delay Designer now remains visible when an instance of the plug-in is opened a second time.
- Third party Audio Units plug-ins now display meters properly in Controls View.
- Typing in values to parameters in third party Audio Units plug-ins in Controls View now works reliably.
- The Mic Position in Amp Designer is now easier to adjust without inadvertently closing the position display.
- The sustain pedal now works as expected with the Vintage Clav in the Plectratone, Dulcitone and Belltone modes.
- Adjusting the Attack, Hold, or Release time with the scrubber in Retro Synth or MIDI Modulator’s ENV display now reliably updates the envelope points in the display
- Enabling Constant Mod in the Modulation Delay no longer causes the Delay and Modulation settings to increase.
- MainStage now supports Audio Units v3 plug-ins.
- When importing drum kits into Ultrabeat, the Import Kit name is again properly displayed.
- Instances of the Tremolo plug-in with a rate set to a Hz value are no longer reset to 32 bars when the project is loaded.
- The Modulation Delay plug-in now includes a Feedback Filter.
- The Chorus and Modulation Delay plug-ins now each provide a D-Mode button.
- The Ensemble plug-in no longer sometimes produces crackling noises when both the LFO rate and Intensity are set to low values.
- Autofilter again provides an LFO Retrigger switch.
- Amp Designer no longer sometimes outputs unexpected noise after switching from TREM to VIB.
- Hold is now independent for the Analyzer, Goniometer and Level Meter sections of the Multimeter plug-in.
- The controls panel at the bottom of the Multimeter plug-in can now be hidden.
- When Hold is enabled, the Multimeter plug-in now continues to reliably display peaks until playback is started again or the graph is clicked.
- In the Multimeter plug-in with Hold enabled and Peak set to infinite, the peak indicators remain visible during playback when a period of silence is encountered in the track or song.
- Ultrabeat no longer unexpectedly changes to Step Sequencer mode when the Command and Option keys are pressed while the plug-in window is open.
- The Bright/Fat switch on the Double Dragon pedal now operates as expected.
- The Seed parameter in the MIDI Randomizer plug-in now works as expected.
- Delay compensation for the Pitch Shifter plug-in is now reliably calculated.
- Option-clicking the Semitones knob in the Pitch Shifter plug-in now sets it to 0 semitones instead of +7 semitones.
- The graph in the Bit Crusher plug-in now remains visible when the window is closed and then re-opened.
- Instruments created with the Scripter plug-in now pass settings from unknown MIDI processors through.
- Plug-in presets can now be reliably opened using the Load command from all MainStage plug-ins.
- Plug-in sidechain assignments are now properly maintained when duplicating a track.
- Double-clicking the icon in the Patch Library for any software instrument based track now opens the software instrument plug-in.
- An issue is addressed which could cause plug-ins to incorrectly show as missing.
- A rare issue in which duplicated EXS24 instruments might stop playing back is resolved.
- The Plug-in Manager now shows a warning dialog if a custom name that already is in use is entered for another plug-in.
- Alchemy’s Transform pad now responds correctly to incoming assigned MIDI control messages.
- Concerts containing Alchemy instances no longer save unexpected duplicates of Alchemy .aaz files to the concert bundle, or to ~/Music/AudioMusicApps/Samples.
- The Magnet Effect in Alchemy now reliably sounds in tune.
- Alchemy’s LFO waveshape display now updates as expected after loading an LFO preset.
- Alchemy Modmaps with Y Snap set to 1/12 now correctly snaps nodes to 1/12 increments.
- In Alchemy, if a sample is imported to Source A using Sample mode and then the same sample is imported to Source B, C or D using Granular mode, disabling Source A no longer leaves the other Source position stuck at 0.
- A double-click is now required to edit the text below a Performance Control.
- The last used folder to import audio into an Alchemy Source is now remembered after the File > Clear command has been used.
- Right-clicking Auto-assign on an Alchemy Performance Control now reliably only assigns that control.
- The tuning of several Alchemy presets is improved.
- Option-clicking on a curved AHDSR segment in Alchemy again immediately affects the control segment and makes the linear decay stage audible.
- The post-modulation feedback ring around Alchemy’s arpeggiator pattern knob now continues to update after it has been manually adjusted.
- Assigning the modwheel to control a parameter in Alchemy no longer removes the modwheel assignment in the Performance section.
- The Alchemy Spectral Editor now saves a separate undo step per source, and if there is no undo step available, the Undo button is now dimmed.
- Notes being held in Alchemy while switching VA oscillator wave shapes now continue to sound as expected.
- Alchemy now offers Downsample as an option for Source, Master and Multimode filters.
- Changing a point in Alchemy’s Envelope Editor now properly updates the Partials display.
- The Alchemy arpeggiator now offers an Input Snap setting that quantizes incoming MIDI notes to the rate when MainStage is running.
- When an external controller is used to adjust Alchemy’s AHDSR, the curve now immediately updates visually in the plug-in.
- Import of MIDI files to the Alchemy arpeggiator is improved.
- It is again possible to load Alchemy .acp files from the plug-in Load file menu.
- It is now possible to auto assign all ADSR Performance controls to the same envelope with one click in Alchemy.
- Alchemy now displays values when adjusting grain size in increments smaller than 1 ms.
- Alchemy now responds consistently to channel and polyphonic pressure.
- Performing Undo after loading a Patch no longer causes instances of Alchemy that have been modified since the project was last saved to unexpectedly reset to the saved state, or to the default state if the project has never been saved.
- Audio quality of Apple Loops imported into Alchemy is improved.
- The Alchemy LFO selection menu now lists the LFO number and its currently configured waveform.
- The first note played into an Alchemy instance no longer sometimes causes an unexpected spike in CPU usage.
- Autosave now works for Alchemy.
- A scroll bar is now consistently shown in Alchemy’s Browser preset list in Simple mode.
- Alchemy now loads presets that use AAZ files more quickly.
- Alchemy Mod maps assigned to controls that operate in semitone values now default to snapping to 1 semitone increments when adjusted.
- Alchemy sounds with the Additive Magnetic Effect modulated by Key Follow now play reliably in tune.
- Changing the VA waveform from the source menu now properly resets the groups in cases where the source contains multiple groups.
- Formant analysis now gives good results on samples at sample rates other than 44.1 kHz.
- Quick Help system now works with Alchemy.
- Controls labeled “Add FX” or “Spec FX” in Alchemy now respond to MIDI learning in the Learn page.
- Alchemy now remembers the last used folder location when loading user-created IR files.
- Alchemy now fully supports Unicode/2-byte characters for file names, folder names, patch names and comments.
- Emoji symbols now work properly for names and labels in Alchemy.
- Re-enabling Core Audio before saving an edited Alchemy preset no longer causes its AAZ data to be lost.
- Imported Alchemy AAZ data is now reliably retained when an auto-saved project is opened.
- Sound quality is improved in Alchemy when samples are imported using Additive + Spectral Analysis Mode.
- Alchemy no longer produces a short click when the Attack envelope is set to 0.
- Alchemy no longer displays an unnecessary “Activate all sources to enable morphing” warning when three samples are imported in Spectral mode to sources A, B and C, and then Morph Linear is enabled.
- In Alchemy, canceling a second zone import containing multiple files no longer leaves some of the files added to the group along with additional empty zones.
- The FM Filter parameters of Alchemy now show the correct names in the Mod Rack and for automation.
- When a delay is loaded into the Alchemy effects rack, the knob now shows the correct range of –100 – +100.
- The Glide knob in Alchemy now consistently displays Rate or Time value according to the option selected for that preset.
- Adding an effect that causes Alchemy’s Effects Rack to reposition or redraw no longer causes some controls to be unexpectedly renamed.
- The Alchemy LFO Waveform display now reliably resets after the LFO section file is cleared.
- When stepping through source files that are named after an oscillator, Alchemy no longer selects an oscillator and sets it to VA mode.
- Alchemy AHDSR envelope Hold and Decay stages now trigger consistently with short values.
- The Alchemy Convolution Reverb IR selection menu now shows a check mark next to the correct entry after another effect has been added to the Effects rack.
- The Additive and Spectral effect parameters of Alchemy no longer unexpectedly reset after selecting a third Additive effect for slaved Morph Sources, or adjusting the Spectral Filter’s frequency values.
- Selecting None for Alchemy’s Additive or Spectral effects now disables the effect as expected.
- Alchemy no longer shows an unneeded Locate File dialog when saving a project in which audio has been imported using Add+Spec+Formant into a Source since the project was last saved.
- When Alchemy imports a melodic Apple Loop, it now uses the key tag stored in the loop to set the root note.
- The Concert > Cleanup command no longer removes Alchemy IR files stored in the concert package.
- Alchemy now navigates correctly in folder structures in which a parent folder contains subfolders that have the same name as the parent folder.
- Performing Save As on an existing Alchemy preset no longer incorrectly applies that preset’s attributes as a filter to the preset list.
- Alchemy’s Add + Spec analysis now ignores noise components of the signal, providing better separation between noise and harmonic components.
- When Alchemy imports an EXS instrument with only one group to a new group or zone in Alchemy, the resulting zones are now expanded to cover the full velocity range.
- When an AHDSR with a very short attack is assigned to an Alchemy amplitude control, notes played during the release phase of other notes no longer cause a click.
- XFade XY morphs no longer affect sources that are not set to participate in the morph.
- When importing to additional sources in Additive mode to an existing sound, the new sources’ effects values are now set to default.
- The Mod Source name is now properly displayed in the Mod rack when either KeyFollow or KeyFollowFixed is assigned to a control.
- It is now possible to define custom velocity settings for layers in Auto Sampler.
- It is now possible to set minimum and maximum trigger velocities when sampling in Auto Sampler.
- Auto Sampler now allows up to 16 velocity layers.
- Auto Sampler no longer prematurely stops recording between zones.
- The Auto Sampler Round Robin setting is now saved as expected.
- Auto Sampler parameters are now restored as expected when a concert is reloaded.
- Meters are now displayed as expected after sampling in Auto Sampler.
- Auto Sampler now allows the creation of multi-sample Round Robin keymaps.
- Auto Sampler now allows custom defined velocities ranges.
- Auto Sampler settings saved as part of a default MainStage concert are now recalled as expected when the default is loaded.
- Auto Sampler no longer sometimes hangs when sampling long sustained notes.
- Auto Sampler no longer creates stereo samples when sampling mono sound sources.
- Auto Sampler no longer sometimes creates unexpectedly long samples when creating one-shot recordings from certain Audio Units plug-ins.
- Auto Sampler no longer sometimes creates truncated samples for some notes when sampling from Audio Units instrument plug-ins.
- Smart Controls for aliases of channel strips that contain a Vintage Organ now update to follow the plug-in.
- Support for Logic Remote 1.3.2.
- Alias channel strips no longer continue to be displayed in Logic Remote after they are deleted from MainStage.
Control Surfaces/MIDI Controllers
- MainStage again sends MIDI feedback to connected external devices.
- On Logic Remote, meters now show color for peaks over 0 db.
- Plug-ins open in Controls View by default when Voiceover is active.
- Improved Accessibility to Alchemy parameters in Controls view.
You may also be interested in…
- How to Reduce VST Latency
- The Best Audio Interfaces for MainStage
- How to Invert Sustain Pedal Polarity in MainStage
Hi, I’m Brian and I’m an electronic music designer for Broadway shows and other theatrical productions around the world. If you enjoyed this article, click the ? below to let the world know.