Connect an electric instrument

You can connect an electric instrument, such as an electric guitar or a bass, to your computer to use with MainStage. You can set the guitar as the audio input for patches with an audio channel strip and use the amps and pedalboard effects to shape your guitar sound. There are several ways to connect an electric instrument to your computer.

Connect an electric instrument to your computer

Do one of the following:

  • Connect an audio interface to your computer’s Thunderbolt, USB, or FireWire port, then connect an electric instrument to the audio interface.

    Figure. Illustration of Thunderbolt connector.
    Figure. Illustration of USB connector.
  • Connect the electric instrument to a channel on the audio interface or the adapter cable, using a standard 1/4-inch instrument cable.

    Figure. Illustration of Tip-Ring-Sleeve and Tip-Sleeve connectors.
  • If your computer has an audio input port, connect an electric instrument to the audio input port using an adapter cable. Choose Built-in Input as the input source.

    Figure. Illustration of stereo miniplug connector.

After you connect an electric instrument, you choose the port to which it is connected as the audio input source in MainStage > Preferences > Audio.

If you connect your electric instrument to an audio interface, check the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure the interface is compatible with OS X and Core Audio. Also make sure the audio interface uses a format supported by your computer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which might include installing the correct driver on your computer.

Connecting some electric instruments, such as electric guitars, to your computer’s audio input port may result in a low-level input signal. To increase the input signal, you can connect the guitar to a preamplifier and connect the preamplifier to your computer.