MIDI devices overview

MainStage works with many USB and MIDI keyboard controllers and with MIDI devices such as foot pedals and switches. MIDI devices must send standard MIDI control messages. MainStage receives standard MIDI messages, and can be used to control external MIDI devices using external MIDI instrument channel strips.

Controller presets

Some keyboard controllers allow you to choose different presets or “scenes” that reconfigure the messages sent by the controls on the device. In most cases, you should choose a generic preset that sends standard MIDI messages rather than system exclusive messages or messages intended for a particular application. After you have assigned hardware controls to screen controls in MainStage, do not change the preset on the MIDI device, or your assignments might be lost.

In some cases, you can change the message type the controller sends by choosing a different preset or by reprogramming the device. Some devices may include software that you can use to reprogram knobs, buttons, and other controls. For information about reprogramming a MIDI device, see the documentation that came with the device.

MIDI devices that support automatic configuration

MainStage can automatically configure the screen controls in a concert to support many popular MIDI controllers. If you are using a device that supports automatic configuration, MainStage alerts you to select the appropriate preset on your device when you open a new concert. After you select the preset on your MIDI device, the screen controls in the concert are assigned to the corresponding controls on your hardware device so you can use them in MainStage with no further configuration.

MIDI devices that send special MIDI message types

Certain types of hardware controls such as knobs (rotary controls) and buttons are capable of sending several types of MIDI messages. When you assign these controls to MainStage screen controls using the Learn process, MainStage analyzes the incoming MIDI data to determine which type of message the hardware control is sending. In order for MainStage to learn these controls correctly, be sure to turn knobs through their full range of motion and to press buttons exactly three times during the Learn process.

Some MIDI controllers can send nonstandard or proprietary MIDI messages. MainStage cannot process or respond to nonstandard MIDI messages, to “registered” or “non-registered” parameter messages, or to system exclusive (SysEx) messages. MainStage can process some system real-time messages and MIDI Machine Control (MMC) messages when you assign a hardware control that sends these messages to a screen control.

Some devices have buttons that send program change messages. You can use these buttons to send program change messages to MainStage, but you cannot assign them to control other parameters using MainStage screen controls.