Audio preferences

These preferences let you set the audio output and input drivers, set the size of the I/O buffer, set the audio sample rate, and choose which note is displayed as middle C.


  • Audio Output pop-up menu: Choose the device you want to use to hear the audio output from MainStage.

  • Audio Input pop-up menu: Choose the device you want to use as the source for audio input. Choose Automatic to use the system setting for audio input (except when the only available input device is the built-in microphone, in which case no input device is selected).

  • Setup buttons: Click one of the Setup buttons to open the Audio/MIDI Setup window and configure audio output or input.

  • Sample Rate pop-up menu: Choose the sample rate for audio input. If you are using an audio interface or other audio device with MainStage, the Sample Rate value should be set to the sample rate of your audio device.

  • Advanced Settings button: Open the Advanced Settings window so you can set the I/O buffer size and driver latency, and view an estimate of the resulting latency.

  • Apply Changes button: Click to apply changes to the input, output, sample rate, and buffer size settings. If you do not click the Apply Changes button, changes are applied when you close the Preferences window.

  • Hot-Plug Behavior pop-up menu: Choose what action MainStage takes when you hot-plug an audio device while MainStage is open. The choices are:

    • Alert me: Displays an alert when a device is hot-plugged. The alert includes buttons allowing you to use or ignore the device.

    • Automatically Use Device: Switches the audio drivers to allow immediate use of the hot-plugged device for audio input and output.

    • Do Nothing: Does not switch the audio drivers.

  • Display audio engine overload message checkbox: When selected, an alert appears when the audio engine overloads.

  • Enable ReWire Host Support: When selected, MainStage functions as a ReWire host. MainStage must be reopened in order to detect ReWire slave applications.

Advanced Settings

  • I/O Buffer Size pop-up menu: Choose the size of the buffer for audio input and output in samples. Smaller buffer sizes reduce the amount of latency, but also require more work from the CPU and may result in playback artifacts. You may want to try different settings to find the lowest setting that does not produce any artifacts.

  • I/O Safety Buffer checkbox: When selected, MainStage uses an additional buffer to process audio output streams, providing a safeguard against crackling noises that may occur when using very low I/O Buffer Size settings. If turning on this preference does not improve things on your system, disable the checkbox and select a larger I/O buffer size setting.

    Note: Use of the I/O Safety Buffer preference increases the output latency and therefore the round trip (input plus output) latency.

  • Driver Latency slider: Drag the slider to set the amount of latency. Drag left to decrease the amount of latency, or drag right to increase the amount of safety (may increase latency).

    The latency for the current buffer size is displayed below the Driver Latency slider.

  • CPU Usage slider: Drag the slider to set the amount of processor power devoted to audio processing. For multi-core processors, this controls the number of cores devoted to audio processing.


  • Output pop-up menu: Choose the audio output to record.

  • Recordings Folder field: Click the field, then browse to choose the location where recordings are saved. The file path of the chosen location appears in the field.

  • File Format pop-up menu: Choose the file format for audio recordings. The choices are:

    • AIFF

    • CAF

    • WAVE

Audio Channel Strips

  • Silence Previous Patch pop-up menu: Choose the amount of time sustaining notes and effects tails continue to sound before falling to silence when you select a new patch.

    The Silence Previous Patch preference applies only to audio and external instrument channel strips, not software instrument channel strips.

  • Globally Disable Feedback Protection checkbox: When selected, feedback protection is disabled for all audio and external instrument channel strips in all concerts. The Feedback Protection checkbox is also removed from the Attributes tab in the Channel Strip Inspector.