Work with plug-ins overview

MainStage includes a full collection of professional-quality instrument and effect plug-ins as well as utility plug-ins such as the Tuner. For more information about the included effects plug-ins, refer to the MainStage Instruments and MainStage Effects manuals.

Some effects, including Space Designer, require intensive real-time processing of the audio signal. Using Space Designer on individual patches can affect the performance of your concert, and in some cases result in audio dropouts or glitches, particularly if the audio buffer is set to a smaller size. It is recommended that you use Space Designer sparingly in your concerts, and use a few Space Designer instances on auxiliary channel strips shared between multiple patches, rather than in individual patches.

You can use plug-ins in MainStage channel strips in patches and also at the concert and set level. You use instrument plug-ins in software instrument channel strips, and you can use effect plug-ins in audio, software instrument, external instrument, and auxiliary channel strips.

MIDI plug-ins

MainStage also includes a set of MIDI plug-ins that you can use in software instrument and external MIDI instrument channel strips for real-time MIDI processing. In a channel strip, MIDI plug-ins appear below the EQ display and above the instrument slot. You can also use third-party Audio Units MIDI plug-ins with MainStage. For more information, see the MainStage Effects manual.

Audio Units plug-ins

In addition to the built-in factory plug-ins, you can use Audio Units plug-ins for both instruments and effects in MainStage.

Some Audio Units plug-ins can introduce latency. Using effects that introduce latency, such as compressors and limiters, can produce undesirable or unpredictable results during live performance. Other Audio Units plug-ins, particularly instrument and amp modeling plug-ins, require high levels of real-time processing and can affect the performance of your concert.

MS includes two special plug-ins, Loopback and Playback. For information about the Loopback plug-in, see Loopback plug-in overview. For information about the Playback plug-in, see Playback plug-in overview.