MainStage (software)

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MainStage 3.png
A screenshot of MainStage 3
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Stable release
3.5.2 / April 27, 2021; 4 months ago (2021-04-27)[1]
Operating systemmacOS (10.15.5 and later)
Platformx64 (as of MainStage 2.1)[2]
Size6 GB (plus 51 GB of optional content)
Available inEnglish, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish.
TypeMIDI sequencer and virtual instrument host

MainStage is a music application developed by Apple Inc. designed for use in live performance.


MainStage might be thought of as a companion app to Logic Pro. It works in much the same way and bears a similar user interface. The focus however, is on live use[3] rather than features like recording and editing that are available in a DAW such as Logic. Instead of a timeline for instance, there is an editable "Workspace".[4] This allows a user to drag out an object that acts as a software representation of a hardware controller like a button, knob or fader and assign that to a parameter such as volume, pan or even more complex things. MainStage comes bundled with a number of sampled software instruments (such as pianos, guitars, drum kits and pads) as well as effects.[5] These instruments can be played using a pre-recorded MIDI file or via a controller device that uses the MIDI protocol, such as a keyboard or drum pad. It can also act as a "host" and centralize any third-party virtual instruments or audio units that users might have installed on their computers. Virtual instruments that can be used with MainStage can also be used with Logic Pro.

A MainStage concert can display a patch list which displays all the patches created by a user for that concert. Each patch might have a different instrument or effect assigned to it and various parameters can be changed during a performance by cycling through the list.

Other features include:[6]

  • Recording of any audio signal passing through.
  • Multi-effects processing for external inputs (e.g. a guitar or a microphone/vocals).
  • Play back of pre-recorded backing tracks.
  • MIDI transformation via MIDI FX plugins and routing via external instrument channel strips.

Release history[edit]

The first version of MainStage was introduced on September 12, 2007, alongside Logic Studio.[7]

The second version, MainStage 2, was released on July 23, 2009, along with updated releases of many of the other applications in the Logic Studio package. Version 2.1 released in January 2010, introduced a 64-bit mode.[8] Since version 2.2, updates are available only from the Mac App Store.[9]

MainStage 3 was released alongside Logic Pro X on July 16, 2013 as a paid update and available only as a download from the Mac App Store. There is a free iPad companion app available designed for use with Logic Pro X, MainStage 3 and GarageBand, which can act as a hardware controller for various parameters.[10]

With the release of the version 3.5 on November 12, 2020, the long-standing compatibility with OS X 10.9 or later was dropped; MainStage is now only available for macOS Catalina and Big Sur.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MainStage release notes". Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  2. ^ "MainStage 2.1". Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "How to Use Mainstage 3 Pt.1 | CTS Indie Blog". College Transfer Student. November 3, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  4. ^ "MainStage - Documentation". Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "MainStage Plugins-and-sounds". Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "MainStage Website". Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "MainStage Press Release" (Press release). Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "MainStage 2.1". Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "MainStage 2.2: Now available from the Mac App Store". Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Logic Remote - App Store". Retrieved July 18, 2014.

External links[edit]