3.6.1 / May 3, 2022
|Operating system||macOS (11.5 and later)|
|Platform||x86-64 (as of MainStage 2.1) ARM64 (as of MainStage 3.5)|
|Size||6 GB (plus 72 GB of optional content)|
|Available in||English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish.|
|Type||MIDI 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 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". 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. 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:
The first version of MainStage was introduced on September 12, 2007, alongside Logic Studio.
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. Since version 2.2, updates are available only from the Mac App Store.
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.
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 due to the new requirement of Metal; MainStage is now only available for Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey. With the release of the version 3.6 on March 14, 2022, MainStage is now only available for Big Sur and Monterey.