I played a small session ... ... with Mainstage 2, a wind controller and a bass and it was amazing. People made big eyes and ears and said "what is this, where does the sound come from, what is this bass doing, there is no playback, you do nothing but how do you get all the stuff in sync by just blowing into this electronic flute?" It was great fun to play and there were some beautiful moments. We had 4 djembes, some small percussion, two female singers (one played occasionally transverse flute and the other a looped jew's harp). I had my combined live/recording rack, this time with a non-MIDI bass and a wind controller. I played the instruments alternating and sometimes another person took one of my instruments. I wish I had recorded a part of the evening but I was not prepared for that. Especially the new MIDI-out functions and the routing possibilities of Mainstage 2 made this possible. I use generally hardware and software in parallel. Direct sounds, layered sounds, mixed and morphed sounds. I worked on this setup for more than two years (not fulltime of course), the greater part of the time together with a musician who is also here in the LUG (hello, Steven!). We went through insane environment patches, later supported by other software, then I switched to Max/MSP and almost dropped the project because of the complexity and problems in Logic. Finally Mainstage 2 came along and solved almost everything at once. The setup The MIDI messages from the Yamaha WX5 wind controller flew wireless to a Yamaha MU100R synth with Patchman sounds to give me a nice attack and strong tone. From there to an audio channel in Mainstage. In parallel I sent MIDI to a softsynth in Mainstage, either Zebra or Glassviper. Only a 2-part sound layer but good for many variations. The dry bass got amplified by a Sansamp RBI (for attack and basic sound), a second line went through a Rocktron Blue Thunder and the third sound came from a Digitech DHP-55 that was inserted via the interface. Not a serial setup but three parallel lines. And occasionally I added a softsynth in Mainstage, triggered by the bass signal via an audio-to-midi plugin. All sounds were mixed in Mainstage with fixed relations. I used no foot controller, no pedal. Mainstage was completly static apart from patch changes The sound variations came only from the different behavior of hardware and software. We did not have a great PA, just a good fullrange amp that took mono signals from the mics, the looper and my rack. But it was a nice high room and the sound was convincing. MIDI-out from Mainstage behaved very well. Most times I could switch the hardware flawlessly (see below). The hardware delivered all the power, a few effects in Mainstage and the softsynths did the rest. A gate and a limiter in the output channel kept the sound under control. I had a huge dynamic range, could blow the drums away or creep beneath a female whisper. I had no screen elements in Mainstage apart from three activity objects needed for routing. Everything else was programmed with the new functions and worked invisible, without a single glitch. Next time I will add a foot controller and additionally work with key switches. Problems and drawbacks There where no problems at all! (Almost, the only problem was an empty battery of a MIDI transmitter ...) There where however some drawbacks: Between several patches I had to manually feed a hardware box with Sysex files, via SysEx Librarian. I hope for this function in a future upgrade of Mainstage. Sometimes I would like to send program changes to hardware without changing the Mainstage patch but this is currently not possible. Can be done by bypassing Mainstage with hardware or software. Or by selecting the sound manually on the device. And a small one: No I/O plugin in Mainstage. Not a big deal if you have an interface with a good onboard mixer but would be nice and better controllable in Mainstage. Conclusion Mainstage 2 is phantastic for my requirements. Mainstage is very memory and processor hungry, we cannot use every plugin. But since I am happy overall I am willing to adapt to the situation and use some of the software instruments standalone or not at all.