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Logic Studio apps Why does Mainstage change my tone?

Discussion in 'MainStage' started by zambiland, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. zambiland

    zambiland New Member

    Hi! I'm a newbie to Mainstage. My Lexicon G2 has become unreliable, so I thought I'd try Mainstage for my live bass rig. I love the Soundtoys FilterFreak as much as any hardware envelope filter I've tried, so that covers a huge range of what I want, along with Echoboy, but what is weird is that the basic dry tone of the bass seems different just by going through Mainstage. I am using Metric Halo interfaces and when I compare the signal right in the Metric Halo Console, it's much stronger and fuller sounding than the Mainstage tone. The signal doesn't null, but that's not surprising as I would expect some latency (although the channel strips indicate 0ms of latency.).

    Any ideas of what I might be missing here? Are there some settings that are not obvious that might affect the tone?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Atlas

    Atlas Senior member

    Have you checked the Audio Preferences (p166) and did the setup up accordingly

    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
    • Setup buttons: Click the Audio Output Setup button to open the Audio/MIDI Setup
    window and configure audio output. Click the Audio Input Setup button to open the
    Audio/MIDI Setup window and configure audio input.
    • 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 doesn’t
    improve things on your system, disable the checkbox and select a larger I/O buffer size
    Note: Use of the I/O Safety Buffer preference increases the output latency and therefore
    the round trip (input plus output) latency.
    The latency for the current buffer size is displayed below the I/O Safety Buffer checkbox.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Silence Previous Patch: Choose the amount of time sustained notes and effects tails
    continue to sound before falling to silence when you select a new patch.
    • 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: When selected, an alert appears when the audio
    engine overloads.
    • Output pop-up menu: Choose the audio output to record.
    • Recordings Folder field and Set button: Click the Set button, 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
  4. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    With comparing "right in the Metric Halo Console" do you mean a sort of "direct monitoring", where the incoming sound gets directly routed to an output? Can it be that for this routing the sound doesn't get converted to digital and back but rather remains analog? A straight analog in/out connection?

    In this case and assuming that Mainstage alone does not change the digital sound you rather compared the analog to the digital sound, you tested the converters of the audio interface. In any digital processing you have one conversion at the audio input, then pure digital processing (or no processing) and another conversion in the interface to feed your speakers. Especially a bass can sound different after the two necessary conversions.

    I suggest another test:

    If your audio interface has ADAT in and out, just connect the ADAT out to the ADAT in and connect them via the console software. All you want is to convert to digital and back and hear the result.

    If you don't have ADAT or other digital signal possibilities, route the signal through the computer. A fresh Logic project with nothing else than one audio channel does the job. Plug your bass or preamp into the MH interface, route it to Logic and from there back out. You can also use Soundflower, Jack, Plogue Bidule, Max MSP or whatever. All you need is to route the digital signal back to the audio interface.

    The AD and DA conversion is what you want to hear. If the sound is different then you know what you can get from this interface. And this is what you can get in any software system.

    Finally, compare the sound from the test above to the sound through Mainstage. With no other processing the two should be identical.

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