Logic Studio apps Mainstage 2 as a FOH mixer


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Basically I want to set up a rig which is very portable and can be used and set up very quickly. I am sure mainstage 2 is the option.

Can I use it as a mixing desk for a theatre show?

I think I can, the only thing that leaves me baffled is getting the sound into the mac and out again, for at least 16 channels.

What hardware will I need? Is this possible?

Many thanks,

MainStage ships with a very complex 8 channel mixer template, I think it is possible with the right audio hardware - and you might need a reasonable decent Mac for that - it's a lot of audio going in and out.

Is it the best tool for the job? That depends on your needs. If you don't want to do any processing, a simple mixer might be the better solution. If you like to recall different mixer settings, tweak the sound in any possible way, etc. MainStage will give you a lot of options.

Considering that the audio interface will be significant (e.g. search Google for "16 channel audio interface"), you might want to try MainStage first without the interface - play with it, see how it feels with your ideas. It's just $30. For the interface - hmm, 16 channels is beyond what most people use - you might want to look at the Focusrite Saffire, RME Fireface or a MOTU 896. They are all 19" Rack ones.

"Very portable", well, a fast MacBook Pro and the interface - probably yes. The cables, ehm, no. 16 in, 16 out => thats a lot. Define "very portable" :)

I hope that helps.
As mmm42 points out, it's possible, but can get kind of pricey as you'd need an interface(s) with 16 audio inputs. His suggestion of a mixer is worth thinking about. Some people use both - MainStage and a large mixer.
A computer and an audio interface are not better portable than a mixer.
Compare these common setups:

You carry one box for the mixer or one box for the interface and the computer. Not much difference. A mixer is usually more shockproof than interfaces and computers. The audio jacks of a mixer are usually more robust than the jacks of interfaces. A mixer provides the better handling of physical knobs and faders.

Also, be aware that a mixer is more failure-proof than the combo interface/computer. You know, Firewire cables, system crashes, harddisk failures and all this stuff. You may want an external spare disk.

The costs for the setup depend on your quality requirements and your budget. If a normal mixer can do what you want, it is the better choice. Of course for recording, playback, virtual instruments and some effects the computer is the only choice. Mixers with integrated audio interfaces and Firewire are also available.

I myself use different setups depending on the performance: Mixer only,
Computer only (with audio interface) or Mixer and computer (then the mixer is for FOH).
It really depends on what your needs are. If you are a small theater and are providing sophisticated sound support and require 'scenes' that change all of the settings, plug-ins, levels etc, MainStage maybe more cost effective than buying a digital console with the features needed to support a theater workflow.

Also, I think that the provided template only provides an 8 channel mix. If you needed 16, you'd have to do some very complex layout work to make room for 2x the channels. You may find that you only need 8 channels for each scene. When you switch patches, the actual inputs required for each patch can change.

Can you elaborate on what you would like to do? How many inputs would you require? Are you just mixing? do you need to change processing on inputs during the show? Do you trigger sound effects, or music?