General Discussion of the Nord Stage (EX), Nord Stage 2 (EX), and Nord Stage 3 Synths, FAQ, Troubleshooting etc.

Using mainstage with nord stage ex

Postby Tobes » 25 Sep 2012, 13:07

Hi,
I've just started using mainstage and want to run it through my nord stage ex, I have a midi to USB cable with send and receive. The problem Im having is that mainstage is picking it up but it's all coming out the computer and not the nord and the extern section doesn't seem to pick it up at all. I'm pretty new to this whole midi thing and any help would be greatly appriciated.
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Using mainstage with nord stage ex


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Re: Using mainstage with nord stage ex

Postby Johannes » 25 Sep 2012, 13:34

Hi Tobes and welcome to the forum!
I am not sure what exactly the problem with your setup is, but given it receives MIDI, sending it back to the EX should be the easier part. Just make sure to check all MIDI settings. A good way to start is the Manual or this MIDI Tutorial for the NS EX: the Nord Stage and MIDI
FIrst, you have to define what you want: having separate midi channels for different instruments or just one for all (easier).
If you still have problems, maybe you could specify what exactly you want that does not work!
Cheers!
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Re: Using mainstage with nord stage ex

Postby mjbrands » 25 Sep 2012, 19:44

Wow, how completely non-obvious to set up. You'd almost think it was based on Logic. Oh, wait...

Maybe you already knew how to do it, but it took me some time to figure out.

Step 1: locate the 'Add channel strip button'
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Step 2: create a new channel strip (choose 'External instrument' and then the right MIDI port/channel)
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Step 3: profit!!
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Works pretty much the same way as in Logic. If you want the audio to come out of your computer (for applying effects, etc) you'd have to jump through some more hoops to get that to work. There's a fairly long post I made on Logic that shows how to set that up.
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Re: Using mainstage with nord stage ex

Postby Tobes » 26 Sep 2012, 11:57

Thanks for that, I've set up that external channel and now the midi light on my nord flashes when I play so it's picking up something, but still the sound only comes out my computer speakers and the parameters on the external channel don't light up when I play like they do on all the other channels. Hope this makes sence.
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Re: Using mainstage with nord stage ex

Postby Santa » 26 Sep 2012, 13:46

I'm not sure that I understand you correctly, but it seems that you expect the sound of Mainstage to come out through the Nord Stage. But it will not, because it's not supposed to do that. It should come out of the computer, or your external audio card, if you have one. Just plug your computer's output to you your monitors or mixr and you should be all set.
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Re: Using mainstage with nord stage ex

Postby mjbrands » 26 Sep 2012, 18:33

MIDI only carries control data, such as which key you pressed and how hard you hit it. It does not carry audio.

Imagine that the knobs and keys (the 'control surface') on your Stage are connected via a MIDI cable to the sound-producing bits, the sound engine. If you send MIDI data from Mainstage to the Stage, you're actually sending control data to the sound engine, just like the control surface of your Stage would send MIDI data to the sound engine.

Sending data from the control surface to the sound engine is done automatically, but you can turn it if off by turning off 'Local Control'; this is a setting in the MIDI menu. If you turn it off, MIDI data from the control surface is only sent to the MIDI OUT port and no longer also sent to the sound engine. If you would plug a single MIDI cable into both the MIDI OUT and MIDI IN ports, the control surface would send MIDI data to the MIDI OUT port, which goes to the MIDI IN port via the cable and is then played by the sound engine - in this setup (not that useful) the Stage would work the same with 'Local Control' on and off, because you use the MIDI cable to send the Stage's MIDI commands back to the Stage's sound engine. Think of the MIDI IN port as the input to the sound engine. Because data is sent both to the MIDI OUT port and directly to the sound engine when Local Control is on, you can have weird 'echos' or retriggering of notes when you have Local Control on and a MIDI cable from MIDI OUT to MIDI IN. This is because the sound engine first gets the key you hit directly (without going via the MIDI port) and then gets it a second time (a fraction of a second later) via its MIDI IN port, because it was also sent over the MIDI OUT port. Weird stuff ensues.

The setup above is not that useful, but if you want to do fancy things with Mainstage you could set Local Control to off and then run a MIDI cable from your Stage's MIDI OUT port to your computer's MIDI IN port and one from your computers MIDI OUT port to your Stage's MIDI IN port. If you set up Mainstage correctly (external instrument, right MIDI channels, etc.) pressing a key on your Stage would send a MIDI message to Mainstage, which would send it back to the Stage's sound engine. You could set up all kinds of stuff like splits in Mainstage.

Fortunately, since the Stage line of products are also meant to function as a controller keyboard in a larger setup, they include an Extern section (one in each slot/panel) which is specifically meant for controlling external equipment, like software (such as Mainstage) and other hardware (such as maybe a separate synth module like a Waldorf Blofeld). You could turn off Local Control and have Mainstage handle splits, etc. but you could also use the Extern sections to control the softsynths running in Mainstage and just set up splits, etc. on the Stage itself. For example, the lower half of the keyboard could be used to play bass sound in Mainstage while the upper half plays one of the Stage's piano sounds.

Note that blinking of the MIDI LED on the Stage just means it is receiving MIDI data; it doesn't mean it is receiving that data on the right channel. You can create quite complicated setups on the Stage, but unless you've done a lot of mucking about with the MIDI settings on the Stage, I would start by trying to send MIDI data to channels 1 and 2.

Edit: If I'm not making any sense, please let me know and I'll try harder :lol:
Last edited by mjbrands on 26 Sep 2012, 18:40, edited 3 times in total.
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