MainStage Mondays: The Complete Guide to Using Your iPad And Logic Remote to Control MainStage

I’ve always wanted to be able to use my iPad to control MainStage, and Apple made it possible to do it with their free Logic Remote app. Originally designed to control Logic Pro, Apple blessed us MainStage users by including us in the fun. Here’s how to use it with MainStage: 

 

How to connect the Logic Remote app to MainStage:

 

1. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, get the free Logic Remote app here

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2. Launch the app, and make sure that your iPad and MacBook Pro are connected to the same wifi network. 

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3. Your iPad should automatically see your computer running MainStage, but you might have to select it if it doesn’t connect automatically. 

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The Logic Remote can function in four different modes. Here’s what each one does: 

 

1. Mixer mode. This gives you hands on control of every channel strip in your patch, including the master and any buses you are using. 

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2. Smart Controls mode. This will allow you to use any smart controls mapped in your patch with just your iPad. It also offers a playable keyboard, which we’ll cover in a minute. 

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3. Chord Strips mode. This mode allows you to “strum” notes on the onscreen touch pads using a particular guitar chord or series of intervals. I found it very inspiring for strummed instruments and string lines, and it can really inspire your creativity. 

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4. Key Commands mode. This mode I found to be the least useful, but you can map a variety of key commands in MainStage using this. For more info on key commands in MainStage, check out this blog post I wrote.

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5. Smart Help mode. This is basically a user manual. 

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Along the top of the display there’s a few more options that will really get some of you excited about using Logic Remote: 

 

Patch Library. This is a easy to access ability to pull up and load any sound in your sound library with a few taps. Everything mirrors your folder structure on your computer, and I found this to be blindingly fast at helping me find the right patch quickly. 

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Patch List. The next section is where you can select specific patches that you’ve already loaded into your MainStage project. If you’ve used a Korg Kronos, this is a very similar experience to their live mode which allows instant patch changes on the fly. This is really helpful if you’re in a band that doesn’t work from a setlist, since you can jump between patches quickly within MainStage. 

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Settings. There’s a surprising amount of cool stuff you can do with this handy little section. You can undo, redo, and duplicate patches. You can create new patches, set the velocity range of the on screen keyboard, and even open recent MainStage projects. It’s incredible how much hands on control is here.

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The last thing we’ll cover today is the different keyboard modes that Logic Remote offers. There are three different options: 

 

1. Keyboard. This is a standard keyboard, but it offers quite a few little tweaks that make it interesting. You can glissando with this keyboard (perfect for lead sounds), play using scale mode which will turn the screen into a fail-proof keyboard with just the notes in the scale you select. There’s also the option to change octaves, adjust key size, and even use a sustain pedal “button”.  This keyboard is great for playing MainStage in unusual ways live, and I found it really inspiring. 

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 Here's what scale mode looks like. 

Here's what scale mode looks like. 

 

2. Fretboard. If you play guitar, you can use the fretboard to play any instrument (including standard keyboard sounds) live. You can even bend notes with this thing. 

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3. Drum Pads. Yes, you can MPC with MainStage. Drum Pads mode offers the ability to play 12 velocity sensitive virtual pads and control any patch with them. When you have this mode selected, you unlock the ability to switch to a 24 pad version where the Chord Strips used to be, giving you even more hands on control. 

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 Here's what the 24 pad version looks like. 

Here's what the 24 pad version looks like. 

 

There’s also a couple of small things that the app offers that I really like. At the top of the screen you can switch to the previous or next patch with a swipe of the finger.

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You can adjust the volume from any screen with the master fader:

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The Patch List and and Patch Library modes can be activated in Smart Control mode, meaning you don’t have to stop playing to find a patch. 

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It does have the disadvantage of having to have a wifi connection to work, but it does work over iPhone tethering (I used my iPhone’s hotspot feature for both my MacBook Pro and iPad while writing, and it worked great). 

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Overall, this handy app is massively useful as a supplement to your other midi controllers with MainStage, and offers so many features that 

are useful live that it makes sense to get an iPad to run this app by itself. 

 

Have more questions? Leave a post below.