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  1. Samsung is your best choice for HD TVs. Many will argue that point, but they’re wrong. Good article, keep them coming.

      • We’re thinking about getting an HD TV in the near future, too. I might try out one of those penny auction sites… I’ve had friends who’ve had success with those.

  2. Terrific analysis of ibank – easy to comprehend all of it’s applications. I’m going to try the free trial as it sounds like it could make keeping track of personal and business much easier. Thanks for checking this program out and giving feedback!

  3. Heavy stuff. I wonder about that word “hope.” As Christians, does it mean the same as, “Gee, I hope the Red Sox win the World Series” or if it’s more of a looking forward to something that we already know about with certainty.

    • Good comparison – I’d like to think hope has deeper meaning than the Red Sox for most. Sometimes America concerns me, though… ~Brian

  4. Remember the hue and cry over the lack of tethering for the iPhone? It seemed that EVERYONE needed tethering. It was cited as a critical mistake by Apple/AT&T and a key reason not to buy an iPhone. The tech bloggers were all up in arms about it, the reviewers often cited it as a problem, and people asked about it all the time.

    Since tethering became available, you want to know how many times I have activated that feature for a customer – and bear i mind – I’ve worked with thousands of iPhone users and buyers?


    • Wish I would have known this before I installed Lion. I received no email from Quicken to alert me like some people. I now have a file that can’t be retrieved. At least, I don’t know how to retrieve it.

      • Real sorry to hear that…any chance you have a recent Time Machine backup and a friend with Quicken who hasn’t upgraded yet?

        • I had the same thing happen to me. The only alternatives other than what has been listed is to get an external drive and load Leopard and run Quicken. Then do as you please if you are planning to convert to Ibank or other financials.

  5. Yeah..we just had some Lion installers here at our Editing house. They say some apps are not working..and never will because Apple did not do any backward compatibility..even on software that was developed in the past 2 years. WHICH of course…we still use because upgrading Adobe and all these hundreds of apps and tools…every year is not cost-effective.

    It’s a BIG “NO CAN DO” on Lion until they offer a Rosetta installed version. I don’t care about the OS being a big “Bloatey” I want my apps to work.

    • I hear you about old apps not being supported…but here’s the philosophy I subscribe to with upgrades: if what you have now does what you need it to do, why bother changing? It’s impossible – and sometimes downright naive – to always go for the “latest and greatest.” one should never upgrade just to do it…always check to see if your necessary software can make the transition.

      I don’t blame Apple for dropping Rosetta. The apps that require it should have been enhanced to at least Universal Binary by now. PowerPC machines are nearly 6 years old!

  6. Great article! I would love to implement your system and start getting serious about file management, but my poor music and media files are SO scattered everywhere.

    What I would like to be able to do is just start from scratch, and put together a whole new iTunes library (without making copies, just finding good places to store them as you mention) but I’m afraid there will be so many duplicates that it will take me forever to get them sorted out and deleted.

    Is it possible just to start over and have iTunes look for the music and media files?

    Thanks, Alicia

    • Alicia…

      Thanks for reading! I see two possibilities for you, and I’ll let you decide what’s best.
      1) Uninstall and then reinstall iTunes (including the items in the iTunes folder, except the “iTunes Music” or “iTunes Media” folders, found in Home/Music (Mac) or My Documents/My Music/ (PC). . This will not delete any media files from your computer, but just basically reset your preferences the program and give you a screen that will ask if you would like to scan your hard drive for music files. This screen only comes up when you first install iTunes. You will have to add any other media besides music manually.

      2) Work with your existing library. Start by going to iTunes’ Preferences to the Avanced tab and ensure that both “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and “Copy media to iTunes folder when adding to library” are checked. Next, close preferences and go to File

  7. Hi Brian – thanks for responding! I was drawn to your site because your inspirations are the same as mine – faith, family, technology, and music! (Well, except sports, but…nobody’s perfect!) I’m a musician and music teacher by profession, a computer geek by inclination, and a happy wife and mother of 4.

    I’m trying to figure which of these would work for me, mostly because I already have too many music files and duplicates because of the copy function in iTunes – plus if I asked it to scan my drive for audio files, it would come up with all of my Logic, GarageBand, ProTools, DrumCore and single sample files, which I definitely do not want in my iTunes!

    I want to find a way to get the song files I want into iTunes, and then be able to find and delete the duplicates that are scattered around the drive. I do’t care so much about other media such as movies and TV shows, etc. – I just want my audio files organized and in one place.

    So – do I just gather them all in iTunes WITH the “copy media to iTunes folder” box checked, and then go through the arduous process of deleting the unwanted and duplicates through a search on the drive such as .mp3 and try to find out which files are not in iTunes and delete them, or do I have them imported WITHOUT copying so they are all in iTunes and then try to deal with them from there?

    Or is there a better way that I’m missing?

    Sorry if that sounds confusing, but them I’m sort of confused myself 🙂

    Thanks again! best, Alicia

    • Very cool to “meet” someone with similar passions.

      I think your best bet is to do the “dump” into iTunes withe “Copy Items to iTunes…” preference on, and thn just drill through the duplication consequences until you’re satisfied with the result.

      Obnoxious? Certainly. But well worth the end result, if you ask me. You could also check out the Mac App Store for a duplicate-remover app…I’m a bit wary of automatic deletions myself, but you might find yourself to be less cynical than I…

  8. Thanks! I’ll give it a try – and may avail myself of the dupe-remover app – I don’t have anything on there that would kill me if I lost it 🙂

    It’s a nasty job but it has to be done!

  9. I can’t tell you how much you just saved me. I’ve been rooting around for that thing (following help threads from pre-Lion days) to fix a problem and flush a cache.


  10. Brian,
    Thank you for your help, I have a backup with time machine on external drive. I need to go as well in the backup library to pickup all files to restore on my iMac (the backup is already on Lion).
    Could you help me on this one?.

    • Hi Matt…

      I see two options:
      1) If you’re restoring from a Time Machine backup, why not restore the entire user by using the Migration Assistant in the Utilities folder? That will bring everything, including your Library folder.

      2) Use one of the options in the post to view the contents of your Library folder in the Finder, switch to Column view so you can see the path, and then drag the Library folder to your sidebar, making sure you let go when there’s a blue horizontal line so you don’t accidentally put the library folder in another location. This creates a shortcut to the Library in the sidebar, which you should then be able to see in Time Machine.

  11. this ting is driving me insane. i hate apple for doing this. I tried doing ” command+shift+G” but the Go button would not pop up anywhere, it merely highlights one of the words on this went post u wrote…. how do i get to ”Go”? please help me I’m getting impatient trying to figure out how to command on terminal(which didn’t work) and finding this ” go” button…… THANKS!!!!! really appreciate it

    • Hi Peter…

      Make sure that the Finder is active first, then both tricks will work (the very first icon on your Dock). You can also use the Finder’s “Go” menu to get to the Go to Folder… command.

      Good luck!

    • I got it up by opening FINDER first.

      My problem is, there IS no Library folder.
      I am new to mac, this is my first and it isn’t a week old yet.


      • Congrats on your first Mac! I will say, as a new Mac user, forget the Library folder exists – you can do damage in there if you’re not careful!

  12. Thanks for the info…. very helpful .. adobe Encore cs5 put so much junk in common folder and only way to cleane it by going in library and delete it in folder..

    Thank you ..

  13. Hey,
    I am having a problem here. I tried to make visible the infamous Library folder using this:

    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES, in the Terminal.

    When I wanted to hide them back I used:

    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

    But they do not hide again and I get the following:

    defaults[297:707] Could not write domain com.apple.Finder; exiting

    Is that a problem? Did I do something wrong? What do I do now? What does that mean?

    Some help will be appreciated… Thanks….

  14. Hello there,

    I am quite in panic here! well, don’t know if there is a reason but here is my case:

    I’ve just made visible the hidden files in Lion to find the famous Library folder using: defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES, in the Terminal.

    When I wanted to hide them back using defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO i get the following:

    defaults[297:707] Could not write domain com.apple.Finder; exiting

    IS that a problem? Did I do something wrong? What do I do now? What does that mean?

    Some help will be appreciated… Thanks….

    • Hi Horacio…

      I will admit, I’m not one to dabble much in the Terminal. I did find a couple things to try:

      1) Instructions are here to use the Terminal to Show/Hide hidden items. The code is slightly different than what you said you used.

      2) This video shows how an app to automatically perform the Show/Hide hidden items is possible.

      Good luck!

      • Hey briannagel,
        Thanks for your reply, I tried all the options but none of them worked out 🙁 …
        Don’t know what to do.I posted a thread in different forums but not reply yet. Thank you anyway…

  15. I am getting ready to undertake the same transition. If you look at the format of our site, preserving the links will be huge. It would be a gargantuan pain to have to go back through and re-add them all. Do you know if it is possible to do this? Or if you’re just sort of screwed at that point?

    • Hi Ben…

      It’s a great question. The links in the posts and the pages will be preserved. When I said the links get lost in translation, I was referring to the “Links” section in WordPress’ admin panel – left side, underneath Media.

      Based on what I saw in your site, I don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about.

  16. Brian,
    Thank you for your help!
    But I’m still having a problem…
    I can’t ‘see’ the folder Library>Signatures…
    Could you help me?
    Thank you!

    • You’re right – using the posted methods don’t allow you to “see” the folder, but rather view the contents. If you would like to ctually see th folder regularly, view the contents of the library and then switch to the column view (from the view menu). You’ll then be able to see the path to the Library folder and drag the folder to your sidebar. This will create a visible shortcut to the Library folder in your Finder.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Hi,

    Tried a variation to your print-plugin for automating print-jobs in Lightroom. Seems to work fine but I’m stuck on a problem though.

    While choosing 300dpi tiff in “render pdf as images” as output, the image is at 72dpi in Photoshop when opened through Lightroom as an original?!

    This doesn’t make sense, does it?

    • Hi Peter…

      Thas for reading. I don’t have a solid answer for you, but I do have a couple other things to try (hopefully they’ll fit into your workflow needs)

      1) Try creating the workflow as a Service instead of a Print Plugin. Services are accessible from the Finder and work with whatever files are selected.

      2) Open the file in Preview (when an image is open in Preview, you can go to Tools < Adjust Size and see if the workflow is actually doing what it's supposed to do). This will show if your workflow does indeed work.

      I also did a couple Google Searches and noticed some "Automator Packs" available for Illustrator and the rest of the CS suite…you might find those of use, too.

      • […] — You might find my copy and paste the full file path to the cbplioard finder plugin (created using Automator and a dab of AppleScript) helpful when needing the full path to a local […]

  18. Hi, great post thanks for the simplicity. Could I please get a copy of those scripts for transferring items between users? Another solution I came up with is to share the desktop folders between all users on the mac (do via command I and scull to bottom for sharing). Then I log into the opposing user and open finder to view the desktop folder of the other user, and finally I drag that desktop folder from the other user to my dock so I have a folder permanently accessible whereby anything I drop on the folder will show up in the other users desktop. Lets compare notes.


    • Hi Darren…

      Thanks for getting in touch. Your solution to change the permissions and provide a shortcut to it does work.  I will say, though, that I’m not a big of a fan of changing permissions – I have found that it doesn’t always keep the files as secure or consistent as possible in the long run, whereas the Automator scripts truly give ownership of the files shared to both sides in the “default” nature of the OS. 

  19. I did the same thing because I did not know about this until I installed Lion. How does it work if you have a time machine back up?

    • Hi Lindsay…

      The only way I know how to do that is to borrow a friend’s computer who has Quicken and hasn’t upgraded to Lion, and restore the quicken data from your backup and convert the files so that you can use them in either the newer version of Quicken or iBank or something comparable.

  20. None of the comments thus far have helped me. I too backed up my comp while on lion to time machine. I have my library folder on my computer now visible but i need to get junk out of the hidden library folder on my back up now. Every time i use finder to search it just brings me to my library folder on my computer. How can i get the one on my time machine visible?

    • Andrew…

      I’m not sure if I would worry about cleaning up “junk” from a Time Machine backup. Time Machine should be used simply as an insurance policy, just on case something drastic happens to your computer. I wouldn’t rely on it to be something that’s 100% searchable like the computer.

      Finder searches are meant to only search what is on the current computer – not on Time Machine. You would use the Time Machie software and that interface to search for items on the backup. A trick for that is to first visit the folder in the Finder that you want to search (ie. Library) and then enter the Time Machine software.

      Hope that helps…

      • When i said i needed to get junk out of it i meant i need to take a folder from my library folder on my time machine that has accidentally been deleted from my computer. I have tried being in the library folder on my computer then opening up the time machine through the dock and by opening my external hard drive that is used for time machine. Neither take me to the hidden library folder on time machine

        • Hi Andrew…

          Apologize for the misunderstanding. Accessing your Library folder from Time Machine should be as straightforward as the following steps:

          1) Open the Finder
          2) Hold down the Option key and click the Go menu, choosing the Library folder
          3) Go to the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and Enter Time Machine
          4) This should retain your view of your Library and allow you to browse its history, using the tabs on the right hand side of Time Machine

          Here’s an image to represent what I saw via my Time Machine, using the above steps:

          Library folder in Time Machine

  21. I’ve been trying to find the plists (to clean out iDVD which always fails) in the Library and can’t seem to find it. Any suggestions?

    • If you’ve successfully found your Library folder, you should them be able to find the plist for iDVD under the Preferences folder. Here’s an article from Apple’s support communities that also recommends another clean-up step.

  22. How can you see a library file that is on an external HDD in another user’s library (to which you have access of course)? The option+Go trick only works on the local user folder…

    • Since you have authorized access to that user, why not just login to it and manage the files that way? Then the Finder < Go method would work just fine. Another other option would be to look for a Terminal command that shows all hidden files. And I guess a third option would be to use the Finder < Go to Folder option and type in the specific path to that external drive and down to the user's library.

  23. If you open finder, and go to View/Show Path Bar, you can find and drag to the sidebar all the folders you want

  24. Hey Brian:

    Just came across your post via a Google search. I follow the same convention that you describe – manage my music on the local hard drive and videos on an external drive (connected to my Airport Extreme). Do you know if there is any way to improve the management of metadata for the movies? Specifically, artwork thumbnails take forever to load into iTunes and AppleTV and whenever I attempt to make edits via “Get Info” (e.g. sort data or artwork), iTunes is really sluggish and even likes to crash.

    • Hi Craig…

      I really think it comes down to the limitation of networked hard drives – being attached to the Airport Extreme does slow down the data speed. It is possible that you could use smaller image files to represent the artwork on movies and albums (I use MetaX for movie/tv show tagging and TuneUp for music), but I think it’s really just the speed, or lack thereof, of our Internet.

      My media scenario has changed slightly since the writing of the post, as I now have a Mac Mini hooked up to my HDTV and can direct-plug my video hard drives. The speed change is noticeable.

  25. I need to get some of my many 15000 itunes files off my MacBook and onto an external drive. Can I divide them up, say by rating or playlists, so as to keep some of them on the MacBook and have the rest I don’t listen to as often on the hard drive. Is this practical and achievable by a computer dummy or would I be better off to put them all on the external drive and just use the external drive when I want to listen to anything? I’ve used iMatch to back them up but am unsure how that works as far as deleting files from the MacBook. I really need the space on the MacBook now.

    • I would only recommend one of two options:

      1) Move the entire iTunes library to the external hard drive. This can be done in iTunes’ Preferences. The only downside to this is that you need to have the external drive plugged in every time you would like to listen to your music.

      2) Create an additional iTunes library and save the music you don’t listen to often to the external hard drive. You can create another iTunes library by option-clicking iTunes (Mac) or alt-clicking iTunes (PC) and choosing to create a new iTunes library on the external drive. Copy the music you don’t want to listen to anymore onto the other library.

      Option one certainly is the easiest. If you did sign up for iTunes Match, and it already went through your library, you can technically delete the songs you don’t need to listen to (make sure you don’t also delete them from iTunes in the Cloud!) and then download them again when you want to listen to them. But I definitely do understand your apprehension to delete music files.

  26. Thanks for the great article! I too have ran out of HD space, since ripping / collecting movies, TV shows…

    In the past, I would just go out and buy a larger drive and just move the entire library, and media folders there. However, I was hoping to not do that this time. I have a few Raid 1 boxes, 1 each 2TB (1 TB per drive), 1 each 4 TB, 1 each 8TB. And wanted to divide up my media so that movies is on 8TB, TV shows is on 4TB, and music is on 2TB Raid one drives. I would daisy chain the drives via Firewire 800, with one of them hooked into iMac, which I then use Home Sharing to ATV for Home Theater. So, which drive should I hook into iMac via Firewire 800? Does it matter? Will iTunes freak on any latency issues, or will it not matter since it’s Firewire 800? Any suggestions?

    • It shouldn’t matter which drive is plugged in, as they all will be running over FireWire. And I wouldn’t see any latency, per se, other than perhaps a slight delay as you initiate to play some media as iTunes scans your hard drives for the files.

      My previous setup consisted of the 1TB Time Capsule (wireless) for movies with a USB connected 1TB drive for TV Shows. The delay over the network and USB drives was nothing that I found to be problematic, so I’d say you’re setting up for a good thing.

      Thanks for reading!

  27. I’m definitely interested in moving my tv shows to an external drive but don’t know the step by step way to do this. For instance once I uncheck copy files to iTunes media folder, what steps do I take to actually move the shows to the external drive. Also can I do this to the same external drive I use for time machine? One more curve ball, the drive connects wirelessly via airport extreme.

    • Bobby…

      A couple things to consider:

      1) Make sure you’re using iTunes Media organization. Check this my going to File > Library > Use iTunes Media Organization. This might take awhile if you haven’t done it yet, but it ensures that all of your media will be nicely organized in folders by type (Music, Movies, TV Shows, etc.)

      2) Once that’s the case, you actually are going to select all your TVShows and delete them from iTunes – scary, yes, but make sure you don’t actually move the files to the trash! Just remove from iTunes.

      3) Head to your Home folder > Music > iTunes (Mac…on PC, My Documents > My Music > iTunes) and look for your TV Shows folder. Move this folder to your external drive (it’s okay if it’s networked through your airport device).

      4) After it copies to the external drive, go back to iTunes and go to File > Add to Library and navigate to the TV Shows folder on your external drive and add the whole thing. iTunes will then populate the folder with all your shows!

      5) Lastly, when you’re comfortable everything’s there and plays well, delete the TV Shows from your main hard drive to free up the space.

      You do need to come up with a backup strategy for any media that’s stored on an external hard drive. It’s okay to store media on the same external as Time Machine, but just know that nothing in there that’s extra is backed up.

      Hope that helps!

  28. Dumb question: I tried option 2. and I now have a new library on my external drive. Trouble is, that seems to be all I have. Now how do I find the original library?
    It seems to be gone. Please tell me I haven’t lost my stuff?

    • Hi Sarah…

      Your stuff should still be there. All creating a new library does is set up a new one where you determined (your external hard drive) and becomes ready to use as if you haven’t done anything with iTunes before.

      Your old library should still exist in its previous location. If you do the same Option-click (Mac…alt-click on a PC) on the iTunes icon when you launch it, it should give you the same choice to create a new library, but also be able to pick from the libraries available on the computer.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks, I did find it, just a little complicated. Now, I put all my mp3 and ACC stuff in the new external library (because it had a little box that asked if I wanted to and I just checked yes). That moved about 637 songs. How do I get the rest of my songs (I want to just move my rated 4stars and lower songs to the external drive) there? Can you be real specific- I am somewhat new to Macs.

        Also, I seem to have lost my ratings in the new external drive library. Is that normal? Can I get them back? or not?

        • Glad you found it! Because you can only have one iTunes library open at one time, you need to take the songs that you want to move from the old library into the new one and put them in a “bridge” location – something in between both libraries. Before talking about that, let’s talk about the ratings:

          The ratings do NOT get saved when you move songs around. I would suggest using a different field in iTunes to use as the rating, if you’d like that to translate to the new library. If you select a song and then click on File > Get Info, and then the Info tab, you’ll see all the different fields that are readily available. I might suggest either using the Comment field or the Grouping field (for example, for a 4-star rated song, type in “4” in the Comments field). You can do it en masse by selecting all the songs that have the same rating prior to going to File > Get Info to apply the field change to them all.

          As far as the moving goes, here’s what I would recommend:
          1) Open up your old iTunes library and select all the songs you would like to move.
          2) Open up your External Hard Drive and look fro the iTunes folder. Open it.
          3) Open up the iTunes Media folder.
          4) Open up the “Automatically Add Songs to iTunes” folder
          5) Drag your selected songs into that folder.

          It might take awhile to copy them there, but the next time you open up the iTunes library on the external hard drive, it should automatically bring those songs into the library.

          If that doesn’t work for whatever reason, manually create your own folder in an easy location (your Desktop, perhaps) and drag the music files from the old library to that folder. Then open up the new iTunes library and drag the folder on your Desktop into it. That will also copy the songs in.

          Good luck!

  29. Yet another dumb question… I followed your directions and have loaded about 1600 of my less-played songs to the external drive successfully. Then I deleted them from my original iTunes library. They are still in the iMatch cloud and download fine when I want to play them. However my list summary at the bottom of the iTunes page only went down from 108.89 GB to 108.80 GB, though my Finder now says I have 9.65 GB available on the computer instead of only about 3 GB before. I’m confused… should I be? I’m 62 and I do pretty good on computers but some of this stuff is definitely beyond me!
    Thanks so much for your help…

    • The space dilemma is just simply how iTunes calculates a list. What it shows is the total number of songs in the list of Music – not simply what’s saved to the computer (all of the songs in iTunes Match are included). A little confusing, to be sure, but know that it’s not a real indication of how much hard drive space iTunes is taking up.

      The stat I’d be most concerned with is the one in the Finder. That’s the true test of how much hard drive space you have left. And, as a goal, I would recommend to free up about 20% of your hard space. 9gb will get eaten up again pretty quick. So, if you ave a 250gb hard drive, I’d recommend shooting for 50gb to be free at all times.

  30. It now says I have 74 GB free. I moved about half of my stuff to the external drive and it works fine there. However, something is wrong in the original itunes. When I start it up and move the cursor at all, it starts up with the rainbow wheelie thing and seemingly will go on forever, 5+ minutes. It will force quit but does it again when I relaunch. I hate to keep bothering you but I have no idea what to do now. It doesn’t matter if I’ve used the option/click when I open it, either.

  31. Well, I decided to wait it out and it did stop the rainbow wheelie thing after 7 minutes. However itunes is now totally unresponsive to the cursor. It will only give me the capital I-shaped cursor, too, not the arrow. I waited some more and now itunes seems to be fine. Strange… what on earth is going on?

    • Hmmm…strange…The changes you have made shouldn’t really affect iTunes’ performance…if anything, it should make it run smoother since it doesn’t have as many files to load.

      The next steps I would look at is running Software Updates (from the Apple menu). If you’re up to date, you can try reinstalling iTunes by going to apple.com/iTunes and downloading it.

      If it still doesn’t cooperate, I might look at heading to a Apple Store (if one’s close to you) and seeing what options the techs can give you there. Doesn’t cost anything to make an appointment…check out apple.com/retail for one in your area.

      • Seems to not be doing that anymore. Think it’s okay now. Thank you, you’ve been extremely helpful. Now I’ve got everything where I want it! And more room on the computer to do some long-delayed projects!

  32. Hi Brian:
    What if I previously did option 1 with my ITunes library but want to move to option 2. I have not deleted any files as of yet. I just moved the library location and I checked both the boxes you mention above?

    • So you’re thinking of having the main iTunes library on your local hard drive and have some of the media stored externally?

      You’ll need to create a brand new iTunes library on the main hard drive. Easiest way in your scenario would be to eject the external hard drive and launch iTunes – it should prompt you to create a new library. Choose you Music folder (Mac) or My Music folder (PC) as the location.

      You can then follow the instructions in the post to organize your media. HOWEVER, if you’d like to keep some media on the internal hard drive, add those files to the brand new library BEFORE unchecking the boxes and following the instructions in the post…that will save you some time.

      Hope that helps!

  33. You saved my life 🙂
    Many thanks for having taken the trouble to share your knowledge here !

  34. Brian, great article. I am late to this party but let me recap what I think I took away from this. I appreciate your comments. Currently I am managing my itunes library (about 500gb total media count) on my macbook pro with a self installed 1tb internal hard drive. 

    I have recently bought an iMac and want to use that as my “media library” for the 2 Apple TV units I have in our house. Right now, if my laptop & itunes “ain’t” up, there’s no Apple TV media (from itunes.) The iMac has a 1tb drive but I have a nice 3tb external drive also. The goal is to have an “always on” media library to serve the ATV’s.

    My plan was to move all my movies / tv shows to the iMac & the 3tb external drive and use itunes match to sync music. The iMac would be set to run all the time, etc. so the library is always available to the ATVs. I would be creating a new iTunes library for this.

    I am a little confused about the difference between allowing itunes to manage and store the media versus “referencing” the media. I would be storing the library & media all on the external drive so is there really a performance / load time issue between the 2 options? I won’t be storing any media anywhere else.

    Also, my macbook pro itunes library syncs mine and my wife’s iphones & ipads, I don’t mind keeping the itunes library on my macbook for this reason, and just deleting all the movies & tv shows once I have moved them over to the imac.

    Does anything above sound hinky?

    • Hi Stephen…

      It sounds like you have a good plan in place. With the speed of the new iMacs and assuming you can hook up the 3TB drive via Firewire, I don’t think you’ll suffer any performance issues – so having all of the media managed within the iTunes library will be fine. You will technically have better performance with the “referenced” media idea, but it sounds like you won’t need to worry about it at this point – until your library is in the 1TB range, you’ll probably be fine. All that “referenced” means is that the main data file for iTunes is stored locally on the internal hard drive, but you store some/all of your media files externally (this option only works if iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > Copy files to iTunes media… is UNchecked).
      The only thing I might suggest to think about at this point is to have the iTunes library on your iMac’s internal hard drive and use the 3TB just simply for backup. Unless you have a lot of other media (personal photos/videos), it sounds like you have plenty of room internally to keep iTunes there for now – perhaps moving it later as the library grows. My reasoning for the suggestion is to make backup easier, using Time Machine. You will need to have another backup strategy in place if you reference your library.
      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks Brian, great advice. I think I will keep my itunes library & media on the internal drive as you suggest. I had toyed with putting “all” my converted dvd movies in itunes but there are just so many, a few gigs. iTunes isn’t the best at organizing and sorting thru all that. 

        Hmm I guess I could create an alternate itunes library that references all my older movies and let those live on an external HD. So I keep all the newer stuff in my main itunes library (all on the imac) and then have a sor of “archived / older movies” library also – and keep those referenced to the external HD.

        Food for thought.. I very much appreciate your time!

  35. Hi,
    A friend of mine has an iMac and his hard drive has failed (bad blocks, does not boot Lion). I have fitted a new hard drive and installed Lion back on there but now I need to recover his data from his user account. I have plugged his old hard drive into an external caddy and luckily managed to drag and drop everything from his old user folder except his Mail folder which is in the hidden Library folder. The methods of showing the Library folder mentioned below do not show the Library folder on an external hard drive so I cannot get access to his old Mail folder. Does anyone here know how to access the Library folder in his user account on his old hard drive from the external hard drive?

  36. It looks like you are pleased with the “Print Plugin” capability based on the above, but your post lacks some detail on the topic.  Your screenshot is actually somewhat insightful.  Any chance you could provide some detail on example Automator workflow for PDFs using a print plugin created in Automator.  

    Personally, I am seeking the ability to create custom notes within Evernote with one of these types of workflows.  I can clarify, if you would like more detail.

    • Hi Kurtois…

      I am happy with the functionality of the Print Plugin – it suits my needs at the moment. As far as Evernote integration, I currently just use a simple one – creating a Print Plugin that tells the PDF to open in Evernote (saved as something like “PDF to Evernote”). It then attaches the PDF to a note automatically, and I fill in the Notebook and Tag details, as necessary.
      The only other idea that I haven’t played around with yet, but is a possibility, to offer more automation is to take advantage of Evernote + Email functionality, having Automator auto-fill the subject line with appropriate notebook and tag references. As I look more to go paperless and use Evernote myself, this might be a direction I go in…

      • Thanks for the reply, Brian.  

        From the above, it sounded like you had a workflow for each type of item (receipt, bank statement, etc.) you wanted to capture.  Or did I read more into it?  Evernote installs a print plugin (if you download the app from their website vs. the Mac App Store) already.  Not sure why you had to create one. 

        Hmmm…the Evernote + Email is possible, but I just feel like that could be a non-elegant way to create Evernote notes.  I would prefer to handle it with just Evernote and whatever else (Preview, Safari, etc; depending on the scenario), myself.  

        I am looking into AppleScripting of Evernote for a portion of this solution.  

        • I DO have a workflow for each type of item (banks, shopping, credit card, etc.), but these workflows were setup prior to my using Evernote. Basically, I have folder/subfolder structure set up in the Finder in the Financial/Type/Year setup and Print Plugin workflows set up to rename the PDF, send it to the appropriate folder, and Reveal in Finder so I could see where it ended up for visual confirmation.
          I created a Print Plugin in my own for Evernote because, at the time, they didn’t have one automatically installed.
          Let me know of you find something a bit more efficient…I just recently purchased a document scanner and am planning on using Evernote exclusively to keep track of these things.

  37. Good lord, thank you. I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to find the damned thing. What should have been a simple import of some code snippets into Dreamweaver CS6 took me over an hour, finally ending when I found your post.

  38. Hi Brian, a very clear and simple article.  I only wish I had read it yesterday, as I started Option 1 late last night, and my entire library is now copying over to NAS.  I’m thinking I need to go back and use Option 2, and just move my movies over to NAS, for backup purposes as well as performance.  My library is about 12000 songs and 150 movies (on the way to about 400), plus a few TV shows.

    Since the files are being copied over wireless (no way to run a cable), the occasional dropout of the network occurs.  I have simply restarted the Consolidate operation and it seems to pick up where it left off.  However, I have some concern that the last item being copied when the dropout occurred may be incomplete.  I thought I could determine this by comparing the file sizes on my iMac drive and on the NAS, and discovered something strange.  Finder reports a larger file size for EVERY file, right around 1 MB for songs (give or take a few hundred KB).  Do you have any idea why this would be?  The NAS is a Seagate Goflex Home 3TB, which I believe came formatted for Mac but can also read and write Windows files.  At any rate, it was set up from my iMac.

    As I said, I think my new plan is to go back and use Option 2 and leave my music files on the iMac, and put all the movies on NAS.  (They are actually already there, as I copied them over as I ripped each DVD).  That was the reason I started this in the first place, so that I could stream movies from the NAS to any TV in the house – to the family room via AppleTV and to the master bedroom via Playstation3.

    I would appreciate any thoughts you have on this plan, or any potential issues you see?  Thanks in advance for your time!

    • I recently went thru option 2 and its working very well. I was wondering if Brian or anyone knew a solution to the below….

      The functionality you seem to lose from option 1 (when you go with option 2) is the “automatically add to itunes” folder doesn’t seem to work when you reference your media to a separate drive. If i have a media file on my internal drive and drop it onto to the auto folder, it just moves it into my internal itunes library (which we don’t prefer as option 2 people).

      If I move the media file into the right folder on my external drive and then drag it onto the auto folder, it copies it to my internal itunes library which again, we don’t want.

      So, in order to add new media and organize it right using option 2 – I have to…

      1. Move each media file to the right spot on the external drive.
      2. Either add each media file using the “add to library” command or select each media file in the finder (once they are copied over) and drag them all onto the itunes library.
      3. Then go & set media tags individually.
      4. Sometimes – using either the add or drag over icon fails to register the media with itunes and it seems I have to quit itunes and “wait” a few minutes and try again.

      I am not complaining about option 2 mind you – but does anyone know a faster way to add media to the itunes library using the reference option? I really miss the auto add to itunes function I guess is what I am saying.

      I played with Plex for a while and fell in love with its ability to find new media files anywhere on your external drive, add it to your plex library and then add meta data as well from its public databases.

      I would love to see the next itunes do that – but I am not holding out much hope.

      • Hi Stephen…

        My apologies for taking a little while to get back to you – been a bit crazy lately!
        I hear you on the losing functionality, but if you are working on a Mac, you can get it back fairly easily by using Automator. You can, for example, create a Service that tells Automator to receive selected Audio files in the Finder and then Import Files into iTunes (into the Library). Save the Automator Service with a helpful name, such as “Add to iTunes”.
        Now you can select the audio files you’ve saved externally and then right-click and choose your “Add to iTunes” Service. This keeps the music files where you originally saved them, but makes them show up in your iTunes library.
        There are some more automated methods you could look into using Automator, as well, either via Folder Actions or some date filtering as an Application.
        Hope that helps!

  39. thank you … had been trying to do a mail merge in Word … complete waste of time … and templates had attached miles of extra pages … finally found them and deleted those user templates ..

  40. Brian, I have a large iTunes music Library (39K songs,1.5TB), growing every day. The library is on an OWC external 2TB 7200 HD. I’m looking for a new 4TB HD (with a mirrored RAID HD to house the collection and have a 100% backup) to move my music collection to when I purchase a new iMac.  I have a 1.66 Core Duo 2GB Mac Mini running OSX10.6.8 with Firewire to the external HD. I have the spinning wheel when adding new music to the library, but overall I’m having no problems with iTunes. It does take 30-50 seconds to open and 20-30 seconds to close but I believe its due to the older hardware (processor/firewire) that will be updated with the new iMac.

    One of the questions I’m dealing with in the purchase of a new HD is, the size of my iTunes Library. Am I going to have problems when my current library grows? Are there issues with a 3-4TB music library? If so, it impacts the decision process for a new HD (could use more, smaller HDs rather than 1 large HD). If not, I can proceed with a large HD but wanted to be informed going in. Thanks

    • The updated computer will make a world of a difference for you…and really the only way to increase performance is to move to some type of referenced iTunes library as described in the post.
      I think you’re heading in the right direction…I would – at the very least – look into having the main library database files stored on your main hard drive and have the media (music, movies, tv shows) set up externally/referenced. That’s what I’ve always found to be the most efficient way, other than setting up multiple iTunes libraries.

      • the problem is that with really large itunes libraries, itunes has lots of trouble managing them – things get very slow. I dont really know why, as other audio players (e.g. Decibel) that access the itunes library file are very fast (just as spotlight can index your entire computer and external drives and provide instantaneous search resuts). The same applies to the slow speed of saving changes to metadata. And all this got much, much worse with itunes 11 – dont upgrade if you havent already. When I type “B” into the search field it takes 10-30 seconds to show me things starting with B, and if I continue to “Bach” it will take that time again. What’s worse, you know can’t search multiple fields (so I can’t search for “beatles abbey” to get the Abbey Road album – I can search for “beatles” and get all my beatles albums and scroll down to abbey road. For some searches this isnt a problem but for others it is a huge step backward. I have sought in vain for a suitable alternative on the mac (there are a couple of windows applications, perhaps media monkey, that seem promising, as there is more of a market in the windows world for itunes alternatives), both in itunes “piggybackers” that access the itunes library and standalone players, and none are able to both handle my large library and offer the necessary flexibility. 

  41. Brian: great, informative post. Thank you!

    Q: How do I move existing movies (for example) already shown in iTunes onto my new external hard drive (dedicated just to movies) once I’ve unchecked the dialog box you mentioned above?



    • Hey Christopher…

      My apologies for the delay – the Christmas season is a busy one! To move the files, you’ll effectively need to remove them from iTunes and re-add them so that you wont end up with the dreaded exclamation mark icon. Here is what you’ll want to do…
      If you’ve already unchecked the “Copy Media Files…” preference…
      – select all your movies in iTunes and press delete on your keyboard
      – it’ll ask you if you’re sure about removing from your iTunes Library, say Yes – it’ll ask if you want to delete the files or keep them on the computer, say NO – locate your movie files on your computer (Mac: Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Movies, PC: My Documents/My Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Movies) – Select them all and copy them to your external drive
      – head back to iTunes and go to File > Add to Library to bring your collection back
      But this time, it’ll just being in references to the files because you’ve unchecked that preference. Your workflow for adding movies will be the same as above if you’re downloading from iTunes. If you’re getting your movies elsewhere (ripping, digital copies), saving them directly to your external hard drive and then do the File > Add to Library option.
      Hope that helps!


      • Dude, that makes total sense. PERFECT! 

        Thank you for the awesome reply (no worries; I get the Christmas season fo’ sho’). 

        I have been purposely putting all my movies and TV shows in their own folders on external drives and playing them through VCL on my laptop for my kids simply bc I was fearful of having to redo this whole process. I really want to use iTunes and an Apple TV to become our primary viewing method, and locating a dedicated external drive near our TV in the living room (in order to move away form DVDs, etc). 

        Thanks for getting back to me. Appreciate it. 



  42. As suggested by someone on a forum I know have the library including the index on my external disc (4 TB), no more marks and broken links. You do however need to make a snelkoppeling (don’t know the word) on your internal drive.

  43.  Hello Bryan – 
    instead of using a networked storage, could I just use one partition for each media type (music, movies, photos, etc), or would it be better  to store each media in different external hardrives?  Also, I would like to know what is the best service for the money, for having additional backup on the cloud?  I have an old macbook which I can’t use apple Icloud, but I would be interested in different options.thank you.

    • Benji…

      Yes, that is a good option to work with partitions. In my opinion, no real difference than using multiple hard drives – but it gives you the convenience of just having one physically plugged in.
      I don’t personally use any complete cloud backup solution (I do use iTunes Match), but have recommended Backblaze to a few of my clients and they have been pleased with the results. Their biggest advantage is (1) unlimited storage space for backup and (2) backup of external hard drives.

  44. “If you really need to see the Library folder all the time, use on of the
    above options and make a shortcut  in the Finder’s sidebar for your
    Library folder, or even add it as a Stack.”

    Brian, thanks for your help, but I have some trouble with above statement. If I use either method to show my Library, I get a Finder window with the contents of the Library folder.
    How do I go from here to making a shortcut or a stack in the Dock?
    If I go up one level from the Library folder (in order to see its icon and then make a shortcut), I’m back in my Home folder and no Library icon in sight…

    Can you help us out?

    • Peter…

      The trick here is that, when you’re viewing your Library folder’s contents, switch your view in the Finder to Column view – that will show you the full path and give you the option to drag your Library folder to the sidebar or Dock as a shortcut.

      Sent from my iPad

  45. Hi Brian,


    Thanks for that.  I
    have spent the last two hours trying to figure this problem out and your
    response is the best yet.  Before I make
    the changes you suggest there is one slight difference for me.

    I wanted to move my movies off my internal hard drive but
    couldn’t find them in the itunes folder. 
    It would seem that I never added them to the library in the first place,
    merely referenced them.  I obviously didn’t
    have the “add to library” Ticked, Which is OK really.  What I want to do is to remove them all and add
    them to an external hardrive which I can access more easily.  If I use your method am I correct in saying
    that I merely delete all existing Movies through I tunes.  Move them all to an external drive, and then
    re add through iTunes?


    Thanks very much

    • That is correct…the only cautionary thing I can say is to make sure you know where the files are before you remove them from iTunes. You can cheat a bit at first, if you like, and use iTunes “Consolidate Library” trick found under the File > Library menu – which will move any files iTunes has eyes on into the iTunes folder.

      Sent from my iPad

  46. Thanks for all the great comments and appologies if this question has been asked but I missed it!

    I have a reasonably sized library (750+ movies, 10k+ songs) that I have built up over several years. It is spread across 3 external hard drives. Now, all my drives are full and I need to add more space. What I’d like to do (instead of just adding another drive) is the retire my smallest drive, then add the files on that particular drive to the new, larger drive I will add. Thing I am not sure on is how to do this without having a horribly manual process. 

    I don’t think I can simply delete the entire library and then add it all in as I’d have to add in all the individual drives and then wouldn’t I loose some of the meta data?

    Is there a way to isolate all the files on the small, old drive in itunes, delete them and then just add them back to the itunes library once I have moved them?
    perhaps I am over complicating it…help would be appreciated.


    • GM…

      I’d say you have a couple options in place, and it really boils down to how your media is organized now. If now, on your three external drives, you have your media by type (say, Movies on #1, Music on #2, and TV Shows on #3), then it would be simple to delete the references from iTunes, move the files to a larger hard drive, and then re-add them.

      If this is not possible, or they aren’t organized as cleanly as described above, I would do the following:

      1) Purchase your larger external hard drive and plug it into the computer
      2) Tell iTunes to store your library on the external drive (in Preferences > Advanced)
      3) Consolidate your Library (from the File > Library > Organize Library)

      The last option will have iTunes automatically gather all media from the various hard drives and organize it on your large external drive.

  47. Or you could just go to terminal and type in the following command:
    chflags nohidden ~/Library
     Hit enter, your library folder should be permanently visible in both your macintosh hd and /users/username/library

  48. I’m having trouble understanding why you need to do this Automator process before you add music. I keep my music (197,000 tracks) on a 6TB internal RAID array. I have the settings as you do. So when I add something to iTunes, either from the iTunes store, from the Amazon MP3 store or from ripping a CD, iTunes places it in the correct place. The only time it wouldn’t is if I were to import music from a different drive. Then it would reference that drive and I would always need to keep it connected.

    That being said, iTunes still chokes on my library. That’s because of its idiotic database file design which requires it to save the entire database file every time you make a changed to even a single track. So if I add a grouping or a comment to a single track, it saves the entire database of 197,000 track references. It would be much smarter if it cached then and saved periodically. I often get failures to save the library (Unknown Error -50) when making changes or when downloading purchases. A major PITA.

    So I just dumped iTunes and use the vastly superior MediaMonkey to manage my music. It works like a charm and is lightning fast even when making a lot of changes. The only problem is that it cannot import Smart Playlists, of which I have a couple of hundred. So I have to recreate them manually as MediaMonkey AutoPlaylists. That will take a long time.

    I now use iTunes only to manage my iPad and buy music. I wish I had not had to switch, but iTunes is such an under-performing disgrace of a product that I had no other option, despite the things that I do like about it. Oh, and MediaMonkey doesn’t have that stupid broken link icon because it’s actually smart enough to monitor my music directories automatically and find the lost stuff without any effort on my part. Why can’t iTunes? Shameful.

    To preempt any criticisms about why I “need so much music.” I’ve been collecting for more than 30 years and enjoy a very broad variety of genres from around the world and throughout history. I listen to music almost constantly to help me partially ignore the awful ringing in my ears.

    • Hi Steve…

      Hard to argue your sentiments here – large libraries such as mine and yours do struggle when all contained in one place. My reasoning for the Automator step is that I have a combination of local and referenced media, with my music on an internal hard drive and my movies and TV shows on external drives. Because most of my music is acquired either via Amazon or eMusic, the Automator action gives me an easy way to organize my music to the default iTunes organization (moving the files rather than copying).

      Sent from my iPad

    • Is there a Mac version of MediaMonkey?
      I us the PC version to manage my media server but iTunes has all the problems you have mentioned and more.
      My home system has an iMac as the host which connects to a media serve and on my network I have a a couple Apple TVs and AirTunes devices which are connected to receivers driving different zones. I drive all of this from an iPod and/or and iPad.
      So if I went the Media monky way how could I drive the music to the various zones?

  49. Hi, here is my situation: I have Time Capsule, where I have all films and music. From there I added them into Mac Mini library. Mac Mini is my “home cinema” so I can stream from there films into other Macs and PCs. But when I want to put some movie into my mac (to take it for some trip..) I have to copy to my Mac.
    What I want: After copying movie into my “Movies” folder I would be happy if that is automatically added into my library.
    I tried automator, but he can add only music files.
    So do you have any advice?

    • Hi Vlado…

      I unfortunately have run into the same roadblock and have not yet come across an automatic workflow that helps. The only way around this would be if your entire iTunes library is contained in your Time Capsule. Then you could use the “Time Capsule > iTunes > iTunes Music > Automatically Add to iTunes” folder as a Service destination (through Automator) to have your files automatically organized. This option does not work if you have iTunes set up to reference files.

  50. Okay one question, does it save your ratings and changes to your external location. An example if I download a home video and add episodes and descriptions where is that saved if I need to delete or change external hard drives. You sometimes do a lot of work to files especially if you don’t purchase from iTunes.

    • One nice thing about iTunes is that when you edit a file’s info, it saves the metadata with that file as part of the whole iTunes structure – so whether you’re referencing media or having it all in one place, you’re good to go. You might also look at a tool like MetaX if you really like tagging your videos…can be easier to work with than iTunes’ built-in options.

    • Make sure you’re in the Finder, then click on the Go menu (top of screen). You’ll see your Home (user) folder there, but before you click on anything, hold down the Option key on the keyboard and you should see Library show as a choice. That will take you to your User’s Library folder

    • Make sure you’re in the Finder, then click on the Go menu (top of screen). You’ll see your Home (user) folder there, but before you click on anything, hold down the Option key on the keyboard and you should see Library show as a choice. That will take you to your User’s Library folder.

  51. i like method 2 but you need to have the itunes library on your local drive and mine being a macbook pro is limited to 250gb inc the ops sys etc. i have tried option one but dont like having to have the ext hdd always plugged in. another option i tried was to load all music into itunes from my server via wireless network. issues with that is it takes some time but is always available. another drawback is if you reformat or need to reinstall itunes you have to go through the process again. any suggestions appreciated. steve

    • Always a tricky scenario on the laptop. I’ve seen some folks operate with two libraries – one complete library on the external hard drive and one smaller, portable library on the laptop. You can manage that by holding down the option key as iTunes launches. Another possibility is to use iTunes Match – which is actually what I do with my music now.

  52. thanks for the info, but the comments section, with white type on light grey background is nearly impossible to read

  53. Can I distribute different ‘genres’ of music to different micro SDXC cards, as I want to change from my ipod classic to a Fiio X3?

    • Yes, you should be able to by either creating those playlists (Smart or Regular) or by filtering your iTunes library with theColumn Browser (View menu). Then, just simply drag your songs to your device.

  54. Hi Brian – I read you blog (and an earlier article you did on getting in to the structure of iTunes library) and hoped you could help.
    We have a 60,000 song library, on an external hard drive connected to a Logitech Squeezebox sound system. In theory it should all work well, but at random, unpredictable moments the computer can’t “see” the external hard disk, then it rebuilds the index, loses the star ratings and it takes (given the size of the library) days to get it back. Then of course Logitech can’t see iTunes and the whole things goes awry.
    Would you have any thoughts or hints? I think perhaps we need to back up the index and star ratings separately? I am guessing there is intermittent issues with our external disk (or maybe power fluctuations). Then, what happens is that the Logitech system can’t find anything either – that could be a separate set of issues or just part of the same.
    I just wonder if this is a function of the size of library we have – or whether this type of hook up is just too complex for non technical types. Our problem is my husband is an not for profit DJ so he needs to have the reference music but we don’t have room for physical storage.
    Eek. Lisa.

    • Hi Lisa…

      I’d recommend first taking a look at a couple settings:

      1) Make sure iTunes knows your library is stored externally by opening up iTunes’ Preferences > Advanced. If necessary, change the location to point to your external drive. If it has the library internally, but external media, if it loses connection it can mess with the database.

      2) Make sure you don’t have a copy of an iTunes library on your internal hard drive. You can find this in Finder > Music > iTunes (Mac) or My Documents > My Music > iTunes (PC). Delete any and all, provided you have performed Step 1.

      Also, definitely make sure you have a backup of your music, especially if you are having hard drive difficulties.

    • The nice thing about iTunes is that the software itself doesn’t touch the music – the music is always stored on your hard drive in he Music > iTunes folder (Mac…PC: My Music > iTunes). If you download the latest version of iTunes, it will jut overwrite the software files and get you up to date. Even if you uninstall iTunes completely, the music files are still there and you can reinstall and not miss a beat.

  55. Hi Brian,
    Great article! I am a PC (W7), user and have 4 computers that we all like to play music and use ITunes, As you were asked initially, to save disc space on all of the computers, I would like to keep the music files on my NAS (Network Access Storage) for all of my computers to use over the network. I think that your Option 1 would work, but I still have a problem understanding how ITunes keeps the files or not and just a reference location. I would like to set it up to have ITunes point ONLY to the NAS, for all of the computers, and not copy the files not each of the computer ITunes libraries. Soooo confusing! I have shot myself in the foot by running each of the computers ITunes independently and now I have ITunes folders/files on each computer, and music files duplicated on each of them as well. How would I extricate this situation? And have only one location for the media files (on my NAS)?

    • Hi Ken…you are on the right track. And I think you have two options on how to proceed. (1) Create a brand new iTunes library on your NAS or (2) move an existing iTunes library to your NAS.

      Effectively, iTunes has the option to contain all of your media (music, movies, books, etc) in one organized location. Two preferences to pay attention to are the following (both in the iTunes > Preferences and the Advanced tab).

      The first is the “Keep iTunes Media organized” checkbox – have this on. This guarantees that iTunes will keep your library neat and organized with the iTunes folder.

      The second is the Library location. You can change this to point to your NAS (if doing option 2 above). This is the ultimate location of your iTunes library.

      Hope that clears it up for you. If you are going to start with option 1 (Fresh new library), simply alt-click iTunes when it launches, and it will prompt you to create a new library.

      After you have your iTunes library on your NAS, make sure you (1) choose File > Library > Consolidate (or organize), (2) alt-click open iTunes on each computer to open the library on the NAS, and (3) delete the iTunes libraries that exist on each computer’s local hard drive.

      An apple KB document can be found here that can assist, as well: support.apple.com/kb/ht1364

  56. Hi brian….. my name is joshua and I am from india. I play keyboard for our church in a small village. I have a psr s950 yamaha .While we worship in our local language mostly…we have an english service in the evening. We do sing all contemporary worship songs from chris tomlin to hillsongs to deluge etc…however we manage the entire show with one keyboard. I use lot of synth pads…electric piano …drum accompaniment but all are built in sounds. I am feeling the need to upgrade our keyboard rig and have the following queries. ..
    1. Can I use my psr keyboard with a virtual instrument host like mainstage3
    2.i can manage to buy a mac computer and the mainstage software ..but cannot afford to buy another keyboard …should I buy a midi controller if I am planning to buy mainstage ?

    • Hi Joshua…

      As long as your pr s950 has either MIDI out or a USB port, you would be able to use it with MainStage no problem. I looked up your keyboard’s model number online, and it looks like you’re all set!

      If your current keyboard does not have MIDI capabilities, then I would recommend a controller (instead of a full keyboard) to control MainStage…even if it’s only 49 keys or so, you can get great functionality out of it, especially if you get one with knobs, pads, and/or faders.

      • Hi brian …that was really kind of you. Your response has thrown light on one of the critical doubts that I had. I shall slowly start procuring one by one the equipments as and when I get money and keep you posted all along. I need to firsr get a mac laptop. ..which should be my first big ticket expenditure. God bless you and your ministry. I really owe you for this help…

    • Joshua, Good to stumble upon a person of my faith from my home country. My name is Philip, I was born and raised in India until I was 19, then moved to US. Joshua, my Son’s name is Joshua as well. I would like to connect with you via facebook or LinkedIn. Please send me an email at: mitserve@gmail.com

  57. Hi Brian,
    I lead worship in my local church every Sunday as well as in our Miracle Meetings every alternate week. My worship team are all freshers.. still learning to play, so Im looking at playing an electric Guitar VST on a midi controller via Ableton Live alongside with my Korg Kronos. Im curious.. do I need the Focusrite? Im upgrading my rig to include a Novation Impulse 48 (still undecided whether to just use my PC or invest in a Mac), but the point is.. do I need the 2i2/2i4? I dont intend to do much recording on the fly.

    Would appreciate your input on the same. Thanks!

    • Hi Hansel…

      The Focusrite (or any audio interface) is not completely necessary if you’re not looking to do any recording, but you will notice a big difference in audio quality and latency if you use an interface instead if your computer’s built-in audio.

      Example – my MacBook Air could handle running the processing of MainStage without any delay, but I could not get a strong signal out to the board without experiencing clipping due to having to use 1/8″ to 1/4″ cables from the built-in output. The moment I ran though the Focusrite instead, I had plenty of headroom to spare as well as being able to send multiple outputs to the board.

      Hope that helps!

      • Hey Brian,
        Thanks so much! I was wondering about latency issues, and this clears it up for me. a few question .. from what I understand, if I get a Scarlett 2i2 then my keyboard will basically go through as an audio signal, so in order to use a Midi channel, I will need to get atleast a 2i4. Am I correct so far? Secondly, as a keyboardist yourself, whats the benefit in going in directly for a 6i6? Is that primarily for the multiple outputs?

        • Hi Hansel…

          You don’t necessarily need to run MIDI through the interface, as many keyboards/controllers have a USB connection that will translate MIDI to the computer. The interface would still process all of the sound and, as long as you have the USB ports available, and your keyboard supports it, the interface does not need MIDI capabilities. Also, you have the option of getting a MIDI to USB adapter if your keyboard does not have the USB option which, paired with an interface such as the 2i2, can be less expensive overall. I have this EMU XMIDI and it works well: http://goo.gl/WGEvCg.

          For me, the 6i6 was the best choice because (1) I like having the MIDI connection right on the interface so all of my signal flow runs directly through one spot and (2) it offers the multiple outputs so I can send click or tracks to the board separately than my keyboard mix.

          • Brilliant!! Thanks so much man!! I really appreciate you taking the time out to explain everything. I think Im going to go with the 6i6 as well.

            God bless you and both, your worship ministry as well as your online tech ministry as well!

    • Assuming you use a full size keyboard as well? If so, one of those double-tiered stands works very well. If not, then I would just do a Google search for 49-key stands (plenty of options). And I personally don’t do anything fancy with my laptop and interface…a music stand or two works perfectly for me.

  58. Hi Brian: Thanks for the info on Mainstage. I have Mainstage 3 myself at the moment and was hoping to replace my heavier rig with a lightweight MIDI controller and laptop solution.

    Can you talk a little bit about how you switch from “song” to “song”? Is there a key on the keyboard that triggers the patch switching or do you physically click on the laptop?

    • Hi Fernando…

      I’ll do the response full justice soon, as my next tutorial will cover my approach to designing a layout in MainStage. To answer your question briefly, the answer is that you can do both. It is admittedly rather awkward to have to use the mouse, though, so if your keyboard has midi capabilities with knobs, faders, or buttons, you can assign any and all of those functions to control MainStage.

      I use my Akai MPK mini’s pads to switch from patch to patch, with each song being a “Set” in MainStage.

    • Very similar…I’m just adding a USB Hub (same one, in fact), as I am running out of options when looking to add another keyboard. Big fan of PreSonus as well…next on my list is getting a better handle on incorporating and mixing backing tracks live. I get the concept, but have yet to use it in practice or live yet. I know Abelton’s the “industry standard”, but have you compared it to working with the Playback plugin in MainStage by any chance? Haven’t found too much good stuff on the Internet yet…

  59. Hi Brain, Im Chris, Im from Seychelles..I really like the Topic here, You really helped me a lot with all the details…Ive been playing the keyboard for a few years and im always thinking of the nice sounds some people get from softwares, Especially some bands like Jesus Culture & Hillsong, But i never could really understand how to get to that level and what are the requirements…My question was if i could get a M-Audio Axiom 25 and use a simple Yamaha DGX????

    • You could use the setup…while the Yamaha would have built-in sounds, you’d need a computer in the mix to use the Axiom (as it’s only a MIDI controller). The folks at Hillsong (and others) are using Mainstage as their main software, along with instrument plugins such as Kontakt or Omnisphere. Those apps allow for much more granular control of patch and sound design.

  60. Hi Brian! I’m Jason from Virginia and i’ve been playing keys for our Contemporary group for 5 years now using my Yamaha MOX6, however I would like to add some extra pads and/or strings into our music. I have a MacBook Pro however I’m technologically challenged. Does Mainstage allow you to use extra pads etc.? I have a MIDI capable keyboard to use if so. Any help is appreciated. Jason.

    • It absolutely would…you could either use your MOX6 as the controller for MainStage, with MainStage driving all of the sounds. Or you could use your other midi-capable keyboard as a secondary instrument, using both your MOX6 and MainStage simultaneously – just depends on how ambitious you want/need to be! For me personally, I’ve found it more efficient and better for my setup to run everything through MainStage. The sounds it has are better than the keyboards I have access to, so it just makes more sense for quality of patches. You would want to look at getting an audio interface, though, to better process the sound from the computer.

  61. Thank you brother Brian, I really appreciate your help..Brian I dont have a MacBook pro for now, im thinking of getting one very soon, And i also dont know much about it Ive always been using windows….The truth is that for some reason I never liked Apple devices, But if i can get some nice sounds from an apple i will go for it 🙂 …. And im also thinking how can i get the MainStage Software???? And since i dont have a Mac for now, Is there any good or similar software i could use in the meantime with an ordinary laptop??? I hope im not asking silly questions 🙂 🙂

    • You can’t beat Apple’s durability and performance for music application, whether it’s live or in the studio. They are different than Windows machines, for sure, but I wouldn’t rly in anything else during a live music situation. MainStage is Mac-only, so you’d have to get the Mac first…not too sure about options on the PC side (I’ve worked with Macs for 8+ years now)…but I believe both Kontakt and Spectrasonics have PC offerings.

  62. Thank you very much Brian for the explanation….. I saw MacBook Air at the local ishop store, planning on getting it in a few mounths

    • I’m still not there yet…that’s next on my list. I’d like to stick with just MainStage, if possible, to smooth out the signal flow. It seems like the Playback plugin will do the trick with my hardware setup and the ability to create and manage tracks in logic with automatic marker integration. It’s all theory at the moment, though…

  63. Hi Brian! I’m a keys player for my church, and we just started using Mainstage setup. We have an old Korg Karma that we love for its sounds, I was wondering if we can use it as a sound module and load the sound patches on Mainstage, and control it using our Novation Launchkey midi controller? I tried connecting it via MIDI and it wouldn’t load… I don’t know if this is entirely possible, or is it just a MIDI cabling/routing issue? Thanks for all your help!

    • We’re connecting the Launchkey to Macbook’s USB port, and the other Macbook USB port is connected to a 2i4. Korg Karma MIDI in/out to 2i4 MIDI in/out. Anything I did wrong?

      • Hi Laura…the basic signal flow should be as follows: Korg’s MIDI Out > 2i4’s MIDI In. Then, in MainStage, you’d add a channel strip choosing “External Instrument”. Apple has a brief support document here: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH13578

        Just as a practical question, though…if you like the sounds the Karma has, why not just send its audio to MainStage via an audio channel strip and use the LaunchKey just as a MainStage controller? I’m thinking you might not need the double-midi setup…

  64. Hey Brian, Dave here. Though playing Roland handsonic (electro-Djembe and more) and hand percussion I am up against a budget and starting a keyboardist with beginning skill set. My wife say this at Costco (don’t laugh plz… lol) and wondered your thoughts for a small fellowship that seats 100. is this a decent starter? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMZ4dGUw8Z4

    can you advise, our last worship team had a full-sized Roland but the price today would be prohibitive. it was a nice k-board and couldn’t play a Hammond B-3 sound. thanks for your input.

    • Nothing to make fun of – you have to start somewhere! The thing I always look for is the the option to expand (via MIDI)…if you like the sounds it comes with, you’ll be all set. This keyboard has USB output so you can run it through a computer later as you grow.

  65. Hope you can help! I have a 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 iMac. I’m running Yosemite. My question concerns iTunes and access times. I have a very large iTunes library, almost 800GBs, consisting of mainly music. I am using a Lacie Thunderbolt drive to store all my music. When I am in iTunes, if I click on a playlist, there is a 2 or 3 second delay followed by the spinning wheel for another 2 or 3 seconds and then the playlist opens. If I click on any song, it plays instantaneously. Is there anything I can do to eliminate the delay when clicking on a playlist? Thanks

    • You’ve done a lot of what you can in terms of making sure your library runs efficiently (external drive, Thunderbolt), and you might simply be running into the beauty of having a very large library for the computer to weed through before it shows your playlists. My only suggestion would be the following (and you might already have it in place)…have the iTunes Library location on your iMac, and just store the media files on the external drive. This allows you computer to handle the data side of iTunes, while your external drive processed the files. Follow the steps in Option 2 of this post to make sure you’re preferences are set appropriately. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks Brian. I had already done what you suggested. The iTunes library is on the Mac with just the media files on the TB drive. What prompted my question was that before Yoemite and the new version of iTunes, I could literally scroll through my playlists with no issue. It seems the new version of iTunes might be the culprit. What about putting the iTunes app on the TB drive?

        • I don’t think I’d recommend that – pretty sure you’ll have slower performance. It could be the new version, so you might be waiting until a patch update comes through. Since the writing of this post, I went the route of iTunes Match for my music and Plex Media Center for my Movies/TV Shows…might be something to think about for your music if you’re library is <25,000 songs...

  66. Hi Brian, I am trying to connect my computer to the Scarlett audio interface. Should I use a USB to quarter inch cable or a 3.5mm to quarter inch cable?

    • Hi Jeremy…you’d be looking to connect the Scarlett to your computer via USB. The interface effecting replaces yours computer’s sound processing and adds extra inputs/outputs. You can then connect speakers or headphones to the Scarlett’s outputs to get the sound out of the computer.

  67. So would you say that there are 2 things bringing a computer into your rig can do: 1.) generate/process sounds that you would control with a small keyboard (midi controller?) and 2.) allow you to add loops, click tracks and other pre-recorded arrangements into your live performance using Ableton Live or some software like it?

    If that’s the case, would MainStage be able to replace Live or would you somehow use them in conjunction?

  68. We have a small group of worshipers we have a tyros 4 Yamaha. We have plug in microphone. Did we make a mistake in purchasing a tyros 4 yamaha keyboard. would like to know if should we sell it or do something more portable

    • Not a mistake at all! It all boils down to what works best for your group and the person(s) playing the instrument. The only thing I caution against is buying equipment that doesn’t allow you to grow or progress, and that’s not the case with the Tyros. You have many sounds to work with and many connectivity options that will allow for expansion as you grow (MIDI, USB).

      Portability I find is a relative term…I have a Yamaha P120 keyboard…love the feel of it, but it’s rather heavy. But I’ll cart it around when appropriate. I’ve expanded to have an 88-key MIDI controller for my laptop-driven keyboard rig, and that’s very light weight, but I’m sacrificing on the feel.

      I mention all that to say that it’s all good…enjoy the process, see what you like or don’t like, and look for ways to stretch and develop!

      • Thank You For your Reply. Which would you connect to tyros 4 to a mac via firewire to Finale or ProTools. What is the single most important lesson you learned about God and Worship. How do keep freshness in your ministry. How do you keep from sounding like other people.

        • Hi John…there are some simple questions and some that either take years to answer or I’m not sure if I’ve discovered fully yet.

          For the Tyros, if you’re looking to use the sounds it has and send those to the computer, you would connect them to the Mac with an audio cable and (preferably) through an audio interface. If you’d be using the software to generate the sounds (Finale or ProTools), you’d connect via USB or MIDI to just send note information.

          The single most comes down to a heart matter…why do you really do what you do? Are you doing it for His glory, as an expression of worship for all He’s done, and to assist in helping his people do the same? Or are there other motivations? It’s a constant check, but really taking a step back and knowing where you perspectives and motivations lie is if the utmost importance.

          Freshness comes by constantly learning…you never fully arrive, you never know it all…there should be a constant evolution and growth. Listen, listen, listen – to everything from traditional hymns and anthems to high-energy youth worship and cafe-style acoustic. Practice, practice, practice. Take what you are listening to and practice playing in those styles, learning the rhythms, methods, and sounds that make those work and see what works within a set list.

          And that last point leads to your final question….while it’s true that “there’s nothing new under the sun”, having a variety of styles in your tool belt help you and your team develop a sound that is unique to you. Change the dynamics, experiment with the tempo, modify the arrangement and find what works and what doesn’t (sometimes just as important).

          Hope that can help!

  69. Brian

    Love the info. I think you are doing what I want to do and just want to make sure it is possible. I plan on using a focusrite scarlet 214 to run the stereo signal from my nord and also the ourput from MS. Will that work and will I be able to layer sounds from the nord and MS and they both come out of the speaker system?



    • You might not be able to do both using just the Nord…might need an additional MIDI keyboard for MainStage. Most keyboards that I’ve worked with, once you do MIDI Out, it disables the audio out functionality. So just keep that in mind as you experiment…your Scarlett interface will work just fine, but you might be adding a MIDI keyboard and work with a dual-keyboard setup.

      • Sorry Brian. One more thing. Can you talk me through in basic terms how you set up a program chnage from MS to the Nord. What did you do on each device?

        • No apologies needed! The following assumes you are using MainStage to generate all the sounds and the Nord is just a controller. If you are looking for MainStage to use some of the Nord’s sounds, you’ll want to read up on External MIDI channels in MainStage (there’s plenty of Apple documentation in the MainStage user guide, accessible from the program’s Help menu).

          You’ll start by connecting your Nord to your computer, either directly from USB or through a MIDI cable through your audio interface. Then, do the following on your computer:

          1) Create a concert in MainStage. Can use a template, but you might be better off with a blank one. Make sure you understand the terminology: https://brian-nagel.com/2014/05/07/mainstage-3-tutorial-terminology/

          2) Work in Layout mode to set up your objects. I basically recreated the hardware buttons and knobs I had on my MPK mini using the drag and drop tools in Layout mode. For me, buttons work great for patch changes, knobs/faders are great for FX and Volume control.

          3) Use the Edit mode to map the objects to desired parameters. Select the object, click “Learn”, select the desired parameter. Here’s a video of a slightly different example, but it shows the Layout/Edit workflow: https://brian-nagel.com/2014/11/22/mainstage-tutorial-creating-a-layout-part-1/

          That’s the basics…let me know if you have any more questions, and I’ll do my best to answer!

          • Hi Brian

            Thanks for this. The thing I really wanted to know was the thing you didn’t cover in detail. I am looking say to have a really nice EP on the Nord for a song like GGDF and have MS change the patch on the Nord. I’ll read the documentation you suggest but if you have any tips, that would be great.


          • Yeah, I’m admittedly a novice in that area…never have had a nice enough keyboard to use its sounds over what MainStage produces. 🙂

            It looks like Nord has a pretty good user forum, though, and I found a couple discussions around this topic in a quick search…here’s one that gives a couple screen grabs: http://www.norduserforum.com/nord-stage-forum-f3/using-mainstage-with-nord-stage-ex-t3652.html

            Would love to hear how it all works once you get it up and running!

  70. Brian

    I figured it out. You just need to set up an external instrument channel strip and in the midi out section set up a program and bank change request for the relevant patch on your keyboard. I love it!!


  71. Brian,
    My Roland RD700sx decided to leave this earth lately, and I have purchased a PowerBook with Yosemite, apk88, mainstage 3, and a 6i6. I am figuring some things out as quickly as I can. I purchased the 6i6 earlier today. Hoping to improve sound quality and give me a few more output options. Had trouble today trying in integrate 6i6 with mainstage. Was not able to get sound out of 6i6. I’m very sure I am not doing something right. I can’t get mainstage to allow me to choose output options for different instruments. The 6i6 software sees the daw signal, but I can’t get mainstage to separate the signal to separate outs. Any help would be appreciated!
    Thank you!

    • Nice rig to get going! I’d first check that MainStage recognizes your audio interface as its main audio source in MainStage > Preferences. Then, test your output via the headphone jack to ensure audio is coming through…for output on different instruments, you can either select the Output from above the track’s volume fader or utilize busses to send the signal to an Aux and determine the output via that (my preferred method).

  72. Brian,
    I have a Yamaha Motif X8, akai MPK249, a Macbook Pro and Using MainStage 3. My issue is that I’m running everything through USB and MainStage does not recognize the Yamaha mapping for sound. I don’t know if Im doing it wrong but I want to use the Yamaha DAW to draw my sounds from the Motif onto both keyboards. If Im using my sound library of my mac it works great and uses the Yamaha outputs but I can’t figure out sound selection through the motif to work with MainStage. I also just picked up a Saffire Pro40 haven’t played around with it yet but I’m hoping that it may help in using the Yamaha mapping.

    • Hi Elias…

      To use the sounds from the Yamaha, you’ll need to look into working with External MIDI tracks in MainStage. While it’s not something I’ve personally done (never had a keyboard worth using its sounds over MainStage’s offerings :-)), the basic concept is as follows:

      – MIDI Out on Yamaha to MIDI In on audio interface
      – Add an “External Instrument” channel strip in MainStage
      – Choose appropriate program/patch change on the MIDI Out section that corresponds to your Yamaha

      Apple also has some documentation related to the subject here: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH13578

      Hope that helps!

    • One thing to check would be in Layout mode…that’s where you have your visual keyboard, but also the controls for which MIDI device corresponds to it as well as what channel it receives on. You can have it receive on all channels or just a single one – try adjusting that first and see if it resolves the issue.

  73. Greetings Brian!

    Your write-ups has been a great read. I’ve been toying with the notion of going MainStage for some time now. Well, either that or trying to dabble with a Nord Stage2. But, and frankly, this sounds more fun as I’m a ‘tinkerer’ at heart. My current rig is MOTIF ES8 (the early 2000 model) // Alesis QS8.2 (with a Sanctuary Q-Card) running to a 8-channel Beringer stage mixer that I run out to DI…then to the board. All sitting on an ancient APEX Ultimate 3-tier (AX-48).

    If my goal is to do two voices simultaneously via MainStage, what would I need? Am I looking at 2 Macbooks and 2 instances of MainStage, etc?

    Thanks for your valued time!

    • Hi Dan…

      Only one laptop is needed! The beauty of MainStage is that it can handle multiple sounds at once…the concept of a “patch” in MainStage is not just a single sound – you can load up as many channel strips as you want in each patch with layering sounds, adding effects, splitting the keyboard, etc. – many options!

      Really all you need is the ability to send MIDI from each of your keyboards to your Mac, either via an audio interface or MIDI to USB connection (or both).

      My setup has a full size keyboard going MIDI out to the MIDI in if my Presonus interface and my secondary keyboard connected via USB. In MainStage’s Layout mode, you add a visual representation of each keyboard and tell it which keyboard controls which instance.

      • Thanks so much for your reply. I’ve deeply considered this path. I think I’m still nervous at this point…but, willing to give it a shot. That said, I’ve allowed $500 ‘seed money’ to get me started. My pastor is interested in selling me his Macbook Air. It’s a Mid 2013 1.3GHz i5 with 4GB DDR3 running OS X Yosemite. Do you think this machine will handle Mainstage? If so, would there be any limitations other than load time lag? I’m really worried about interface lag…hitting a key and having a delay before it actually sounds out.

        I apologize for asking this again…I’ll be able to use a Midi-to-USB cable to go from my 2000 model MOTIF ES8 to the Macbook Air? or do i need the focusrite scarlett 2i4 or similar?

        • That laptop should handle it just fine! And yes, a MIDI to USB cable would connect your MOTIF to the laptop.

          Ultimately, I’d recommend having an audio interface just to avoid the potential latency (lag time). An interface effectively processes all of the audio so the computer doesn’t have to – the laptop would just be thinking about the software. Plus, if the interface has MIDI In connections like the 2i4 does, it’s one less cable to worry about connecting to the laptop (just use a standard MIDI cable from the keyboard to the interface).

  74. Question for you guys,( I’m a worship leader for my church and I sing and play the piano) ( My station is located in the middle of the alter).I run click tracks/ backing tracks.I’m trying to find a good looking stand or something to hold all the stuff, (But) it needs to be in arms length to be able to play/sing/and trigger the loops….. I have a Motif xf8, 13 inch Macbook pro, Audio interface and a Akia Mpd32 midi controller. Im using a music stand for the Akia Mpd, but I don’t want too many stands up there. the laptop and the audio interface sit on top of my piano and sometimes hit a button and throw my piano sounds off. Thanks for any advice.

    • Hi David…

      Your question is a good one and one we all struggle with. I’ve gone through a handful of varieties of setups over the last year and half, as I work to find my ideal solution that can encompass my audio needs while providing an efficient setup and be pleasing for the congregation to see.

      While I hear you on not wanting too many music stands, having one more for your laptop is probably the best choice for now. You could then look at adding something like this for your interface (Quik Lok MS-329 Microphone Stand Accessories https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002F4N0Q/).

      Another approach is to look at either a keyboard table or percussion table (set up directly behind your keyboard), as they have more width than a traditional stand and can look a little bit better. It sounds like a rack/DJ unit or similar is not necessarily with your current equipment, so just some reasonable furniture can do the trick.

      Hope that helps!

  75. Hi Brian, need your help on this. How do I connect these properly with cable wirings in/out:
    Roland700nx, Macbook Pro w/ Mainstage and AKAI mini mk2 (as my controller). I want my AKAI to be my only controller controlling my patches, track volumes, etc.. and my Roland will handle all the sound from Mainstage.

    I appreciate your help. Thank you Sir!

    • Hi Gab…

      You’re looking for MIDI out of the Roland into your laptop (either via audio interface, MIDI to USB, or if the Roland has a straight USB connection). The Akai will connect to the laptop via USB cable. Audio out from the laptop via audio interface or headphone jack.

      In MainStage, customize a layout to have the same buttons and knobs as your Akai and a keyboard to visually represent your Roland. See my other posts for customizing the MainStage layout.

  76. Also, sometimes on any day, what if I want the sounds coming from my Roland as they have great sounds, and mix them sounds on my DAW and still use my AKAI midi controller. I actually haven’t started using this rig set yet, just planning ahead. I am just ordering my midi controller. Just would like to know the process in advance! Thanks 🙂

    • To use the sounds from the Roland, you’ll need to look into working with External MIDI tracks in MainStage. While it’s not something I’ve personally done (never had a keyboard worth using its sounds over MainStage’s offerings :-)), the basic concept is as follows:

      – MIDI Out on Roland to MIDI In on audio interface
      – Add an “External Instrument” channel strip in MainStage
      – Choose appropriate program/patch change on the MIDI Out section that corresponds to your Yamaha

      Apple also has some documentation related to the subject here: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH13578

      Hope that helps!

  77. Hi Brian, I play keys for my church and I am looking into setting up Mainstage. I have the Korg Trinton Extreme Workstation. Do I need a second keyboard to use as midi controller if I am planning to use just the sound from Mainstage? Thank you.

    • Nope! You’d be all set to use what you have by connecting either a USB cable to your Mac or with a MIDI to USB connection. The advantage of having another controller would be to (1) have a dual keyboard setup for different parts and (2) use extra knobs/faders/sliders to control functions in MainStage, but it’s not necessary to get started.

  78. Hey, I need some help with my set-up for a live gig this week. I will be bringing a Focusrite 6i6, Mainstage 3, and Ableton to run tracks. They will have a Nord Stage 2 and a Nord Lead on backline. I usually use my Akai MPK261 with Mainstage, but I’d rather not lug it through the airport. My question is, how do I route and connect everything correctly? I’ll need 5 outputs: keys L/R, tracks L/R, and click…can this be done with the 6i6? And can I use either of the Nords as a controller with Mainstage? Can I control the Mainstage sounds with faders on a Nord?

    • The 6i6 will be able to handle all of those outputs…you would just route them via your software by setting the outputs using either separate Aux channels or on the individual tracks themselves. You just need to make sure your software (be it MainStage or Ableton) is set to process audio through the Focusrite instead of the Mac’s built-in outputs.

      You would be able to use the Nord as a controller, as long as you can connect it to your computer via MIDI. You’d also be planning to spend some time in MainStage’s Layout and Edit modes to both visually represent the Nord and map the faders/knobs/buttons to whatever parameters you’d like to control (patch changes, volume, etc.)

      Hope that helps and that you have a safe trip and enjoy the process!

  79. Hi Brian,

    So I think I have all the equipments I need to set up Mainstage but I am having trouble setting everything up since I am technically challenged. I have Korg Triton Extreme, Mac air, 2nd midi controller, and audio interface. Do I just connect the USB cable to the Korg and Mac? What am I supposed to connect to the audio interface? Thank you for your help.

    • Both your Korg and 2nd midi controller should go into your Mac…audio interface is connected to your Mac and should be your inputs/outputs in Mainstage > Preferences. Audio outputs from interface to the sound booth.

      If you’ve run out of USB ports on the Mac, you can run standard MIDI from the Korg to the interface.

      Hope that helps!

  80. Thanks Brian.

    Since my Mac has two USB ports, do you reccomend that I connect the audio interface and the 2nd midi controller directly to Mac and connect Korg to the audio interface through straight midi cable instead of using a USB hub to connect the Korg and the 2nd midi controller to Mac?

  81. One more question, so do I need just one straight midi cable to connect the Korg to audio interface? Midi out from keyboard to Midi In on the audio interface? Is this going to stop the Korg from generating it’s own sounds?

    • You’re correct – standard MIDI cable out of the Korg into the interface. And no, it shouldn’t prevent the Korg from generating its own sounds – you have the ability to either use audio our or MIDI (as a controller in MainStage or via external MIDI channel) from the Korg.

  82. Hi Brian,
    I connected the Korg and audio interface to the Mac. I am getting sound but the volume is really low and I already raised the volume to max on Mainstage and the mixer. Do you have any idea why this is happening? If I listen with the headphones volume is really loud. My audio interface is the M audio M-track.

    • A couple things to check:

      – Is MainStage processing the audio through the interface? Check MainStage > Preferences to make sure the M-Track is handling the input/output.

      – Are your levels strong when looking at the MainStage mixer? You’re looking to have the green volume meters for your tracks/patches be at least 50% so you can have good dynamic range.

      – From your interface, what kind of speakers do you have connected to its outputs? And were you hooking up your headphones to the M-Track?

  83. Actually, I was listening through the computer with the headphones. I just tried listening through headphones on M track and there isn’t any sound coming through. I already chose M track as the audio preference in Mainstage.

  84. But i know the audio interface works because last night at church it worked but just the sound was low. This is what we did: Korg audio output- M track input channel 1– mixer. Both Korg and M track hooked up to Mac through USB ports. I didn’t realize M track doesn’t have Midi In so I was not able to connect Korg to M track through straight midi cable. So the components we have are: Mac, Korg, M audio interface, DI box and Akai Midi Controller (I an considering getting a Powered USB Hub). We have Nexo Speakers, Yamaha. QL1 mixer and Digital snake in front. Did we connect everything into right places? And this is a dumb question but do you need an instrument cable to listen through the audio interface at home? I just used headphone jack and that’s when I can’t hear anything. Thank you.

    • If you’re registering strong signals in MainStage (visually full) and the M-Box is set as it’s audio interface, the other items in the signal flow that factor into overall level strength would be the DI box and the Mixer. Make sure there isn’t a pad on the DI box and try adjusting the gain level (as needed) on the mixer. You could also try to run two signals (Stereo L/R) to the board to see if just sending mono isn’t enough.

      And no, you wouldn’t need an instrument cable if you’re connecting via headphones at home – unless you wanted to plug the interface into speakers.

  85. Hi Brian,

    Currently I’m using the Mainstage in Macbook air connected to a midi keyboard.
    To maximise the sounds and mainstage potentials, can I use some VST plugins such as Garritan or Omnisphere?
    Could it affecting the sound quality since these instruments are quite heavy?

    • You absolutely can use those plugins, as long as they’ll load up in the MainStage channel strips. General rule of thumb is that if they work in Logic (or other DAWs), they’ll work in MainStage.

      Depending on how much RAM your machine has and the speed of your hard drive, you might run into some performance issues. Just play around with the buffer size and make sure no other apps are running in the background to maximize performance.

  86. Hey Guys,

    I realize i’m really late to this party but I need some advice. I have a big iTunes library (almost 2TB w/ 160,000 songs) and it seems like after it got bigger than 80,000 songs or so things really started slowing down. My entire library is on a Western Digital Studio 2TB w/ Firewire 800 to my mac and its almost full. My MacBookPro is about 8 years old now as well. Im also running iTunes 10.6 because of the newer search problems.

    I’m thinking about re-doing my itunes Library. Instead of having one master folder that itunes organized and copied for me (27,000 artist folders) I want to organize the music myself and split it up into fewer category folders (maybe 100). Do you think this would help with iTunes loading times and latency? The only problem i’m experiencing right now is when I click on my master folder it takes a few seconds for everything to pop up. Also the biggest problem is I used to be able to have my Serato DJ program read my itunes Library but after 80,000 or so it just tries to load and then times out. I’m not sure if this is because of the size of my library, the hardware i’m using, or the crazy back door organization that iTunes does for me.

    Do you think its worth putting in the time to re-organize all these folders just so that it will look good on the back end? Do any of you have experience with running any DJ program and having it read a huge iTunes library?

    I love my music collection and consider it one of my most valuable possessions. I just want it to be as efficient as possible and work with my DJ software. Any input or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys

    • Hi Alex…

      I think you’re on the right track – anything you can do to split your library up into smaller sets is advisable. While I don’t have specific experience with DJ software, I’ve had to access iTunes from other media sharing sources (GarageBand, Aperture, Keynote, etc), and they all benefit from having a smaller, more efficient space to read from.

      The only thing you’ll want to consider is just how many libraries are feasible and practical to use. While it’s true that you can create as many different iTunes libraries as you want (with the option-click, or alt-click on Windows), iTunes can only truly think about one at a time: effectively, the last one that was launched. You’ll need to add launching/loading your specific instance of iTunes to your standard workflow anytime you want to access it’s database from other programs.

      Hope that makes sense!

    • Hi Joshua…

      For software, I use MainStage for live performance and Logic X (and occasionally GarageBand) for recording.

      As far as keyboards go, it boils down to a bit of personal preference. My main keyboard is a Yamaha P120, but I use an Akai MPK mini and an Alesis Q88 as MIDI controllers. These MIDI controllers are strictly for controlling MainStage with patches, volumes, effects, etc.

  87. Hi Brian. Super helpful post. Thanks. I’m running a Novation Keystation49 and an Ultranova and just haven’t been able to get it to map out for MainStage. Maybe you can do a post on that? Is there a better brand of keyboard out there that you would recommend as an easier solution to mapping in MainStage?

    • MIDI ultimately is MIDI, so the different types of keyboards really boil down to user preference rather than a “works-best-with-mainstage”. The keyboards/controllers I’ve found to be most useful have a combination of pads, knobs, and faders so that I can set up and control a variety of parameters with one device.

      If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to check out another video I did about customizing a MainStage Layout (https://brian-nagel.com/2014/11/22/mainstage-tutorial-creating-a-layout-part-1/). While it doesn’t speak to working with a specific keyboard or controller, it covers the general workflow on how to add elements to MainStage and map them to the controllers you have.

      Hope that helps!

  88. Ciao Brian, I am Raffaele from Italy… I play in a band and right now my live rig is a yamaha psr 3000 and master keyboard that controls legacy cell vst from my laptop, the sound goes directly to the keyboard. At home I use m-audio 88 prokey plugged directly toy pc and brainspawn forte 3. I would like to use this last setup on my live concerts but i suppose is better to buy an audio device, thinking about a scarlett 2i2 but it hasn’t got midi in/out. The point is: is 2i2 able enough to process the midi audio or do I need the 2i4? Right now without sound card the latency is around 17 ms but I am sure a simple 2i2 could give me back less latency more output quality 24bit 96kHz (utopic on live I know).
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Raffaele…

      The 2i2 can process both audio and MIDI simultaneously, assuming your keyboards can plug into a computer via USB. If you only have standard 5-pin MIDI connections on your keyboards, you’ll need to look into at least the 2i4.

      The other piece to consider for jumping to the 2i4 (or bigger) would be the number of outputs. If you need to send separate, multiple signals to the sound system, you’ll want to go beyond to 2i2.

      But in short, any Scarlett interface would be able to process your audio needs smoothly.

      Hope that helps!

  89. Thank you for your quick reply, yes, I will connect my 88 master via usb and will use just one in for the mic. I don’t need right now to send more output than 2 so the 2i2 will be perfect for my purpose. Definetly tomorrow I will buy that sound card. Thank u for your help. Bye bye and compliment for your blog

  90. Great tutorial! I have an MPK88 with a similar layout, but have been unsuccessful in assigning the pads to be screen controls for things like tap tempo or switching patches. I assume this has something to do with the MIDI channel — How did you pull that off?

    • Could be – the first thing I’d look at is MainStage’s Layout screen where, if you select your keyboard, one of the settings is for which channel it transmits on. I typically keep mine on All Channels (1-16), as I haven’t had a need to differentiate….yet. 🙂

      • Hi Brian! Thanks for the quick reply! That’s what mine was set at as well. I also figured out that the MPK88 button functions need to be edited on the unit itself or in the free accompanying Visex software. I needed to change them from “notes” to “controls”. They still aren’t quite right, but I think I’m getting close. Now I just need to figure out how to sync the clock! 🙂 Thanks again!

  91. Hey! Thanks for this, I’m planning to use it at youth! A few questions though.
    We have a Roland Fantom X8 workstation. I believe it has midi capabilities. Could I assign parameters on Mainstage to the keyboard itself and still be able to play with it? Also, after all the set up, how do I get the sound from my MacBook Pro to the DI box that goes to the soundboard? What kind of cable do I use? (The DI box has only one 1/4 inch input).

    • The Fantom would be good to go! Just would need an USB or MIDI -> USB cable to your laptop to get connected. Typically, if you’re using MIDI, you’re choosing to use that over internal sounds on the Roland.

      You’d be able to use any midi-capable knobs, faders, and pads and assign them to functions in MainStage.

      In terms of getting sound to the DI box, you’ll look to use an audio interface (best) with 1/4″ outs or use a 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter from the Mac (not as good).

  92. Brian,
    All of your replies have been very helpful! Quick question:

    Could you describe a number of possibilities that would drive up the needs for inputs and outputs on your audio interface?

    Inputs: For running live keyboards, would most people only need one audio interface input (straight from the computer) and possibly an extra input for non-computer-generated sounds straight from a keyboard? Other reasons why someone would need more?

    Outputs: What are the possibilities here? I’m thinking stereo outs to the front of house, click track to in-ears, backing track?

    Seems like a 2i4 would fit most people, but what might I run into in the future that will make me wish I had a 6i6?


    • I think you’re right that most applications for an interface would be handled by a 2i4.

      For me, I like having the flexibility in studio or at a practice to run multiple inputs in for quick recording (jam sessions, arrangement ideas, quick tracks) and have the option of multiple outputs live (separate channels for click, cue, drum track, pads, etc) or in studio (different reference monitors or headphone mixes).

      Hope that helps!

  93. Hi! Is it possible to have your sustain pedal work for both your keyboard and MPK Mini? I’ve got a mini and www wondering if I needed a separate sustain pedal.

    • It’s possible with a 1/4″ splitter, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Tying the two together removes the flexibility to treat each keyboard as it’s own instrument (see related discussion here). Playing with two sustain pedals really isn’t too bad – it feels a bit awkward at first, but it definitely is the way to go.

  94. Hi Brain
    I am Oreva from Nigeria. I just saw this site and I am so excited reading the comments and your response. I believe I am in safe hands here. I am a keyboard minister in my church. I started my keyboard rig last year but on a windows platform. I have a scarlet 2i2 audio interface, Yamaha KX8 midi controller and a Korg T2. i use the software called sforzando, fruity loops(to layer sounds) and most time kontakt player. I have heard a lot about the mainstage,seen videos about it. I have been a windows person but for sometime now, i notice a lot of limitations in my rig and I am thinking of shifting to the apple world. I will appreciate if I can get useful materials to really learn the mainstage.
    Keep up the good work! Thumbs up!

  95. Do you connect your MPK to the audio interface somehow? If so, how? And do you feel there is latency issues with a MIDI to USB keyboard? I want to decide which interface to get but I just don’t know whether to invest in one with midi capabilities or a cheaper or with none. Any way you can help?

    • Hi Manny…the MPK goes straight via USB to the laptop. The sound the computer generated runs through the interface. I haven’t experienced any latency and even have run a few services without an interface (just laptop, MPK, and MainStage) for simpler setups.

      I opted for the interface with MIDI connections to have more options, as I have an older keyboard and sometimes want to avoid using a USB hub and will connect with the 5-pin MIDI instead.

      • As you can tell I’m new to this. So what I’ve gathered is that regardless of whether the mpk is connected to the interface, the sound will go through it from the computer? I really appreciate your response!

        • The basic signal flow is as follows:
          MIDI Keyboard (either via USB or MIDI 5-pin connection > controls MainStage > generates sound through Mac’s built-in output (headphone jack/speakers) or audio interface (if connected and enabled).

          Hope that helps!

  96. Hi – and thanks for the mainstage tutorial video.
    Im a worship leader and I have a yamaha cp4. And I’m very happy with it. That is all I use. But I have decided to take it up a step. I’ve just ordered a MacBook and a akai mpk mini mk2 midi controller. I havent received it yet, but I’m getting there 😉

    I think I will be able to get started with the software and everything, but guess I’ll strugle a bit with connecting the hardware together.

    What is the minimum requirement (hardware components) to get started. Next week I will have a cp4, akai mini mk2, MacBook and mainstage. Is it anything else i MUST have, And what is the “chain of commands”. What is connected to what. Now i just connect my cp4 with xlr L/R directly to the mixingboard.


    • Hi Holar…

      Congrats on stepping out and trying new things! By using MIDI and software instruments, the signal flow effectively ends at the computer. With the equipment you mentioned, the signal flow would be as follows:

      MPK to USB > controls MainStage > Laptop audio out (via line output/headphone jack). You’ll look to have an 1/8″ to 1/4″ output, ideally then to a DI box to the sound board.

      I would recommend getting an audio interface to have connected to your computer to process the sound, instead of the laptop’s built-in audio. This will give you faster audio processing and send a cleaner signal to the board. I personally use either a Presonus Firepod or Focusrite Scarlett.

      One other advantage of the interface is if you wanted to do a dual keyboard setup, using your MIDI setup as a second layer. You can plug your original keyboard into the audio interface and send both signals simultaneously to the board, with the blend controlled on your end.

      Hope that helps!

  97. I wanted to get your input on this selection of gear. Currently we do not have a keyboard in place that I want to use and want to get everything in one full swoop. I have a MBP with mainstage already that I use with Guitar (my primary). I want to get a full rig for less than $1000 if possible so I think I have most of my bases covered. Can you think of anything I may be missing. I am going to come out of the headphone out I think or I have a Tascam US 1800 and a Zoom interface I may pull into the rig.

  98. Nice Tutorial!!! God Bless You!
    How did you do for add this toolbar i can´t add it on my mainstage 3
    Do you know how i do that?

    • Not sure I understand what you’re asking – are you talking about the toolbar at the top of my layout that contains the MIDI activity monitor and other info?

  99. Hi I have an AKAI MPK 88 controller using main stage 3 but it is 1/2 note off tune. Can you please help me?

    • Hi Jose…

      I’ve seen this happen before when the sample rate in MainStage is different than the sample rate used by your audio interface. I’d doublecheck those settings first.

      Next, make sure there’s no transpose option selected on either your MIDI keyboard or in your patch settings.

  100. hey could you email me @Deangelow66@gmail.com … I have questions about setting up something like this for worship

    • Hi Jamel…

      My apologies for the delay… the answer to that question is a little bit of personal preference. I find Mainstage great for live keyboard sounds/layers, but Abelton is better for tracks/stems/loops.

  101. Hi, do you know if a Yamaha P-255 will work as a midi controller for MainStage without issues? Just looking at a digital piano for home use that has MainStage capabilities too.


    • My apologies for the delayed response – absolutely! Any keyboard that has either a USB-out or a MIDI-out can be used with MainStage. Your choice of keyboard really depends on (1) what you like for the feel of the keys and weight action and (2) what controller features you want it to have (knobs/pads/faders).

  102. Hi Brian,

    I just want to verify how I would connect my rig that I’m working on (I’m new at this). Have a MacBook running MS3, an Akai LPD8, a Yamaha s80 (no USB, only midi in/out), and I got a used 6i6 that’s on its way from guitar center.

    I’m thinking: Connect the s80’s Midi in/out to the 6i6’s midi in/out, and connect the 6i6 to main stage via a USB cable. The LPD8 connects to the computer directly via USB as well. Am I correct in thinking that all the audio from mainstage goes through that USB cable from the 6i6? As in, I do not need any connection from my computer’s 1/8″ jack?

    Thanks for your faithful responses to all these posts!


  103. hello!!

    can i use my old keys in playing songs like endless praise by planetshakers? the keys model is casio ctk-501

    • Hi John… that keyboard does has a 5-pin MIDI out, so as long as you either have an interface with a 5-pin MIDI In or a MIDI-to-USB adapter, you’re in business if you’re looking to get into MainStage.

    • Hi John…if you’re just using the built in sounds of the Casio, I would say no – but if you’re getting into the MIDI world with MainStage (and others), absolutely.

  104. hello, i have had the same trouble the last two years, im playing with different patches, and in sometime the sound is out of tune….my mac is mid 2012, 8 gb ram, i7 2.9 ghz, solid state disk, i use a focusrite scarlett 6i6, and a nanokontrol, and a korg piano like controller, i have installed mainstage full several times, and cleares de midi drivers, … and the trouble is the same…any idea how can i fix it??

    • Hi Jorge…

      There is a tuning preference in MainStage > Preferences > General. Make sure that’s accurate for you.

      The other thing that I’ve seen is if you have a different sample rate in your interface vs what MainStage is producing. I would double-check that as well.

      I hope that helps!

  105. Hi Brian, I have an interface (m-audio profire), MacBook pro, m-audio axiom controller, and a Yamaha motif as well, I saw that you have a very similar set up, can you guide in how to set this up so Id have the functionality of the motif through mainstage as well as the controller? I would really appreciate this

    • Hi Marvin…

      Your basic setup would be: interface into MacBook Pro (check MainStage preferences to send audio in/out of it), connect each keyboard to the computer either straight to USB or through 5-pin midi port on interface (if available).

      From the software side, I personally only use software-based sounds rather than external, which is why I’d use both keyboards as midi instruments. You can account for this in your Layout screen.

      I’ve seen some folks route audio from the motif as a channel strip in MainStage so you can control the volume/FX routing with the software, while others set it up as an External Instrument to use its onboard sounds as an additional instrument.

      Hope that helps!

    • You may be able, to a certain degree…I don’t think you’ll find the performance options or quality of sounds in FL as you do on the MainStage side, but just running basic software instruments and maybe a loop or two? You may be able to pull it off.

    • Hello! I’m glad it was a good resource for you – life has taken over so I unfortunately haven’t finalized Part 2, but it’s on my to-do list and I hope to get it done in the near future. Thanks for reading!

  106. Hi Brian, dragging up an old post here, but I see you still replied to ‘recent’ comments and questions.

    I’m new to keyboard and definitely new to MS and MIDI stuff. I have a Clavinova Digital Piano here at home, which has MIDI I/O connections on the back. So I bought a Scarlett 2i4, which I plan to connect to a (yet to be purchased) Macbook Pro ~2013/2014. Based on YouTube tutorials I’m watching, I plan to add a Korg NanoKontrol2 into the mix to help control MS sounds. This will work out fine…piano to 2i4 via MIDI cables…2i4 to MBP via USB… KNK2 to MBP via USB.

    My issue is that I plan to use much of this setup, except the piano, at my church, where we have a Yamaha keyboard that doesn’t have MIDI I/O ports on it, but only has a USB out option. How do I connect this third USB plug to my MBP?

    I’ve seen basic USB to MIDI I/O cables online (and you even mentioned an EmuX? branded one above). However, most usage cases seem to be for a keyboard with MIDI I/O going to a USB port on a computer. I plan to use it the reverse way…USB from the keyboard, to MIDI I/O on the Scarlett 2i4. Will this work? If not, what is my next option? The MBP only has two USB ports, and there are no cheap ways to go from USB to Thunderbolt (other than the AUD$80 Kanex adapter).

  107. Hi Brian,

    What a great post for someone very new to the world of MIDI!

    I currently have a Yamaha P-255, Akai MPK225, and a MacPro. What would your recommended setup be?

    • Hi Hana…

      My apologies for the late reply! You have some nice starter equipment. The next piece I would say would be to get an audio interface, ideally one that has multiple outputs for future flexibility (the Focusrite Scarlett interfaces are excellent) and MainStage for your software.

      You can then either run the P255 as real audio and use the Akai as a secondary keyboard in MainStage, or go completely MIDI with both keyboards…the interface is what you’d use to send the audio to the soundboard.

  108. Hi Brian, I’m using a Nord Electro 3 and a Focusrite 2i4 into my Mac Book Pro and a Korg Nano Kontrol 2. I was able to map the Nano Kontrol but I can’t seem to get my Nord mapped on MainStage. Would you be able to help? I hope this makes sense. Thanks

  109. Hi Brian,

    First things first, this really helped me out getting started with Mainstage 3 when I bought it a couple of months ago, thanks!

    Now that I know the software a little better and want to experiment new things, I bought an Akai mpk mini (mk2) myself to be able to play samples and drums anytime during a song (at first I wanted an LPD8 but then I learned that for 30$ extra it would come with a small keyboard).
    But I had issues setting it up and sInce you are the only pro of Mainstage I found using the same hardware/software match as mine, I thought you might be the only one who can proprely help with my setup issues.

    So, here comes my case…
    I want my pads and keys (both on the same hardware ”MPK mini”) to play on 2 different channel strips (different software instruments). How do I seperate the pads from the keys?

    I went in the MPK mini Editor software and assigned the pads to midi channel 2 and the keys to midi channel 1. Now, when I open Mainstage, the sofware recognizes the Mpk as ”Keyboard 1”. I also have all the virtual pads and the keyboard keys (layout mode) assigned to their harware equivalent and their midi signal is recieved proprely by Mainstage. So far so good, but when it comes to select what keyboard/midi source I want to use for a channel strip (edit mode), I only have Keyboard 1 as an option (also ”None” and ”Multitimbral”…I’m not sure I understand what it does). When I select it (Keyboard 1), its eighter the drum pads or the keys that plays (depending on what midi channel is selected for Keyboard 1 ”in layout mode”).
    So, I assume that I have to make Mainstage see the MPK as two different keyboards (pads and keys) and then have midi channel 1 for Keyboard 1 and midi channel 2 for a Keyboard 2.
    If that is the case, how do I do that? Or is there a way for Keyboard 1 to receive from both MPK’S midi channels and then select what midi channel I want to receive signal from for each individual channel strips.

    I’ve read every forum I could find on the internet and even had a friend who has a diploma in sound engineering and studio recording to help me out, but I still can’t make my Mpk work the way I want. Is there anyway to send you screenshots if it can help you understand what the issue is?

    • Hi Michel…

      Since writing this post, I’ve upgrade my main keyboard to a Nektar Panorama P6, but I think the concepts should be the same as what you’re looking to do – and I think you’re on the right track. Keeping the channels separate is the easier approach, and you’ll want separate layout controls for each section, as this will allow you to assign the separate channels. You’ll then need to set up different Channels in your Edit screen for what sounds you want to control.

      Screenshot of the Layout screen: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hzp0qh6n8iq5f1s/MainStage_Layout_Channels.png?dl=0

  110. Hey Brian! Could you explain the signal flow of the setup. From each piece of equipment: controller, interface, computer, and sound board. Thanks!

    • Hi Jarrett… here’s the flow: Controller via USB to computer…computer sound output via audio interface (usb)…interface 1/4 inch stereo to DI Boxes to soundboard.

      One less connection possibility would be to use a 5-pin MIDI from controller to interface (if supported).

      Hope that helps!

  111. A worship team newbee here. I have a korg kross 2 keyboard. Looking to set it up for a church plant (in home at first then moving to new location in next month or so). What cables/speakers would you suggest for this environment? With is being a church plant, $ matters but we also don’t want it to sound cheap. 🙂

    • Hi Heidi – best of luck as you get started! If you’re going the MainStage (MIDI) route, you’ll be looking for an audio interface for your computer setup that ideally outputs stereo to Direct boxes to your mixer. If you’re going straight audio from the keyboard, look to get Direct boxes to go to the board. If you need more specific advice for a PA system for the room and next steps, let me know.

  112. Hi Brian,

    I just bought Main Stage 3.
    I’m trying to connect my Yamaha p-95 to my MacBook Pro but am having some trouble. I’m a worship leader and will be using main stage during our worship sets. So far I have the midi to USB cable connected to my Mac and I’ve tried several times to switch around the audio settings but nothing seems to work. Any idea about what might be wrong?

    • Hi Megan – Assuming you’re using Mainstage? The basic gist should be as follows:

      (1) Connect the MIDI cable from the MIDI out of the keyboard and the USB to the laptop and be sure the keyboard is powered on.

      (2) In Mainstage, go to the Layout tab of your Concert. Select the on-screen keyboard. If necessary, add a Keyboard layer by dragging one from the bottom.

      (3) Click the “Assign” button on the left sidebar and press a key on your keyboard for it to map to the on-screen keyboard. Click the Assign button again when done.

      Hope that helps!

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