How to run Ableton Live and Mainstage on the same computer

Question:

Can you run both Mainstage and Ableton on the same computer? 

Yes! Yes, you can. 

In this article I’m going to show you how to run both Mainstage and Ableton Live on one laptop. It’ll come in handy if you need to have Mainstage produce your keyboard patches and Ableton running your tracks in worship. Plus, rather than using two computers, you can save money and run both apps on one. 

In six easy steps, you’ll have this up and running in no time. 

What you need 

  • One Macbook Pro

    • It doesn’t have to be super spec’d out, but it should be new-ish so it’s updated, stable and doesn’t have any lag time when running the two apps. 

    • My own Macbook is pretty standard with a 2.3 GHZ Intel Core i5 processor and 8 GB of memory.

Mainstage.jpg
  • And finally, Ableton Live

After you set all that up, you want you’ll want to follow the instructions below. 

  1. Send audio from laptop to mixing console and 

  2. Send multiple channels of audio.

  3. Separate sounds

1. Separating sounds

Once you have everything set up, you want to find a way to send the audio from your laptop to a mixing console. 

You also want to send multiple channels of audio because you don’t want it to blend into one channel. Ideally, you’ll have at least 4 outputs so you can separate your click, tracks, and keyboard sounds. 

To accomplish this, I use a Behringer UMC 404 audio interface with four quarter-inch outputs on the back of it.

We’ll send two channels from Mainstage. Then we’ll send two channels from Ableton live: one for click and cues and one for our backing tracks

Behringer.jpg

2. Configure Preferences in Mainstage

Mainstage > Preferences > Audio > Audio Output > Select proper output (whatever the name of your audio interface is)

Mainstage.jpg

Protip: By default, everything is being sent from channels one and two which will map onto outputs one and two on the audio interface. 

3. Configure Preferences in Ableton Live

  1. Preferences > Audio Output Device > Select the same Output Device as you did in Mainstage

Ableton preferences.jpg

2. Output Configurations > Select “3&4” on both Mono and Stereo option. (Remember, Outputs 1&2 are being used by Mainstage.)

3&4.jpg

4. Output Configurations for Ableton

  1. Main Output Configurations for Ableton > Cue Out > Select 3

  2. Master Out > 4

5. Demo

After you set everything up, you can check out this demonstration to make sure the system is working together properly.  

6. Check Activity Monitor

As you can see on the Activity Monitory, Live and Mainstage are taking up a pretty significant amount of CPU. Mainstage is a memory hog and Ableton is much more efficient, but everything still sounds great because there aren’t any clicks, pops or dropouts. To do a realistic test of this, you’ll want to run through a whole worship set. 

I think the key to having this setup running so smoothly is having the audio interface which helps the computer process all the audio.

Activity Monitory.jpg

Recap

If you’re interested in continuing to develop your worship leading skills with great classes like this, I’ve created two great ways to help you become an incredible worship leader. 

Worship Leaders School: A site and series of courses that covers how to lead engaging worship, how to become a great worship pastor and build systems and teams to grow your ministry.

Worship Tech School: This site is brand new, and will teach you how to be a complete ninja with the latest and greatest software for worship. Sign up to join the waitlist. 

Feel free to choose one depending on your role in your ministry. Then choose a time to chat with me and we’ll connect about how these courses can help you.