Automating MainStage and Ableton Song Specific Patches

A quick start guide on how to use Song Specific Patch Cues to automate your MainStage or Ableton Song Specific Patches with Playback.

Trevor avatar
Written by Trevor
Updated over a week ago

A Song Specific Patch's song-section-changes can be automated using the Playback and our Song Specific Patch Cues.

Before getting started, make sure you have:

  • The Song Specific Patch and the StageReady template installed from

  • Cloud Pro Plus or Premium (to unlock the pre-made MIDI Cues)

  • Any version of Playback (Intro, Pro, or Premium)

    • Note: if wanting to make edits to the cues in Playback, you’ll need Playback Pro or Playback Premium.

Adding Song Specific Patch Cues

Loading the Song Specific patch cues can be done on the website. First find the song in your library that you have the Song Specific Patch for. Then head to the “MIDI” tab for the song in your library, and select the midi bus you want to import the cues to (Suggested bus: Patches 1). Then choose “Import Production Cues,” select “Song Specific Patch Cues,” and your cues are now ready to load into Playback!

Setting up the MIDI Connection

Playback and MainStage on separate devices.

If you have Playback and MainStage on separate devices, follow the instructions below to connect the two devices together using MacOS’s network session.

  1. Open the app Audio MIDI Setup on the MainStage Mac.

  2. With the Audio MIDI Setup app open, click cmd + 2, or “Window” > Show MIDI Studio

  3. Follow these steps to create a network session (following the screenshot below):

    1. Step 1: Click the “Configure Network Driver” globe toward the top-right of the window.

    2. Step 2: In the MIDI Network Setup window, click the “+” button to add a session in “My Sessions.”
      (Optional: re-name the session to something easily recognizable).

    3. Step 3: Highlight the session in the “My Sessions” window you’ve just created and click the check box to confirm that the network session is enabled.

    4. Step 4 and 5: Next, we’ll need to connect the devices from the Directory by highlighting the device, and selecting “Connect.”
      Note: If you do not see your device listed, make sure it’s connected to the same internet network, or is hard wired together with an ethernet cable.

  4. Once connected, your device should be listed in the “Participants.”

  5. You’re ready to setup Playback now! Head down to Setting up Playback to finish getting everything setup.

PC Users: If running Ableton on a PC, follow the below steps but in place of AUDIO MIDI SETUP, install and use RTP MIDI Driver. (Download Link)

Playback and MainStage on the same device

When using both on the same computer, you’ll need to use the IAC Driver within MacOS’ Audio MIDI Setup app in stead of a network session.

  1. Open the app Audio MIDI Setup on the MainStage Mac.

  2. With the Audio MIDI Setup app open, click (cmd + 2), or “Window” > Show MIDI Studio

  3. Locate the IAC Driver within the MIDI Studio Window and double-click on it to open it up.
    Tip: You can toggle to List view in MIDI Studio at the very top-right corner of the MIDI Studio window.

  4. Next, follow the below steps to confirm the IAC Driver is enabled.

    1. Enable to the device by checking the checkbox labelled “Device is online."

    2. Click the plus button below the ports to add a port if there’s not already a port listed.

    3. Optional but recommended: Rename the port from ‘Bus 1’ to something more relevant like “MainStage Automation."

    4. Click “Apply” to confirm the changes to the IAC driver.

  5. You device is ready to communicate between apps! Next, follow the below steps to Setup Playback to send MIDI.

Setting up Playback

Now all we need to do is load in our MIDI cues, and route Playback to the correct MIDI output to control MainStage!

Loading in MIDI Cues

This step is assuming you’ve already imported the Song Specific Patch cues from the website following the above steps.

  1. First, make sure your Patches 1 MIDI bus (Or whichever MIDI bus you imported the cues to earlier) is enabled in Playback. To do this, simply head to Settings > MIDI Tab > Toggle on the MIDI bus using the toggle on the far-right.

  2. Then close the settings and head to the song’s edit menu by clicking EDIT and then the three dots on the song tile.
    Scroll to the bottom of the menu and select “Refresh MIDI Cues” to load in the cues previously imported from the website and click “Done” to complete.

  3. The MIDI cues should now show up as triangles below the song section waveforms in Playback! Next, let’s route the MIDI bus and we’ll be all set!

Routing MIDI out of Playback

The final step is confirming your MIDI bus is routed in Playback. Head back to settings > “MIDI” tab, and find the MIDI bus you’re needing to route, and select “Select a port."

Your port will be dependent on if you’re routing to another device, or to the same device.

  1. Routing to another device: simply choose the “Network Session” option in Playback.

  2. Routing to the same device using the IAC driver, find the driver and bus name you setup previously under “Hardware ports."

And now you’re all set! Confirm by playing through the song and watching MIDI control your Song Specific Patch's Song Sections in real time!

If you’re having further trouble after setup or following below troubleshooting, reach out to our team using our messenger on the bottom right of this page and our team is more than happy to help! ↘️

MainStage doesn’t seem to be receiving any MIDI after I’ve set everything up.
If MainStage isn’t being controlled by the MIDI after setup, confirm if MIDI messages are showing up in MainStage at the top-center of the screen. If they are displaying there, make sure your ModWheel is set to listen to ALL CHANNELS in MainStage, so it can be controlled by all MIDI channels coming into the MainStage device.

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