I'm trying to use Mainstage to create a MIDI-based band at the school that I teach at. I've connected 3 keyboards and assigned them to different patches. Two of the keyboards are the exact same brand and type (M-Audio Keyrig 49). The issue that I'm having is that the keyboards that are the same cannot be mapped to different patches; they play both of them. I tried changing the MIDI channel and that didn't solve anything. Any ideas how I can distinguish between two M-Audio keyboards?

  • Yeah, this took me forever to figure out and Apple's documentation is terrible. I have to get home before I can look at what I did and answer your question, but I remember going to the main screen and adding additional keyboards to the view. That probably doesn't make sense but I'll be able to help you out in about 7 hours. – Todd Wilcox Nov 29 '17 at 17:09
  • Thanks for the response. I added keyboards to the setup screen already. I have three there. – 02fentym Nov 29 '17 at 17:10
  • There's some way to control which physical keyboards are connected to which virtual keyboards which are connected to which virtual instrument. I remember dragging some bar across for which notes go to which instrument and I just dragged the bars all way across to make it control all or none of the instrument. – Todd Wilcox Nov 29 '17 at 17:11
  • Ok. Please let me know (when you get home) what the trick is. Thanks!! – 02fentym Nov 29 '17 at 17:31
  • Finally got my keyboards plugged in and failed to figure it out and had to web search on it again. Now next time I forget I know I can just come here! Excellent question! Keep asking MainStage questions and we'll both be experts soon! :-) – Todd Wilcox Nov 30 '17 at 1:52

It seems so easy once you know how to do it. I actually couldn't figure it out and had to use my web search skills. A guy named Eric Barfield has a tutorial here:


What you've already done is gone to the Layout tab, added on-screen keyboards, clicked on them and then selected a separate MIDI port for each one of them.

You would think the next step would be to map an instrument to a keyboard, but no, you go back to Edit view and map instruments to MIDI ports in the channel inspector for the instrument:

Click the instrument channel strip. Under midi input, select keyboard: YOUR KEYBOARD NAME. Do the same with the other keyboard.

Instrument Channel Strip Inspector

If you have three physical keyboards and three different instruments, then you can just select a different MIDI port for each instrument and then each keyboard controls a single instrument.

If you want to play more than one instrument with a single physical keyboard, then first make sure you have an on-screen keyboard mapped to the MIDI port. Then go to two or more instruments and set them both or all to the same MIDI port. Now when you play that keyboard, it will play all of the instruments that have that MIDI port selected. Then you can go to Layer Editor, which is on the Edit screen, click a track and the Layer Editor for the keyboard that the track is mapped to will be an option at the bottom. In the layer editor you can choose key ranges for each instrument by clicking and dragging.

Whew. Probably a little more complicated than it has to be, but that's Apple Professional Creative software for you.

  • I’m not sure what was happening with our gear yesterday. I just started from scratch, connected the keyboards one and a time and everything worked properly, which is weird. The tutorial you posted up top was a tutorial I followed when I first started using Mainstage. Thanks for the response. – 02fentym Nov 30 '17 at 14:27

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