Once you have downloaded and installed the software, you will need to go to to the Mainstage file menu at the very top of the screen where you will select Download Additional Content.  Most of the content is NOT downloaded when you initially install the program so this step is necessary to ensure you have all of the instruments. Clear space on your hard drive as you will need approximately 44 GB of space to download all of the content.

Premade & Custom Keyboard Programming for all your musicals

The last major connection to make is to connect your audio interface to your monitoring system. Some people will use headphones, while others will have an actual keyboard amp to monitor themselves. If you have headphones or an in-ear monitoring system, just connect that to the headphone jack of the audio interface and you are set. If you have an actual monitor, connect one end of your audio instrument cable to either the MONITOR 1 output or the OUTPUT L/MONO of your interface, depending on how it is labeled, and the instrument/microphone input of your speaker or amp. Assuming you made all of the correct hardware connections and have the correct drivers installed for the various pieces of equipment you have (and have the power connected and volume sliders level) you are ready to make some music.

3. CONNECT YOUR MAC TO YOUR AUDIO INTERFACE (so they can talk to each other too)

Your MIDI keyboard will have one of two connections (or both).  The first is a 5 pin MIDI connector (MIDI IN) and the other option is a USB  B  port.  The option you choose will depend on your audio interface (see step 3).  If you have the USB connector on your keyboard, its best to use that as it will only require a single cable to transmit MIDI IN and MIDI OUT.  You would then use a standard USB printer cable to connect your computer to your keyboard. It is very important that you have the software drivers downloaded and installed for your particular brand of keyboard. Here are some links to the most popular keyboard brands.







If you do not have USB-MIDI on your keyboard, you will then either need a 5 pin to 5 pin MIDI cable or a 5 pin MIDI to USB cable depending on your audio interface. If your audio interface has a MIDI IN port, then you should use that connection by connecting one end of the cable to your keyboards MIDI OUT port and the other into the MIDI IN port of your audio interface.  If your audio interface does not support MIDI and has no MIDI ports, you will need to purchase and use a MIDI-USB cable. In which case you would connect the USB end to your computer and the MIDI IN/OUT ends to your keyboard. This is my least favorite way to connect but it does work. Again, be sure to have the correct drivers installed for your audio interface. There are way too many brands to list and link to.

1. Download Mainstage 3 from the Apple App Store on your Mac

2. CONNECT YOUR MAC TO YOUR KEYBOARD (so they can talk to each other)


Once you have chosen an appropriate audio interface for your rig, you will need to connect it to your computer. Most audio interfaces connect via USB with a standard USB printer cable just like USB equipped keyboards. There are some interfaces that still connect using Firewire and high end interfaces are starting to come to market that connect using Thunderbolt. This is an easy connection to make to your computer no matter which interface you have. It is important to download and install the appropriate driver for your model of interface.

If you have an interface that supports MIDI and has a MIDI IN port AND your keyboard does not have a USB-MIDI connection, you will connect your keyboard to your audio interface and the interface will then send the MIDI signals to your computer for you (how nice of it). It is important that you put one end of the MIDI cable to the MIDI IN port of your interface and the other end into the MIDI OUT port of your keyboard. If you plan on using any of the internal sounds of your keyboard with your Mainstage concert, you will need an additional MIDI cable going from the MIDI OUT of your interface to the MIDI IN of your keyboard. If you plan on using Mainstage sounds exclusively, you do not need to make this last connection.


  • Mac Computer (Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Mac Mini)
  • Apple Mainstage 3
  • MIDI Keyboard Controller
  • Audio Interface (USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt)
  • Monitor (Headphones, Keyboard Amp, Wedge Speaker)
  • MIDI Cable (5 pin MIDI to 5 pin MIDI or USB to MIDI)
  • Audio Cable (1/4" to 1/4" male to male)
  • OPTIONAL (sustain pedal, patch change pedal, expression pedal)