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Some basic 'newbie' questions on using Unify in a real time performance setting

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I was debating whether or not to post this ‘newbie’ question in the “Live Performance with Unify” forum but I figured this request for advice is too basic to post there. With that caveat, I’m looking for some basic suggestions/advice on using Unify in conjunction with a live performance management program like MainStage, Gig Performer, Camelot or Cantabile in a home studio.  This is strictly for non-professional use (i.e. personal enjoyment).


My current gear:

  • A Korg M3 (with the built-in Radias board)
  • A Korg PA5X (Korg's flagship arranger keyboard)
  • A late model (2021) M1 MacBook Pro  
  • A Korg NanoKontrol 2

My objective: to be able to make patch and parameter changes in real time for all three devices while minimizing or avoiding entirely  
the need to use the Mac’s mouse and keyboard.  

My intended typical use case (90%+ of the time):

  • Use a real time performance hosting program like MainStage or Gig Performer to send program changes to the two hardware synths and to call up specific Unify patches
  • Use Unify to host pretty much all plug-ins vis a vis loading and controlling plug-ins directly
  • Use a MIDI controller like the NanoKontrol2 as a basic mixer - to control volume, pan, solo/muting - for the two Korg synths as well as one or more Unify instances.
  • Possibly acquire another MIDI controller like the MIDI Fighter Twister to make real-time parameter changes to Unify's patches using rotary encoders.  I considered using either of the Korg synths as a MIDI controller but they both have limitations - the PA5X currently cannot send PC or CC messages to external devices, and neither device has any rotary encoders


Given the above,  I’d appreciate any suggestions/advice on the following:

  • Which real time performance management program would you recommend I acquire, where the emphasis is on ease of learning and ease of use?
    While I recognize that MainStage is by far the least expensive option and should easily be able to handle the basic use case above,  my research on the Web has led me to believe that a program like Gig Performer or Camelot might have an easier-to-learn user interface.  Also, I have read where MainStage tends to be a resource hog, though I would think using Unify as the intermediary to handle all VSTs would obviate a lot of that risk?  In any event, I’d welcome any insights and recommendations from users experienced with these programs.
  • As I mentioned,  my thought is that the NanoKontrol2 would be well suited to serve as a simple digital mixer for the three devices.
    But it lacks endless rotary encoders. Would it make sense to pair the NanoKontrol2 with a device like the MIDI Fighter Twister, where the latter
    would be dedicated to handling parameter changes in Unify patches (via Unify’s Macro knobs) and underlying plug-ins?
  • When it comes to mapping Unify Macro knobs and associated real-time parameter controls,  I assume I would use Unify’s editing/mapping functions and not the parameter-mapping functions in the real-time performance hosting program (e.g. MainStage)?


Any advice on the above would be greatly appreciated!

This topic was modified 2 months ago by sjmarano

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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 4410


I have moved your post to the Unify for Live Performance section of the Forum. You are far more likely to get the kind of answers you seek there.

I will leave it to others to comment based on their experience with specific hardware and software, but I can point out a few basics:

  1. As far as I know, MainStage is only a "resource hog" because it essentially loads all plug-ins required for an entire set at once. Deskew makes a big deal of Gig Performer's more optimized plug-in loading, and I'm aware that several of their customers use it together with Unify.
  2. The MIDI Fighter Twister looks like an excellent piece of gear, but Unify is not currently able to tell it where its macro-knobs are positioned, so the sound will probably change suddenly when you start turning one of its knobs, just as it would with a cheaper controller like the nanoKontrol2.
  3. Unify's macro-controls are the only way to route real-time inputs to individual plug-in parameters. When you load Unify as a plug-in inside a host like MainStage, Gig Performer, or any DAW, that host will only be able to see and automate Unify's own parameters, which are its macros.

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Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 6
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Thanks very much, both for moving this to a better location and for your insight.