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MainStage comes with a half bajillion instrument plugins..

basically... the math is there.

Anyways, you tend to see a couple the most often. ES2 for synths and EXS24 for samples.

But I just want to take a second to suggest you not overlook this more diminutive plugin..

I'm talking about Retro Synth.


This plugin has a cool look and it drips a pretty decent amount of mojo. You just have to be willing to invest some time in getting comfortable with it.

Retro Synth offers four different flavors/styles of synthesis: analog, sync, table, and FM.

I tend to hang out in analog and table modes the most.

This plugin offers simpler control options and fewer routing options than ES2, but I like the modeling done on the filters and the wave shapes. It can definitely get into Juno territory in "analog" mode and you can get some cool 80's bell leads and the like in "table" mode.

I use Retro Synth quite a bit because it seems to take less time to dial in useful sounds.

A really great place to start- try exploring the factory presets within the plugin and note how diverse the four modes are. Find some presets that inspire you then start to make tweaks and save presets of your own based off those tweaks.

Quick tip: Retrosynth lacks a full modulation matrix, but there are some midi CC settings you can adjust/map in the "Settings" page you can access by clicking the Settings in the bottom right corner of the plugin.

Do you use RetroSynth or nah? Would love to hear your feedback in the comments!


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abi navarro
abi navarro 21/07/2022


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Crossfades in MainStage


Designing A Worship Pad from Scratch in MainStage 3- EXS24

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Sunday Keys 

The ready to use template designed to be the foundation of your worship  keys rig

Sunday Keys is the all in one, 'done for you' solution for worship keys players who want to make an impact on their worship team with amazing worship sounds, intuitive visuals, and powerful workflows and features for preparation and performance. 

Discover Sunday Keys

For MainStage

Discover Sunday Keys

For Ableton Live