I'm looking to purchase either mainstage or ableton, not sure which one is the better choice. I want to be able to run patches with my worship songs. I just purchased an Acer laptop, not knowing that mainstage only works with Apple Mac laptops. Is that true that mainstage only works with Apple Mac computers and if so, where can I get an inexperience Mac laptop? I know mainstage cost less then ableton. How easy is ableton then mainstage to operate? I'm looking for something simple and basic to operate. Along with a good laptop, what else will I need? Will I need a special usb keyboard? What about a Nanokontro? Will I need a DI box? Basically what would it cost to get up and running with either mainstage or ableton? What would you recommend? And are there courses out there to help learn the systems? I'm starting out by myself and need a little help.
I can't comment on Mainstage vs Ableton directly although, if you are thinking about cost, Ableton for your existing PC will be a lot cheaper than buying a Mac in order to use Mainstage. Even secondhand, working Mac laptops are on the spendy side.
I do know Ableton reasonably well though, although I've not (yet) used it at church. If you're playing with other people, everyone has to be able to keep in sync with any loops - even solo, you've got to be sure the congregation will follow you. An inexpensive way in might be to buy a controller, like the Akai APC Key 25 (UK link - I'm sure you can find similar on US sites) that comes bundled with suitable software. On the APC, you get Ableton Live Lite edition - it has limitations but would let you get started and give you an ideal tool for controlling the software in a live setting. You'd take the sound out from your laptop - in a typical church setting you probably want to run that through a DI box to get the signal to the mixing desk but that's about sound from your laptop and not specifically about the software.
What has prompted you to think this is a route worth pursuing? I'm interested because it sounds like you've got some ideas about a solution but I wonder what your starting point is?