Worship Essentials, from That Worship Sound (Abel Mendoza) is a set of keyboard patches that can be used in Logic and MainStage for use in worship sets. I've been using this for a couple of years now and it's an unbelievably good tool. In fact if you've got a set of MIDI keys and a Mac, getting MainStage and Worship Essentials is as invaluable as an iPad is with onSong!
Worship Essentials has come a long way since it was originally launched and has improved markedly and excellently! See some of the early YouTube videos (which are still very useful for learning MainStage) on Abel Mendoza's channel.
I wrote a review on That Worship Sound saying that this is good for amateur use (people like me!) through to more professional users aiming to nail some of the worship sounds we find in a number of tracks by people like Bethel, Hillsong and Elevation Worship etc.
Within the patches are usually up to 7 different sounds which of course can be assigned to your MIDI keyboard faders. As usual, you use the 'Layout' tab within MainStage to assign your MIDI keys to the concert in MainStage.
Note that I have also added a transpose function before now to one of the concerts, with a +1, -1 and 0 function, so that I can easily transpose (and then restore the keys to the correct pitch, using the 0 function). This is fairly easy to do within the Layout mode. There is also a YouTube tutorial showing how to do this - https://youtu.be/Oxc1sEendfM
This is not shown on the image below as I'd set this up in an older, now disused concert I'd developed. I did find that the transpose function in MainStage when assigned to buttons was occasionally a bit flakey - nothing to do with Worship Essentials - but a MainStage issue.
In terms of sounds, one of the huge strengths is the 'drone' function. A drone pad is a synth pad sound that sits underneath your mix or worship set and 'pads' it out a bit and gives it more character and dimension. I use pads constantly in worship when playing alone or with a couple of others, even if we have a keyboard player.
The pads in Worship Essentials (from now on 'WE') are absolutely outstanding, especially in v2.1 of the concert. They are smooth, silky and have some controls within the drone tools centre on screen. These can add intervals and octaves, on top of the existing pad sound. It is beautiful and very easy to control. I've assigned the pads to my 'drum pads' on my Novation Impulse MIDI keyboard, which I've then labelled with masking tape and pen, showing the keys. I've used only the most common keys!
I've also assigned the MIDI keys to scroll within the patches.
As you'll see, I've also labelled many of the assignable functions within WE - namely the commonly used ones rather than all of them. You could easily assign them on a MIDI keyboard using the extra banks
Back to Worship Essentials, I've found that there are a good number of useful sounds 'out of the box' so to speak. Of course you can assign new sounds over on the channel strips, as I have done for some of the tracks we use with 'stabs' that needed to be more aggressive. But I'd go as far as to say you don't really need to change any of the sounds within WE, they are that good.
You do have some options for each sound as you'll see on the screenshot above, showing the Perform page for the patch 'Massive Side Chain'. You can see that, for example, the Piano has options for 'octave', 'bright' and 'soft pedal' where the bass (as another example) has options for 'verb', 'delay 2' and 'arp' (short for arpeggiator).
These additions to each sound change, so for example in the screenshot below (showing the Piano and Delays patch), the individual settings for Pad contains options for 'Drone', Air' and 'Mod', slightly different than the options within the Massive Side Chain patch.
The patch 'That Worship Sound' has an arpeggiation on the quarter note that reminds me of 'Chariots of Fire' - I can't help but play that every time I hear it!
What all this does mean is that unique sounds can be found and created even within each of the individual instruments within a Concert. Once you go up to the 'Concert' level there are also effects that can be applied globally - or more accurately to the patches that are set up to use these settings.
To explain more, at the top of the screen, you'll see (top left) the Piano Verb, Pad Vern and Shimmer. At the top left you'll see things like the Delays. If these are switched on (as the Verbs and Shimmer are in the screenshot above) then you can control the amount of reverb on the pads and piano - plus the amount of shimmer on the pads.
Within each patch, the sounds differ. So when you read options for 'synth', these synths are not all the same. Some patches contain the 'bass' setting, another may contain and 'organ' setting but obviously not all patches are the same!!
Tap Tempo works very well and is incredibly useful especially if playing with a delay or arpeggiation. Other slight tweaks I've made have been to the split keyboard, giving some patches the bass a bit higher up the scale etc but essentially very few changes have been made by myself - which is probably for the best!!
Responsiveness and speed have never been an issue playing live. I've never had an issue playing live either in terms of the Concert being sluggish or crashing. This is with a MacBook Pro which is over 3 years old.
The patches are also available for use within Logic when you download WE. There are also (as of version 2), two separate concerts - one which remembers global settings and another which doesn't. Check the website for more info.
I cannot recommend WE highly enough. It's been incredible in worship when I've just used the pads, or dropped in on ministry times where I've moved to keys away from my usual electric guitar. The reverbs and shimmer give the pads an epic sound when playing live and the ability to slide piano and other sounds in and out have been effortless - by the software - maybe not by the piano player, ha!
WE is very well thought out, has already had some amazing upgrades and does what is says on the tin - essential for worship.