If you have decided to use our Stem Mastering service, you may be in the predicament of how to actually go about creating the stems. Most up to date digital audio work-stations can do this for you in one way or another. Ableton, Reason, Pro-tools and Logic are definite confirmations. But, if you use alternative software or older versions, not to worry because the rendering can still be achieved. In-fact, in more of a traditional method too.
As Ableton is our prefered work-station of choice, we will guide you in the manner that works best for us with our software. You can pretty much guarantee that other workstation’s techniques will be very similar, but as always, they will also have their own little twists. We will run through the ‘How To,’ and you can also consult our tutorial video below where we physically run through the procedure. Apologies in advance, a british voice on a tutorial video sounds as un-natural as when MTV brought ‘Pimp my Ride’ to the UK, the country with the largest ‘Swagger’ deficit.
- Remove any limiter effects or plug-ins from your production, especially from the Master channel. Check no tracks are peaking and set your Master to between -3db and -6db.
- Highlight the whole area you would like in the finished Master and consolidate. This will leave you with consistent tracks rather than cuttings.
- Group tracks such as ‘Guitars,’ ‘Effects,’ ‘Synths’ for example. In Ableton the shortcut is Ctrl / Cmd + G. Please name the ‘Groups’ with consideration for rendering and us.
- Set the ‘Sends’ of each track in the group to ‘Group.’ This will send the output signal of those tracks to the group.
- Set the ‘Sends’ of each group to ‘Master.’ This will send the output signal of the group to the Master.
- Make sure you are ultimately happy with how your music sounds before you send it to us for Mastering.
- Now you can render. Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + R in Ableton. Make sure you choose to render ‘Tracks’ and not ‘Master’.
- Choose 24 bit 44,100 khz. Wave or Aiff format. Please don’t normalize.
- When your tracks have finished rendering you will probably get some unwanted files. Just select the grouped files and make sure they are labelled. If we receive stems that are orderly we can get straight on with the Mastering. Please include any information you feel may help in any way. For example, if you have removed limiters or effects you could send us the file prior to limiter removal. We can then use that as a reference.
- Pop everything in a file and send to us via WeTransfer. Our information is already filled in in the necessary fields.
Okay, that’s great, but my software doesn’t work like that. What now?
Simple. We will create ‘Pseudo’ groups instead. The procedure is very similar and wont take you much longer.
- Take note of important points made above like output bit depth and labeling your tracks.
- Make a ‘Pseudo’ group. To do this think of a group applicable to your production, eg ’Guitars’ and set the ‘Sends’ of all the guitar tracks to ‘A Return’. You can create more return tracks for the other grouped instruments.
- Create another audio track and name it ‘Grouped Guitars’ for the sake of this example. Send the output signal from the return track to the new ‘Grouped Guitars’ track. Then from the new track send to Master if it hasn’t set automatically.
- Repeat this for each ‘Pseudo’ group of tracks but remember to use a different return track and ‘Pseudo’ group track each time.
All guitar tracks ~> A Return ~> Pseudo guitar group ~>
All synth tracks ~> B Return ~> Pseudo synth group ~> ~> Master
All drum tracks ~> C Return ~> Pseudo drum group ~>
- If you follow the above formula you shouldn’t encounter any problems.
- Once you have Pseudo-grouped all your tracks and sent their outputs to their appropriate destinations, you can now render your tracks. Again make sure you choose ‘All Tracks’ rather than ‘Master,’ other wise you will simply get the whole production in one track .
- If you labelled your Pseudo groups they will be easy to find in your rendered folder. The rendered grouped tracks are the stems we require. Congratulations you can now render stems and technically you have just mixed, kind of
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