This article will help you export and organize your stems for stem mastering. It will provide you a quick walkthrough for making, exporting, and organizing your stems into folders.
SECTION 1. How to export your stems from your workstation / console :
- Use your digital audio workstation or your mixer. You don't need any additional equipment.
- Bounce or record your final mix as you would usually.
- Your file must be at the same resolution and sample rate than your source file. For instance, you have create a session in 24 Bits and 44k, you keep rolling with the exact same for export.
- The output level should be approx. 3dbFS (check the link at the bottom of the page about dbFS) on your stereo peakmeter.
- Without changing levels, plugins, automation, or else, bounce each stem with all effects and reverbs linked.
- The resulting stereo file must have the same starting point.
- If you work with an analog console, it will be necessary to create an audio tick on each track ( a short percussive sound for instance ). This will allow to perfectly synchronize each track, with the same starting point, and will ease track implementation.
SECTION 2. How to name and organize your stems in your folder.
You'll find below an example of stem organization and naming of stem :
1. Organizing your stems
- stem - kick
- stem - drums ( the rest of the beat without cymbals )
- stem - bass
- stem - synths
- stem - guitar, keyboards, or second synthe
- stem - a cappella ( all voices : lead, backing vocals, ambiance, voice over )
- stem - FX, white noise, cymbals, synthe FX, drums FX, or others
- full mix ( reference for mastering )
- After making your stems, open a new session in your DAW ( Digital Audio Workstation ), and import your stems.
- Listen the session to assure yourself it sounds the same and all tracks are included. Don't skip this step, it is the only way to make sure there was no exporting error. Proceed to export.
2. Name your files and folder(s).
- Name your folder like this : artist_song
- Then, name your files such as : fullmix_song.wav or drums_song.aiff
- Please do not use ".", "•", or any special characters in your files or folder name.
Important : About .zip and .rar. The pupose of sending your folder in .zip format is only to allow the upload of your entire folder as one single file. Don't smash your files, it will damage them and we will not be able to revert damage, nor to use them.
Useful links :
- dbFS on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBFS