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Old 21st May 2008 , 03:14 PM
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Question Stem Mixing - Any thoughts?

It seems prevalent in today's popular and dance music environments to utilise the 'stem mixing' technique. Anyone got any thoughts or feedback from mixing with this method?
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Old 7th July 2008 , 12:36 PM
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when i went to college they never called it stem mixing the called it bus mixing thats why i didnt understand what you ment..its like everything in dance music every 6 months they call the same type off music something else..d n b used too be called jungle..hardcore used too be called rave..

heres the explaination off it===http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_mixing_and_mastering

i use it too add compression and ducking too my drums/bass.you can get greater control over how much compression and ducking you want if you just bounce them down too one bus channel.i then put synths on a seperate bus /vocals on another/backing on another/fx on another and so on ..if you stem mix its easier for eric prydz type songs.

at the end of the day theres no real wrong ways of mixing as long as you dont go above 0 db on the master channel and you think it sounds good then thats all what counts.each producer works differently theres no set way off doing anything just do what you feel is right .
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Old 7th July 2008 , 01:18 PM
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Yeah i stem mix most of the stuff ive made just for the eas of having less faders to mess with in cubase or on the mixing desk and easier automation. But i havent used it for ducking the drums and bass so i may have to try that it may well be where im going wrong when making breaks as getting the bass to seem tight whilst still having the kick being focused is where i always seem to go wrong and there seems to be little else i can do with eq to separate the 2.
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Old 24th July 2008 , 10:49 AM
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its useful when your computer is running out of gas and you can bounce sections together to ease cpu overload. It also means I have to commit to stuff earlier which takes away some of the endless tweaking that drives me mad. I'm finding the more limitations I impose the more creative I get.
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Old 24th July 2008 , 11:14 AM
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I find i end up using a combination of stem mixing and utilizing groups as you cannot insert over the VCA channels which are simply used as a group volume control (Neve VR, SSL E Series). - Group Busses enable batch processing i.e. compression/EQ/Verb to nicely gel stuff together and are also good for conjunctive use with a parallel compression as you can smoothly mix the main bus with the parallel.
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Old 1st August 2008 , 11:45 AM
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I don't use stems but I do tend to route most tracks to group channels just make mixing easier within Cubase.
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Old 1st August 2008 , 12:21 PM
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I'm an advocate of grouping channels and then doing most of the level balancing via groups. On a typical band recording session I'd probably have groups for drums, guitars, keys, BVs and main vocal (though bass guitar normally ends up in the drums group so that it gels with the drums via some buss compression). It's fairly similar to stem mixing I guess.
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Old 20th October 2008 , 09:38 AM
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thought id reserruct this as i saw it during a search, not one for stem mixing but if i do group tracks it will be Drums, Bass & vox in that priority. normally its just drums with a saturator>comp>Eq>limiter chain on the SP
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Old 20th October 2008 , 10:03 AM
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When people talk of stems, I allways think of printed submixes rather than mixing with routing to group mixes, then mixing the groups - ie a submix becomes a stem when its bounced (or printed or whatever terminology is in current use) to another track.

In this context, stems are what you typically might use for a making a remix. Stems + final mix(es) are what often gets archived, though these days with digital production and loads of storage, people are more likely and able to keep everything.

As for mastering from stems - you have to eventually mix down somewhere, and your allways free to treat channels, groups etc differently as you see fit, so TBH I dont really see why its been pulled out and labelled as a technique is its own right.

As a mix engineer you want to get the mix right - get the right balance, energy flow vibe/groove, dynamics etc, with mastering being a process for consitent real and perceived level, tuning of the overall frequency balance and dynamics to suit a target media (my definition). These is a grey area in the use of bus compressors and if you use them, there is something to be said for having a compressor on the mix bus all the time as it can change you mix balance choices. If mastering from stems is another way to let an expert work more freely with a bus compressor, then I can see how that makes sense.

For me, if I choose to use a bus compressor, then its because Im after a specific feel and TBH, I can usually get that far more precisely by putting compressor on specific groups and keying them for other parts or groups. For eg - very heavy kick-pumped on a bass sound, light kick-pumped compression on backing pads etc, and someting in between on some arps etc to give them more dynamic change.

However you look at it - I cant see the justifcation is labelling it as a specific technique
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Old 20th October 2008 , 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khazul View Post
When people talk of stems, I allways think of printed submixes rather than mixing with routing to group mixes, then mixing the groups - ie a submix becomes a stem when its bounced (or printed or whatever terminology is in current use) to another track.

In this context, stems are what you typically might use for a making a remix. stems + final mix(es) are what often get archived, though these days with digital production and loads of storage, people are more likely and able to keep everything.
you normally hand the mastering engineer stems right?
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Old 20th October 2008 , 10:50 AM
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No - just the mix down and lots of scribbles

If working with another mix engineer (which is the intent for the album) then I'll get stems back along with whatever mixes were agreed - I tend to count to mixing I do here as being guide mixes rather than final for the time being.
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Old 20th October 2008 , 10:53 AM
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I don't really use stems but can see how useful they would be for transferring a song (in parts) to other producers for remixes.
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Old 20th October 2008 , 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khazul View Post
No - just the mix down and lots of scribbles

If working with another mix engineer (which is the intent for the album) then I'll get stems back along with whatever mixes were agreed - I tend to count to mixing I do here as being guide mixes rather than final for the time being.
switch your PM on always thought the mastering engineer would require stems, oh well
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Old 20th October 2008 , 11:01 AM
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if you ever do music for film you'll need to deliver it as stems to the dubbing mixers.

mastering engineers generally don't want stems. a handful might, but if there are any big problems that require stem-fiddling then you should have fixed those in the mix.
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Old 20th October 2008 , 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sureno View Post
switch your PM on
Its now on
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