Bouncing stems – same or different volume from stereo mix?

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Logika 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #30961 Reply


    think about it…. Re-Mix engineers usually like less compression not more. It makes their job easier and sounds better. So for most feature applications, I’d say no compression is added, but we’re definitely in a transition phase as those coming into the power positions have never heard music that isn’t smashed to ****

    #30963 Reply


    If you want your music smashed, then mix through the stems mixes into your stereo mix as I described above. Put your processing on the stems instead of the 2 mix. You’ll have more flexibility, and the sum total of your stems WILL equal a smashed 2 bus mastered mix with no processing required on the 2 bus.

    for those requiring heavy compression / limiting to their music, this is the best of both worlds. If you’re using hardware to accomplish your sound though, this is pretty difficult to do without a LOT of outboard. There can be no cross pollenization of verbs, delays, etc., and you need enough hardware for multiple stems, so I’d say that in all but the most simple of stem mixes, this is unrealistic. (Hardware processing that is….)

    #30974 Reply

    Art Munson
    #30981 Reply


    In the production music world, stems are meant to give greater control to the editor, etc. You should be able to compile your stems and they should play back just like your original mix. So, FX etc should be printed. Sending stems dry or with no automation defeats the purpose of this. What of your snare is compressed with a short reverb but your kick is dry? They are grouped together so
    If someone wants to start with a fresh mix and add compression and reverb, they’d be affecting/effecting (whatever) the entire kit, right? Not the goal. If you want to print individual tracks
    without FX/auto then you are providing a multi track, not stems. You can do that too for your own backup or if someone truly wants to do a fresh mix. One thing we do is take stems with FX etc but unmastered so in case we want to get a cleaner, punchier, etc remastering that can be done. The end goal is to make things as easy as possible for your client.

    #30982 Reply


    Apologies for misspellings above. Typing on my phone.

    Re: smashing/bricking Your mix I would highly advise not to. Get it loud but keep it dynamic. Most editors can see the wave form and if it’s bricked may actually see it as a dated track because smashing/bricking was the thing to do years ago. Give them every reason to use your music. Cheers!

    #31764 Reply


    If the music is for a library which later may or may not need stems, then how important is it that the stems combined exactly equal what was given to them as the stereo master?

    Point being that generally the full stereo mix may have been “pseudo-mastered” (a.k.a home mastering with plugins on the 2-bus). If so, then the stems will not equal the full mix.

    So do you master the full mix, with the stems and/or alts not equalling the mix? Or, do you instead put plugins (i.e. saturation, tape, compressor, whatever) on each stem bus—with nothing on the 2 bus—so that the “mastering” is done via the stem bus processing? (that way the stems would equal the mix). I don’t mean smashed mixes…I’m talking about maintaining as much of a dynamic mix as possible with appropriate and expected loudness.

    Basically I’m asking what is the best way to go.

    And on this topic, do you incorporate any tape / saturation plugins, without issue? I’ve heard that it can cause problems in broadcast use (causing harmonics that may alias), but don’t have a definitive answer on that.

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