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  #1  
Old 01-20-2015, 10:41 AM
Drew Mazurek's Avatar
Drew Mazurek Drew Mazurek is offline
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Default Stems vs Multitracks

Added link: https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/ste...ifference.html

This came up (yet) again in my dealings with clients so I thought I'd create a thread about it.

I am increasingly hearing people (musicians and "engineers") using the word Stem to refer to files when what they really mean is Multitrack.

So, to be clear, in the music world: (post guys, even though we stole the term from you, make your own thread in the Post section! )

Stem: is a file containing a submix of (usually) "like" elements such as 12 individual drum tracks being sub mixed down to a stereo file, with all the associated processing to make them sound more or less complete. Maybe it's drums and percussion, or even so far as drums and bass being called rhythm section stem. Or all guitar tracks for a song being sub mixed together into a stereo file labeled Gtr Stem. You get the idea.

Multitrack: These are the original tracks from the recording session and they usually have one "element" per track. i.e. Kick In, Kick Out, SnTop, SnBot, Hat, Ride, Bass DI, Bass Mic, Gtr-57, Lead Gtr-R121, etc. Of course it is possible that if multiple mics were bussed to one track that there could be more than one element on a track of a multitrack. I do this with gtrs sometimes... multiple mics bussed to a track to create 1 sound. This is still a multitrack because it was done "live" during the recording session.

Got it?

Please don't tell me your friend told you what stems were or you saw them listed this way on a website... They're wrong. That includes the files referenced here
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:08 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

hear hear
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:35 PM
elicious elicious is offline
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

i usually just use the term "submixes"
now when talking to bands;
they seem to get that.

similar to the confusion
that can arise from saying bring
24 bit "uncompressed" files...
e
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

+1 yes!! A mix engineer we're using asked for stems when he meant 'multitrack' drove me crazy!
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

Just like every daw in the world from cubase to samplitude being called "pro tools"
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:15 PM
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Drew Mazurek Drew Mazurek is offline
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

Quote:
Originally Posted by upscaps View Post
Just like every daw in the world from cubase to samplitude being called "pro tools"
Not really the same thing.

What you're saying is akin to all facial tissue being called Kleenex™ Pro Tools is the kleenex of DAWs!!

With stems/multitracks, people are simply using the WRONG term.
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:00 PM
Bill Denton Bill Denton is offline
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

But words like "stem" sound so professional!

They make you sound like a "real" engineer...unless you're referring to multi-tracks...in which case using "stems" makes you sound like a total poser...or just a total idiot!

I had a "rather spirited discussion" on another board regarding the terms "wet" and "dry"...

Back when I was learning about this stuff, "dry" meant just the raw track, while "wet" referred to the track plus any effects that will be used.

But...

It turns out that, when referring to sampled drums, "wet" means the room mikes are being used in the mix, while "dry" means the room mikes are not being used. The presence or absence of effects does not enter into the equation.

Oh, and that assumes the term "wet" is not being used to describe some nebulous stylistic concept. Or, as one of the rocket surgeons on that thread said, "the drums sound like they're wet". Huh?

I have seen "Blue Man Group" several times, ergo, I have heard "drums that sound like they're wet"...as part of their act they used drums that had the space between the batter head and the top of the rim filled with a "paint-like" substance...it makes a great visual effect, but sonically...it makes a great visual effect, which is why the drumset player doubles the licks.

There are times I am glad I'm old, and won't be around much longer...
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

If they are asking for stems, just give them stems. Let them figure out on their own that they don't know what they are talking about.
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:02 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

Quote:
With stems/multitracks, people are simply using the WRONG term.
and being arrogant about it
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  #10  
Old 01-20-2015, 06:26 PM
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Drew Mazurek Drew Mazurek is offline
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Default Re: Stems vs Multitracks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig F View Post
and being arrogant about it
Tell me about it!!!

Been a few times I've tried to politely correct people and I get a bunch of grief.
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