The on-trend technique of ‘stem mastering’ merely means bouncing stems for mastering quite than a stereo combine in a single file.
The power to independently tweak every most important factor of the combo – drums in a single stem, vocals in one other, and so forth – offers the mastering engineer (be it you or a employed gun) much more management over the sound of the ultimate grasp than a standard stereo premaster ever might.
It is a method that is effectively value making an attempt, so listed below are half a dozen tricks to get your began.
1. Be ready
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2. Do not be a prima donna
As a rule, artistic enter decreases as a observe goes by way of the varied phases: the artist and/or producer present the creative imaginative and prescient, the blending engineer sweetens and sculpts the combo’s sonics, and the mastering engineer optimises it for last output. Observe – stem mastering isn’t mixing, so respect the artist’s imaginative and prescient!
3. Know your limits
When dialling in grasp bus limiting, overly spiky or dynamic components can journey acquire discount too early, leading to less-than-ideal loudness ranges. When stem mastering, merely head to the offending stem and apply limiting earlier within the chain. A number of phases of refined limiting give a extra managed total sound.
4. Carry that weight
If a specific stem is getting misplaced within the total tune, you’ll be able to simply flip it up. If it’s not fairly ‘dense’ sufficient, strive mixing in some clear RMS weight with parallel compression.
5. Simple housekeeping
Simply as you’ll with a single-file premaster, it’s a good suggestion to run by way of a number of fundamental routines to verify your stems are delivered to the engineer accurately. First, make sure that all of your stems are of equivalent size, and that every one ‘lead-in’ components and reverb tails aren’t lopped off, in order that all of them line up completely when the mastering engineer drops your audio recordsdata into their mission. To retain most decision and headroom, export them out in 24- or 32-bit, on the identical pattern charge as your combine mission. Additionally, bounce out the grasp channel together with the person stems.
Earlier than you ship, open a contemporary session in your DAW and import the stems. Pay attention and examine the stem combine to that grasp export, making certain that all the things sounds equivalent and looking for any bizarre exporting errors.
6. Grasp that grasp
As with every mastering course of, when stem mastering, attempt to use as little processing as doable. 0.5-2dB of EQ increase or acquire discount ought to do. If it’s worthwhile to go additional, it in all probability means the combo wants addressing at supply.