What Are Audio Stems In Audio Production?

What Are Audio Stems In Audio Production?

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Music "audio stems" are just a way of organizing multiple mix elements grouped together as one unit according to specific sound categories.

You can create stems in your DAW (digital audio workstation) by using group channels (also known as either aux channels, bus or buss mixer channels etc).

For example, you can route 'ALL' drum sounds in your music project to a designated group. Hence, in this scenario, you'd have created your "Drum Stems", which you can, later on, apply audio effects to, and all that sort of stuff.

From there you rinse and repeat the same process until you are done.


Examples Of Audio Stems

The following is a list of common examples of audio stems:
  1. Drums (or ALL DRUMS)
  2. Synthesizers (or ALL SYNTHS)
  3. Bass (ALL BASS or "LOW-END")
  4. Vocals (or ALL VOX)
  5. Guitars (or ALL GTRS)
  6. Keyboards (or ALL KEYS)
  7. Sound Effects (or ALL SFX)
Some music producers and sound engineers may alternatively have their audio stems arranged this way:
  1. All Music (this will often include all lead instruments and bass)
  2. All Vox (this will often include all vocals but sometimes may exclude background vocals and harmonies)
  3. All Drums (this is self-explanatory -- duh!)
  4. All Misc (this will often include everything else that usually serves a small purpose e.g. one-shot effects, vinyl noise samples, background synth pads, etc).
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