Stem Mastering Service
In addition to our Stereo mastering service we also offer stem mastering for clients who want our mastering engineers to have more control during the mastering process. For the majority of projects Stereo mastering is the optimum service, however for artists who prefer to give our engineers more control over their mix we also offer stem mastering service. Mastering from Stems allows us to dive in deeper to the mix and correct potential frequency and level problems.
What Is Stem Mastering?
When mastering from Stems you will submit multiple stereo tracks that have consolidated instruments. For example an artist might submit 5 stereo Wav files 'Stems' one containing all the drums, one with bass guitar, one with all guitars, one with lead vocals, and one with all the background vocals. Our engineer would then work with each individual stem adjusting frequencies and levels to create a balanced mix. When he has finished adjusting the stems, they are combined and mastered to create a finished song. Since we have access to each separated group of instruments there are more options for the engineer to make adjustments and correct problems.
How To Prepare Your Mix
Preparing a mix for Stem mastering involves grouping your instruments into individual Stems. We accept up to 8 Stems per song, and as a general rule you want to group similar instruments together. An example set of Stems would be: drums, bass, synths, rhythm guitars, lead guitar, lead vocal, and backup vocals. The Stems that you submit can be separated in any way that will give our engineer the best options to work with your project. In some cases this may included separating the kick drum and snare drum each as its own individual Stem - provided the total number of Stem is still 8 or less. As with all mastering projects we recommend leaving around -1dB of headroom for each Stem and removing any pre-mastering processing from each Stem. Stems should all be the exact same length and start and stop at the same time (this is crucial so the tracks line up when they’re imported and combined together).
Steps to Take Before Sending a Song for Stem Mastering Service
- Label each individual Stem with a descriptive name. (Example: Drums, Bass, Guitars, Lead Vocal, Background Vocals etc…) This can be done before or after exporting (bouncing) each track.
- Export each track from the beginning of the song so that all tracks start from the same position and are the exact same length.
- Our preferred exported file-format is a 24 bit .WAV or .AIF. (Do not apply dithering)
- After all the tracks are exported, add them to a folder, label the folder as the song name, and then compress the folder into a .ZIP or .RAR file.
- Upload the compressed .ZIP or .RAR folder to your Sage Audio online account. If you don’t have an account yet, please feel free to create an account.