Native Instruments STEMS Explained plus FREE STEMS Download
Published on 29 September 2015
What are STEMS?
Simply put, STEM files are a single MP4 file containing 5 audio tracks. 4 of which are individual exported STEM tracks that when combined make up the additional 5th audio track - the master mix.
This is beneficial for on-the-fly loading of a single stem file and not having to worry about loading up 4 single audio tracks each time, you can simply load up one file into a single deck, and mix between 4 layers of audio tracks. In other live performance software tools you can’t load multiple tracks at a time, but with the STEMS file format, this makes it possible to load 4 audio tracks within one file.
“When you mix/sum the 4 individual STEM tracks together you get the final MASTER track inside the MP4 file, Native Instruments provide the summing technology in the Creator Tool and SDK”
Traktor Pro DJ Software is currently, the only official software choice that supports STEM files and you can use any of the following TRAKTOR players to control and mix STEMS:
TRAKTOR KONTROL F1
TRAKTOR KONTROL D2
TRAKTOR KONTROL S5
TRAKTOR KONTROL S8
Top 3 Ideas for STEMS use
Blending Stems - the standard way to mix between layers of electronic music, dropping the bass or drums for example without having to touch the EQ and affect other frequencies in the mix. Mixing Mashups - If you make mashups, STEMS would allow you to isolate the acapella for example to mix into your next track seamlessly Perform Remixes - Make your own remixes in your DAW/Maschine from searched MIDI files and/or acapellas online and export to STEMS for pure originality (VOCLR.it)
“You CANNOT do the same job using the EQ on a DJ mixer, with STEMS you get the RAW bassline, or drum track as it was made without any additional audio artefacts that can still be heard when only using EQ to filter out specific frequencies”
TRAKTOR Stem Deck - Did you know?
LOOP - You can loop STEMS inside a TRAKTOR deck just like a typical deck FREEZE - You can also freeze and jam with slices of a STEM file CUE - You can also set up cue points within a STEM deck SCRATCH - You can scratch a STEM deck just like a standard deck
How to export your STEMS from your DAW software
If you make or produce your own music, mashups or remixes, the best and most simplest way to export the 4 STEM tracks needed to produce a STEMS file is to create 4 separate bus tracks you route your other tracks to depending on choice.
So, for example if you have 24 tracks running in your project, you need to decide on how to group ALL of those tracks into only 4 separate tracks - these are typically decided on by DRUMS, BASS, VOCALS and OTHERS. But this is entirely up to you and how you want your STEMS file to be mixed by the 3rd party user.
Then you simply export the created 4 bus tracks you routed all your audio to and you should have the files you need alongside your final master track, ready for the Stem Creator Tool...
Creating your first STEMS file
With your prepared Stems Cover Art and 5 audio tracks ready to import into the Creator Tool, simply enter all the metadata of track title, artist and more. Once your tracks are imported you should see the switch between STEMS MIX and MASTER output. This switch is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to how your STEMS mix will sound when using the STEMS inside Traktor.
Using this switch it allows you to A/B between both outputs. What you need to do is adjust the compressor parameters below to get the sound of the STEMS mix output as close as you can to the MASTER output.
When you feel you are as close as you can, you are ready to export your first STEMS file.
FREE STEMS PACKAGE DOWNLOAD
To celebrate this new technology, we have put together a 4 x track package of STEM files FREE for you to download and use within your TRAKTOR STEMS DECKS. If you are into your House music, EDM or Electro you will enjoy these 4 tracks! Please feel free to download these and if possible share with us your mixes and videos of you using these tracks…
Jeremus - Boomerang (Warped Bridge Records)
Resetica - Transparent (Warped Bridge Records)
AHP - Love Hate Disco
AHP - Why Kiss