What We Need From You:
Preparing a mix for stem mastering involves sub-grouping your instruments into individual stereo stems. As a general rule you want to group similar instruments together. An example set of stems would be: Drums, lead vocals, backup vocals, guitars, keys, bass, leads/hook.
- The stems you submit can be grouped any way that will give our engineer the best options to work with.
- As with all mastering projects you should leave -3db to -6db of headroom.
- Remove any Stereo master buss processing prior to bouncing your stems/groups.
- Stems should all be the exact same length. Beginning and ending at the same time (precise track synchronization is crucial).
- When mixing outside “the box” through an analogue console, consider the noise content with in your stems. If any of your effects returns are noisy for instance, make sure to mute returns that are not being used for a given stem. Remember that when you re-combine the stems at the mastering stage, any noise (hum, hiss, buzz) can be compounded as you add each stem to the mix. For this reason alone it’s worth aiming to use as few stems as necessary.
Formerly known as Gallery of Carpet Recording