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Stems? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 20th July 2006
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlink
I think the answer is to not use any processing on the mix bus.

John Link
Ah, if that's the case, I can see why there are warnings in the previous posts about mastering engineers entering the slippery slope of mixing!
Old 20th July 2006
  #32
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illynoise's Avatar
 

Stems sound like either incompetence or non-confidence.

I would never send a "stem". If I'm mixing a record, that's what I WANT TO DO! A ME shouldn't have to have those thoughts to worry about on top of what they are doing already.

Pretty soon an engineer will just record, send "stems" and let the ME mix. That would suck.

Get your game up mixers!

BaseJase
Illlynoise
Old 27th September 2006
  #33
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
I needed stems for a recent gig I did- I was bartering with the guy for some web help, which is still underway, and set out to do three songs. Imagine my surprise when they turned out to be utterly minimalist washes of utterly distant noise. I happen to be pretty good at far-reverberant-field stuff so I got busy, but I had to do a recall because on two of the tracks there was a sort of whisper vocal- and that was the opposite, it needed to be sharpened and brought disturbingly close to do its insinuating whisper thing, and the distance processing hurt it. (not verb, by the way)

So I've never seen it happen before, but I ended up telling the guy that even though I did manage to make him happy (he actually got happier and happier with it on repeated listening), I'd like to do the project again if possible with stems. Direct vocal, and everything else.

Even then it was only because I was using processing the mixer didn't have, and because the required sonic treatments were exact opposites
Old 3rd October 2006
  #34
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dtrumfio's Avatar
 

I've been using extensive steming as a easy way to recall mixes using lots of outboard and found I prefer the sound (recall or not) as the master. Yes, it sounds less congealed as the master mix but is this a bad thing? I like big open sounding mixes! I let the ME do the cogealing. Of course, I attend the mastering or talk with the ME ahead of time. I always make sure the mix is locked down when delivered....The ME is still dealing with a stereo source in most cases.

I've done A/B's on sessions with Calbi, Gardner, Chalecki and Vlado M....and we picked the stems as the source over the stereo everytime. These guys all seemed to embrace the new technology with open arms and we ended up with a better sounding master at the end of the day in every case.

Also, as a mixer it's a great way to insure your sounds are going to translate to future 5.1 or specialty mixes you might not be involved with. The label/client can then send the stem session as the master multitrack. Seeing they came to me in the first place, I always like to provide the most complete and versatile master I can ie; stereo mix/ stereo inst./ stems.
Old 6th October 2006
  #35
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mars's Avatar
After reading through Vestman's stuff, I fail to see any difference between stems and "separations". As Bob said - it's just semantics.

Also, can anyone elaborate on why Vestman recommends removing the master fader from your mix session when bouncing?
Old 6th October 2006
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Mastering decisions are about the presentation of the mix. Mixing decisions are about the presentation of the music and the performance.
that's one of the best things i've read today. or this week. or ever. let's have it again, bob!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Mastering decisions are about the presentation of the mix. Mixing decisions are about the presentation of the music and the performance.
thanks!

--jon
Old 6th October 2006
  #37
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Masterer's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mars View Post
After reading through Vestman's stuff, I fail to see any difference between stems and "separations". As Bob said - it's just semantics.
The difference is - in a pinch you can smoke the stems.
Old 6th October 2006
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mars View Post
After reading through Vestman's stuff, I fail to see any difference between stems and "separations". As Bob said - it's just semantics.
Except that when you call it something unique, evidentally you can try to lay claim to it.

I've come up the a new concept called "parts not mixed together." It's like nothing you ever tried before (unless you've tried stems or "separations").
Old 6th October 2006
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterer View Post
The difference is - in a pinch you can smoke the stems.
Ah I understand now! Separations are when you screen out the leaves from the seeds and stems.
Old 7th October 2006
  #40
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stems submixed....

Chris, Mr. katz... how about mixing thru stems... sub mixing with bus compressors if needed and then mastering... for some very busy mixes it seems to sound better... i've been doing this with sonar in 64bit... sounds awesome.. some detail that used to disappear in the mixes jumped right out... i guess that from that point on the ME can do his job.... or do you have any other thoughts about it?
Old 7th October 2006
  #41
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Just so you guys understand, stem mix delivery is the defacto standard for film and television.

I've been mixing this way for years now and wouldn't dream of doing it any other way - there shouldn't be any extra demand on the mastering engineer because, simply, when all the stems are played back at unity gain, you've got your two-mix.

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see a problem.:dunno:

Ed
Old 7th October 2006
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Just so you guys understand, stem mix delivery is the defacto standard for film and television.

I've been mixing this way for years now and wouldn't dream of doing it any other way - there shouldn't be any extra demand on the mastering engineer because, simply, when all the stems are played back at unity gain, you've got your two-mix.

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see a problem.:dunno:

Ed
The only missing ingredient above is main bus compression/limiting or other processing that the mix engineer might want to use. While this can still be done during mastering, something like an SSL bus comp might be more difficult to reproduce exactly unless you have one like the mixing studio. I wouldn't necessarily call that a show stopper though if the other areas of the mix could be improved.
Old 7th October 2006
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taturana View Post
Chris, Mr. katz... how about mixing thru stems... sub mixing with bus compressors if needed and then mastering... for some very busy mixes it seems to sound better... i've been doing this with sonar in 64bit... sounds awesome.. some detail that used to disappear in the mixes jumped right out... i guess that from that point on the ME can do his job.... or do you have any other thoughts about it?
I don't really care actually. If the mix engineers feels like mixing stems improves hi/her mix, cool. If the client feels like having a stems mix gives them more flexibility that's cool too. I have a few clients [mixers] that do NOT like the idea for various reasons. Whatever works for them is fine with me.
Old 8th October 2006
  #44
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

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I get stems only occasionally. It's best to start with the 2 mix the way the mixer, producer, and/or artist intended it. One only checks the stems when there are problems. The other time I see stems is with an inexperienced mixer who wants some help or a safety net.

As for stems in film and TV, it's an entirely different set of criteria, and you must mix to stems. This doesn't mean it's as compelling a case for music mixing, though it's not the devil or anything. Do it if it makes you happy, but always include a stereo mix too.

And the term separations is really just silly marketing-speak and serves to obfuscate. BK's post pretty much sums it up. It seems pretty familiar from our conversation over on Glenn's Board.
Old 8th October 2006
  #45
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I don't get many stems sessions, but once in a while a client will show up with a laptop & the entire ITB mix session for last minute tweaking, on the clock.

However I'd just as soon have the stereo mixes on a firewire hard drive, with mix options for vocal up, bass down, maybe some others.
Old 8th October 2006
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
I don't get many stems sessions, but once in a while a client will show up with a laptop & the entire ITB mix session for last minute tweaking, on the clock.

However I'd just as soon have the stereo mixes on a firewire hard drive, with mix options for vocal up, bass down, maybe some others.
If you are copying the session over to your drive, I guess you have to hope that you have all the plug-ins they used or do you somehow sync up and run a digital cable from their laptop?
Old 8th October 2006
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
As for stems in film and TV, it's an entirely different set of criteria, and you must mix to stems. This doesn't mean it's as compelling a case for music mixing, though it's not the devil or anything. Do it if it makes you happy, but always include a stereo mix too.
We always include a stereo mix, mostly so the music editors can quickly "audition" our cues.

Typically, a "cue" (which is what we call them, of course) will be mixed to three to eight stereo stems with all processing "printed" to the file.

If you were to play back one of my stem mixes, assign each stem through the same aux bus and aux return - it would (and should) sound exactly like the two-mix.

The only difference is I'll sometimes use a slight amount of compression on the two track - however, I would never give a mastering engineer a compressed mix (why bother?).

So...... again, I still don't see a problem, the stems simply afford a degree of flexibility not present in a two-mix.

Furthermore, why present a mastering engineer with alternate mixes,say, with different vocal levels when a simple stem version (even just a separate stem for the vocals) would make that unnecessary?

I'm not trying to be a pain, I simply just don't see why it's not a better system, the stems thing that is.

Ed
Old 8th October 2006
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Krehm View Post
If you are copying the session over to your drive, I guess you have to hope that you have all the plug-ins they used or do you somehow sync up and run a digital cable from their laptop?
As a point of discussion, an ITB session w/plugins is not a "stem" mix.

If I were a mastering engineer, I wouldn't accept this.

Ed
Old 9th October 2006
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
As a point of discussion, an ITB session w/plugins is not a "stem" mix.

If I were a mastering engineer, I wouldn't accept this.

Ed
Actually, I could work with this if it was fed into my mastering setup. I could then ascertain what elements needed tweaking.

Now that I think about it, I have tweaked a couple of itb mixes that were done at my studio by the mix engineer. I wasn't crazy about doing it but it was just raising a vocal or editing a couple of voice tracks and the client didn't tell me until the mastering session.
Old 9th October 2006
  #50
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As BK said previously, from experience I think it is wise to have a day for mixing stems and then master them on a separate day.

It's difficult to swap 'hats' on the same day and I often find you can miss elements that you would normally pick up in mastering.
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