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Would someone please tell me what separation mastering technique is?

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Michael Fossenkemper Wed, 11/15/2006 - 00:19

Seperation is a retarded term that one ME decided to coin to seperate himself from the rest of the pack. It is in fact mastering from Stems. Stems is a term that has been used for the past 20 years or longer and it should remain that way. The film industry used this forever. Basically it's printing stems (drums, guitars, bass, vocals) or any combination of instruments to then later re-combine to create the original mix. By printing stems, you are able to process these stems independently from the other stems. This is good for correcting say the vocals without adversely affecting the rest of the mix. So in the future, use the term stems so every other engineer knows what you mean and not just ONE ME that wants to believe that he invented it.

Michael Fossenkemper Wed, 11/15/2006 - 08:11

Stems (originally in film work) were groups of tracks. They would mix all of the dialog and that would become the dialog stem. Then you would have a SFX stem and a music stem. It's kind of half way between a mix and the final 2 track. In music you would have say your drums stem, vocals stem, the rest of the music stem. The problem with working like this, is that the mix engineer is no longer in control of the final mix of these elements. Now this can be good or bad depending on whose doing the mixing.

I'd rather not use the term "seperations". it just confuses the matter. But it's the same thing as stems.

anonymous Wed, 11/15/2006 - 08:42

I never heard the term SEPARATION MASTERING!!!

STEMS is the term that has been used and I agree the ONLY term to be used.

I use stems to send my DIGITAL tracks to a multi-ch ANALOG summing mixer, for example. Since I don't have enough channels on the summing mixer I pre-mix different stems to stereo (usually vocals, drums, guitar, etc...).

If you say STEMS everyone in the world will know what you are talking about. IF you say SEPARATION they will look at you like this :?


Zilla Wed, 11/15/2006 - 11:21

DIGIT wrote: If you say STEMS everyone in the world will know what you are talking about.

Not necessarily. There is another prevailing vernacular meaning. Many mixers use the term "stems" when referring to their alternate stereo mixes. For example: main mix, tv mix, instrumental mix, vocal up are commonly referred to as stems, even by industry veterans. My opinion is that these alternate mixes should be called "alternate mixes" and "stems" should refer to sub-mixed multi-tracks (as in film post-production).

Basically I am just suggesting that one should clarify the exact nature of any "stems" being delivered.

anonymous Wed, 11/15/2006 - 14:49

>>I am just suggesting that one should clarify the exact nature of any "stems" being delivered.<<

Not really - If I am deliveryng different MIXES I don't call them Stems and the Label receiving them wouldn't call them stems either. They ask me for a TV MIX, not a TV stem, for exmple. And, I bill it as TV MIX, RADIO MIX, etc... on paper too.

However, I have been asked to deliver STEMS for TV shows which would have DRMS, BASS, GUITARS, etc.. on SPEARATE tracks to be added at will by the Sound editor working on the TV show.

Essentailly, a group of "STEMS" are an integral part of the same project, NOT alternative mixes of it.

Zilla Wed, 11/15/2006 - 21:18

Michael Fossenkemper wrote: . I didn't know there was confusion with the term Stem.

Neither did I until about 5 years ago. Previously, my circle of clients and colleagues used that term as expected. But my current job exposed me to a much larger and diverse clientele. I would guesstimate that 40% of the material that clients claim to be stems turn out to be what I call alternate mixes. So I have learned to clarify with the client their meaning of the term so that I know what is actually coming down the pipe. This just helps avoid unnecessary confusion.


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