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Welcome to the STEMS forum

Discussion in 'STEMS' started by Keir @ NI, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. Keir @ NI

    Keir @ NI Community, man NI Team

    Hello everybody,

    Welcome to the official home for Stems discussion.

    First things first, what are Stems?

    This here video explains more:

    And here is the FAQ taken from the official website www.stems-music.com

    What is a Stem file?

    A Stem file is an audio file that contains a track split into four musical elements: A drums stem, a bassline stem, a harmony stem, and a lead stem for example. The Stem file also includes the original stereo master of the track for standard playback.

    What makes Stems an ‘Open file format’?

    The Stem format is open because all details on how to make Stem files and how to play them is publicly available here. Anyone can create Stems without paying licensing fees for creation, distribution, or use of the format.

    Can I create a Stem file myself?

    Yes you can – the technology is free for everyone to use. When the free Stem Creator Tool* becomes available, so will a step-by-step guide on how to create Stem files.

    How can DJs benefit from playing with Stems?

    Stems expand DJ mixing and performance possibilities by allowing you to mix with isolated parts of a track such as the vocals, or by applying effects to specific parts of the song. This can make DJ sets stand out.

    I’m a DJ but I also produce my own tracks. Why should I use Stems?

    You can export your tracks as Stems and play them in a DJ setting with full control over individual parts of your track. This gives any producer-DJ a hands-on, flexible way of playing live that’s exciting for the crowd to watch.

    Where can I buy music in Stem format?

    The open file format means that anyone can sell music in Stem format. Online music retailers Beatport, Juno, Traxsource, whatpeopleplay, and Wasabeat will offer music in Stem format starting summer 2015. With time, more retailers are expected to support the Stem format.

    I work for a label or an online music retailer. How can I benefit from distributing Stems?

    You can sell Stems at a premium price and create new revenue streams for your business.

    I am a developer. What do I need to do to make Stem authoring and playback possible for my software and hardware?

    All the necessary information to implement Stem functionalities in soft- or hardware is documented and will be available in summer 2015 for download here.

    What are the benefits of the Stem file format for music software and hardware companies?

    You can create new exciting products that will help redefine music performance for DJs, producers, and live artists.

    How many individual stems are included in a Stem file?

    The Stem file format contains four stem tracks. The original stereo master of the track is included in the file as the ‘fifth’ stem.

    Are there any best practices on how to create a Stem file?

    A document outlining best practices for instrument grouping, order, names, colors, and mastering techniques will be available once the free Stem Creator Tool is released.

    Can I create or edit metadata in a Stem file?

    You can create and edit the metadata of a Stem file using software, such as iTunes. The Stem Creator Tool will also offer this feature. However, it will initially be the only tool to allow editing the name of each individual stem track as ‘Drums’ or ’Synths’ for example.

    Will I be able to play a Stem file in my audio player?

    Yes. A Stem file will play as a normal audio track in any player that supports the mp4 format and follows the standard mp4 specs. This means you will hear the full track, but not have control over the individual Stem parts. To listen and play with the individual parts, you’ll need software or hardware that supports the Stem format.

    Which software currently supports Stems?

    When Stems launches in summer 2015, Traktor Pro 2 software will allow you to load and play with individual stem parts. Other software companies are expected to integrate the Stem format into their software and hardware using the developer resources that will be available for download here.

    How can I perform with Stems? Which DJ controllers support Stems natively?

    You can MIDI-map the controls to any MIDI controller or keyboard to control Stems in Traktor Pro 2. When Stems launches in summer 2015, Native Instruments’ Traktor Kontrol D2, S8, and F1 controllers, will support the Stem format natively. With time, other hardware manufacturers are expected to support the Stems format natively.

    Can Pioneer CDJs play Stems?

    If the CDJ model supports the mp4 format, it will play back a Stem file as a normal audio track.

    Can I create Stems from my DAW?

    Any DAW allows you to export grouped tracks such as a mixdown of just the drums, the bassline, harmonic elements, and lead sounds plus effects. Once these four files are processed by the free Stem Creator Tool application, these become a Stem file.

    Will my DAW support the Stem format?

    Any DAW developer can implement additional Stem features into their software. Developers may already be creating a tool for this right now or better yet – implementing the format for direct exporting as a Stem file.

    What will the file extension be?

    Stem files will carry a .stem.mp4 extension. For example: filename.stem.mp4

    Can I decode a Stem file into another format like mp3?

    No, mp3 does not support multi-channel audio as required by the Stem format.

    Is the Stem format lossless?

    The Stem format uses the mp4 framework which allows Stem files to be encoded either in AAC 256 kbps VBR or Apple Lossless audio (ALAC). The upcoming Windows 10 provides native ALAC support however previous Windows operating systems do not. Please note that any playback software used on older Windows systems needs to support ALAC itself.

    What kind of compression can be used when creating a Stem file?

    Stem files can be created using 256 kbps AAC encoding with an output quality just like that of iTunes for example. Despite this similarity, Stem files encoded with AAC are of higher quality since each Stem is encoded individually. This is because the net quality of each Stem part is greater than that of a single file encoded in 256 kbps.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. djmixtrack

    djmixtrack New Member

    i'm having a problem with the free stems that you have to download keep telling me not anaylze an would not load
  3. Keir @ NI

    Keir @ NI Community, man NI Team

    Please make sure you've updated to TRAKTOR PRO 2.9 which was released yesterday and is in the Service Center. If you already have, please contact Support who will respond in three working days.
  4. tricade

    tricade NI Product Owner

    same here! right click on the stem file and select resync / async after that go into the NI STEM folder and play the file...
  5. djanree

    djanree New Member

    How can i transform any mp3 wav flac track into 4 different files (bass,drums,vocal,melody) before i create a stem file?
  6. djanree

    djanree New Member

    Then Basically there`s no point of stem creator tool.
  7. djanree

    djanree New Member

    I do understand them well... it`s just if you cannot transform any format tracks on the market into 4way liners it doesnt really make mixing unique like marketing says. it`s just one side of it all.
  8. D-J-K

    D-J-K NI Product Owner


    But seriously, djranee -- you can't take an existing Mp3 and make a stem file. Creating a stem fire requires the original master track and bouncing out certain parts (drums, bass, synth, vocal, etc.), then encoding the sum of all those parts it into the AAC / MP4. Stems are only going forward in music creation, not backwards, that is, unless producers/labels adopt the format and pull their old master tracks out of the closet to re-code them into stems.

    Another user in another NI thread gave a good analogy -- trying to create a stem from an existing mp3 is like trying to extract yeast from baked bread. If you want to put all the ingredients of the bread into a new kind of bread, you need to start from scratch.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  9. Tony sharp

    Tony sharp New Member

    Thanks for that reply.

    I`m no DJ or Producer, merely a bit of a gadget geek, that like`s to play around with music on the NI equipment i have. When i came across the S8, i thought wow, fun to be had there. After spending the last 3 days watching all the tutorials for all manner of DAWS, i came to the conclusion "It`s beyond me". That`s 3 days i wont get back.
    But what did strike me the most, was some of the "Stem" videos including those from NI that seem to suggest that making your own stems was a walk in the park. Not to be, so it seems.


    Money will be staying in my pocket for the foreseable.
  10. Huboi

    Huboi NI Product Owner

    There's nothing that can do that.... how could it?
    It's just a way to make a consolidated file that plays the master mix, but also contains stems of it that you can open up.
    Would you expect an CD player to play vinyl? Of course not, the audio has to be converted into a format it can read. So too with stems. We need to go back to our DAW and export the stems, import them into stem creator and make this new master file.
  11. benPurple

    benPurple New Member

    Hi Team, I use Stems completly new and I have bought 7 Stems tracks at beatport.com yesterday. But 3 of 7 I cannot load into the decks because my traktor version 2.11.3 R17 gave me always the error, that I have to analyze it before. It is very strange, all other Stems I can play normal and I have all stems and information in my decks, but only these 3 Stems, I can analyze it again and again but nothing happend. Also stange is, that 2 Stems I can play but not all information like name of the track, artist, remixer, label I can see in the player, only a number_stem.mp4. Has anybody an idea? Is this a bug in version 2.11.3 R17 or maybe Stems from beatport.com arecorrupt? I use MacBook El Capitan with Traktor Z2 and two new F1 controller (Arrived last Saturday 15 Sepember) and traktor pro 2.11.3 R17 updated befor loading stem.
  12. benPurple

    benPurple New Member

    Just an update, I have installed the previous versions on my mac 2.10.3 and 2.11.0 23 but also in this versions not all stems I can use normal. Two of them are not possible to play after analyzing. Others with not full information.

    Attached Files:

  13. benPurple

    benPurple New Member

    Test on traktor pro version 2.11.2 windows 7, 64bit.

    Can play all stems but some stems have not all information after analyzed it.

    Attached Files: