Native Instruments has released a beta version of the Stem Creator Tool, allowing producers and DJs to craft and create their own Stems for playback in Traktor’s Stem Decks. Read on to get the download and learn how the process works.
Download Stems Creator Tool
Jumping right in – the download is available now here for Mac and PC (note that for the beta Windows users the app will only run on 64-bit systems for now). The tool is completely free for anyone to use, but you’ll need to have four musical elements of a single track ready to export from your DAW into the tool to make use of it.
Stem Creator Tool: How To Get Started
Native Instruments has created the above walkthrough video – but in short the steps that happen for each Stem file are:
- Isolate your track into four individual groups of similar elements (usually Drums, Bass, Main Instrumentation, and Vocals)
- Time-align all of your audio tracks to ensure they will all stay synced and in time when playing back as a Stem
- Load into Stem Creator tool + label your tracks – be sure to give a good descriptor of what exactly you’re loading. You can also choose a color for each Stem and add as much metadata as needed.
- Set Real-Time Dynamics – this is the real-time compression / limiting that the individual Stems go through. The goal is to make sure that your individual stems sound good against the original track – and NI has included both beginner and advanced settings here to give a high level of control to producers that want to make sure their audio sounds just as good when split out into Stems as it does in a final mixdown.
- Export the Stem file into the final .mp4 product, which can be tested right away in Traktor.
On Mastering Stem Decks
One of the biggest questions that many producers and DJs have had about Stem Decks has been “How will mastering work?” The Stem Creator Tool’s Real Time Dynamics section seems to be aiming to put at least some mastering tools right there in the Stem creation process for easy quality control. Here’s NI’s official suggestions for how to create a Stem Deck that sounds as good as a studio master:
“When preparing the four stems in your DAW, they should be processed using the same mastering toolchain as the stereo retail master. You can do this by preparing the four stem parts before the mastering session, and then having the Mastering Engineer master the final mix as well as the four stems all in the same session. This will ensure the four stem parts have the same mastering tweaks as the stereo retail master, such as EQ changes, harmonic exciting, additional reverb, etc. Within the Stem Creator Tool, the Stem Master Dynamics should be used to replicate the final stage of compression and limiting applied to the stereo retail master.”
Anyone had a chance to build their first Stems yet? Let us know how the experience was in the comments.