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Creating stems - master bus compression

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Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby Mr Bjorkas » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:28 am

When bouncing stems with a compressor on the master bus, it will of course behave differently comparing to the whole track playing.

A google search suggests sidechaining, to ensure that all tracks is fed to the compressor even when some of them are muted.

I´m looking for the easiest way to do this (and comments if the sum of the stems will be the same as a stereo bounce of all the tracks).

Here is my idea:
- set up a final mix with the master bus compressor on
- mute the master bus compressor, and bounce a stereo mix
- import the bounce to your project, and use this file (which is not compressed) to feed the side chain of the master bus compressor
- Bounce each stem

Are there better ways to do this?
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Re: Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:38 pm

I can follow your thinking, and it seems like it should work to me (see the disclaimer in my signature!) but I have to ask why you want to do this? What are you going to use the stems for? I'd have expected most people using the stems to be doing their own master bus compression routines at the end anyway?
Unless you were creating a karaoke backing track perhaps?
I'm curious. :)
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Re: Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby Wonks » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:08 pm

Indeed. If people are using stems, they'll want to mix and compress the results themselves, so at best, use only very light compression.
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Re: Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby Mr Bjorkas » Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:00 pm

When composing for video games, I might provide stems or layers to be faded in/out during gameplay. Some games uses software where you can add compression, but that´s not always the case.
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Re: Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:24 pm

Hmmm. Interesting. I'd have thought in that scenario you'd want minimal master bus compression going on - otherwise you could have the track behaving a bit strangely as it reacted to a signal the audience wasn't hearing?
But this is well out of my frame of reference I'm afraid so I'll shut up now!
Thanks for the extra explanation though. :)
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Re: Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:37 pm

I'm pretty much in agreement with the panel. I see no overriding reason for compression on stems when the idea is to allow those stems to be manipulated as required by the recipient.
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Re: Creating stems - master bus compression

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:04 pm

Your thinking is good...That's the only way it can really be done, provided the compressor you've used has a sidechain input. I'd always make sure that the printed mix lines up perfectly with the sources.

As others have said...is there any point to this? Well it depends what the intention for the stems is...Sometimes people do want stems that will perfectly recreate the mix, but more often it's a question of re-editing or rearranging. You might not want a compressor to be reacting to something that's no longer there! This also depends on how much colour that compressor is adding, both in terms of harmonics, and envelope. It might be that you leave it on, knowing that it will hit the drums a little bit (for example) and shape in a similar way to the full mix, albeit not identical. You could be fairly sure that most sources aren't really going to trigger much compression, if we're talking about the typical scenario where the compressor is just tickling the full mix.

My tendency is to leave it on

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