Preparing Stems Tutorial: How To Properly Prepare Files For Mixing


In this week’s tutorial, we discuss the different steps you should take when you’re exporting stems out of your DAW to send them to an engineer or a collaborator.

It’s very common for artists, beat makers, & producers to export stems out of their DAWs on a regular basis. Properly sending stems with the correct levels, starting points, & labeling can be a huge factor on whether or not you will land placements on a consistent basis.

As a professional engineer, I am sent stems & files with the quality damaged, the timing off, the wrong format & several other issues almost daily. That’s one reason why I decided to take the time to discuss the professional guidelines one should follow when exporting stems?

  • For artists, they may need to send their stems to a collaborator to contribute vocals/instruments or they may need to get their stems to an engineer to mix & master their song.
  • For beat makers & producers they may need to export their stems for an artist to record to or an engineer to mix & master for a high quality product that can strengthen their chances of a placement.

This video will guide you on the proper steps to take & answer questions such as:

  • What format should I use?
  • What volume should the stems be at?
  • What volume should the master level be at?
  • Should I normalize?
  • What does it mean to consolidate?

These are all great questions & it can sometimes be confusing on what the right answer is. Fortunately this easy to follow along tutorial answers all of those questions & more!

Follow along as professional engineer Eric “Realistic” Michael gives you a step-by-step guide on properly preparing your stems..



Realistic is a Music Producer and Engineer located in the Twin Cities. He started out playing guitar and piano in 2003 and has been producing and recording music since 2004. He produces Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, & Dance music.








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