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Speaking Studio Language: Multi-tracks & Stems

As an artist, you have a responsibility to understand the ins and outs of a music studio and the production process as a whole. Independent artists are often one man bands, but equally as often, artists will build their music catalog on a production team. In this digital world which we live in, an artist's team is no longer restricted to individuals in a particular locale. Production can happen from anywhere, and for that reason it's important to understand "music language" so that you, the artist, can communicate more effectively with your production team. Here we'll discuss two important functions to understand in the production process.


When engineers sit down to mix vocals, they are using the individual recorded vocal files, adjusting and cleaning up frequency issues, and ultimately mixing them into the song as a whole. These individual recordings are called multi-tracks. As a recording artist, you do your engineers a service by splitting up your recordings as much as possible to provide more flexibility during the mixing process. Rule of thumb, you should not be able to hear your own voice more than once in a single recorded file. That goes for backgrounds and stacked vocals as well.

Your engineer will need your multi-tracks in their most raw form. That means no autotune, no reverb, no EQ, no compression, no panning. Turn all of those effects off when you send your files to your engineer. (Check out our tips for getting a good out-of-studio recording).


Similar in principle to multi-tracks, stems are all the parts and pieces of the instrumental. These are equally important, as your engineer will need to balance out the frequencies of the instrumental with the frequencies of the vocals. You'll need to request these from your producer and provide them to your engineer (assuming these are two different people). These do not need to be raw, but it is preferable at EmMeka Music to send unmastered stems. They will be mixed down with the vocals and the whole song will be mastered.

All of these files come together to create your song. The rest is simple; mix, master, send the song back to you! So all that's left now is for you to fill out the contact form so we can get started on your song.

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