From Stems blooms a new level of dj performance

UPDATE! – Stems Creator Tool (beta) now available for Mac and Windows

Using the EQ on the mixer to mix the drums from one track with the bassline of another is no new thing. Nor is it new to mix the bassline from one track with the melodic elements of another, but there have always been compromises. Stems could change all that…

Native Instruments Stems

Stems – a new file format

Developed by digital dj techno-visionaries Native Instruments, Stems is an open, multi-track format for audio, that let’s you do things a flattened stereo file just can’t do.

Oh, but as an .mp4 file, Stems tracks still play on your media player of choice without any fidgy-widgyness…

The new .stems.mp4 format embeds 4 multi-tracks into a file that can be played back as normal, but also stripped back and played with at the level of each multi-track, giving you myriad dj performance opportunities…

How do stems work?

When you’ve finished that latest tune that’s sure to be a wicked hit on the floors of your local discotheque, don’t just render down that final stereo output, get creative…

Choose four ‘stems’ that give you – or anyone else – the flexibility to mix and mashup with more freedom than ever before. You might want to choose drums, bass, melody and vocal, or perhaps that killer lead synth deserves its own track for further mashup opportunities, then you might opt for for drums & bass, chords and supporting musical elements, lead and vocals.

Once you’ve decided on and rendered down your four stems, fire up the Stems creator software (coming soon) and do your thing. Done. Your stems track is ready to go.

Of course, you don’t have to make your own, Stems-format tracks are already available on stores such as Beatport, so you can get remixing and mashing up right away.

What hardware do I need to dj with Stems?

As Stems is an open format, more hardware from other brands will likely be in development and on its way, for now though, Native Instruments has you covered with the Traktor Kontrol S8, D2 and F1.

Not only that, but to celebrate the release of Stems, we’ve dropped the prices on all the compatible hardware, so you can save a tidy sum on these kontrollers for the next few weeks.

Of these, the D2 is still my pick of the bunch if you are already a Traktor dj. The F1 is great for remix decks, and the S8 as an incredible all-in-one controller, but adding a D2 to your existing Traktor setup is great, especially at the moment with a saving of £160!

My current Traktor setup is a Z1 and an X1, and I also use a Maschine Mikro. Using three devices means I need to take a USB hub with me, adding a D2 takes care of the hub functionality, lets me take advantage of Stems, as well as offering that fantastic screen for browsing and meaning I won’t have to look at the laptop at all.

All in all then, Stems certainly could be interesting. For many, the remix decks concept offered more than they needed, but by making Stems an open format that can also be played by a normal media player, this format could hit critical mass and take off.

Expect mashups-a-plenty soon…

Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and a London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.

 

 

 

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Fynn Callum

producer, guitarist, engineer & dj
From indie guitarist to deep house producer via Northern Soul dj; mix engineer, producer and gear enthusiast. Jaffa Cake aficionado.

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