Stems for Solo Piano

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karafinman
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Stems for Solo Piano

Post by karafinman » Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:00 am

I was just asked to send stems for my piece directly to a library I learned of through Taxi. I sent the piece via my Taxi page of songs. (I should have gone to the original in Cubase, but I am quite sure that the last saved version is what I used as the mixdown for the Taxi page). But, rather than convert the mp3 into the .wav, I think I would need to go back to the source (the Cubase file). Am I right?

The "sending stem" instructions were the general ones for the library. I have two questions:

1) They state: Do not master your stems or Full mix MP3 reference track. The sum of your stems should not peak beyond nominal
but peak a few db below.

What should the db level of this track be?

2) Since it is piano only, should I just mix down the project as a .wav? Or should I do an export of just the piano track (as if I were exporting stems)? Or does it matter.

This is truly a test of the courtesy of those who have this expertise, because I would expect to pay for this advice. You will be paid back in equal kindness or service.

Thank you!

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cassmcentee
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Re: Stems for Solo Piano

Post by cassmcentee » Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:54 pm

Open up Cubase and export the "Full Mix" (Master Bus) wave file for the library at the bit-rate asked for.
Since it is ONLY piano, no other stems are neccesary unless they ask for some alternate lengths (like 30/15/10 seconds)
I would assume to not change the volume/loudness as they have accepted what they have already heard
Don't want to change that unless asked for!
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ochaim
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Re: Stems for Solo Piano

Post by ochaim » Mon Nov 22, 2021 5:04 am

Congrats on the forward!

From the wording of the instructions, I think I've written for this library as well.

They do their own mastering so the "do not master" likely refers to no heavy compression/limiting on the master. <2 dB occasional bumps of gain reduction is fine. I generally don't do much at all, especially if it's a solo instrument.

The few dB below nominal likely refers to a few dB below 0dB on the master. I go for around -3dB. As long as you have your master holding the peak infinitely (it probably does so by default), just let it play through and make sure the master doesn't go peaks around -3dB.

I've never clarified the assumptions I'm making above, but I've submitted this way in the past without any issues.

I've never submitted a piano-only piece. But it's *possible* isolated left and right hand stems may be helpful. I've encountered this request in the past where piano was a central element. If it's the same library I'm thinking of, they state to "err on more" if you're not sure about how granular the stems should be. When you send the files, I would just mention that you sent the left/right hand isolated stems as well just in case they are useful. I think this kind of thoughtfulness goes a long way and there's no additional work on their end to just take what they need.

karafinman
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Re: Stems for Solo Piano

Post by karafinman » Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:14 am

Thank you, guys. Just to confirm, in Cubase, do I need to choose Batch Export and choose the master bus (not the piano) or do I just export a .wav file like I would if I were wanting to send it to SoundCloud or something like that?

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Re: Stems for Solo Piano

Post by ochaim » Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:52 pm

If its just the single piano track, either way is fine but I’d just do regular export to make sure you dont overlook a detail in the batch export. There are a lot of options there.

There is another way to do stems by using cycle markers (notice that you can render cycle marker regions and use cycle marker names as the filenames). But it would still be worth looking into the batch export feature should you need that in the future.

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Re: Stems for Solo Piano

Post by CEMundt » Fri Dec 03, 2021 12:46 am

In my experience, most mastering engineers in general ask for -3dB. Can anyone think of a reason why a track that doesn’t clip shouldn’t just be normalized at -3dB in Adobe Audition or Sony Sound Forge, whether it peaks above or below -3dB? I guess if it’s below, you would be adding noise unnecessarily…

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