Stem Mastering

 
 

Stem Mastering
at Abbey Road

Stem Mastering is a process that offers greater control over the sonic shape and balance of your music. It allows the engineer to not only shape the overall tonal balance of a track, but also to go even deeper into each component part to help achieve an even better result.

Each individual stem is treated with a combination of different processes and effects in both the analogue and digital domains to help a track achieve its absolute potential.

 
 

How does it differ to stereo mastering?

Stereo mastering uses only a stereo mix as its source, which limits the possibilities to re-shape a track. For example, if you need to increase the volume of the vocal, stereo mastering would likely also increase the volume of the other elements. The same rule applies to EQ, dynamics, distortion, reverb, delay and beyond.

With stem mastering, all of these elements are accessible separately, meaning that just the vocal volume could be increased. Essentially, it allows an engineer to affect just one single element of a song in isolation. Stem mastering can be as simple as having two stems (e.g. acapella and instrumental) or multiple stems allowing greater flexibility and control.

 
 

What are the benefits?

Stem mastering allows an engineer to more easily access problem areas in a mix and go about treating them in whatever time is available. The engineer may not need to make changes to every stem, but the process gives them the option to do so in order to get the most out of a recording and mix, and ultimately the song.

Once the stem mastering is complete and approved, we’ll often then apply a finishing touch to each stereo track in order to ensure the release as a whole is a fluid listening experience.

 

For further information, please contact the mastering team using the form below.

Lucy Launder

Head of Mastering Services
+44 (0)20 7266 7000 

Abbey Road Studios

3 Abbey Road
London
NW8 9AY
UK

Please note that Abbey Road is a working studio and business and as such, is not open to the general public for visits or tours. For information on vacancies and internships in the UK, please visit the Universal Music website.