Stems vs. Multitracks: What's the Difference? 🔍

Many newbies in music production get confused between stems and Multitracks. In this post, we will see Stems vs. Multitracks: A Detailed Analysis, to understand them better along with the use cases, advantages, and disadvantages.

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Updated on Mar 29, 2024

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Many use the stems and multitracks interchangeably; while they are similar in ways, they are very distinct too. Knowing the details of both these terms helps collaborate with artists while requesting and sending files. Also, while making tracks, mixing, editing, mastering, and remixing the tracks, this understanding enables you to make better music.

In this post, we will go through stems vs. multitracks: a detailed analysis to know the differences, use cases to effectively use the stems and multitracks, and the best stem separation software.

What Are Stems?

You need multitracks to create stems. Simply put, stems are a combination of multitracks. Whenever you mix or master two instrument groups, you make a steam. Let's assume you have individual drums, vocals, and guitar tracks. When you combine these tracks, you will get a stem.

stems example

Use Cases of Stems

Collaborators widely use stems. Many collaborators prefer using branches, as they stack a set of multitracks and help you analyze everything simultaneously. Here are some common use cases of Stems:

  • Sending files to a vocalist: A vocalist won't do any editing or mixing. They do not need separate tracks to work with, so sending all tracks simultaneously is viable.
  • When you want to remix a track: If the audio engineer wants to remix your track, especially to make EDMs, you can send a stem. Rather than overwhelming the remixer with many individual elements, send them a bunch to work around different tracks at once and create a remix.
  • To balance the final mix: If you want to tweak around individual instruments or want a second opinion, stems are quite helpful. You can work with tracks in combination and finalize the track.
  • To make fine adjustments during mastering: For the mastering engineers, stems are beneficial for making fine adjustments. However, many artists prefer one final stereo mix session to master, but a combined track may be preferred sometimes.

Advantages of Stems

  • You will have fewer tracks to work with at once compared to multitracks.
  • Finding the stem files you want is easy.
  • Requires sending only a few files while collaborating.
  • Many mixing and editing software are more suited to work with Stems.
  • Stems contain effects that can be advantageous or disadvantageous based on what you want to do.

Disadvantages of Stems

  • Less control over the tracks compared to multitracks.
  • Can only make broad-brush changes, e.g., cannot work with balance or nuances of the tracks. You can only make changes to volume as a whole.

What Are Multitracks?

Multitracks are individual elements of the complete audio, each recorded independently, like vocals, drums, guitar, etc. A single track is a multitrack, and individual tracks recorded using different instruments are known as multitracks. They are recorded sequentially to cater to various uses, like making acapella from songs and recording separate instruments later.


Use Cases of Multitracks

Multitracks, contrary to what it sounds, are commonly used in cases where you need absolute control over the instrument's music or tune.

  • To mix a track: As multitracks offer more control, a mixing engineer prefers using individual tracks to balance the relative levels perfectly.
  • Editing: Having multitracks is beneficial for fine-grained control of the track. To eliminate noise, render and cut certain parts.

Advantages of Multitracks

  • You will get full control and granularity over the track, and you can make adjustments to remove echo from videos, adjust the balance, etc.
  • There is no need to create them exclusively; they are created once you record something into the DAW.
  • Does not contain effects, which can be an advantage or disadvantage based on what you want to do.

Disadvantages of Multitracks

  • A lot of individual tracks are hard to manage.
  • Sending or receiving files can be tedious.
  • It makes it difficult for you to find the part you want.
Items Multitrack Stem
Audio Quality More Depends on the recording and mixing
File Size Less, as it contains a single track More, a group of tracks
Storage Easy to store and handle Need proper knowledge to store and process
Flexibility More control and less flexible Good control and more flexible
Use Cases Mixing, and Editing Mastering, Backing tracks, collaboration and Re-mix

Tips for Creating Multitracks

If you are new to music production, it can be overwhelming to create multitracks or stems, especially if you are not well-versed with the new-age DAWs to create them. The best way to create multitracks is to use the AI-powered EaseUS Online Vocal Remover.

This powerful software lets you extract instrumentals from a song online for free. You can remove vocals or background music and make acapella from songs or extract musical tracks by uploading your file. Upload your file, and the tool accurately separates the vocals and music with the help of AI, which you can extract later. Click the link, upload the file, and see the AI-magic yourself.

💥Key features of EaseUS online vocal remover:

  • Extract the multitrack files of any instrument with just a click
  • Separate music from vocals and obtain the music file
  • You can upload audio files of 350MB for up to 1 hour to extract music
  • Extract and split vocals and music from YouTube videos

Now you can get isolated tracks with EaseUS Online Vocal Remover for free.

In Closing

Knowing the difference between stems and multitracks is very beneficial while working with music and collaborating. I hope the post details what multitracks and stems are and what's better to send when the question of Stems vs. Multitracks happens.

If you are a newbie, creating multitracks using DAWs can be confusing, so using a simple tool like EaseUS online vocal remove to extract multitracks from audio files is better. Go to the software, upload your file, have your multitracks, and send them to fellow artists. If you find the post helpful, share it with your friends.

FAQs on Stems vs. Multitracks

Here are some of the most frequent FAQs on Stems vs. Multitracks. I hope you find these queries helpful.

1. Why are music tracks called stems?

Stems are individual tracks layered together to make music. It may contain vocals, instruments, drum stems, or anything. As music is an amalgamation of vocals and instrument tracks, music tracks are also referred to as Stems.

2. What is the difference between stems and audio files?

Stems, as we know, are a combination of multitracks layered together, whereas an audio file is the digital data stored on a computer system. It means every Stem is an audio file, and every audio file may or may not be a stem.

3. Is stem mastering better?

Yes, as mastering is the final process of preparing the track, you do not need grained control over them, so Stems are preferred for mastering.

4. Should I send stems to artists?

It will depend on what you are doing mostly. But stems are great for editing, mixing, and mastering due to the compilation of individual files. So, it's a good idea to send stems to artists.

🎵 Passionate about music production? Join the conversation on Stems vs. Multitracks by sharing this thought-provoking article. Let's amplify our knowledge together!


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