stemsond2

Since the spring, Native Instruments has been eager to talk about Stems every chance they got. And shops and some celebrity DJs have been quick to endorse the new initiative for releasing music in multi-track, DJ-friendly formats. But today, on the occasion of the official Stems launch, you can actually get your hands on Stems – literally.

That’s because as of today, you have both usable content and DJ tools to play with it. There’s a basic but significant catalog of Stems content available, and the Traktor 2.9 software necessary to play them in a DJ set is now ready to download. With that copy of Traktor, you can map Stems control to your favorite hardware, or use out-of-the-box support from NI’s own S8 and D2, complete with visualization on those units’ displays.

Saying Stems is a revolution or that it will fundamentally change DJ performance is I think a little exaggerated. The techniques for DJing don’t really change just because you’ve divided up mixes. But that shouldn’t turn you off from the real potential here.

Stems could the direction of the tide in some key areas. First, far too many recent releases (techno, I’m looking at you) have been reduced to making DJ “tools” – stripped-down tracks composed for mixing that are basically unlistenable on their own. Ironically, I think Stems could free up producers to make songs for listening and then let DJs work out how to break them apart into a mix. Second, Stems might finally make it easier to approach DJing from a digital perspective. The reality is, most digital DJ sets you here are fairly linear mixing affairs. And I think part of the reason DJs aren’t more adventurous is, while you have tools for looping and slicing and whatnot, you might not want to do that on an entire stereo master at the same time. If you could do it on a single part, though, everything gets a bit easier – and now you can do it on material from actual tracks, not just assembling boring piles of sample packs and generic loops.

Finally, Stems could help save the download business when it’s under fire, and make a little extra cash for producers who need it to support themselves.

Here’s what’s important to know:

beatportstems

The music is here. No chicken and egg problem: NI is announcing chickens and eggs aplenty. Beatport, Bleep, Juno, Traxsource, whatpeopleplay, and Wasabeat (a popular Japanese store) have all begun adding Stems content to their stores, NI reports.

I started by checking out Beatport (who weirdly call them “stempacks,” which sounds like something some mad scientist will use to clone dinosaurs). The music available looks frankly fantastic – certainly for techno fans. There’s a pretty strong and unsurprising Berlin angle – you’ll find the likes of Cosmin TRG and Benjamin Damage, great new music from Lando, stems for Paula Temple’s wonderfully-brutal “Colonized” (the last one dense as hell in the normal stereo form). Stewart Walker, whom we interviewed earlier this year and who I understand had a big hand in the development of Stems, is there. But overall, there’s already a pretty good selection across genres. Current price: US$3.49 – and it’s a safe bet that’ll be the new standard.

See:
https://pro.beatport.com/stems

And for more Stems stores (some of these aren’t so obvious on the site):

Juno: www.junodownload.com/stems

Wasabeat https://www.wasabeat.com/stems

Traxsource http://traxsource.com/genre/28/stems

Whatpeopleplay https://www.whatpeopleplay.com/stems

Bleep is promised, too, though they don’t yet have a dedicated page. (As a fan of Warp and whatnot, I’ll update you when it becomes available.)

Labels and artists have gotten most of the attention, but it’s also significant that distributors are signed up. Some of them provide additional infrastructure for mastering and promotion, too. Onboard: FUGA (NL), Label Worx (UK), Paradise and Finetunes (DE), Symphonic (USA), and Bonzai (BE).

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Hands-on hardware support is here. It’s no accident that the deck layouts on NI’s new S8 and D2 have four big vertical faders and a color display. You can use that to see stacked waveforms of the four stems. Accordingly, NI has an artist video showing off the DJ techniques that affords with the lovely NGHT DRPS. Here’s that film, shot at Watergate (footsteps from NI’s Berlin HQ):

stemsons8

If you were thinking of buying new NI gear, now is probably a good time. Oh, right, NI probably hopes Stems will give you gear lust. But if you’ve been putting of purchases, the S8 and D2 – and the F1, which has the four fader configuration minus the display – are all on sale through the end of September. I expect these will be the lowest prices we see in 2015; after that we’re into the holiday season.

NI_Stems_Stem_Creator_Tool_Screenshot

The creation tools are still missing. The promise Stem Creator Tool is still listed as “coming soon,” and I’ve been told it’s nearly done. That means for now, only select labels and artists can create content; the rest of us can’t get our hands on the tools. (My understanding is, those labels have access to a non-public tool.) CDM has asked to test this tool, and we’ll share as soon as NI lets us – Stems seem like an interesting way for producers to bring even their own content into Traktor (apart from Remix Decks).

For now, you can watch this video:

And interested labels can sign up to show their intent, via email.

Developer tools are coming.. NI promises complete specifications, plus sample code and documentation. Also, they’re promising a DSP library for mastering, which is an unexpected bonus from one of the planet’s most capable DSP developers. (You’ll see a link on the creator tool page.

stemsdeveloper

It’s not really a new format. It’s just MP4. “Stems” might be best described as a standard practice for sharing multi-channel audio for DJing. But it isn’t a new format: all the metadata (ID3) and the multi-channel deliver mechanism (MP4) and encoding (AAC) existed already.

So, it’s more like: “hey, let’s all agree that we’re going to meet for after-work beers every Friday at 6pm, okay?” And it’s less like, “hey, I’ve invented something new and I’m calling it ‘beer.'” That’s a good thing, though, as it’s part of why Stems is so easy to adopt.

Is it open? Is it a standard? “Open” in this case means that the format is both freely-usable (no license fees, etc.), and also documented in such a way that anyone can build their own content and tools. As a standard, “de facto standard” would be most technically accurate, but MP4 does count as a standard, with governance to match.

Four is the magic number. Now, what is important about this is, Native Instruments has standardized on four stems – that’s four stereo tracks. What you choose – maybe bassline, lead, drums, high-hats, for instance – is up to you. But by making four the “standard,” you can count on consistent mappings in software and hardware for manipulating the music.

You still have a separate stereo mix. Stems are 4+1 – four stereo tracks representing each of the four parts, and one stereo mix. That means two things: one, you still get the mastered, stereo version of the track, independent from mixing the stems together yourself. And two, if you open the Stems file in a different player (like iTunes or a CDJ), you’ll here the music as intended; you just won’t hear those stems.

Lossless or more channels are theoretically possible, but this isn’t about that. Back to MP4 – that format is a container for audio, and it already supports lossless encodings like ALAC or FLAC. It also can accommodate more than four stems. So, since NI is quick to call their format “open,” there’s nothing stopping people from building on Stems to make a system for sharing high-quality sounds – for instance, as a way of sharing projects for remixes, where you might want the lossless version.

But here’s where Stems is really an “initiative” rather than a format. Everything NI is announcing today – Traktor support, hardware control, stores with music you can buy, adoption by artists and labels – is really about the DJ-centered 4-stem content. And that’s because distributing 8-channel lossless Stems, for instance, wouldn’t really be practical for DJs. And there’s a reason for that:

Stems are big – like, on your hard drive. Open your music folder. Look at the file sizes. Now multiple each of them by a factor of five. That’s roughly what you’re talking with Stems, because you need not just one stereo file, but five of them. If NI were to go to eight tracks, you could wind up with stems you can’t control on hardware. And if they were to use a more uncompromising high quality encoding or more files, your music library would balloon in size. What they’ve done is find a compromise that gives you stems that already have five times the flexibility of music as it’s now distributed, in a format that’s reasonably high quality but doesn’t require huge file sizes.

There’s now a centralized website. Go to stems-music.com for a hub on Stems use and creation, with a mailing list for signup. And yes, that is an NI site, as —

NI are mostly steering the discussion. Open, yes; collaborative, well, not really on the tools side – not yet. Stems are really a Native Instruments project, whether their name is explicitly on it or not. It’s their tech, it works with their tools, they’re doing most of the promotion, and they’re running the show – with a whole lot of backing from artists and labels. Rival DJ vendors like Serato have been understandably quiet so far, though I imagine they might ponder Stems support depending on how content fares on Beatport and whether this forces some demand from their users.

On the other hand, remember that MIDI was a de facto standard, too, the adoption of which was largely driven by Roland (even if Dave Smith and Sequential led its design).

Pioneer seems receptive. What could change this from being “that Traktor thing that’s supposed to make you buy an S8?” Well, Pioneer support, for one. I spoke to NI CEO Daniel Haver at a public panel at the conference Tech Open Air. Daniel had just returned from Japan, and he said Pioneer was interested and supportive of the format. Remember that while Pioneer and Native Instruments are competitors, they’re somewhat friendly ones. NI’s gear is often plugged into mixers made by Pioneer, Traktor supports the CDJ as an external controller, and the two have contributed together to grow the overall DJ market. I don’t expect it to happen quickly, but if Pioneer did support Stems on hardware down the road, it’d be a huge deal.

Stems could save the download business – if you’re willing to pay more. Let’s not mince words: the music downloading business seems set to implode. When even Apple, the one company that had supported “owning” rather than “renting” music is pushing dirt-cheap streaming, when even the leading DJ store Beatport has its own streaming service, you know that’s trouble. And then you have Algoriddim’s djay app happy to let you DJ from your Spotify account, without downloading tracks.

Stems could be an escape route. They cost more, which promises more revenue for stores, labels, and artists – little wonder those folks are all so quick to sign on. And they provide content that a stream doesn’t, so there’s added reason to buy a download.

Of course, what’s yet to be seen is how many people will want Stems in the first place. NI is quick to point out that turning an EQ knob is a pretty crude way of remixing content, but DJs have been happily doing that for years. And I suspect that a lot of the would-be market for Stems are people who want to mash-up vocals from famous tracks. Whether that’s a good idea or not, that content isn’t there yet.

Stay tuned. Okay, that was … long. Fortunately, you’ll soon be able to read long-winded CDM articles in “Stems” format, where you can pick just the bit you want and remix it with content from some message forum somewhere.

Ahem.

Up next: hands-on impressions of Stems with the D2/S8 hardware, as that design clearly had this format in mind. See you.

  • ksandvik

    No tool yet…

    • No tool yet, exactly. Obviously, there’s some tooling working – or there wouldn’t be these tracks up. But it seems not ready for public consumption. You’ll be the first to know.

      • ksandvik

        Yes, I would like to release a couple of freebies as STEMs just to try them out, curious about the mixing levels versus final master and just how people will use them so I don’t mind releasing some stuff from my label as free STEMS now (or even in future.) But I need the tool…

        • Dotto

          Waiting for tool as well. Right now it looks like exclusive club members only.

          • I don’t think the intention was to be exclusive – I think it isn’t finished yet. 😉

    • mnb

      what about ffmpeg (avconv)?
      avconv -i input1 … -i input5 -map 0 .. -map 4 -codec …

      • Sure, absolutely … I think this will be easier once the specs and dev guide are up, though.

  • ksandvik

    No tool yet…

    • No tool yet, exactly. Obviously, there’s some tooling working – or there wouldn’t be these tracks up. But it seems not ready for public consumption. You’ll be the first to know.

      • ksandvik

        Yes, I would like to release a couple of freebies as STEMs just to try them out, curious about the mixing levels versus final master and just how people will use them so I don’t mind releasing some stuff from my label as free STEMS now (or even in future.) But I need the tool…

        • Dotto

          Waiting for tool as well. Right now it looks like exclusive club members only.

          • I don’t think the intention was to be exclusive – I think it isn’t finished yet. 😉

    • mnb

      what about ffmpeg (avconv)?
      avconv -i input1 … -i input5 -map 0 .. -map 4 -codec …

      • Sure, absolutely … I think this will be easier once the specs and dev guide are up, though.

  • ksandvik

    No tool yet…

    • No tool yet, exactly. Obviously, there’s some tooling working – or there wouldn’t be these tracks up. But it seems not ready for public consumption. You’ll be the first to know.

      • ksandvik

        Yes, I would like to release a couple of freebies as STEMs just to try them out, curious about the mixing levels versus final master and just how people will use them so I don’t mind releasing some stuff from my label as free STEMS now (or even in future.) But I need the tool…

        • Dotto

          Waiting for tool as well. Right now it looks like exclusive club members only.

          • I don’t think the intention was to be exclusive – I think it isn’t finished yet. 😉

    • mnb

      what about ffmpeg (avconv)?
      avconv -i input1 … -i input5 -map 0 .. -map 4 -codec …

      • Sure, absolutely … I think this will be easier once the specs and dev guide are up, though.

  • LeBlanc

    In the 90’s DJ’s used only 2 turntables and a mixer. The played the greatest records one after the other. They played great DJ sets and people where dancing and having fun..

    Nowadays they use all this over the top equipment.. Did the mixes get any better or more interesting? No.

    • Dotto

      The same goes with music made now vs. then. We have the best tools but the music is quite opposite.

      • This kind of statement has absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

        There’s an explosion of young people making music. My suggestion is, don’t waste time getting depressed and writing comments like this, because they’re going to blow right past you, and you’ll miss it.

        Now, uh… NI had really better fix their tool chain here after all the hype.

        • LeBlanc

          I don’t think he’s getting depressed, but gives us his honest opinion about the shitload of crappy music that you hear nowadays.

          Of course new technology is great.. I like it a lot. But it also means that a lot of ‘DJs’ with mediocre talent HAVE to use technology to make up for their lack of skills. They NEED the sync button.. They NEED stem files because they’re too lazy to search for acapella’s or can’t use eq properly to isolate basslines. They NEED to show the crowd their rainbow led lights on their pad controllers to distract them crappy mixing skills..

          • LeBlanc

            Sorry for the typo’s Peter.. There’s no edit function for posts..

    • Hold on — no.

      First, when last I checked, there are quite a hell of a lot of people using two turntables and a mixer.

      There are also people now using laptops to DJ in the way you’re describing who weren’t able to afford two turntables and a mixer, who couldn’t carry vinyl records on Ryanair and whatnot, who are now making music. And if *anything* is part of the history of DJing, democratization is. The entire practice of DJing has grown out of kids wanting to have parties using whatever they could get their hands on.

      Meanwhile, the tools here are really about being able to play in some different ways. It’s somewhere between a live performance and DJing.

      And, sorry, but it’s also fun to play that way, when you might be bored of just playing records one after another.

      But yes, tell those damned kids to get off your lawn if you like.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        But, but… that would mean having to learn a whole new way of playing and actually being open-minded. How I for to do?
        /s

        Seriously. There’re so many more insanely cool ways you can manipulate audio now than there ever have been.

  • LeBlanc

    In the 90’s DJ’s used only 2 turntables and a mixer. The played the greatest records one after the other. They played great DJ sets and people where dancing and having fun..

    Nowadays they use all this over the top equipment.. Did the mixes get any better or more interesting? No.

    • Dotto

      The same goes with music made now vs. then. We have the best tools but the music is quite opposite.

      • This kind of statement has absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

        There’s an explosion of young people making music. My suggestion is, don’t waste time getting depressed and writing comments like this, because they’re going to blow right past you, and you’ll miss it.

        Now, uh… NI had really better fix their tool chain here after all the hype.

        • LeBlanc

          I don’t think he’s getting depressed, but gives us his honest opinion about the shitload of crappy music that you hear nowadays.

          Of course new technology is great.. I like it a lot. But it also means that a lot of ‘DJs’ with mediocre talent HAVE to use technology to make up for their lack of skills. They NEED the sync button.. They NEED stem files because they’re too lazy to search for acapella’s or can’t use eq properly to isolate basslines. They NEED to show the crowd their rainbow led lights on their pad controllers to distract them crappy mixing skills..

          • LeBlanc

            Sorry for the typo’s Peter.. There’s no edit function for posts..

    • Hold on — no.

      First, when last I checked, there are quite a hell of a lot of people using two turntables and a mixer.

      There are also people now using laptops to DJ in the way you’re describing who weren’t able to afford two turntables and a mixer, who couldn’t carry vinyl records on Ryanair and whatnot, who are now making music. And if *anything* is part of the history of DJing, democratization is. The entire practice of DJing has grown out of kids wanting to have parties using whatever they could get their hands on.

      Meanwhile, the tools here are really about being able to play in some different ways. It’s somewhere between a live performance and DJing.

      And, sorry, but it’s also fun to play that way, when you might be bored of just playing records one after another.

      But yes, tell those damned kids to get off your lawn if you like.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        But, but… that would mean having to learn a whole new way of playing and actually being open-minded. How I for to do?
        /s

        Seriously. There’re so many more insanely cool ways you can manipulate audio now than there ever have been.

  • LeBlanc

    In the 90’s DJ’s used only 2 turntables and a mixer. The played the greatest records one after the other. They played great DJ sets and people where dancing and having fun..

    Nowadays they use all this over the top equipment.. Did the mixes get any better or more interesting? No.

    • Dotto

      The same goes with music made now vs. then. We have the best tools but the music is quite opposite.

      • This kind of statement has absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

        There’s an explosion of young people making music. My suggestion is, don’t waste time getting depressed and writing comments like this, because they’re going to blow right past you, and you’ll miss it.

        Now, uh… NI had really better fix their tool chain here after all the hype.

        • LeBlanc

          I don’t think he’s getting depressed, but gives us his honest opinion about the shitload of crappy music that you hear nowadays.

          Of course new technology is great.. I like it a lot. But it also means that a lot of ‘DJs’ with mediocre talent HAVE to use technology to make up for their lack of skills. They NEED the sync button.. They NEED stem files because they’re too lazy to search for acapella’s or can’t use eq properly to isolate basslines. They NEED to show the crowd their rainbow led lights on their pad controllers to distract them crappy mixing skills..

          • LeBlanc

            Sorry for the typo’s Peter.. There’s no edit function for posts..

    • Hold on — no.

      First, when last I checked, there are quite a hell of a lot of people using two turntables and a mixer.

      There are also people now using laptops to DJ in the way you’re describing who weren’t able to afford two turntables and a mixer, who couldn’t carry vinyl records on Ryanair and whatnot, who are now making music. And if *anything* is part of the history of DJing, democratization is. The entire practice of DJing has grown out of kids wanting to have parties using whatever they could get their hands on.

      Meanwhile, the tools here are really about being able to play in some different ways. It’s somewhere between a live performance and DJing.

      And, sorry, but it’s also fun to play that way, when you might be bored of just playing records one after another.

      But yes, tell those damned kids to get off your lawn if you like.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        But, but… that would mean having to learn a whole new way of playing and actually being open-minded. How I for to do?
        /s

        Seriously. There’re so many more insanely cool ways you can manipulate audio now than there ever have been.

  • coolout

    I’m all for new toys and “nextlevelness”, but I wish that NI would go back and focus on basic tools that users have been asking for years. Like a stacked waveform option or Maschine integration.

    IMO the stems format for beatport-type stuff isn’t that big of a deal since the tracks are already made for DJs. The most of the musical elements are usually isolated in the arrangement anyways. There’s always just drums on the intro/outro, a breakdown, etc. With loops, cue points, and filtering you can already arrange on the fly enough for a crowd. If there’s also an instrumental or acapella available you can throw it in a DAW, flip the phase and isolate even more elements for edits or whatever.

    The real excitement will be when folks start making bootleg stems. Audio engineering geeks have been trading copies of multi-tracks of classic recordings for years. The stems format should be a lot easier the move around than pro-tools sessions.

    • ksandvik

      Yes and no. There are some options to mix a bass track from one song with a drums from another and maybe even the arrangements from the third. Now, it might sound bad at some point if the breakdowns cause issues but then loops will help.

  • coolout

    I’m all for new toys and “nextlevelness”, but I wish that NI would go back and focus on basic tools that users have been asking for years. Like a stacked waveform option or Maschine integration.

    IMO the stems format for beatport-type stuff isn’t that big of a deal since the tracks are already made for DJs. The most of the musical elements are usually isolated in the arrangement anyways. There’s always just drums on the intro/outro, a breakdown, etc. With loops, cue points, and filtering you can already arrange on the fly enough for a crowd. If there’s also an instrumental or acapella available you can throw it in a DAW, flip the phase and isolate even more elements for edits or whatever.

    The real excitement will be when folks start making bootleg stems. Audio engineering geeks have been trading copies of multi-tracks of classic recordings for years. The stems format should be a lot easier the move around than pro-tools sessions.

    • ksandvik

      Yes and no. There are some options to mix a bass track from one song with a drums from another and maybe even the arrangements from the third. Now, it might sound bad at some point if the breakdowns cause issues but then loops will help.

  • coolout

    I’m all for new toys and “nextlevelness”, but I wish that NI would go back and focus on basic tools that users have been asking for years. Like a stacked waveform option or Maschine integration.

    IMO the stems format for beatport-type stuff isn’t that big of a deal since the tracks are already made for DJs. The most of the musical elements are usually isolated in the arrangement anyways. There’s always just drums on the intro/outro, a breakdown, etc. With loops, cue points, and filtering you can already arrange on the fly enough for a crowd. If there’s also an instrumental or acapella available you can throw it in a DAW, flip the phase and isolate even more elements for edits or whatever.

    The real excitement will be when folks start making bootleg stems. Audio engineering geeks have been trading copies of multi-tracks of classic recordings for years. The stems format should be a lot easier the move around than pro-tools sessions.

    • ksandvik

      Yes and no. There are some options to mix a bass track from one song with a drums from another and maybe even the arrangements from the third. Now, it might sound bad at some point if the breakdowns cause issues but then loops will help.

  • an3

    ..as a producer & performer who bought the D2 on day of release. prepping all my songs
    the last month ready to use the D2 with stems.. i am MAJOR bummed here 🙁 two fingers down for NI

  • an3

    ..as a producer & performer who bought the D2 on day of release. prepping all my songs
    the last month ready to use the D2 with stems.. i am MAJOR bummed here 🙁 two fingers down for NI

  • an3

    ..as a producer & performer who bought the D2 on day of release. prepping all my songs
    the last month ready to use the D2 with stems.. i am MAJOR bummed here 🙁 two fingers down for NI

  • Beatles 4-tracks as DJ

  • Beatles 4-tracks as DJ

  • Beatles 4-tracks as DJ

  • Just realizing, we won’t be getting the visual break out of the stem waveforms unless using NI hardware such as the D2. nothing in the software will show you the 4 waveform. Thats a very… interesting… way to implement a new ‘open’ standard…

    • I don’t think that’s an effort to make you buy the S8/D2 so much as it is NI is behind on Traktor. Note the version number 2.9, which is… getting closer to a larger number.

      But you’re right, without the stems visualization in Traktor 2.9, this is a whole lot less useful. Then again, if you don’t mind working blind, you can still map to other hardware, not just NI’s.

      • As I intend to; I just can’t sort why they didn’t bother to break the main waveform into the 4 stems on the deck view (at least in the expanded ones)…

        NI’s last couple of major features have been really strong in concept but all tend to feel rather hacked in to the software IMO; freeze mode plays some silly games with the loop size and beat jump (i noticed it via midi out messages) rather than sorting everything internally for example.

        Perhaps a sign of end of life as others have hinted, but lets not forget that 2.11 is an equally valid version number.

  • Just realizing, we won’t be getting the visual break out of the stem waveforms unless using NI hardware such as the D2. nothing in the software will show you the 4 waveform. Thats a very… interesting… way to implement a new ‘open’ standard…

    • I don’t think that’s an effort to make you buy the S8/D2 so much as it is NI is behind on Traktor. Note the version number 2.9, which is… getting closer to a larger number.

      But you’re right, without the stems visualization in Traktor 2.9, this is a whole lot less useful. Then again, if you don’t mind working blind, you can still map to other hardware, not just NI’s.

      • As I intend to; I just can’t sort why they didn’t bother to break the main waveform into the 4 stems on the deck view (at least in the expanded ones)…

        NI’s last couple of major features have been really strong in concept but all tend to feel rather hacked in to the software IMO; freeze mode plays some silly games with the loop size and beat jump (i noticed it via midi out messages) rather than sorting everything internally for example.

        Perhaps a sign of end of life as others have hinted, but lets not forget that 2.11 is an equally valid version number.

  • Just realizing, we won’t be getting the visual break out of the stem waveforms unless using NI hardware such as the D2. nothing in the software will show you the 4 waveform. Thats a very… interesting… way to implement a new ‘open’ standard…

    • I don’t think that’s an effort to make you buy the S8/D2 so much as it is NI is behind on Traktor. Note the version number 2.9, which is… getting closer to a larger number.

      But you’re right, without the stems visualization in Traktor 2.9, this is a whole lot less useful. Then again, if you don’t mind working blind, you can still map to other hardware, not just NI’s.

      • As I intend to; I just can’t sort why they didn’t bother to break the main waveform into the 4 stems on the deck view (at least in the expanded ones)…

        NI’s last couple of major features have been really strong in concept but all tend to feel rather hacked in to the software IMO; freeze mode plays some silly games with the loop size and beat jump (i noticed it via midi out messages) rather than sorting everything internally for example.

        Perhaps a sign of end of life as others have hinted, but lets not forget that 2.11 is an equally valid version number.

  • yur2die4

    I’m still hoping these will also have ‘alternate material’, for instance when you’re making a track and can’t decide if the arpeggio or the chord stab sounds best in the chorus, you can have the standard ‘released’ sound in one channel, and the alternative option in another. This would be way more exciting to me as a dj since I’d get to use bonus material to make the original track sound strangely different yet intended to be there.

  • yur2die4

    I’m still hoping these will also have ‘alternate material’, for instance when you’re making a track and can’t decide if the arpeggio or the chord stab sounds best in the chorus, you can have the standard ‘released’ sound in one channel, and the alternative option in another. This would be way more exciting to me as a dj since I’d get to use bonus material to make the original track sound strangely different yet intended to be there.

  • yur2die4

    I’m still hoping these will also have ‘alternate material’, for instance when you’re making a track and can’t decide if the arpeggio or the chord stab sounds best in the chorus, you can have the standard ‘released’ sound in one channel, and the alternative option in another. This would be way more exciting to me as a dj since I’d get to use bonus material to make the original track sound strangely different yet intended to be there.

  • DOG

    I feel like the name (and packaging) of Stems is gonna cause a hell of a lot of confusion at first for anyone that isn’t working closely with DJs. Otherwise I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this, and it should make a lot of stuff I use Traktor for more streamlined.

  • DOG

    I feel like the name (and packaging) of Stems is gonna cause a hell of a lot of confusion at first for anyone that isn’t working closely with DJs. Otherwise I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this, and it should make a lot of stuff I use Traktor for more streamlined.

  • DOG

    I feel like the name (and packaging) of Stems is gonna cause a hell of a lot of confusion at first for anyone that isn’t working closely with DJs. Otherwise I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this, and it should make a lot of stuff I use Traktor for more streamlined.

  • wndfrm

    i just want to make 4 channel versions of my tracks for playback on quad systems 🙂

    • Yeah, this isn’t that – not yet, anyway.

      But the existing MPEG4 multichannel format, on which this is based, could easily support that.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        Yeah, definitely curious as to how the format will be twisted into unintended uses.

        • Well, that’s even an *intended* use, I think — of multichannel MPEG4. 🙂 So what this may do is make people look at that file format again.

          • Jacob Stadtfeld

            Honestly I’m probably going to be using it to create mashup tracks. Take 4 songs that work well together, probably two or three of them accapellas, and mix those live.

      • wndfrm

        ah! interesting. i must have missed something in the description, seems like it would work? i’ll have to look closer.

  • wndfrm

    i just want to make 4 channel versions of my tracks for playback on quad systems 🙂

    • Yeah, this isn’t that – not yet, anyway.

      But the existing MPEG4 multichannel format, on which this is based, could easily support that.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        Yeah, definitely curious as to how the format will be twisted into unintended uses.

        • Well, that’s even an *intended* use, I think — of multichannel MPEG4. 🙂 So what this may do is make people look at that file format again.

          • Jacob Stadtfeld

            Honestly I’m probably going to be using it to create mashup tracks. Take 4 songs that work well together, probably two or three of them accapellas, and mix those live.

      • wndfrm

        ah! interesting. i must have missed something in the description, seems like it would work? i’ll have to look closer.

  • wndfrm

    i just want to make 4 channel versions of my tracks for playback on quad systems 🙂

    • Yeah, this isn’t that – not yet, anyway.

      But the existing MPEG4 multichannel format, on which this is based, could easily support that.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        Yeah, definitely curious as to how the format will be twisted into unintended uses.

        • Well, that’s even an *intended* use, I think — of multichannel MPEG4. 🙂 So what this may do is make people look at that file format again.

          • Jacob Stadtfeld

            Honestly I’m probably going to be using it to create mashup tracks. Take 4 songs that work well together, probably two or three of them accapellas, and mix those live.

      • wndfrm

        ah! interesting. i must have missed something in the description, seems like it would work? i’ll have to look closer.

  • Random Chance

    As much as I am not into DJ performances in general, I can imagine that developments like this might bring a more interesting and diverse style of playing canned music that will routinely surpass the so-called live performances by artists in terms of spontaneity and rapport with the audience to the masses. Which is a good thing, I guess.

  • Random Chance

    As much as I am not into DJ performances in general, I can imagine that developments like this might bring a more interesting and diverse style of playing canned music that will routinely surpass the so-called live performances by artists in terms of spontaneity and rapport with the audience to the masses. Which is a good thing, I guess.

  • Random Chance

    As much as I am not into DJ performances in general, I can imagine that developments like this might bring a more interesting and diverse style of playing canned music that will routinely surpass the so-called live performances by artists in terms of spontaneity and rapport with the audience to the masses. Which is a good thing, I guess.

  • bub ruckz

    Why do you need stems for 4 on the floor techno? We all know that’s as far as this idea will go. I guess we gotta keep the DJs believing they are the most important part of the food chain, (producers).

  • bub ruckz

    Why do you need stems for 4 on the floor techno? We all know that’s as far as this idea will go. I guess we gotta keep the DJs believing they are the most important part of the food chain, (producers).

  • bub ruckz

    Why do you need stems for 4 on the floor techno? We all know that’s as far as this idea will go. I guess we gotta keep the DJs believing they are the most important part of the food chain, (producers).

  • I think it’s a neat idea. Stems aren’t exactly a new concept, but the 4 channel file format is the part that’s a neat idea. This would make it a lot easier to provide remixable tracks without sending a bunch of files.

    Though you’d still have to get a little creative – the average count from my album was about 7 stems per track. That might be a little harder to combine into 4, but we weren’t really producing it for DJ’s. I love hearing parts of it in remixes though.

    This would make it easier for strangers to do higher quality remixes without having to contact the original musician for tracks. Although that might spawn more illegal use of original content without pay – but hey its the 21st century that’s how it goes now right?

  • I think it’s a neat idea. Stems aren’t exactly a new concept, but the 4 channel file format is the part that’s a neat idea. This would make it a lot easier to provide remixable tracks without sending a bunch of files.

    Though you’d still have to get a little creative – the average count from my album was about 7 stems per track. That might be a little harder to combine into 4, but we weren’t really producing it for DJ’s. I love hearing parts of it in remixes though.

    This would make it easier for strangers to do higher quality remixes without having to contact the original musician for tracks. Although that might spawn more illegal use of original content without pay – but hey its the 21st century that’s how it goes now right?

  • I think it’s a neat idea. Stems aren’t exactly a new concept, but the 4 channel file format is the part that’s a neat idea. This would make it a lot easier to provide remixable tracks without sending a bunch of files.

    Though you’d still have to get a little creative – the average count from my album was about 7 stems per track. That might be a little harder to combine into 4, but we weren’t really producing it for DJ’s. I love hearing parts of it in remixes though.

    This would make it easier for strangers to do higher quality remixes without having to contact the original musician for tracks. Although that might spawn more illegal use of original content without pay – but hey its the 21st century that’s how it goes now right?

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    re: file size.

    My music collection is about 15k tracks, some of which are WAV and FLAC formats. The total disk space is about 115GB. They currently live (replicated) on (a) a 2TB USB3 external spinning disk which cost me less than $100 (b) on a 500GB SATA SSD which cost me $300.

    The argument that anyone’s collections of Stems is going to stress disk capacity is pretty crazy. The argument that the devices that people might use Stems with can’t actually utilize these sorts of disks might be a better one – I don’t know if it is true. If it is true, then that’s a significant design failure in the devices.

    • Well, the argument would be crazy if there were a 1:1 return on investment for added file size and quality. There isn’t. And it doesn’t seem *so* crazy to suggest that once you’re multiple a file size by ten in order to accommodate more tracks, that’s a consideration.

      The whole point is it’s a DJ format. For exchanging files for remixing among producers, for instance, then of course you’d choose lossless. But that wasn’t the intent here.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    re: file size.

    My music collection is about 15k tracks, some of which are WAV and FLAC formats, and a significant number are LONG ambient pieces (numerous examples lasting > 1hr). The total disk space is about 115GB. They currently live (replicated) on (a) a 2TB USB3 external spinning disk which cost me less than $100 (b) on a 500GB SATA SSD which cost me $300.

    The argument that anyone’s collections of Stems is going to stress disk capacity is pretty crazy. The argument that the devices that people might use Stems with can’t actually utilize these sorts of disks might be a better one – I don’t know if it is true. If it is true, then that’s a significant design failure in the devices.

    • Well, the argument would be crazy if there were a 1:1 return on investment for added file size and quality. There isn’t. And it doesn’t seem *so* crazy to suggest that once you’re multiple a file size by ten in order to accommodate more tracks, that’s a consideration.

      The whole point is it’s a DJ format. For exchanging files for remixing among producers, for instance, then of course you’d choose lossless. But that wasn’t the intent here.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    re: file size.

    My music collection is about 15k tracks, some of which are WAV and FLAC formats, and a significant number are LONG ambient pieces (numerous examples lasting > 1hr). The total disk space is about 115GB. They currently live (replicated) on (a) a 2TB USB3 external spinning disk which cost me less than $100 (b) on a 500GB SATA SSD which cost me $300.

    The argument that anyone’s collections of Stems is going to stress disk capacity is pretty crazy. The argument that the devices that people might use Stems with can’t actually utilize these sorts of disks might be a better one – I don’t know if it is true. If it is true, then that’s a significant design failure in the devices.

    • Well, the argument would be crazy if there were a 1:1 return on investment for added file size and quality. There isn’t. And it doesn’t seem *so* crazy to suggest that once you’re multiple a file size by ten in order to accommodate more tracks, that’s a consideration.

      The whole point is it’s a DJ format. For exchanging files for remixing among producers, for instance, then of course you’d choose lossless. But that wasn’t the intent here.

  • Frankie

    And now the CRAP can be managed as C(reverb on top) R (w/shutterrrrrrr ) A(with the analog delay) and the P (some piss me off effect)
    If they wrapped the naked midi files instead of the audio, the truth about the creativity in today’s dance music would be revealed.
    But the economy will be saved…at least 🙂
    Not that skeptic..just kid din…

  • Frankie

    And now the CRAP can be managed as C(reverb on top) R (w/shutterrrrrrr ) A(with the analog delay) and the P (some piss me off effect)
    If they wrapped the naked midi files instead of the audio, the truth about the creativity in today’s dance music would be revealed.
    But the economy will be saved…at least 🙂
    Not that skeptic..just kid din…

  • Frankie

    And now the CRAP can be managed as C(reverb on top) R (w/shutterrrrrrr ) A(with the analog delay) and the P (some piss me off effect)
    If they wrapped the naked midi files instead of the audio, the truth about the creativity in today’s dance music would be revealed.
    But the economy will be saved…at least 🙂
    Not that skeptic..just kid din…

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    Interesting thing I found when playing with the NGHT DRPS stems that I haven’t noticed anyone mentioning. When routing each stem to FX, it appears that the drums, bass, and lead stems are set up to interact with the FX units in an Insert behavior, while the vocals track is set with a Send behavior, or at the very least a limited dry/wet setting. It looks to me like the producer, when bouncing their tracks, can actually specify not just the compression settings for Traktor, but the FX settings as well. Specifically, Beatmasher functions at full wet setting on the first three stems, but only sounds like 50% on the vocal stem. Anyone else notice this?

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    Interesting thing I found when playing with the NGHT DRPS stems that I haven’t noticed anyone mentioning. When routing each stem to FX, it appears that the drums, bass, and lead stems are set up to interact with the FX units in an Insert behavior, while the vocals track is set with a Send behavior, or at the very least a limited dry/wet setting. It looks to me like the producer, when bouncing their tracks, can actually specify not just the compression settings for Traktor, but the FX settings as well. Specifically, Beatmasher functions at full wet setting on the first three stems, but only sounds like 50% on the vocal stem. Anyone else notice this?

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    Interesting thing I found when playing with the NGHT DRPS stems that I haven’t noticed anyone mentioning. When routing each stem to FX, it appears that the drums, bass, and lead stems are set up to interact with the FX units in an Insert behavior, while the vocals track is set with a Send behavior, or at the very least a limited dry/wet setting. It looks to me like the producer, when bouncing their tracks, can actually specify not just the compression settings for Traktor, but the FX settings as well. Specifically, Beatmasher functions at full wet setting on the first three stems, but only sounds like 50% on the vocal stem. Anyone else notice this?

  • Polite Society

    I’m curious about what people think of the resampling side of this. Now you could just sample that killer bassline from the stem and put it in your track. obviously you would have to pay the usual royalties, but I have the bad feeling there will be an explosion of half arsed productions with killer hooks from these tracks.

  • Polite Society

    I’m curious about what people think of the resampling side of this. Now you could just sample that killer bassline from the stem and put it in your track. obviously you would have to pay the usual royalties, but I have the bad feeling there will be an explosion of half arsed productions with killer hooks from these tracks.

  • Polite Society

    I’m curious about what people think of the resampling side of this. Now you could just sample that killer bassline from the stem and put it in your track. obviously you would have to pay the usual royalties, but I have the bad feeling there will be an explosion of half arsed productions with killer hooks from these tracks.

  • Todd Keebs

    Last night I bout 9 stem tracks. This morning, I loaded them onto my iPhone for listening purposes to find that they only sort of work. The beginning of the tracks seem to work well, but some tracks randomly end and the next song starts, despite still looking like the previous song is playing. Mileage seems to vary depending on the song, though not sure if this is from the encoding, length of the song, content or what. I hope this is addressed, because the “invisibility” of the stem format is one of the things that I think gives it the most possibility of catching on.

  • Todd Keebs

    Last night I bout 9 stem tracks. This morning, I loaded them onto my iPhone for listening purposes to find that they only sort of work. The beginning of the tracks seem to work well, but some tracks randomly end and the next song starts, despite still looking like the previous song is playing. Mileage seems to vary depending on the song, though not sure if this is from the encoding, length of the song, content or what. I hope this is addressed, because the “invisibility” of the stem format is one of the things that I think gives it the most possibility of catching on.

  • Todd Keebs

    Last night I bout 9 stem tracks. This morning, I loaded them onto my iPhone for listening purposes to find that they only sort of work. The beginning of the tracks seem to work well, but some tracks randomly end and the next song starts, despite still looking like the previous song is playing. Mileage seems to vary depending on the song, though not sure if this is from the encoding, length of the song, content or what. I hope this is addressed, because the “invisibility” of the stem format is one of the things that I think gives it the most possibility of catching on.

  • Just tried stems files in iTunes Match, and they are “ineligible” .. which complicates things a bit for people like me who like iTunes Match. Was hoping that this was one of the reasons why NI went with the .mp4 container format.

  • Just tried stems files in iTunes Match, and they are “ineligible” .. which complicates things a bit for people like me who like iTunes Match. Was hoping that this was one of the reasons why NI went with the .mp4 container format.

  • Just tried stems files in iTunes Match, and they are “ineligible” .. which complicates things a bit for people like me who like iTunes Match. Was hoping that this was one of the reasons why NI went with the .mp4 container format.

  • Elijah Togiamua

    Wow. I’ve learn’t so much reading this! I definitely want to make this apart of the type of mixer and producer I want to be! Look out for me! 😀