What are Stems?
If you're a DJ looking to take your live performances to the next level, you need to get familiar with stems! Stems is a revolutionary technology that allows you to separate out the different elements of a track in real-time, giving you complete control over your sound. With stems, you can isolate vocals, bass, melody, and drums at the click of a button, allowing you to mix and match different parts of different tracks to create something totally unique.
The following DJ applications are currently offering Stems
The below list is what was known at the time of this article, but the expectation is more and more applications will be adding live stem editing to their features soon.
Serato 3 has stems as a panel you can pull up right where the loops are shown. The new RANE FOUR will actually be the first to have stem buttons right on the hardware to integrate with Serato 3.0, but also allows you to midi map to other midi banks. For example, if you have a RANE ONE, and you don't use the samples feature, you can remap those midi buttons to stem features including stored combinations.
Rekordbox currently does not have stems and it's not understood what their plans are to incorporate
VirtualDJ lets you use unlimited audio effects to a single stem or more stems. Apply echo out to vocals only, add beat grid to drums only and more. Scratch the vocal parts only or loop the rhythm section only. There are several ready-to-use performance pads with stems fx available to add in Extensions.
Algoriddim was the first major DJ app to add real-time mixing of stems, with Neural Mixing in Djay Pro AI
Engine DJ currently does not have stems and there is no information on when it might appear
Using stems can add a whole new dimension to your live sets, allowing you to create seamless transitions, mashups, and remixes on the fly. Plus, it's just plain fun to experiment with all the different parts of a track and see what you can come up with!
Here's how to get started using stems:
But as with any new technology, her's a few things you should keep in mind when using stems in your DJ performances:
- Practice makes perfect: Stems can be a lot of fun, but they also require some practice to get the hang of. Make sure you spend some time playing around with different stems before you hit the stage to ensure that you feel comfortable using them in a live setting.
- Don't overdo it: While stems can add a lot of excitement to your sets, it's important to use them judiciously. Don't rely on stems too heavily, or your sets may start to sound disjointed and chaotic.
- Keep an eye on your levels: As you mix and match different stems, make sure you keep an eye on your levels to ensure that everything sounds balanced and cohesive.
- Don't neglect your transitions: Even with stems, it's important to pay attention to your transitions and make sure that everything flows smoothly from one track to the next.
By following these tips, you can make the most of stems in your DJ performances and take your sets to the next level! So, get out there and start experimenting with this awesome technology today!