Surprisingly enough, many producers don't fully understand the benefit of having a stemmed out melody during both the initial beat making process and the final mixing stages.
If you don’t have access to the stems, or you do have them but don’t know how to put them to work, the result will be a boring, repetitive arrangement and a flat, non-dynamic mix 🤮
But don’t trip. We’re going to break down exactly how to get the most out of your stems so that you can start making better beats immediately.
Before we dive in, let’s clear up some terminology.
Stems (also known as track-outs) refer to the components of a song, beat or melody broken down into their own individual audio files. Since each instrument has its own file, stems allow the producer to rearrange, manipulate, and mix the components as they see fit.
While stems are not always available when using another producer’s melody, it's always beneficial in the long run to find melodies (or for you artists, beats) that include stems. ProducerGrind has a BUNCH of sample packs that include melody stems 👇 (article continues below) 👇
Okay bet. You know what stems are and you’ve copped yourself a 🔥 melody pack. Here are three tips for getting the most out of stems:
Tip #1: Have song structure in mind from the beginning of your beat making process
One of the most important (yet often overlooked) aspects of beat making is the arrangement. Your beats should have an apparent structure so that when an artist hears them, they already have an idea of where the hook will go, when the verse starts, etc.
The easiest way to do this is to add and remove certain layers of the melody to signify the start of a new section of the beat.
Typically the hook is the busiest part of the beat with most instruments playing at once. Try stripping down the melody to just a single layer as the beat transitions from the hook to the verse.
Here’s an example using a sick guitar-based melody from CRUISE (hook transitioning to verse):
Tip #2: Use effect plugins to modify individual melody layers
Throwing on an effect plugin (even simple ones like Halftime or Grossbeat) can help create additional variation and make each section of your beat more distinct. This will keep the listener’s attention and prevent your beat from sounding too repetitive.
Try using this technique in the second half of a verse or hook. You’ll be surprised at how much this makes the beat sound more intricate, even though you’re not actually adding more sounds to it.
Check it out:
Tip #3: Apply an EQ to each section of the melody
Using an EQ to carve out individual harmonic frequency ranges for each instrument will allow each instrument to shine where it matters most (and prevent the parts from interfering with each other).
Hopefully the original composer did a great job mixing the melody or beat, but having the stems provides additional flexibility to mix the parts exactly how you need them.
Consider cutting out some of the low end from all melody components whenever your 808 is playing. This will provide a lot more room for your 808s to occupy the low end totally unobstructed, making them hit harder.
Subtle mixing tricks like this add up to turn a good beat into a great beat. And you can pull it off if you have the stems 👍
Those were three tips for getting the most out of stems. Keep a careful eye out whenever you purchase sample packs or do business personally with a loop / beatmaker to make sure stems are an option.
Besides which, your mixing engineer will thank you 😉 I promise.
If you still haven't picked up some amazing melody kits with stemmed out parts, be sure to check out these amazing offers!