In an online event sponsored by Sweetwater Sound and Dangerous Music, pureMix will be offering a free 3-video seminar on Stem Mastering by top LA-based mastering engineer Mike Wells (Green Day, Prince, Tommy Guerrero, STS9).

Discover exactly what Stem Mastering is and get an insider’s look at a controversial yet powerful way to master music. Wells explains the crucial elements for success and demonstrates how Stem Mastering delivers the maximum sonic impact while retaining the original mix engineer’s intention and the artist’s vision for the music. The online event happens on Saturday May 13, 2pm EDT.

pureMix Stem Mastering with Mike Wells

Mastering engineers are typically only given a stereo mix to work their magic with, but what happens to the mix when heavy amounts to compression and limiting are applied to reach todays’ loudness goals? What areas of the mix are now overly competing with each other, such as drum toms competing with the bass, or piano competing with the vocal? Stereo EQ can only go so far to allow a mastering engineer options to maintain clarity and intention of the mix while simultaneously achieving the target loudness. The stem mastering process allows the mastering engineer the ability to make small changes to mix elements that add up to big gains when final compression and limiting are applied to the stereo mix.

With the mix broken down into several manageable pieces, mastering engineers like Mike Wells can now deliver a finished master with enhanced focus, clarity, depth and even more perceived volume.

“A popular saying in the stereo mastering world is that you’ve got to give something to get something,” says Wells. “Those tradeoffs are loss of transient detail, loss of punch, shifting instrument positions, and frequency buildup-what do you get for losing all that? Loudness! With stem mastering we are presented with an opportunity to use EQ, limiting and compression without those tradeoffs.”

By using extreme limiting on a stereo mix to achieve ‘commercial gain’ Wells shows in the video how this effect creates undesirable artifacts like mid-range frequency buildup, loss of mix detail and uncontrolled emphasis on certain instruments or vocals. With Wells’ stem mastering techniques, he teaches you how to avoid these sonic stumbling blocks.

In Part 1 of the video series Wells gives an overview of what ‘Stem Mastering’ is and why you would use it. Part 2 details the process of getting files from the mix engineer and preparing them for Stem Mastering-you’ll also get Wells’ own stereo-file mastering tips and techniques. In part 3 he shows you a step-by-step example of Stem Mastering in action so you can hear how the stereo image is enhanced while the overall level increases dramatically showing off the songs’ inner strengths. In his Stem Mastering demo, Mike uses several Dangerous Music products: the 2-BUS+ analog summing mixer, BAX EQ, COMPRESSOR and CONVERT-8 DACs to achieve a superior master for the rock band “Hard Youth”.

Become a Puremix member for free and get more information on the seminar.

More information: pureMix / Stem Mastering with Mike Wells