Final mix using an instrumental track with vocals on top. Does it affect the final quality?

For a final mix, due to computer limitations, I’m doing the final mix as follows: I inserted the rendered instrumental track (WAV) and the vocal tracks “on top” of the mix. Does the fact that I’m using a rendered WAV image as an instrumental make my mix lose quality or does the vocals not interact with the other tracks in the project as they should, in a way? Is there a difference in the final result of the mix?

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

This exact process, called stem mastering, is largely used by professionals, and does not affect the quality at all. The different instrument groups are rendered as separate files, for example one file for the drums, one for the guitars, one for vocals, etc, and offers more flexibility for the mastering. Of course, this takes into account that the mix has been already done, and all effects have already been rendered in the stems.

In your case, if you wish to apply side-chain compression on a specific instrument to give more room to the vocals for example, you won’t be able to achieve it properly, as it will instead affect the whole mix file. Maybe what I’m talking about may seem a bit complicated, but rest assured that the final result of the export will be exactly the same as rendering the whole project at once, there’s no difference in that.

I hope this helps :slightly_smiling_face:

Louis, thanks a lot! Your answer was very clear and will help me a lot in the final process. Not only the interaction between the tracks but also the degradation of the WAV file worried me. Regards!

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