Is exporting stems with mastering effects possible?

I just watched Alex Pfeffer’s “template talk part II” on YouTube, and as I’m about to revise my orchestral template I need some advice RE routing and outputting mastered stems

For example, when mixing I’ll use gentle ‘glue’ bus compression across the master stereo outs, and perhaps a little EQ if needed. However, using the multiple track export bouncing group stems at the same time (ie, strings, winds, perc etc) these stems would not have these mastering effects applied. Is there a solution, or do you have to put mastering plugs (and duplicate the automation) on each group track output? This would increase processor load and has workflow issues of course, or is there another way? (other than soloing each group of instruments and exporting each stem one at a time)

Cheers - Brett


Any film guys out there? How do you export your stems with the same effects as 2-ch stereo mix?

Don’t know of any way myself. I would have copied the master effects to a group track and included that in the batch exported(once you’ve sent all the relevant tracks to that group, of course).

Putting the master buss comp across the stems would result in a different compression happening on all the stems than the way it would behave over the whole mix, thus I personally would not print with any dynamic master FX on the stems.

For master EQ though, I would be inclined to use over the stems as that would translate properly.

Wait, wouldn’t that just give you the same unprocessed stems as before but with the addition of what is essentially a stereo mix? One could just include the master bus in the multi export to the same end.

I’m pretty sure the short answer is no unfortunately. The quickest solution for the EQ would be to batch process your stems after Cubase renders them . . dBpoweramp converter would handle this in a few clicks . .

If I’m exporting raw tracks I’ll use the multi export feature but when creating stems I prefer to spend a bit more time and render them manually through the master bus . . mainly for the control it gives me in regards to FX and processing both in the mix and on the master bus. If you have automation on your master bus as well then I really think any workaround one can devise is going to be more of a PITA than just manually exporting the stems.

If you wanted to print the glueing effect of the compressor I’m sure you could route the entire mix including the stem being exported [there’s several ways to do this obviously] to the sidechain input on the compressor and have the compressor act on that input . . . that’s if the compressor you favour has a sidechain input?

Thanks Split, Red and Trevor.

Of course, you’re right. The compressor will react differently to a single stem compared to the whole mix. I guess though it would be closer than not having it at all (at least for some of the stems).

And no simple solution… :cry: I guess I either follow your suggestion Red and render then each separately or your suggestion Trevor and copy the effects over to each stem group including automation. (I always automate the threshold for film stuff as it is very dynamic and that way I can have the gentle ‘glue’ across both loud and quiet passages). Neither suggestion fills my with joy :wink: I’ve recently upgraded from C4 to C6 and thought the multi-export function would make my life easier. Not so much…

Cheers - Brett

You’re right but Bretta isn’t going to get things the way he wants them and to be honest, I’d forgotten the master bus can still be selected in batch export.

Ths is a limitation we are all faced with im afraid. once you get into using the glue you are stuck with it as one might say!!! even using the master eq on stems may effect the way the master bus compressor works if your eq is post compressor in the master chain - i do battle with this every day with complex multi routed mixes and my computers are red hot all day long as a result.

I have to say though that sometimes stemming individually through the master bus can often give a much better result than you might expect, though the push-pull effect between different sections/instruments is obviously not there. sometimes however doing this renders the mix sounding a bit flat!!!

off to toast my bread on my smoldering UAD quads and powercores now…

Just curious, is there a “wet/dry” or “mix” knob on your “glue” compression that you are using?

If not, maybe you could try kind of a parallel comp approach…create a pre-master bus and route everything through that bus. Setup an FX send/return track, use your glue comp there. apply it to that buss, hence the parallel approach. Still doesn’t affect the individual stems, but at least you can print that send/return track as well. Otherwise, can’t think of anything this that glue sound is a buss sound.

Well, what about something as elementary as reverb then? How can’t for the life of me even figure out how to batch export stems with reverb embedded into each.

For example, let’s say I have 3 strings tracks sending to a Reverb on FX1. These 3 strings tracks are routed to Group1
I also have 3 percussion tracks sending to the same Reverb on FX1. These 3 percussion tracks are routed to Group2
FX1 can’t point to both Group1 and Group2 so when I batch export the strings group and the percussion group both will be exported without reverb. (Yes, I can also export FX1 but what good does that do? - it has reverb sends from both the strings and the brass! Useless in a film mix)

In fact, for any project that uses either mastering effects on the Stereo out, or ANY FX-channel sends (reverbs, delays etc) I can’t see how batch export is any use at all. Each group (stem) still has to be exported separately.

Somebody whack me over the head with rolled up copy of the Cubase 6 manual if I’m wrong please! :slight_smile:


As I said: batch export is great for raw tracks and backups and interchanging files, but if you’re creating stems you want control over FX and processing both in the mix and on the master bus and you’re just not going to get it with an automated process . . at least not for quite a while! It would have to work quite differently from the current routine which creates all the exported tracks at the same time (which is why it’s so fast). I really can’t imagine Steinberg implementing this anytime soon unfortunately! And if they did they might even try to keep it exclusive to Nuendo . .

Even if Steinberg did implement this in say, Cubase 7 :] You still wouldn’t be able print the glueing effects of the compressor on the master bus, as Cubase would just render the groups/tracks/FX etc through the master bus one at a time.

However, if you use my sidechain trick you can quite easily print the push-pull effect of the whole mix going through a compressor onto one track at a time.

Good luck!

Thanks Red. It’s a good suggestion although I have no idea how to do this. My comp is sidechain capable but not VST3 so I’ll have to do some research on how to accomplish this. If you have any nuggets of wisdom send 'em my way


Awesome tip! :sunglasses:

Hmmm, I know it’s possible with VST 2.4 as I’ve read of ways to do it before . . as far as I know most (non-VST3) plugins implement side-chaining by simply creating more inputs on the plugin that one can route to, so the trick is probably something to do with making a 4-channel group bus . . I’ll go see if I can find something :]

I found this kinda dodgy old video, but I’m pretty sure this is what I had in mind:

Personally I would alter this method and just create a quadro output through the Devices > VST Connections > Outputs dialog . . I don’t see the point of messing around with groups in your case. Route the Left and right channels to your normal stereo outs and you can leave the surround outs unconnected (unless you have a second set of speakers on different outputs, in this case route the surround outs there) . . I would then copy your stereo bus inserts to the quadro chanel followed by any automation you have on the stereo bus . . . you can then delete the stereo bus and route all your groups/FX/tracks to the quadro out . . . at this point you should be able to listen to your mix as normal! Save a new project copy.

I should probably point out that your compressor needs to actually have an external side-chain, even if it is a non-VST3 implementation . . you can tell for sure by editing your quadro output bus, enabling Customize View > Insert Routing and looking at the insert routing for the compressor . . . I just loaded a couple at random before I found one that had 4 inputs . .

When you want to export a stem just pan all your groups/FX/tracks to the rear channels, then with the groups/FX/tracks you want to export: create a new send to the quadro bus and turn it up to 0dB. Voila! Repeat with the other stems and don’t save when you exit as you should have a save from just before you started getting funky with output assignments :]

Obviously this is all a massive PITA, even if you did set up future projects like this from the get-go. . . and to be honest, when I’m doing film work or providing stems for potential remixers I just print the stereo bus compression onto every stem individually. When I listen back to the stems together to check them I usually prefer the overall sound too :]

I did enjoy working that out though and would use that that technique if I really wanted to print the ‘glue’ onto individual stems as my favoured stereo bus compressor is not VST3 either . .