What's the correct way to create individual audio track files in Cubase Elements?

Based on the other threads on this topic, I understand that to create stems, Elements users have to use the Export/Audio Mixdown function for individual tracks instead of the Render in Place or Batch Export functions in other versions of Cubase. This will create individual WAV files for each individual track.

Assuming you need stems to send to a sound engineer for mixing and mastering, what additional steps should be taken prior to exporting?

1: Should all panning be removed before exporting?
2: Should all plugins/effects be bypassed before exporting?
3: Should the Master Bus be placed in Mono?
4: What should be done with effects channels used to simulate Parallel Compression?, e.g. an effects channel which compresses the kick only.
5: Are there any other steps needed to create an unprocessed WAV file which a sound engineer can use?

Are you sure that you want to export stems?
If you are talking about unprocessed audio files, then you don’t mean stems…

Stems are combinations of similar signals with processing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_(audio)

Ok maybe my terminology is wrong. What would a sound engineer ask for or need to start a mix from the beginning? That’s what I mean.

The individual audio files.

Here’s a video explaining how to do this in Cubase Studio. Hopefully this will be of help to you. I don’t know Elements, though, so I can’t be certain. Cubase Pro has a slightly slicker way of doing it.

https://youtu.be/JLVXA6NNVoU

Ok but that doesn’t tell me what to do before I make individual audio files. Do I remove all plugins and bypass channel settings? Do I remove panning from each track? Do I put the Master Bus in mono?

I get this question a lot from clients.

Personally, I prefer recieving tracks the way engineers have always gotten them, that is, well recorded, no eq or compression of effects, no panning.
You can include a set of notes as guidance for what you’re hoping the final product will sound like, but I also might make the case for doing it differently.

If you have, say, a guitar track that absolutely needs that “special” effects sound from your pedalboard then print two copies, one with it, one with out.

It’s probably okay if you have a tiny bit of compression on the way in to tame some sounds, but if you’re not experienced as a tracking engineer you should probably not do that. Just get the very best sound you can for each instrument and decent levels, which means NO clipping ever.

Think of how many times you’ve heard engineers, like CLA, say, “I just pushed the faders up and the track practically mixed itself”.
What that means is that he’s been given tracks that are so well recorded that even raw they sound great.

Also, remember that every recorded track-file MUST start at the exact same time/bar so they will all line up when dropped into the engineer’s daw. Even if it’s just some noodley thing at the end of the song, the track must start at the begining of the song with all the others, even if there’s nothing there till the end.

Hope this helps.

I tried this but I don’t think the same process can be used in Elements. The Bounce Selection setting is only available when you select tracks that already contain audio files - it is greyed out if you only select a VST track or event, for example.

Thank you, this was really helpful! I think I know how to do it the painstaking way (exporting tracks one by one), but knowing exactly what the sound engineer needs is really useful to know. I appreciate your answer.

Thats why it is always a good thing to give a good explanation of what one wants to do…

So far, the only way I have managed a workaround is as follows:

  1. Go to Mix Console, maximize it and select all the channels.
  2. Use the Q-Link button to link them all.
  3. In the Racks (upper half of maximized Mix Console screen), bypass one channel’s Inserts, EQ, Strip, and Sends - if Q-Link is engaged properly then those should now be bypassed on all channels.
  4. Individually bypass panning on each channel (Q-Link doesn’t seem to apply to bypassing panning, for some reason). Now you have tracks with no panning, EQ, Inserts, Sends or Strip settings.
  5. Back in the Main Project windown, set the Left Locator and Right Locator in the correct positions for your entire project.
  6. Solo one track and use File/Export/Audio Mixdown to create one WAV file for that track.
  7. Repeat Step 6 for each individual track in the project (except effects channels, master bus, etc).

If anyone has a better method, please let me know because this is very laborious. A project with 30 tracks or more could take hours to render into unprocessed audio files using this method.

You will have to render your VST tracks to audio first. I believe that he says that in the video.

Ok so pre-exporting all midi tracks first can set me up for this process. So I solo a midi track and then? Bypass all inserts, sends, channel settings and panning? I think the Bounce Selection could save time but I still need to clarify the steps to be taken before rendering the midi to audio.

Personally, I would bypass everything, unless you consider it to be an integral part of the sound of the part. You might want to discuss these things with your mix engineer.

I think this is the key thing. No-one here knows what your sound engineer is expecting.

If it were me I’d be expecting eq (other than surgical eq to remove room resonances etc) , compression, panning all removed.

Ideally also a rough complete mix to give them some idea of what you want.

But this is just me.

Ok this is helpful. I thought there was some kind of standard practice that all sound engineers consider to be understood. If it varies between engineers, then it makes sense to confirm with the individual.