December 2021 - 61

when we mute the lead vocal, the lead vocal
plus the lead vocal effects disappear
from the mix. If we mute the lead vocal
and backing vocals, you're left with an
instrumental mix of the song.
Considerations
There are a couple of considerations
when doing this: First off, where should the
stems start? Typically, it is common to scrub
any count off from the band in the multitrack
session and only print a two-bar click
track ahead of the song. You can certainly
print more if you like, so long as the music
director or band leader keeps everyone on
stage informed of what they will hear.
Be careful with groups of tracks that
share the same bus effects. If the lead
vocals and backing vocals share the
same reverb and delay, you must print
them individually. For example, solo the
lead vocal track and its effects, making
sure that nothing else is playing back into
said effects simultaneously, then print it.
Next, solo the background vocals with
the same shared effect and print them
separately. You should now have a stereo
stem of the effected lead vocal, and you
should also have a stereo stem of the
background vocals on their own, but
with the same reverb and delay. If you
fail to do this, you will most likely end up
with a ghost of the muted track in another
track's effect trails. Printing each effect as
its own track is an option, but having separate
effects tracks for everything equals
a lot more stems to deal with.
Stereo or mono?
Up to this point, we've been talking
about stereo stems. What about
mono? Unless you're playing some big
stages, stereo isn't always an option.
Sure, stereo stems can be summed to
mono, but that will change the volume
levels and, essentially, your stem mix.
I suggest considering which tracks can
be mono and which need to be stereo
when prepping tracks for your shows
and addressing as required.
Playback-what
gear do I need?
You've got your stems ready to go-now
what? My advice: you need a computer.
Sure, iOS is great, but it can get tricky if
you need to tweak your arrangements on
the fly. Then at a minimum, you want an audio
interface on the stage with at least three
audio outputs: a stereo out for the backing
stems and at least a mono output for the
click. [some artists also print a cue or guide
track as well... -Ed] You don't want the click
going to the front of the house, and you do
want somebody on stage to hear the count
off and click. Many people are using in-ear
monitors, but if that isn't an option, having
the countoff for each song going to the music
director or drum monitor is a must. It is
also very common to send multiple stems
to the front of the house to give the sound
person more control. It's a big help to break
out any bass tracks or low-end sources, as
well as any backing vocals. I like to have
an eight-channel interface running a mono
click, stereo bass and/or drums, stereo
backing vocals, and stereo everything else
(guitars, keys, etc.). This provides the most
control with the least number of outputs.
What Program
Should I Use?
Most any DAW should work great
for the straight playback (start/stop) of
audio. Pro Tools is a good choice since
most people know how to use it. If you
are interested in checking out something
more interactive, try Ableton Live 11. It's
great for working with time-based content
like tempo-based stems and loops.
Advanced users can alter parts, trigger
loops and synths, loop sections of songs
on the fly, and much more.
Wrap-Up
There are a lot of options here. Print
some stems, experiment with them at a
couple of shows and see what works for
you and the band. When done well,
the audience will think you sound as
big as the record. When done poorly,
the backing tracks will be obvious, and
you'll probably be looking for someone
or something to blame, and it won't be
'the rain'... (I couldn't help myself, and
I'm sure our editor is a big Milli Vanilli
fan-Google it!)
See you next year...
Mark Hornsby is an award-winning music
producer and audio engineer. He
is co-founder and president of EchoXS
Entertainment, LLC, a company dedicated
to providing artists with creative
solutions by some of the best people in
the business.
markhornsby.com
echoxs.com
RECORDING DECEMBER 2021 61
http://www.markhornsby.com http://www.echoxs.com http://www.retroinstruments.com

December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
RECORDING’s 2021Holiday Buyer’s Guide
Arturia: MiniFuse 2
AKG: Ara Professional Two-Pattern USB Condenser Microphone
A day in the head of Still Woozy: Making modern pop and beyond
Austrian Audio: Hi-X15
Plugin Outlet: Black Rooster Audio OmniTec-67A
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: Free and Entry-level DAWs
ART: Project Series USB Pre IV Audio Interface
Plugin Outlet: Reverb Foundry Tai-Chi
Audeze: Euclid Closed-Back Planar Magnetic In-ear Monitors
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 12 Mastering and Beyond: The Final Steps…
Genelec 8361A
Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby From the Studio to The Stage
Pioneer DJ VM-80 Active Monitor Speaker
Fade Out: Don’t Wait—Create!
December 2021 - Intro
December 2021 - Cover1
December 2021 - Cover2
December 2021 - 1
December 2021 - 2
December 2021 - 3
December 2021 - Fade In
December 2021 - 5
December 2021 - 6
December 2021 - 7
December 2021 - Fast Forward
December 2021 - 9
December 2021 - RECORDING’s 2021Holiday Buyer’s Guide
December 2021 - 11
December 2021 - 12
December 2021 - 13
December 2021 - 14
December 2021 - 15
December 2021 - 16
December 2021 - 17
December 2021 - 18
December 2021 - 19
December 2021 - 20
December 2021 - 21
December 2021 - Arturia: MiniFuse 2
December 2021 - 23
December 2021 - AKG: Ara Professional Two-Pattern USB Condenser Microphone
December 2021 - 25
December 2021 - A day in the head of Still Woozy: Making modern pop and beyond
December 2021 - 27
December 2021 - 28
December 2021 - 29
December 2021 - 30
December 2021 - 31
December 2021 - 32
December 2021 - 33
December 2021 - 34
December 2021 - 35
December 2021 - 36
December 2021 - 37
December 2021 - Austrian Audio: Hi-X15
December 2021 - 39
December 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Black Rooster Audio OmniTec-67A
December 2021 - 41
December 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: Free and Entry-level DAWs
December 2021 - 43
December 2021 - 44
December 2021 - 45
December 2021 - ART: Project Series USB Pre IV Audio Interface
December 2021 - 47
December 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Reverb Foundry Tai-Chi
December 2021 - 49
December 2021 - Audeze: Euclid Closed-Back Planar Magnetic In-ear Monitors
December 2021 - 51
December 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 12 Mastering and Beyond: The Final Steps…
December 2021 - 53
December 2021 - 54
December 2021 - 55
December 2021 - Genelec 8361A
December 2021 - 57
December 2021 - Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
December 2021 - 59
December 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby From the Studio to The Stage
December 2021 - 61
December 2021 - Pioneer DJ VM-80 Active Monitor Speaker
December 2021 - 63
December 2021 - 64
December 2021 - 65
December 2021 - 66
December 2021 - 67
December 2021 - 68
December 2021 - 69
December 2021 - 70
December 2021 - 71
December 2021 - Fade Out: Don’t Wait—Create!
December 2021 - Cover3
December 2021 - Cover4
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