Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

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copb
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Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

Post by copb » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:15 pm

Hey friends,

So I have been puzzled by how to properly export stems for mixing while having grouped tracks. As described on Ableton's site, when exporting individual tracks (with return and master effects selected in export settings), individual tracks are exported along with the group level as it's own audio file:

Image

The problem is that the individual tracks DO NOT pass through the group level effects before they hit master, meaning that only the group audio files have the group level effects baked in. This seems like a big deal for anyone trying to simply export individual tracks to a mixing engineer without having to solidify each group's mix prior to export. The "additional steps" they describe above does not solve including group effects on individual track exports.

I have resorted to manually exporting each track individually by soloing it - this ensures that it passes through group effects, which takes us back to Live 9 and is super time consuming.

Am I doing something wrong? If not, I feel like this should be a big priority for another option in the export settings - to include GROUP effects in individual track exports.

I hope my ramble makes sense, but seems like huge downfall to the current STEM workflow. Thanks!

Bryan

Atticus R
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Re: Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

Post by Atticus R » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:15 pm

Hey Bryan, have you figured a better way to export stems? I'm somewhat new to Ableton and working with audio more seriously. It seems like this would be a major flaw with folders. What do audio engineers typically want when you send them stems? Would it make more sense if the folder track exported ONLY the wet signal of all its plugins and then the tracks within the folder would have the dry signal so they could mix them together to their ear? I'm getting ready to export stems for multiple projects to work on them with a friend who uses Pro Tools and I'm confused what's the best way to organize my tracks before exporting stems. I wonder if I should be creating return tracks and putting on my effects I usually put on folders there and sending from the folder track.

Richie Witch
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Re: Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

Post by Richie Witch » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:48 pm

I can see why it works this way... in a real recording studio, the stem would be a print of the group, not the individual tracks inside a group. The group is what gets sent to one channel of the tape, in the old world.

In cases like the one in this thread, using sends/returns seems like a more "real-life" application, and Live now allows you to work that way when exporting stems, which was a commonly-asked-for feature previously.

Just my 2 cents. Everyone has to find the way that works for them.
"Watching the Sky" ~ A 4-track EP of piano, strings, and Native American flute

[jur]
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Re: Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

Post by [jur] » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:19 pm

copb wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:15 pm
The problem is that the individual tracks DO NOT pass through the group level effects before they hit master, meaning that only the group audio files have the group level effects baked in.
That's correct, and that's also what the KB article you're referring to is saying, there's no problem here. It seems like you misread something.
It's easy to remember : tracks are exported post-fader. Period. It doesn't matter what type of track it is.
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[jur]
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Re: Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

Post by [jur] » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:26 pm

Atticus R wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:15 pm
Hey Bryan, have you figured a better way to export stems? I'm somewhat new to Ableton and working with audio more seriously. It seems like this would be a major flaw with folders. What do audio engineers typically want when you send them stems? Would it make more sense if the folder track exported ONLY the wet signal of all its plugins and then the tracks within the folder would have the dry signal so they could mix them together to their ear? I'm getting ready to export stems for multiple projects to work on them with a friend who uses Pro Tools and I'm confused what's the best way to organize my tracks before exporting stems. I wonder if I should be creating return tracks and putting on my effects I usually put on folders there and sending from the folder track.
There's no flaw, and audio enginneers need different kind of stems depending on the song. It also depends on what you want them to do to your stuff. Working with stems is a matter of working around limitations.
The Returns FX is THE obvious example of how exporting stems can be a headache... but an artistic headache actually. Technically, the machine will just do what you're asking for.
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Atticus R
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Re: Grouped Tracks & Exporting Stems Problem

Post by Atticus R » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:48 pm

That makes sense, thanks for the reply! It seems like everyday I'm learning how much I don't know. Are there general rules I can try to follow for where I should be placing my plugins? Time based things go on returns or compression usually goes on folders or anything like that?

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