In audio production, a stem is a discrete or grouped collection of audio sources mixed together, usually by one person, to be dealt with downstream as one unit. A single stem may be delivered in mono, stereo, or in multiple tracks for surround sound.
By using “stem files” you can obtain a higher degree of creative control over how the music works within your video or other media project.
“Stem files” means that each layer of sound within the music is stored in its own separate audio file. By stacking all of the audio files on top of each other and playing them all at the same time, that makes up the “full mix” of the music track. By removing certain layers (“stems”) from the music, you can create your own personalized mix, or version, of the music track.
One obvious and very simple example would be to remove all the drums from a music track, creating a new version of the track that has a whole different feel and sound.
Another obvious example would be to reduce the volume of the Bass layer because the heavy bass just doesn’t fit with your project.
Here is a little video we made, which demonstrates the basic use of stem files. In this case we’re using Adobe Audition, but you could do all of the same things in any multi-track audio- or video editing software.
Making the music sound like it was made especially for your project
Working with stems can give you so much more creative freedom; for example, you can create a “mix” of the music track that adds layers or sounds into the music, in perfect synchronization with events in your video timeline. Imagine a slow-motion cut of two people running up to the edge of a swimming pool, which cuts to normal-speed at the precise moment when they leap off the edge and into the water. In this example, you could choose to silence certain elements of the music during the slow-motion part, and then introduce all parts of the music from the moment they leap off the edge and the footage cuts to normal-speed. The music has an ambient, ethereal feel while the video is in slow-motion, and then transforms into a “full mix track” at the moment when they jump off; yet, it’s still the same music track, and continues within the same flow and rhythm. It will seem like the music was specifically created for your video.
These are only some of the things you can do when working with stem files. If you’re the creative type and you take the time to play around with it, you can cut, chop, tweak, mix and re-mix, even reverse certain elements within the music and pretty much “build your own track” by using the building blocks made available to you by way of the stem files.
Of course, not everyone will want to take it that far. It may be more likely that you just want to remove certain layers of the music, to make it fit your project better. Then stem files is the way to go.
Working with stem files in Cakewalk by Bandlab
Stock music tracks with stem files at Shockwave-Sound.com
At Shockwave-Sound.com we are now starting to introduce stem files for some of our new music going forward, and for some of our back catalogue as well. The stem files, if available for a track, will be one of the versions of the track that can be licensed from our site. To license a set of stem files, just click on the “add to shopping cart” button next to the version called “Set of x Stems”. The stem files will be available to download from your order download page when the order is completed and paid for. The stem files are packed together within a single .zip file, so you don’t have to download each file individually. Just download the zip file and unzip it; you’ll find the stem files inside.
On our ‘Advanced browse’ page, you can limit your music search to include only tracks that have stem files available.
On top of all music genre listings, you can use this filter to display only tracks that have stem files available.
If a track has stem files available, you can find them, and preview them, here.
Hi all. It’s been a little over 18 years since Shockwave-Sound.com first came online and started offering royalty-free music, music loops for Flash, music for podcasts and other media, this was back in April of 2000.
Through the years the site has gone through various upgrades and improvements, most notably perhaps in 2005 when we first got ourselves our very first database! Before then, details of orders were just kept offline in Excel documents. 🙂
In 2015 we launched a new look, a more modern presentation.
And now in 2018, we’ve implemented real user accounts for all users, including customers, artists and admins. Until now, all orders placed at Shockwave-Sound.com were really kind of “guest orders”, meaning that of course, we took down the details of the customer, but we did not connect the order to a “user account”. We have now done this.
If you are a new user/customer, simply create a user account and start using it, just as you would at any other site selling products and services.
If you are an existing customer and you’ve placed one or more orders with us in the past, you should now create a new user account using the email address that you used when you placed your previous orders with us. All your old orders, as long as they match your email address, will be automatically imported into your new user account and you will be able to find all your past orders under “My orders” in the menu on the left-hand side of our site, once you are logged in.
If you have placed orders in the past with a different email address, there is also a possibility to have those orders “re-assigned” to your current user account — however, for this to work, you must have access to open and read that old email address. If you are trying to access orders you placed a long time ago with an email address that you no longer have access to, you need to contact us for assistance.
We hope you’ll enjoy this new functionality. If you experience any problems, just let us know by contacting us.
Hi all, today we have launched a couple of small upgrades / improvements to our music browsing process:
In the list of music tracks, the “PLAY” button now changes to a “PAUSE” button for the currently playing track, so you can easily see which track is playing, and click the “pause” button to pause/stop the playing.
We’ve added a “Tag this track” icon to the audio player area at the bottom of the page, so you can quickly and easily add the currently playing track (what you’re hearing at that moment) to your “Tagged tracks” (it’s like your Lightbox, or Wish list, for music tracks).
We hope this will be of help and will make using our site a little bit more pleasant and efficient.
Here at Shockwave-Sound.com we are proud to unveil what we believe is the most powerful, most flexible and most useful royalty free music search engine anywhere.You can find the Advanced Browse by clicking the orange link in the left-hand menu of Shockwave-Sound.com, just below “Artists”.
The Advanced Browse page allows you to combine multiple search / browse criteria such as Music Genre, Moods/Emotions, Prominent Instruments, Classical or Non-Classical, Tempo Feel, BPM Tempo Range, Length (in seconds) and more, to find tracks specifically matching your needs.
The Advanced Browse page is also interconnected with the “Find Similar Tracks” function on our site. By clicking on “Find Similar Tracks” below any Track description, you are taken to the Advanced Browse page, which is then pre-filled for you, with multiple values from the track you were just listening to.
Multiple operators are combined with either AND or OR values, and note that you can Click on any AND / OR button to swap it between working as AND or OR.
Let’s look at a few examples of how to use the Advanced Browse page:
Above, I have used the form to find Country/Bluegrass tracks that have either a Sad / Sorrowful / Mournful, or a “Gloomy / Dark / Sinister” mood. This gave me a result of 7 tracks, all are kind of sparse country track with a doom laden feel, highly suitable for things like historical drama, westerns / modern westerns and more. Note that if I wish, I could click on the OR button between the two Moods settings, to change it to an AND operator instead.
In the above example I’ve quite simply found that my favorite artist is Dan Gautreau and I would like to browse all the Happy / Joyful / Positive tracks he has produced. This search result gave me 112 tracks, so I’ve got plenty of stuff to listen to.
Since I felt that the 112 tracks I got from my previous browse results was “too much”, above I have added another criteria. This time I’ve gone for tracks by the artist Dan Gautreau, which are Happy / Joyful / Positive, and which features prominent use of Acoustic Piano. Now we’re getting more precise, and this browse gave me a result of 26 tracks.
Above, I have decided to browse Vocal Pop tracks, which are either “Laidback / Easy-going / Chilled” OR “Happy / Joyful / Positive”, and are sung by a Male vocalist. This gave me a result of 128 tracks.
If I wanted to, I could go back to the form and click on the OR button between the mood settings, and this would narrow the results to tracks that are both Laid back AND Happy – whilst still being in the Vocal Pop genre and being sung by a male vocalist. This would then give me 17 tracks.
Let’s look at one more fun example. I wish to find jazz tracks performed by a traditional 3-piece jazz trio of Piano, Drums and Acoustic Bass. Here’s how I would do it:
I’ve set the Music Genre setting to “Jazz: General & faster jazz” (I could change it to “Smooth jazz” if that’s what I wanted), and I’ve selected Piano (Acoustic) AND Drums (Drum kit) AND Bass (Upright/Acoustic). Hit “Search” and I find 119 tracks. Nice result!
Let’s just take one more example:
In the above case, I’ve decided to browse tracks in the Rock -> General Rock genre, which are between 8 and 15 seconds long. I needed this for a short on-screen presentation / intro screen.
Not many tracks are created to be only between 8 and 15 seconds long, but many of our composers create “Stinger” versions of their tracks, which often happen to be between 8 and 15 seconds, so in this case I get a result of 358 tracks. In this case, the resulting track listing doesn’t show me the full length tracks – it shows me only the stinger versions that are between 8 and 15 seconds.
My friends, these are only a few examples of how you can use our Advanced Browse page to experiment with our catalog of stock music / royalty-free music and find exactly the tracks you need, with an amazing degree of flexibility and power in your searches. Experiment with it. Have fun with it. You can’t break anything — we hope! 🙂 You may find some combinations give you zero results, and you may find some combinations that give you too many results to make sense of it. If that happens, go back to the form and think of ways to tweak your settings to make your search more open, or more precise. In particular, keep track of those AND / OR buttons and click on them to change their functionality.