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Mix Stems

Mix stems are used to create the final print masters for film and high-end TV productions. A different print master is created for each format in which the film will be released. Mix stems should be combined at unity gain, without any adjustment. Adjustments should be made only when downmixing to a smaller format such as Dolby Pro Logic. A typical adjustment would be to compensate for the -3dB level for surround speakers in theaters, or to vary the amount of LFE channel that is mixed into a Dolby Stereo/ Pro Logic print master. Print masters for foreign-language versions will not include dialog, since they will be dubbed. However, the dialog stem will be mixed to a mono reference track that can be used by foreign language editors.

Music stems will often contain a separate mix of soundtrack songs or source music. This music is often subject to publishing issues and thus, to last-minute changes. With these tracks separate on the stem, it is simple to replace a song if the rights cannot be secured or if a better choice is available. Be prepared for last-minute changes to your masters.


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