NI Launches Big Push On Its Stems DJ Music Format

Last updated 10 April, 2018

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Native Instruments' new Stems file format brings multitrack capabilities in a single file. Its current line of next generation controllers, namely the Traktor Kontrol S8 and Kontrol D2, are Stems-compatible straight out the box.
Native Instruments’ new Stems file format brings multitrack capabilities in a single file. Its current line of next generation controllers, namely the Traktor Kontrol S8 and Kontrol D2, are Stems-compatible straight out the box.

Native Instruments has just launched a website as part of its push for public acceptance of its newly developed, open source music format, called Stems. The Stems format allows DJs to work with tracks split into four parts (for instance, bass, drums, vocals and melody), rather than presented as a whole.

Using the file format and compatible hardware such as the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8 or Kontrol D2, the format opens up more creative possibilities for mixing while being less complicated and easier to understand than, say, Native’s own Remix Decks.

For instance, a Stems file might naturally have a vocal-only track on it (meaning instant acapella access), and equally it would be easy to create a dub version by removing the vocal and adding reverb to other sections. It would also be simple to make mashups by combining elements of different songs across two Stems Decks, even in a live setting.

Of course, the success of such a format is going to rely not only on DJs warming to it, but producers, labels, and developers too (it’s important to note that the format is open source, meaning other manufacturers and software houses are free to develop products that use the Stems music files) – hence a website markedly separate from Native Instruments’ own sites.

For an introduction to Stems, watch the promo video below.

Promo video

• To find out more about Native Instruments’ new file format, check out the Stems website.

Do you think the Stems format will succeed? Does it excite you? Do you see producers taking it on board, and more hardware and software comping out to use such files? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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