to stem or not to stem

So yes, i really did another mix job the other day. (Skit upon the fact that i rarely write something here.) The customer wanted stem mixes so he can do stem mastering himself. As customer is king – and he is a good friend of mine btw. – i delivered the stems as requested. But i’m not really lucky about it.

I’m not going into the pros and cons of stems. When i master stuff sometimes i really really hope to get stems to have the possibility to work out certain elements. So i get the idea.
But when i’m on the other side of the window i feel really uncomfortable to break up my mix. Usually i have some kind of mixbus processing that i have to skip with stems. Sometimes i can at least tell the customer what i did to the mixbus so he can recreate the idea.

But in the end all my faithfully work on levels, dynamics and tone is at the mercy of the mastering engineer. So i sometimes ask myself why i work this hard on these aspects if the mastering process can fuck up all this so easily?!
And what does it do if the mastered version is very away from my intentions but the „mixed by eighty“ brand is on the product?! The „Yeah, i know, it sounded cool when i mixed it.“ excuse doesn’t seem very convincing.

Some stuff to think about…

cheers eighty