This article describes the compatibility and behavior of Stem files when used in third-party applications or earlier TRAKTOR versions. Native Instruments introduces the Stem file format (.stem.mp4). A Stem file consists of 5 separate tracks: 4 stems (the individual parts of the song such as drums, bass, melodies and vocals) and a master file which is the mastered mix of all stems. Stem files allow users of TRAKTOR 2.9.0 or higher to play back and control all four separate stems (tracks) individually within the same file. A Stem file will nonetheless retain its portability and compatibility across different applications and platforms as it can be regarded as a standard audio file.
Note: Learn more about the Stem format and the Stem Creator tool on this website www.stems-music.com
Compatibility with Third-Party Audio Applications
A Stem file can be played as a regular audio file (.mp4) within any application that supports the Apple Lossless (ALAC) codec. This includes third-party audio playback applications such as iTunes or VLC or sequencers such as Ableton Live and Logic. In this case, only the master file within the .stem.mp4 file will be played back.
Note: Vendors of audio applications may change their policies regarding ALAC support. Additionally, ALAC support may vary depending on the operating system being used. Please contact the third-party vendor for more information.
Compatibility with Earlier TRAKTOR Versions
It is possible to load and play a .stem.mp4 file onto a Track Deck in earlier TRAKTOR versions but this is not supported. We do not recommend to import or load a Stem file in an earlier TRAKTOR version. Below we outline the resulting behavior of a Stem file when imported and / or loaded into an earlier version of TRAKTOR.
Note: This article accounts only for version 2.5.1 or higher since this is the earliest version compatible with our currently supported operating systems OS X 10.8 / Windows 7.
- TRAKTOR 2.5.1 - 2.6.8: The file will be identified, imported and played back as a regular audio file (.mp4)
- TRAKTOR 2.7.0 - 2.8.1 (Windows only): The file will be identified, imported and played back as a regular audio file but due to a lack of ALAC support in these versions for Windows, Stem track number 4 will be played back instead of the master file.
Note: Once a Stem file has been imported into an earlier TRAKTOR collection, it will remain identified as regular audio file instead of Stem file. For users updating to TRAKTOR 2.9.0 or higher, please read this article to learn how to restore the functionality of Stem files.