What is stem mastering?
Stem Mastering is a method of mastering that utilizes groups of stems/instruments rather than just one stereo file compared to stereo mastering. Stereo Mastering still yeilds fantastic results for most projects but by providing the mastering engineer with grouped stems/instruments, it gives the engineer extra flexibility to make adjustments and fine tune specific aspects of mix that would not be possible with a single stereo file.

When preparing your mix for stem mastering, you want to be sure that the mix is as solid as possible. Once you assure that you have a quality mix, you then want to split your mix into separate sub groups of stems. For example:

1. Kick
2. Bass
3. Percussion
4. Synths/Strings/Horns
5. Piano/Keys
6. Guitars
7. Vocals
8. FX

Supply the grouped stems to the engineer exactly as they are intended to be in your mix. When all stems are played back together they should reproduce your mix in full.

Also be sure to leave at least -3db of headroom on each stem and remove any pre-mastering processing including the use of limiters.
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