Best Stem Separation Software in 2023
Stem separation tools allow producers, engineers, DJs, and creators to isolate individual song elements like vocals, drums, bass, and instruments from mixed stereo audio. This enables advanced remixing, sampling, karaoke creation, music learning, and more.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll review the leading stem separator options based on audio source separation quality, features, pricing, and ease of use.
What Are Song Stems?
On a typical studio project, stems are exported individually from the recording session to provide maximum mixing flexibility.
But using AI-powered solutions, stems can now be extracted from already-mixed two-channel masters and songs to enable new creative possibilities without needing the original session files.
Next let’s explore the top software tools for high-quality stem separation and extraction.
LALAL.ai leverages advanced artificial intelligence to split mixed audio into stems with exceptional quality. It’s one of the leading solutions used by professionals.
After uploading your song file, LALAL.ai analyzes the unique spectral characteristics of each element based on timbre, patterns, and other factors. The isolated stems can then be processed individually.
Results are studio-grade with negligible artifacts even from crowded mixes. Pricing is affordable at $2.99 per minute of audio processed. Turnaround ranges from 5 minutes to 1 day.
- Cutting-edge AI stem separation
- Handles challenging mixes cleanly
- Edit stems individually
- Affordable per minute pricing
- Buy isolated stems
XTRAX Stems by Audionamix
XTRAX Stems by Audionamix leverages artificial intelligence to extract song elements like vocals, drums, bass, and accompaniment. It provides studio-quality results.
After uploading your track, you can solo and mute the isolated stems in the online interface. Export options include getting the stems as separate files.
Powered by machine learning algorithms, XTRAX Stems performs on par with premium options starting at just $3.99 per track. It’s an affordable gateway into AI stem extraction.
- AI separation into core stems
- Solo and mute individual parts
- Studio-quality stem exports
- Affordable per track pricing
- Cloud-based online platform
RX 10 by iZotope
RX 10 is a professional audio editing suite by iZotope. Alongside repair and enhancement tools, it features advanced stem isolation powered by machine learning.
The Music Rebalance module can extract drums, bass, vocals, and other elements from a mixed song with one click. The isolated stems remain editable within RX 10.
While designed for post-production, RX 9’s separation capabilities unlock creative sampling and remixing potential. Pricing starts at $399 for the Elements version.
- AI-based music stem extraction
- Click-and-isolate workflow
- Manipulate stems in editor
- Part of full audio restoration toolkit
- Premium software pricing
Spleeter by Deezer
Spleeter is an open-source AI model created by Deezer for separating mixed audio sources. Using pre-trained machine learning models, Spleeter extracts vocals, accompaniments, basslines, and drums.
As free software, it performs very well but requires more manual editing compared to polished commercial solutions. But the capabilities and license-free access make Spleeter a useful entry point for exploring stem separation.
- Open source deep learning model
- Extracts stems like vocals, drums, bass
- Totally free to use
- Requires some editing finesse
- Impressive given no cost
Moises by Zynaptiq
Moises by Zynaptiq is an AI stem separation toolkit built for music producers and engineers. Using advanced neural networks, it isolates vocals, drums, bass, piano, guitar, and more with exceptional quality.
The highly-customizable Moises app allows detailed editing of gain, timing, pitch, and effects for each isolated stem. You can remove or enhance individual parts in a remixesque workflow.
As pro software, Moises delivers perhaps the best separation quality overall. But it comes at a premium price of $249 for a full license.
- Pro studio quality isolation
- Detailed stem editing capabilities
- Remake tracks from stems
- Expensive for non-pro use
- Used widely in production
Stem Remover by Wavesfactory
Stem Remover by Wavesfactory is an affordable plugin for stripping out elements like vocals and drums from mixes in real time. It works within DAWs like Ableton.
The separation is light compared to offline AI solutions. But Stem Remover provides a convenient tool for live stem suppression at a reasonable price around $39.
- Real-time isolation plugin
- Removes vocals, drums, and instruments
- Works within music software
- Best for subtle separation
- Cost-effective plugin pricing
Comparison of Stem Separators
|LALAL.ai||Per minute||Exceptional||1 day turnaround||Simple||Isolated stem exports|
|XTRAX Stems||Per track||Excellent||1-12 hours||Simple||Individual stem exports|
|RX 9||$399+||Excellent||Real-time||Advanced editor||Stems editable in software|
|Remixlive||$30+||Good||Real-time plugin||Plugin||Live remixing with stems|
|Spleeter||Free||Very good||15 sec+||Command line||Separated stem exports|
|Moises||$249||Excellent||Real-time||Advanced||Isolated and editable stems|
|Mashup 2||$10.99/mo||Good||5-10 min||Web platform||Online stem remixing|
|Stem Remover||$39+||Fair||Real-time plugin||Plugin||Live instrument suppression|
Ideal Uses for Stem Separation
Creators can leverage stems in many creative ways:
- Remixing – Customize song arrangements and substitute sounds. Add new parts.
- Karaoke – Remove lead vocals for karaoke tracks. Retain backing vocals.
- Sampling – Isolate elements like guitar riffs to sample.
- Mashups – Blend vocals, beats, and parts from different songs.
- Backing tracks – Generate minus-one instrumentals for singers.
- Learning – Slow down and loop stems to learn parts.
- Video sound – Remove or enhance stems on video soundtracks.
- Live performance – Create stripped down stems for customizable live shows.
- Instrument reviews – Test software instruments against isolated parts from hits.
The possibilities are endless! Next let’s go through some common questions.
FAQ About Song Stem Separation
What types of stems can be extracted?
Typical elements extracted include lead and backing vocals, drums, bass, guitar, piano, synths. Quality varies by part prominence and mixing.
What file formats can be processed?
The most common formats are supported: MP3, WAV, FLAC, M4A, etc. Some tools also handle video files like MP4 and YouTube links.
How is the separation quality?
Solutions like LALAL.ai, XTRAX, and Moises deliver near studio-quality results. Others work well for less complex songs. Quality depends on mix complexity.
How is stem quality compared to original multitracks?
Some fidelity loss is inevitable editing a final mix vs raw tracks. But AI-powered solutions minimize quality loss in professional use cases.
Can you purchase the rights to use the separated stems?
For remixing and publishing derivative works legally, you need a license from the rights holders. Many remix contests officially provide stems.
Can stems be exported individually?
Yes, most tools provide options to download stems like the acapella or instrumental as individual audio files. The stems can then be imported to a DAW.
How long does stem separation take?
It ranges from real-time for plugins to 15 seconds for models like Spleeter to 1 hour+ for high-end AI platforms like LALAL.ai. Quality trades off with speed.
Can you edit the isolated stems?
Tools like RX and Moises allow editing stems within the app. Other platforms provide raw isolated stems that can then be edited in a DAW.
Can you remove drums from a mixed song?
Yes, advanced AI solutions can cleanly extract just the isolated drum stem from a master recording for drum removal or sampling.
Can you change the tempo/pitch of stems?
The isolated raw stems can be pitched, time-stretched, edited, and otherwise manipulated like regular audio clips within a DAW or audio workstation.
Getting Started With Stem Extraction
Looking to explore stem separation? Here are some next steps to take:
- Find song files or YouTube links to test stem extraction on. Contemporary pop/rock works well.
- Choose an affordable entry-level solution like XTRAX Stems, Mashup 2, or the free Spleeter to start out with based on your platform and budget.
- Upload a song and try isolating elements like vocals, drums, basslines to hear the separation quality.
- Tweak settings and listen to the results. Try muting and soloing stems.
- Experiment with importing stems into a DAW to edit or remix. Listen for artifacts or bleed.
- Consider testing a pro platform like LALAL.ai or Moises for uncompromising quality.
- Explore creative ways to utilize stems in music production, remixing, karaoke, videos, and more!
The AI-assisted workflow opens the door to more possibilities without requiring access to original studio session files. Have fun exploring stems!
Stem separation software enables producers, creators, and anyone to unlock the core elements of completed song recordings. Powered by deep learning advancements, solutions like LALAL.ai, XTRAX, and Moises can extract studio-quality stems from mixed stereo audio for creative reuse. More accessible tools also provide decent separation quality for hobbyist exploration. The isolated vocals, instruments, and drums can be remixed, sampled, edited, and reimagined. If you ever wanted to customize your favorite songs, experiment with arrangements, or strengthen music production skills – stem separators make it achievable.