Bouncing Down A Project to Mix in Another DAW

I have worked with many musicians on mixing and mastering their music. I’ve worked with many different DAW’s in mixing.  I mainly like to work in Ableton Live and sometimes need a musician to send me bounced down the audio from their DAW of choice so I can use it in Ableton Live for mixing. This article will look at the process of preparing stems and individual tracks for exporting to another DAW.  We will first look at what our objective is and then doing it in each DAW.

Two Methods of Mixing Down

There are two ways I work for producing with musicians and having them send me files of their project. Each one is specifically for the needs of the project. Below we will look at the different methods.

Full Individual Mix Down

Let’s say I am working with someone that wants me to redo their track. Maybe change instrumentation, add deep processing and mixing.  If that were the case I would want to have control over every individual part. This means I want each instrument sound separately, and not just all the melody as one audio file.  To do this I want the musician to bounce down each track.  It is very important that they name each track or sub bus in a way that is easy for me to know what it is. (we will look at this later).

Optionally, you can also browse some tracks down as MIDI if the engineer / musician is doing more complex editing and rewriting of parts. 

Sub Bus / Stems

When I am doing a simple Mixdown / Mastering job I like to work with stems. In other words I don’t need control over every single instrument, but I will just polish the mix and master it. If this is the case I will want to have only a small number of tracks that are a sub bus of the different elements. For instance the Drums might be 6 separate audio tracks that make up the drumbeat. In the Full Individual Mix Down method I would want all those elements separated. In the Sub Bus / Stems method I would want those all together as a single track.  Below is an example of a track that had over 40 individual tracks, but is then bounced down into only 8 Sub Bus / Stems.

Dance and Midtempo:

4.Additive and Other

Now look at the project you are working on and consider what exactly your needs are. Then choose one of the two methods to move forward.

Organizing the Tracks:

I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten a track and spent hours figuring out what the hell was going on. I find instrumental tracks in a drum group, or 10 unnamed tracks I need to figure out what they are in the mix. By spending a little time as you go, or at least 10 minutes before you send the file to someone you will save them a lot of time.  Here is an example of an unorganized track and ordered one in Ableton Live:



You will notice that the organized one has names for each of the tracks. This is important because when you bounce down the tracks you will want these clearly defined names so the next person will know what they are.  With Sub Busses and Stems, just group them together and name the group. With Individual Tracks you will have to make sure you have good naming. So for instance, try names like this:

  • Sub Bass
  • Mid Bass 1
  • Nylon Guitar
  • Electric Guitar 1
  • Big pad

Export Audio in your DAW

Now lets look at your particular DAW of your choosing for exporting the both stems and Individual Tracks. Some DAW’s I do not know how to set up and export just sub buses (FLStudio). If you know how to do this, please comment at the end of the article.


Full Individual Mix Down

Optional Video: Bounce down MIDI files in Pro Tools

Sub Bus / Stems

  1. In your Pro Tools session, create as many stereo audio tracks as you need stems. If some of your stems to be are in mono be sure to create mono audio tracks for them.
  2. Assign your newly created stem tracks to a different available aux bus input.
  3. Send whichever audio/instrument tracks are required for each stem to your newly created audio tracks. You do this by assigning the outputs of each audio/instrument to the same busses on the inputs of your newly created stem tracks.
  4. Arm all stem tracks and record all the stems in once pass.
  5. Select the newly recorded stem tracks in the region view & ‘export selected files as audio’ at whatever bit depth and sample rate your session requires.
  6. Be sure when you export your files that you export them in the same sample rate and bit depth as your session.
  7. Lastly, create a new folder, label it the name of your project, then stems afterwards followed by the bpm of the song. Example ‘project_stems_bpm’. Place all exported files into the folder.




Full Individual Mix Down

Look at 3min in.

Optional Video: Bounce down MIDI files in Logic

Sub Bus / Stems

  1. Disengage any inserts you may have on your tracks that you are preparing to make stems of. If you wish for your insert/fx to remain on a particular track, you don’t have to disengage.
  2. Go to the file menu and open up to export the audio option.
  3. In the export window, select all the tracks that you would like to make stems of. You can also choose the Sub Buses you created.
  4. Be sure to set the same sample rate and bit depth for your exported stems as your project’s session. Click ok.
  5. A Window will pop up asking for you to choose the destination of your exported files. Create a new folder, label it the name of your project, then stems afterwards followed by the bpm of the song. Example ‘project_stems_bpm’. Click save and your Logic project will begin exporting all your tracks to the folder.


FL Studio

Full Individual Mix Down


Ableton Live

Full Individual Mix Down

To render all tracks chooses ‘Export Audio / Video’ from the File menu or use the shortcut Shift + Ctrl + R (Windows) or Cmd + SHIFT + R (Mac). This will open the Export dialog.

Once the menu is open just using the “Rendered Tracks” dropdown and select “All Tracks”.


Optional Video: Bounce down MIDI files in Ableton Live

Sub Bus / Stems

To read more about creating stems in Ableton Live and getting the free checklist PDF go to my Creating Stems in Ableton Live article.


With this knowledge you will be able to share files, projects, tracks, midi, and more between DAW’s. The key to all this is knowing exactly what you want to do with either individual tracks or stems. Then, once you know that, make sure everything is named very easily, so the next engineer or musician will know exactly what is happening.

Best of luck with this!  If you have your own tips and tricks on exporting in your DAW please share them in the comments to help other producers.

By | 2017-06-28T19:53:37+00:00 October 6th, 2015|Ableton, Music Theory, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. CMO November 26, 2015 at 11:27 am - Reply

    good stuff – look forward to seeing more!

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