Blog Featured Article

Online Collab – Working with DAWs

Modern collaboration need not be fixed to one Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). What matters most is that the files shared are in a standard format and labeled well.

How to export?

Start by doing a web or YouTube search for “How to export stems from ____” filling in the blank with your DAW of choice. Every major DAW has an instructional tutorial online about this feature. Each DAW offers slightly different export options, but the concept is the same. All modern audio programs can output to these minimum specs:

File type should be WAV or AIF. Please, avoid MP3 unless it’s for a demo mix only. MP3 is a lossy format, and not appropriate for production.

Sample Rate 44.1 Khz

Bit Depth: 24 bit

When possible, provide the tempo (e.g. 120 bpm, 80 bpm, etc) as part of the documentation with the file or within the file name:


When exporting files, you have some choices to make. Do you want to share a rough mix (stereo left and right channels) or do you want to share the individual tracks (stems)? You might want to share both. A stereo mix of the whole song is useful as a reference, and for final delivery, but less useful for collaboration since the mix is fixed in place once it is generated.

Stems represent each individual instrument within a track and can be used for remixing. For example:


Most DAWS take care of naming the files based on what you have used within the DAW. So labeling as you go can help keep things organized.

Lastly, you may want to share MIDI Files for instrument or drum parts so they can be played by software instruments within a DAW. These files are much different from digital audio files. MIDI files are much smaller, and contain the data that represents how an instrument was played. But the actual sound is determined by the device use to play the MIDI file. Here again, if sharing a MIDI file, not the type of instrument and tempo within the file name:


Where to share?

While MIDI files are small enough to pass around through email, audio files (WAV/AIF) should be shared via Google Drive, DropBox or some other cloud solution.


By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.