Using Stems

What are stems

'Stems' refers to the individual parts of a track that put together make the song, such as the vocals, the instruments, the drums, etc.
VirtualDJ 2023 uses advanced technology and the power of today's computers to instantly separate any loaded track into these basic components, in real-time. This opens the door to new ways of mixing that were simply not possible before, and will forever change the way DJs mix. Weither to perform live mashups and remixes, or enhanced seemless transitions, mixes made by DJs using VirtualDJ 2021 just sound better than what can be achieved on older software or hardware, no matter the DJ's skills.

How to use

With the Pads

If you just want to quickly turn individual stems on and off, you can use the PAD buttons.
Select "stems" in the pads page drop-down to load the stems controls.

You can then use the PAD buttons either on the screen, or on your controller, to instantly remove any stem, or quickly get acapella or instrumental versions.

With the EQs

But in order to take full advantage of the new stems, we recommend using the equalizers

The best is to use a 4-deck midi mixer.
This way, you can keep the traditional frequency-based equalizers on the central channels, and use the eq knobs of the outer channels 3 & 4 to control the stem-based EQs.
But if you don't have a 4-deck midi-compatilbe mixer, there are other ways. Click on the small down-down arrow near the Vocal equalizer to see all the options.

Three modes can be chosen from, depending on your DJing level:

- EZRemix: With separate controls for the vocals, instruments, and beat, this mode lets you instantly play with your track and perform cool mashups and remixes on the fly. Turning the knobs to the left will reduce this stem in the mix, while turning to the right will isolate this stem.

- ModernEQ: This mode give more control to advanced DJs, with separation between hihats and kicks. It will feel familiar and natural if you were used to frequency-based EQs. This mode is great to perform seamless transitions, where you can control the 'energy' of your tracks, by adjusting each side's hihats, while ensuring the kicks don't interfer with each others. The middle knob will let you adjust both the vocals and melody to avoid clashes. Turning the middle knob to the full left will kill both the melody and vocals. Half-way to the left will kill only the vocals. While turning to the right will first boost a little the vocal, and all the way will kill the melody.

- Stems: Using all 5 knobs on your mixer, including gain and filter, you can control each of the main 5 stems individually, boosting or lowering each component.


Stems separation involves some very advanced mathematics, that require some serious processing power from your computer.

Our algorithms have been carefully hand-optimized to run on any consumer-level laptop while taking full advantage of your hardware.
If your computer has a modern Nvidia graphic card, or an Apple Silicon chipset, VirtualDJ will peform these calculations in real-time on the videocard, and everything will be seamless.

Otherwise, the calculations will use your CPU, and depending on your hardware, it might not be possible to do it in real-time.
If that's the case, you just need to prepare your tracks in advance by letting VirtualDJ save the stems in a separate file before your gigs.
And if you still need stems during a gig for a file that you didn't prepare, VirtualDJ can also run the stems separation at a much faster speed for real-time separation, but with a reduced quality.