I often download different available multitracks to songs to see the way the tracks of the song sound separately. I was wondering if there is a file format that is an undrendered audio format with layers that contain tracks that when being played all together sound as a full mix but which if you open contains in it all the tracks separately. The effects can either be separate or mixed into the tracks. If such a format doesn't exist is it possible to make one and what problems would we stumble upon?

  • Not sure, what you are asking for. Where does MIDI not fit the bill?
    – guidot
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 7:47
  • A file format for audio and not commands. Audio waveforms. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 7:49
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    In that case I don't understand unrendered (if this is meant).
    – guidot
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 7:55
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    Most audio formats can handle this. Even .wav files can have up to 65535 audio tracks, which should be enough for most people! The issue is not the file formats, but the fact that very little software actually uses anything except 2 track stereo, or 5 or 7 track surround sound.
    – user19146
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 19:26
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    @alephzero: I would go farther and say "virtually any file format" can handle this. All one needs is a "header section" that defines the data start point inside the file, and how long the data segment is. Evert single media file format is a container format with multiple streams. You are absolutely correct though: the problem is reader support.
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


Isn't this generally called a "stem export"? Though usually you get one file per track I think, with the tracks padded to a common starting point in order to preserve their relative timing.

  • A stem export creates an audio file for each track, how to put them into one audio format thst would contain them? Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 5:11

A complete DAW project file (as opposed to one with relative links) will have all the "layers" or tracks and all the transformation actions as separate items, so that you can play or modify any single one at a time if you want.

Or you can open up multitrack recordings with a DAW and modify a particular track if you want.

These appear to both do exactly what you need, at slightly different levels.

  • But you can't copy a project file on to your player and run it there to have the ability to switch to any separate track inside or listen to them as a whole. Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 5:10

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