If you’re collaborating with other engineer’s, producer’s, songwriter’s, or studio’s - then there’s a good chance that you’ve been asked to deliver “RAW Audio Files” (aka regions) before. If you haven’t - then my guess is that you will be eventually. :)
First off, let’s take a moment to talk about what this term means.. Well, essentially we can think of Raw Audio Files, as the actual files that are created when recording to your hard drive. Another term for RAW files could also be “un-processed” but in my personal experience, the term RAW is used more often. In fact If I had to narrow it down even further, I’d say “Raw Audio Files / Regions Consolidated from Bar 1” is the phrase I’ve heard the most.
Regardless of whether you are recording a vocal, a kick drum, or an acoustic guitar - whatever source is being recorded through the preamp (after it has passed through the A > D Converters) INTO your DAW would be the raw audio. It’s also important to note that the actual gain that the files have been recorded at will have been determined by your preamp’s gain settings, and the level at which you recorded them. So any fader levels and panning done within the console / mixer of your DAW - would not have any bearing on the levels of the files.
There are certain cases where having access to the RAW audio files (vs exported stems) may be preferable, but without getting into too much detail, the main reason would be to have maximum flexibility/control in terms of mixing or producing. Case in point, you’ve done some vocal tracking, and someone has requested that you deliver RAW tracks so that he or she may continue to work on the song, and have full control over any processing that may be added.
“Translation - Don’t do any mixing, I’ll handle that on my end… Just record the tracks as best as you can, and send them to me..”
One last thing to point out, is that I think it’s also important to note that in most cases - even when delivering RAW Audio files, it’s pretty common practice to do some basic house keeping, such as deleting unwanted sections of audio in between phrases, and adding basic fade in’s & fade out’s. But the end goal is to usually render a new contiguous audio file that starts at “Bar 1” with no additional processing.
In this video I demonstrate how to export Raw Audio tracks (Regions) in PreSonus Studio One 4 using a Drag & Drop workflow from the Arrange Window to the Browser.
Although this video was done using Version 4, the same concepts can be applied to previous version of Studio One.