For me stems are a good thing. When I'm close to being done with a mix I like to break it down into a few basic stems. I find it kind of clears my mind (especially if it is a complicated mix) because now my hands are tied a lot more than if I had the entire mix open and am able to adjust anything I want. No...I have committed to a few blocks and it's kind of liberating to think "well, here's the drum mix, I can't change anything within it, but I can process the whole thing....let's see how that sits with the entire mix" So it's usually very slight changes that I will make...a db boost or cut on EQ or maybe just changing the level of the entire stem by a slight amount. You could argue that I could do all that in the mix without having to make stems. But for me, making stems is about committing! It reduces my choices of what I can alter down to a minimum, so I don't have the distraction of every element available. Does that make any sense? Yeti, I produce stems that are identical to an ITB mix. I can mix the stems to a stereo file and then test that file using the reverse polarity nulling technique against the mix and it proves to be the same. Of course you can't have any processing on the stereo bus when rendering stems or that will affect the sum.