How-To: Remove Vocals From A Track

  • I thank stumble upon for so many things, and this is yet another.

    I came across a tutorial on how-to-geek that points out how to remove vocals using audacity (free audio workstation for every OS). I must say, the results are quite phenomenal. I tried it out on three tracks and of them, only one gave me problems (a pop-punk song with layers and layers of vocals). This is a good start for people wanting to remix stuff.

    Also, shouldn't be hard to grab the vocals somehow. More on that if I figure it out.

    www.howtogeek.com/56335/how-to-remove-vocals-from-music-tracks-using-audacity

  • yeah thats a good one, wish it was that easy to turn tracks into acapellas.... still havent figured out a solid way to do that.

  • well, depending on the genre, it's often really easy to extract the acapellas, if you already have the instrumental. Same sort of idea, you invert the instrumental, add it to the full track, and bam. Acapella. Not so easy if they haven't released the instrumental of course, hip hop it's very common, rock n roll, less so.

    If you're dealing with some kind of techno or something with a regular, loop-based production style, you can sort of role your own, by taking the stripped down introduction section, inversing, and adding it to the later parts, this can get rid of anything that is introduced right away, then kept consistent throughout...

  • cool looks like I need to download audcity again then after work!

  • You can do it in any daw. In ableton, use the 'utility' effect.

  • You could really create one the most comprehensive audio production books by getting together this communitys forum posts! It seems almost everytime I read this forum I leave going "I didnt know you could do that" thanks again monomers!

  • Waiiiit!

    @lokey. If the trick is inverting the instrumental couldn't you just use this trick to derive and export an instrumental, then go through your process and get an acapella?

    I might try this out today.

  • @MCDELTAT -I was thinking the same thing, use audacity to create the instrumental then just invert the instrumental over the original...... It seems too easy.

  • Yeah it does seem too easy, because that's not how it works. I just tried it, and it doesn't turn out anything of value.

    At least you can get instrumentals now haha.

  • well, it wasn't too long ago that people were sure that you couldn't isolate and pull apart chords, but melodyne proved them wrong, but i suspect there will always be limits to what can be done to pull apart a flattened waveform into it's original components. There is always going to be a spectral trace of the rest of the song in whatever you derive from it.

    But think of what you're doing in the audacity example. You're taking a stereo channel, inverting one of the channels, and summing the two together to produce a single file that has none of the audio in common between the left or right channel (ie the 'center' has been removed). What your left with is just the 'side' audio. If then take that track, invert it and add it to the original, you're left with none of the side, only the center audio. Neither will be a perfect 'instrumental' i'm afraid. Bass for example is mostly center, so it comes along with the vocal most of the time.

    In live, this is all really easy, just use the utility: at 0% width, you get your center, the audio data that is shared between the channels. At 200%, the only audio you get is the sound that is different between the two.

    http://www.minzmusic.net/blog/archive/2008/12/29/midside-processing-in-ableton-live

    And to do the instrumental trick (assuming you have a real instrumental to truly cancel it out with), you can just drop a utility and Phz both L and R of the instrumental, and bus it to the same place youre sending your original track audio to. Voila, acapella.

    Incidently, monosylabik has a handy little mid/side rack setup for live on his site, so you can decompose the mid and side data and process the two seperately, then merge them back into L/R...neat...
    http://www.unit27music.com/media/ableton-live-resources/

  • ooh, and he's got a neat drumsdivider plugin that looking really interesting...

    http://www.unit27music.com/50/weeklyish-patch-11-drums-divider/