Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

Removing Vocals from Songs

Posted August 2, 2007 11:54 a.m. EDT

Who doesn't love singing in the car?  It's fun to pretend you can sing as well as the person on your iPod or CD.  No one else is there to hear the flat notes tumbling out of your face.  If you turn up the volume, the sour notes blend in with the song, and it sounds fine to you.

Well, I'm here to help you be a better singer.  Here's a way to take just about any song and remove the vocal track.  You'll need a stereo MP3 file of a studio-recorded song.  This won't work well with live recordings.  You'll also need a copy of Audacity, which is a wonderful and free audio editor.

According to the Audacity site, you can cancel out vocals when they are exactly the same on both stereo channels.  I have no idea how that works, but it does.  I've followed the instructions on the link and have successfully wiped out the vocal tracks.

You'll notice a few other changes to the sound of the remaining tracks.  The bass usually is wiped out.  You may also hear the effects they put on the vocals.   Vocals with heavy reverb sound muffled and a little out of time.

You can create your own karaoke tracks this way.  And it's just fun to hear the "guts" of these songs and hear how they are produced.  You might be surprised to hear all of the vocal harmonies buried in there and other musicianship you don't always notice.   It's an easy way to freshen up those good albums you love, but have heard too many times.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

About this Blog:

WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.