Remove vocals in Audacity, with an additional “secret sauce” to keep the low end strong.

Before I get too far into this, I have to make the disclaimer that I made in the video:

YOU CAN’T ENTIRELY REMOVE VOCALS FROM A MIXED PIECE OF MUSIC.

remove vocals in Audacity is like removing yeast from breadIt’s like trying to get the yeast out of a baked loaf of bread. Can’t be done and still preserve the bread… or the song in this case.

You can, however use an effect or two that will push the vocals to the “back side” of the track, enabling you to somewhat “hide” them in the mix.

But when most people remove vocals, they only take one step, which results in a very “hollow” sounding track of music. If you want to remove vocals using Audacity… and do it in a way that avoids that outcome, you came to the right place because I’m going to show you how! (Thanks for the idea from Joe Gilder over at Home Studio Corner).

Many people on MAC have had a hard time finding the plugins mentioned on this video. I’m not a MAC guy, so I don’t know how to help you other than pointing you to the guy whose email address is listed on the plugins inside Audacity.

For both the Inverter plugin and the LS Filter plugin, the creator is named Steve and can be reached here (according to the “about” section on the plugin) steve (@) plugin (dot) org (dot) uk – contact him to see if he has an OS version.

In this Audacity video tutorial you’re gonna learn how to:

 

  • Split your stereo track into a split mono track (necessary to use the inverter properly on this one).
  • Use the “Inverter” effect (you can also use the “invert” effect if you want… I cover that in this video) to push the vocals to the back of the track.
  • Use a “low pass filter” effect (I give you a handful of them in this tutorial) to make a copy of your original stereo track with a beefed up low end, which returns much of the fullness of the track, minus the vocals!

 

Let me know what you’d like to know how to do using the free Audacity program and I’ll get it put together!

26 comments to Remove vocals in Audacity and KEEP the bass end strong! (no joke)

  • SouthernFlayva

    I’m having a little trouble with this process. I have the most recent version of Audacity (as of September 2013) & I have downloaded all of the plug-ins. The “Inverter” & “LS Filter” options aren’t available in the Effects menu. But that’s not really an issue since other options can be used.
    My main problem is removing all of the vocals. I am using a track that has a lead singer as well as background vocals (a choir). When I follow the process, only the lead vocals are removed/suppressed. The volume of the background vocals decreases somewhat, but they are still quite prominent throughout the track. Is there any way to fix this?

  • Mert

    This is really the one of the best tutorials ever . Thank you for sharing this with people . But it doesn’t work on all tracks . I quietly removed vocals from 2 or 3 songs . How can karaoke websites do this ? I mean the complete isolation ?

  • TheLords

    My suspicion is that the artists/record companies allow a track to be made without the vocals expressly for Karaoke use. As far as websites go, I’m not sure they actually take a song and remove the vocals completely… at least I’ve never seen one that can do that.

  • TheLords

    Sorry for the delayed reply… for some reason I did not receive notification of your comment. I’m not sure there is any way to suppress the background vocals as well. It sounds to me like you got the best out of the process that is possible. Sorry.

  • This is probably the most useful tutorial I’ve ever watched! Thanks for the upload!

  • Princess Loredee

    Thank you so much! I just did this for a presentation tomorrow. 🙂

  • Jake

    I recently purchased an instrumental from someone and I’m trying to remove an audio tag that say the guy’s name. I followed all of these steps, but you can still clearly hear it. Is it because the composer of the instrumental made the tag a certain way so it couldn’t be removed?

  • TheLords

    Hi Jake, – it’s likely an issue with how the track was mastered. If they vocal parts were mixed in in the same track as anything else, they’ll be harder or impossible to remove. Sorry.

  • Dianne

    Hi! Very!!!! new to this. Once this is process of vocal remover (suppress) on my laptop is completed can I then burn this to a disk? Also do you have step by step instructions to help follow along as it is being done?
    Thank you!

  • TheLords

    Hi Dianne, to export the file go to FILE>EXPORT and name and choose the type of file (mp3, wav, etc.). Then you can take that file into any program like Windows Media Player or iTunes and burn it to the CD from there.

  • Hi, I ‘m Nicolas and French. First of all I did appreciate your website about your audacity tutorials. I am completely novice in the world of sound however I did progress in this field thanks to you. Your videos are clear and very well explained.I saw that you maybe didn’t post any new video since a long time. Could you go on because I am sure that could be very hepful specialy in advanced chapter. However I wish you all my greetings for the next.

    Nicolas.

  • Gab

    Is possible to do a similar thing for the instrument? Would be incredible to mute for example guitar from a live audio of your favourite band. Backing tracks are good but sometimes they miss voice or are very basic.

  • TheLords

    Hey Gab… nope. As far as I know there’s no way to do that, even though it would be super cool!

  • Diego

    Where can you get the additional plug-ins “Inverter” and “LS Filter”? I’ve installed all available plug-ins in audicity website but I still can’t find them.

  • Andrew

    just go to effects > manage and enable them

  • Tom

    I am having a little understanding on how does this technique works. I mean why are only vocals being canceled out on adding two opposite waveforms and not everything?

  • TheLords

    Hi Tom, honestly I’m not exactly sure on the WHY of how it works, I just know that it does. 🙂

  • hhorvath

    is Inverter (vs Invert) only available as a plug-in for “Windows”…I have a Mac?!?

  • TheLords

    I’m not sure on that. Sorry.

  • Erika Bestor

    The song I’m trying to edit is called “You Would Be My Baby” by Vanessa Williams. The vocals, for the most part, are out, but the drum part sounds muffled, even when I do the Low Pass effect. Any way you can listen to that song and give me pointers on what I should do?

  • TheLords

    Hi Erika, I don’t have time to look at it but my best guess is that you’ve got it the best it will get. Given the way this process works you’re fortunate to have gotten any change. 🙂

  • Halo

    You uhh, seem to have deleted my two comments. Might I ask why?

  • TheLords

    Hey Halo, I don’t see that you’ve left any comments… strange? I wonder if my site has a glitch?

  • Halo

    I left a comment the other day, maybe a couple weeks ago, asking how to make a couple songs sound less like a jumble of almost-sounds, and another explaining how the process itself works by quoting another site. The comment I was replying to with how this works was also deleted.

    Not that it matters now that my computer committed sudoku, but the songs were “Chorus of Angels” by Haste the Day, and “Sever” by We As Human.

  • Halo

    EDIT: The one I was replying to wasn’t deleted, I’m just blind.