Macgyver’s Guide To Extracting Vocals From a Song

So, you really want to remix a song but you need the vocals. How do you extract vocals from a song? In this article I will show you how I take vocals from a song to use for remixes.

There are a couple ways to accomplish this, but I will show you my favorite method.

This method can be applied to any DAW whether you have FL Studio, Ableton, Logic Pro, or even Reaper.

We’ll be using Audacity just because it is free

 

What You Need:

  • High quality instrumental of a song
  • Original Song that you wish to take the vocals from
  • Audio Manipulation software(we’ll use audacity in this example)

 

How This Will Work

Phase inversion reverses the peaks and valleys in a waveform. What we will be doing is lining up the instrumental with the original song and then we will apply phase inversion to the instrumental file. Since the waveform’s peaks and valleys will be swapped, It will cancel out the beat in the original song and leave you with an acapella. Keep in mind that this doesn’t work all the time. It is VERY important to have a high quality instrumental of the song. Make sure your instrumental is actually from the song you want to extract vocals from. Sometimes people use remakes of the instrumentals to do this and it doesn’t work at all.

 


Step 1. Make Sure the acapella version doesn’t already exist.

A lot of producers release the vocals from a track so that people can remix it. It isn’t worth going through phase inversion if there is already a high quality acapella version of the song.

To check for acapella versions of a song you can use some great sites like acapellas4u or DeejayPortal (EDIT: Recently, DeejayPortal got taken down due to copyright issues. Read more here.)

Sometimes you can find an acapella by simply googling it:

google acapella

If there is already an acapella, it is pointless to do phase inversion. Sometimes the acapellas you find will be made by other producers who used phase inversion. Depending on their skill level, the acapella could be really good or terrible.

 

Step 2: Get Audacity

audacity logo

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

You can use almost any audio manipulation software, but we’ll be using audacity because it’s free.

 

Step 3: Drag in the instrumental and the original song

Just simply drag them in. Make sure they are both on separate tracks.

drag it in audacity

 

Step 4: Line them up EXACTLY

This is crucial. If this is off by just a little bit, you won’t get a good acapella.

line it up audacity

 

Step 5: Phase Inversion Time!

phase inversion

Now you have to invert the instrumental. Every DAW has some type of phase inversion feature. On Audacity you have to make sure the instrument is selected and then go to Effect >> Invert.

 

Step 6: Did It Work?

If you have been following along so far, when you press play you should hear an acapella with little to no background noise. Remember to get HIGH quality instrumentals when doing this. If you hear no difference at all, go back to Step 4 and keep tweaking.

That’s pretty much how to extract vocals from a song.

 

Good Luck!


 

 

Leave a Comment

2 comments

    1. Hi, Vocaloid!

      I greatly appreciate you reading the blog.

      To answer your question, the reason you’re not noticing anything is because the instrumental and the actual song have to be aligned EXACTLY. There’s a lot of zooming in and tweaking involved. Keep in mind that your instrumental and song should be of the same exact quality.

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