Remove Vocals from a Song in Audacity

How to Remove Vocals from a Song in Audacity (Step-by-Step Guide)

Removing vocals from songs can be tricky, but it doesn't have to be. This post will give step-by-step instructions on how to separate vocals from a song in Audacity. 

You can use this process on any track that you want to remix. Note that this process isn't for removing instruments. This particular guide focuses on removing vocals.

First, we'll look at using the built-in Audacity vocal remover. Then we'll examine how to split the audio track to remove the vocal in another channel. Let's get started!

[Method 1] Remove Vocals Using the Vocal Reduction Tool

Advantages:

  • Works best for most songs

Disadvantages:

  • Does not always wholly remove vocal

  • May also remove other elements of the audio besides vocal

This tutorial describes a general way to use Audacity’s built-in vocal remover. Depending on how much processing is on the vocal, this method may completely remove it. It will reduce the vocal volume significantly if it does not remove the vocal altogether.

Step 1: Open Audacity.

Open Audacity

Step 2: Click File > Import > Audio.

Click File > Import > Audio

Step 3: Select the song from which you want to remove vocals. Audacity will load the waveform into the editor.

Select the song

Step 4: We will make a backup so that we still have the whole song available for use later. Click File > Export > Export as MP3. If the original file is a WAV or audio file, export it to that type. Doing this will keep the audio artifacts in the best condition for editing. Name your file something you will remember.

Click File > Export > Export as MP3

Step 5: Click ‘OK.’

Click ‘OK.’

Step 6: Click ‘Close’ on the original audio file.

Click ‘Close’

Step 7: Import the new audio file you just exported in Step 5.

Import the new audio file

Step 8: Click Select > Select All.

Click Select > Select All

Step 9: Click Effect > Vocal Reduction and Isolation.

Click Effect > Vocal Reduction and Isolation

Step 10: Under “Action:” select ‘Remove Vocals.’

select ‘Remove Vocals.’

Step 11: Wait for Audacity to remove the vocal. Click ‘Play’ to listen to the edit.

Click ‘Play’ to listen to the edit

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[Method 2] Remove Vocals by Splitting Audio Channels

Advantages:

  • Fewer steps than the first method

  • It will completely remove vocal if it’s in its own channel

Disadvantages:

  • It does not work for the vast majority of audio

This method will only work for songs with vocals in one channel and instruments in another. The only way to find out is to try your chosen piece.

Step 1: Import your audio into Audacity.

Import your audio into Audacity

Step 2: Click the ‘Down Arrow’ on the title of the audio.

Click the ‘Down Arrow’

Step 3: Click ‘Split Stereo to Mono’.  

Click ‘Split Stereo to Mono’

Step 4: Press ‘Play’ and click ‘Solo’ on each track to see if there is an isolated vocal on either channel.

Press ‘Play’ and click ‘Solo’

Step 5: Whichever one does not contain the isolated vocal, delete it from the Audacity session.

delete it from the Audacity session

Audacity Vocal Remover Not Working

Here are a few things you can try if the vocal remover in Audacity is not working:

  1. Start by uninstalling and reinstalling the latest version of Audacity. 

  2. Adjust the strength parameter of the Vocal Reduction & Isolation plugin.

  3. Modify the high cut and low cut parameters. Before applying the changes, you can click ‘Preview’ to hear how it will sound.

Also, try the vocal remover with other songs. The song of your choice may have the vocals mixed in a unique place in the stereo field. If it works with other pieces, you may have to adjust the settings more for this song than others. Or you can try other vocal removers.

FAQs

Where is the Vocal Remover in Audacity?

You can find the Vocal Reduction and Isolation plugin under ‘Effects.’ You can use the dropdown ‘Action:’ to select Remove Vocals. Then you can configure other settings to control the strength of the effect.

How Do I Isolate Vocals in Audacity?

Select the vocals you want to isolate in Audacity. Then under ‘Effects,’ you can select the ‘Vocal Reduction and Isolation’ tool. Choose ‘Isolate Vocals’ under ‘Action.’

Final Thoughts

Audacity is an excellent tool for editing audio files. When it comes to removing vocals, other programs will work better. Software designed for this, such as Notta Online Vocal Remover, can be more effective. This tool will automatically remove the vocals in most audio and video files. It’s a free and simple tool that can make your life much easier.

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