Vocal removal from song

Hi all,

I am desperately trying to remove vocals from a song that my fiance and I have chosen for our first dance for our wedding. We would love to have only an instrumental version of that song so that a friend can sing the song live.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of experience with music editing programs and have so far been unsuccessful in removing the vocals. I have tried to follow the steps that Mike explained in one of his Youtube tutorials on how to remove vocals from a song in Adobe Audition but again had no real success. There is always quite some vocals left in the background and also the quality of the instrumental part gets quickly compromised.

While I’m not able to upload the song here since I’m a new member I was wondering if someone in the community would be able to help?

Many thanks
Tim

Your success on this will never be 100% as it’s virtually impossible to isolate and remove something from a mix down without also taking some of the elements you don’t want.

In order for this to be successful the vocals have to be mono and sit on the centre channel. If the vocals are mixed in with stereo effects you won’t succeed.

The way you may achieve this is use the centre channel extractor and start with the vocal remove preset. You can change settings to move the frequency band but be aware the more you move it off centre or widen it the more the damage to the audio you want to keep.

It may sound silly but have you tried searching for an instrumental of the song or even a karaoke version? If not available perhaps contact the artist or their record company and explain the situation and see if they can hook you up with a clean instrumental.

There are many effects available in audition that do what they say but with drastic effects on the audio like vocal remove, dereverb, denoise etc. Sometimes the only way to get a usable instrumental is to get the instrumental version.

Maybe search on Discogs and see if you can find the song you want on there in CD format which contains an instrumental?

I’ll be honest, I would never dream of making an instrumental using vocal remove. What I would do with it is to use in if I’m censoring a song for playout and removing “naughty” words as those words are so short the perceived loss of quality isn’t that noticeable but if I did it over a longer period or indeed the whole song it would sound like it had been recorded on an old 80s portable cassette recorder placed near 80s Hifi speakers.

I wish you luck and hope you can find a way to get a decent quality instrumental either through tweaking the vocal remove settings or through searching an original instrumental out.

One final thought, there is a fundamental that multiple light passes can sometimes achieve a better outcome that one heavy pass. This normally applies to noise removal (fairly similar principal to voice removal) but you may wish to try tweaking the settings of vocal remove and trying a few passes of lighter removal to see if that works better than going in for the kill and dropping the entire centre channel in one go. That way you’d be able to lightly remove different parts in each pass, hopefully without a destroying the audio you want to keep.

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Here’s a very brief explanation of how it works, why it won’t leave you a 100% quality instrumental and why it sometimes doesn’t work at all

Audio Journey Part 52