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View Full Version : Removing vocal tracks from music for skit use


Space Invader
06-16-2004, 08:43 PM
I figured this would be the best place to post this, since it has to do with skit-age. If not, feel free to move it where it needs to go. =)

Anyways, MP3s are layered files, right? Well, I was wondering if there are any programs out there, either purchased or freeware (freeware is preferred) that can split MP3s down into their respective layers, making it possible to remove the vocal tracks from a piece of music. Any ideas? :square:

*P.S. - If this thread is considered to be discussing illegal information (I don't know why it would be, I'm not asking where / how to get hacks, warez, or MP3s), I apologize. Please close it if deemed so or if it starts heading off in that direction - I don't want to be a promoter of illegal activity.*

Dancin_Fool
06-16-2004, 09:32 PM
While MP3's are layered, I don't believe it's in that way, as so it would be possible to rip the vocals from it. Though I think there might be programs out there which can find vocals from any sound file and reduce them, but I don't think you can completely get rid of them.

Fatwetdog
06-16-2004, 10:03 PM
I was asking about this on another board recently, and they were telling me that it's impossible because of the way MP3s are formatted. You can make the vocals lower if you know how (which I don't) but you can't get rid of them. However, there are a lot of Karaoke disc-selling places on the internet that sell CDs of music with the lyrics removed. I think I'm going to go that way.

Wakusei
06-16-2004, 11:28 PM
It is possible to split the layers only if the piece of music is recorded seperately and then pieced together digitally. It is possible to mute the vocals, but much of the music's distinctive sound runs in the vocal range therefore it may not sound correct. Most times the vocals can still be heard, but it sounds like you're playing the song through a rod of pipe.

I'm not sure where you'd get the software, but the Sega Saturn game system had a very good version of it built into the CD Player.

Depending on the piece of music and/or series many of us here online can help you out. Ask around to see if someone has the music you're looking for. Somewhere it will be available.

SongofAmazon
06-16-2004, 11:50 PM
I can do it... though not completely. It usually leaves a slight echo, but not too bad. If you'd like, you can email it to me and I'll see what I can do. ^_^ I use goldwave... I think...

FoxPhyre
06-17-2004, 04:34 AM
It is possible to split the layers only if the piece of music is recorded seperately and then pieced together digitally. It is possible to mute the vocals, but much of the music's distinctive sound runs in the vocal range therefore it may not sound correct.

it is actually impossible to split a piece of music once it has been combined... that is assuming it wasnt combined into a multi-track digital format, but even then you would have to work for the production company that did the music, or contact them and see about licensing it.. but thats doubtfull.
now, in the days of radio edited music, just about every professionally recorded piece of music is seperately recorded and then placed together at the end of production. the recording studio and label will be the only people who have the actual seperate files, and then after a time karaoke makers will try to get the artists and labels to sign off on it for their karaoke CD-G's.
the other way of doing it which is the most feasible is to use "smart" programs to detect vocals and remove from the music by means of actually breaking it down into the digital signal, using an algorithm to determine the mathematical difference between vocals and instruments and then removing it.. the quality will be harmed, but not too bad as the software merely wont just MUTE the vocal frequency range. there are a lot of DSP (digital signal processing) programs, some on-the-fly and some process all at once and then compile it into the format of your choice. . mp3 format has nothing do with it.. the name MPeg layer 3 only refers to the algorithm involved in compressing a wave file by removing the inaudible frequencies that take up so much space in wave files.. the second step is storing the information in a more efficient code, which is why it gets the .MP3 file type. unfortunately, some DSP programs that have the ability to remove vocals (which doesnt gaurantee perfect removal) cost a bit of money because they are not solely used for that. but im sure you could find one on the internet for cheap or free..... or if you werent worried about perfect reproduction of the song, and have a good sound card... try getting the music in .midi format.. it is layered since it is still just digital music... it doesnt sound great most times.. but its an option.
i hope may have cleared it up a bit, and maybe offered some new options... although it has been a while since i did any studio work with music...

Eccoglyph
01-12-2005, 03:50 PM
I use the program CoolEdit to cut vocals and make karaoke tracks (it has a one-button vocal cut option). Sometimes the quality is nearly perfect, sometimes the song becomes so metallic it may as well be a midi. I have the best luck cutting vocals off of CD tracks, though - mp3s, for some reason, usually don't work very well (I read your post, FoxPhyre, but this has been my personal experience). It is difficult to manually cut out the vocals by trying to locate the frequency, but this program gives you the ability to try, and you can usually soften to a background vocal without losing too much quality. Good luck!

topleka
01-12-2005, 04:51 PM
Goldwave works sometimes...if you're lucky. CoolEdit (now known as Adobe Premiere) seems to be the best for that sort of thing. Usually MP3s aren't layered like that, and a track recorded in stereo will usually get better results. Also, depending on the song, you may be able to find a karaoke version already.

Michi
01-12-2005, 04:56 PM
At home my family has this MD player where you can kinda kill the vocal track. It's still there faintly, but you mostly just hear the music so it worked very well. I dunno if it was recordable though. o_O It was for karaoke purposes. ^_^;

What song are you trying to use? If it was a single it may already have an instrumental version.

ZiggyB
01-12-2005, 06:16 PM
Here's a free plugin for Winamp

http://winamp.com/plugins/details.php?id=54368

It will do a decent job of removing the vocals from most MP3s. It's not perfect though per the reasons everyone else has stated.

But this is free (along with Winamp) so it doesn't hurt to give it a try.

Eccoglyph
01-13-2005, 08:55 AM
CoolEdit (now known as Adobe Premiere) seems to be the best for that sort of thing.
A little off - CoolEdit is now Adobe Audition. Premiere is a video editing program, though can come bundled with Audition.

topleka
01-15-2005, 01:11 AM
A little off - CoolEdit is now Adobe Audition. Premiere is a video editing program, though can come bundled with Audition.
Ah, you're right. ::knocks head:: Silly me. Oh yeah, and I found this while browsing the VAA. I don't know how much it helps, but here:
http://voiceacting.co.uk/board/viewtopic.php?t=2549

Kyuriko
01-17-2005, 01:54 PM
Yes, adobe audition has a vocal remover... it's somewhat like Winamp's DefX only you can save the file like that, but be warned, if you save it as an MP3 (on the one I have anyway, dunno about everyone else) or other file, the quality of the file decreases and it sounds bleah.

Eccoglyph
01-17-2005, 09:09 PM
So that's how vocal cuts are done... how neat. Thanks, topleka!

And I haven't had trouble with saving to mp3 format in CoolEdit - whenever I lose quality, its in the vocal cut process, not the final save. I hope Audition isn't taking us back a step - maybe I won't upgrade after all.

WilwarinAndamar
01-18-2005, 10:05 PM
With the programs above, is it possible to remove just one vocal line?
Clarification: There's a song that I would love to sing as karaoke. However, it's a duet. Is it possible to just cut out/mute one voice track while leaving the other intact? (I'm electronically inept.)

Eccoglyph
01-20-2005, 12:11 PM
With the programs above, is it possible to remove just one vocal line?
Eeee... I don't think its possible, speaking both from experience and from reading topleka's article on the process. But you may be able to work around it. Do the voices overlap or alternate? If they don't overlap, you can choose segments of the music to voice cut. If they overlap, I think you're stuck.

Dany
01-20-2005, 12:16 PM
Goldwave works sometimes...if you're lucky. CoolEdit (now known as Adobe Premiere) seems to be the best for that sort of thing. Usually MP3s aren't layered like that, and a track recorded in stereo will usually get better results. Also, depending on the song, you may be able to find a karaoke version already.


Actually, I think CoolEdit has been changed to Adobe Audition, not Premiere. Just sayin' :)

ETA: Someone already said that. Whoops!


Anyhoo... my suggestions go roughly like this:

1. Try to find the actual soundtrack of the game/movie/anime that you are trying to use. Granted, it might cost money, but for the sound quality, it's very much worth it.

2. Removing vocals from music tracks in general can be really weird. As many have already said, it can sometimes work, and sometimes it can be disastrous. I tried doing it with the scene in the extended Fellowship of the Rings (for the Passing of the Elves), and it was a Big Pain In The Bum. Even in the better pulls, it would sound very tinny and the sort of thing that if pumped over speakers would hurt the ears of children and small animals. If you're successful, you'll want to mind your levels.

3. You might be able to play with taking small samples without dialog and blending/looping them, especially if there is a small part that is repetitive.

animeBecky21
01-20-2005, 08:13 PM
I had a software program to make your own karioke, it was a free trial I downloaded (you got the full program, it just expired after 90 days if you didn't register it).

What it did was filter out the vocal range. The result too was pretty tinny sounding and almost always still had faint vocals on it. It was akin to taking a graphic equalizer and setting those ranges to the minimum.

I thought the live music tracks came out about the best, because they already had the hiss and noise of the audience in them to drown out the tail end of the vocal. But I was never 100% satisfied with any of them. At the time I wanted to have someone I knew record new vocals for the songs so I could have them for drag shows, it's kind of pointless to go out there all painted up and sing Lynyrd Skynyrd or something...