How to layer vocals from one song over audio from another

Hey guys,
I’m just getting into some music editing stuff and I’m working on combining songs together to create new mixes like this . . .

With audacity (version 2.0.3), I can take a vocal part from one song and insert it into another song really easily. But it tends to sound funny when a song is going and all of a sudden the entire track stops when it gets to the part with a few vocals from another song. So I was wondering if there was a way to keep the background music from the original track playing behind the vocals that I’m bringing in from another. Thanks!

P.S. I’m talking about like how the above guy takes the hip-hop lyrics out and puts them on an Adele track.

That’s a difficult task, as far as I can see.
I gather that you have mastered all the beat matching and pitch shifting stuff?
You should try this plug-in to adjust the balance between original vocals and (mostly) background:
2D Stereo Toolkit
Listen to the first example. Notice how the music keeps its level whereas the voice disappears almost totally.
Then follows a passage where the voice is dominant and the background goes away (within limits).
The first effect is useful for the pop song and the second for the hip-hop vocals + beat (or do you record your own voice?).
Notice that your example link is mono (to about 92 %). However, I’ll describe the stereo procedure first because it is a little bit simpler.

  1. Choose the source material. At least the pop song should be stereo if you wanna use the plug-in.
  2. Duplicate the two tracks and select the copies.
  3. Start the plug-in and choose “Isolate Center (inverted)” - OK
  4. If you listen to two tracks of the same origin, vocals and drums should be reduced by a great amount. If not, the source song may not be ideal.
  5. The hip-hop part needs in principle only the newly created center part. But you can adjust the mixture by setting the gain of the original track - low means mostly voice. This balance should be right throughout the whole song.
  6. Hopefully you have already made that the pitches and the beat match along with all loops that are involved. Otherwise, it may be a little tricky with 3 or 4 tracks.
  7. You should now have 4 (or 3) tracks that play in sync but without the vocals from the original. Our goal is to blend them up whenever there is no hip-hop text.That is easily achieved by silencing the duplicated track in this passages - only the original pop-mix will then be heard (+ the beat of the other tracks of course).
  8. Use any of the available fade effects to make short, smooth transitions between voice and background only and you’re done.

The procedure for the mono version is somewhat similar.

  • The source pop-song has still to be stereo or you won’t be successful.
  • Make a duplicate of the first song and apply the built-in Voice Removal.
  • Please note that those two tracks do not add up to a center-less version.
  • The second track is mono (with two channels though) and we must therefore make both tracks of the pop song mono (track menu >> Stereo to Mono).
  • The difficulty is now to blend between the original and the center-less version. Above, it was enough to fade/silent the copied track but this works no longer. We must cross-fade between the tracks. If one is silent the other will be loud and vice-versa.
  • If you’ve managed that, you’re done again.
  • You can now apply some panning to introduce a slight stereo effect. Maybe the hip-hop part is still stereo.

Sounds all complicated, I know but it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re familiar with basic editing and (cross-) fades.
Let us know how you’re getting along.

That’s what I thought initially.

I think the problem is one track ran out of music too soon. The only way I know to solve that is compose more music. I heard this done at a dance club once. Grab a complete musical phrase and copy/paste to the end of the track that runs out (matching beats, of course). It will only sound strange if you’re listening for it. If it’s in the middle of a mix, nobody will notice. If you have to fight vocals burned into the track, you’re dead.


Basically I’m just looking for a way to isolate vocals so I can put them over the top of any track/beat/music I want. Hopefully this works. If you (or anyone else) has any more suggestions, I’d be more than happy to hear them! Thanks.


There is no “magic button” for isolating vocals.
There is an article here about removing/isolating vocals: Missing features - Audacity Support
There is also this experimental plug-in from Robert J. H. Karaoke, Rotation, Panning & more
and a closely related forum topic here: Creating Virtualization, and Separating Vocals......

That’s the same link as I’ve already provided in my first post.
I wouldn’t call the plug-in experimental.
It works robust and stable (at least on Windows).
As I’ve explained longly and widely above, choose “Isolate center” to retrieve the vocals (+ drums and some residual music).
The results can differ heavily, depending on how the track was mixed in the first place.
The worst that you can get is a track that sounds the same as a simple mono down mix (menu Tracks > Stereo to Mono).
The result will be best if some instruments were panned hard left, the others hard right and the vocals in the middle.

Steve, are you sure you meant this topic? It is meanly about pseudo stereo and to a lesser degree about extracting vocals from a mono track - something that can’t be done satisfactorly (not automatically at least).
You meant perhaps this one:

Alex, please ask if you’ve got stuck somewhere - I’ve seen that you’ve asked for some links to get started.
For this specific plug-in doesn’t exist additional information other than provided in the presented links.
Hence, this is the right place to ask if something isn’t clear.

I haven’t tried your new version yet, Robert but what Steve means I think is that any plug-in that is not on Missing features - Audacity Support is still regarded as “experimental”.

It would be good to try and find some system for experienced / trusted users such as yourself to give a formal test and report on plug-ins listed on New Plug-ins and then mark them as ready for Steve to review for possible Wiki publication.


“Experimental” has a taste of “self-made airplane crashes on virgin flight” to it.
Steve has already requested (October, last year) if I could test and propose some plug-ins to be uploaded to the WIKI.
Initially, I thought I could establish some concept to judge the general state and mostly unbiased. Some sort of checklist or so.
This does not mean that I want to be too restricting - each new plug-in on the WIKI is a gain in respect to diversity and promotes Nyquist for code users and writers alike.
Alas, time rushes by and there’s always a new plug-in idea that holds me tight…
Furthermore, there are some members that are far superior when it comes to proper testing in a real context. Users like Trebor, DVDdoug or Damien come spontaneously to my mind.

Robert, I finally got around to trying this out but am having trouble getting your plug-in onto audacity. I can’t seem to open up the file to download it so I dragged and dropped it into the plug-in folder for audacity, but then cannot find it in the program to use. 'What is the best way to download the plug-in so I can use it in audacity.

P.S. I think my computer doesn’t recognize the “.ny” file extension so maybe that is the problem? Thanks.

Windows does not know what a .ny file is (it’s just a text file containing instructions for “Nyquist” - “Nyquist” is a computer language that is built into Audacity).

Instructions for installing Nyquist plug-ins are here:

The tool should eventually appear in the effect menu under the slider as “2D Stereo Toolkit”.
Since it begins with a number it will most likely be the first item after the divider.
Choose the right plug-in folder. The path is something like

C:Program Files (x86)AudacityPlug-ins

The “Toolkit” is only installed and recognized after a re-start of Audacity.
Have fun with the first experiments.

I think I got it. At least there is a “2-D stereo toolkit” under effects so hopefully that’s it! Thanks everyone.


Looks like I’ve got it! At least there is a “2D stereo toolkit” under effects. Thanks!

Robert, I finally got around to messing with tracks and your plug-in seems to work just fine. Thanks so much for your step-by-step instructions on how to combine the pop track and hip-hop vocals (even though I’m not quite that far in my own experimenting haha). Anyway, on what I experimented on, the vocals seem to be isolated enough on the hip-hop song that layering it with a pop track would overpower any remaining non-vocal in the hip-hop song. Again, thank you so much for your knowledge and willingness to share. I’ll be sure to ask if any other questions pop up.

You’re always welcome.
Your questions and feed back will help to improve the tool.
Thanks for trying.