Making an acapella track

Windows 10 … Downloaded Audacity 2.1.2 [it was the full version], thinking my old version was missing some specific ability.
I went to three different You Tube vids about taking out the instrumental and leaving an ‘acapella’ vocal behind. None of them have worked [for me].

I imported mp3’s of two tracks of a song, the recorded ‘single’ and the ‘karaoke’ version. I did the invert thing on the instrumental and CTRL A and then Mix & Render and the track still sounds exactly the same?

I might well be an idiot as this technology is not really my sphere of knowledge, [I’m a picture Framer] … but even if I am, I would really like to know how to achieve this mystical arrangement. Can anyone help me please??

You can try the Vocal Reduction and Isolation effect and select the Action: “Isolate Vocals”

See this page in the Manual:

Whether it works or not depends on the way it was recorded/engineered.


It’s usually IMPOSSIBLE, especially if you want a good-sounding vocal track.

Learn to sing, or find a singer/mimic. :wink:

"You can’t un-fry an egg or un-bake a cake, and you can’t un-mix a recording.


There is a simple “trick” of subtracting left from right to remove centered vocals (everything that’s identical and in-phase in the left & right channels). That can work “perfectly” if the vocals are centered, but it removes everything in the center (although you can filter to leave the centered bass.)

But, there is no similar simple trick for removing everything except the vocals. The more advanced methods of vocal extraction have the same problem of treating everything in the center the same, so you get vocals along with centered-lead instruments. Plus, the more-advanced FFT methods can give you artifacts (noise/distortion, etc.).

These things can be fun to play with but you rarely get good-usable results.

I imported mp3’s of two tracks of a song, the recorded ‘single’ and the ‘karaoke’ version. I did the invert thing on the instrumental and CTRL A and then Mix & Render and the track still sounds exactly the same?

That can work under ideal studio-conditions… But, the regular and karaoke versions are usually completely different recordings. And even if they aren’t completely different recordings, the mixing & mastering is probably different. So in the real world, subtraction rarely works. And, lossy MP3 compression further complicates things.

If you have the original-studio mix, and the same mix without vocals, it can be done. i.e. It can be done if you made the original recordings and mixed yourself. But, if you have the complete original mix and the music-only mix, you probably already have the vocal-only mix.


Here’s an example of what will work and what won’t work… If you record yourself saying “Hello”, you can take an inverted copy and mix to get absolute silence. You can even mix “hello” with background music, and subtract-out “hello” later.

But, if you record yourself saying “Hello” twice and subtract those two different copies, you’ll just hear yourself and your imaginary twin saying “hello” together… It will sound the same as a regular non-inverted mix…

Dear WaxCylinder … thank you so much for such your quick reply, my apologies for having been out all day and so not able to answer.
I will try your suggestion and hopefully let you know the outcome, if this forum allows. Naturally, I understand this is not a refined science.
I appreciate you being kind & subtle with your answer as you couldn’t have missed that I am clearly a dunce with these things. Kindest regards, Lynne

Hello DVDdoug … glad for another view. I do get your point that this is not a perfect tool and that there are very few quality uses for it.
I can and do sing, so obviously that isn’t the reason I wished to conquer this ‘alleged’ method.
Your reply was very informed but if I was ever to ask another question, I will try my very best to make it more worthy.
Of course, I also see that not unlike cracking an egg into the frying pan … you cannot undo a post once it has been delivered! All help is very much appreciated. Regards, Lynne

Hello again WC … I just tried your suggestion and the ‘Isolate Vocals’ works fine. It’s not brilliant but it works for what I need it for, a real help.
Just love it when a plan comes together. Thank you, Lynne :wink:

Glad that worked for you Lynne = as I said it doesn’t always you just hit lucky with a track that was recorede/engineered to make it work ok :sunglasses:


I think at least 95 % of all stereo tracks are engineered like that, bass drums and lead vocals in the center.