i’m trying to make a playback for a song i downloaded from youtube.
when i do “vocal remover” its take out the singer and the music.
why? what can i do?
thanks, tamy

You mean “backing music” like a karaoke track?

The vocal removal effect works by removing whatever is in the middle of the stereo field (it removes what the left and right channels have in common). If the recording is mono then all of the sound will be removed. YouTube recording rarely work for vocal removal because they are usually either mono, or just poor quality sound.

Have a look on Amazon and see if the track that you want is available as for purchase.

Thanks for your help.

I have been trying to do the same thing as OP but failed! Stupid question perhaps, but how do I know if a track is mono or stereo?

Look to left of the blue waves, above the Mute / Solo buttons. It will say mono or stereo.


Unfortunately it is a little bit more complex when considering things like vocal removal.

A “true” mono track has only one channel, and as Gale wrote, says “Mono” on the left end of the track.
When played, the sound that comes from the left speaker is identical to the sound from the right speaker, because both come from the one audio channel.
A “true” stereo track has two channels, and as Gale wrote, says “Stereo” on the left end of the track.
Note that the waveform is different in the left and right channels, so the sound from the left speaker is different from the sound from the right speaker.
Here is the confusing one - It is “stereo” in the sense that it has two audio channels, but in this track the left and right channels are identical, he sound that comes from the left speaker is identical to the sound from the right speaker. This is actually a mono recording in a stereo track. As with a “true mono” track, this will not work with the vocal removal effect.

So no it is not a stupid question, because a recording may look like a stereo track (has two channels) but actually be a mono recording (both channels are identical). Ironically one of the best ways to check if a 2 channel track is “true stereo” or “two channel mono” is to apply the vocal removal effect - if the result is silence then the left and right channels are identical. (of course you can also listen to the track on stereo headphones and listen for sounds being left/right, but for tracks where the left and right are very similar, vocal removal will show if there is any difference at all.)

Yes as you already said earlier in this thread:

So this is the number one factor you have to bear in mind even if the track says “stereo”. Vocal Removal by centre removal will still fail or give an unwanted result if:

  • the vocals are mostly in left or mostly in right
  • if stereo reverberation (different in each channel) has been added to the vocals
  • if there is little or no difference between the entire audio in left and the entire audio in right (the result will be almost or complete silence)
  • the drums as well as the vocals are equally in left and right (both will be removed).

Other ways of removing vocals based on the identifying the special audio characteristics of the vocals may work if centre removal does not - see Audacity Manual .