Remove background music keeping other sounds (from a game)

I’m making a movie from a video game. The main problem I have is with the background music. It plays continuously on a loop and there’s no option to “switch off” the music. When the scenes are put together, there’s no continuity in the audio as the music is playing from different parts. The genre of the movie is action so most of the scenes will have multiple guns shooting, however there are other scenes where the characters are just talking and some where it’ll be mixed with action and vocals. So the main part I need is all the sounds (vocals, guns, etc.) except the background music.

The idea I have is that if I can minimize the background music to as low as possible whilst keeping the other sounds (removing it would be better but I think that’s quite difficult to do), I would be playing my own music loud enough to mask any trace of the background music.

I’m adding a sample of the audio for scenes firstly without action, then secondly and thirdly with action (they’ll be in the same file). In the case that the music in the action scenes can’t be reduced without also reducing the other sounds, I can add the sounds for each gun individually as I can get the noises for them. But my main priority is getting the vocals.

Also I should add that this is the first time I’m using an audio editing software and am a complete beginner.

Thanks in advance.


(removing it would be better but I think that’s quite difficult to do)

Doing anything to a mixed sound track other than enjoy it is very difficult to do. Your best bet is ADR…

You get your friends and neighbors into a quiet room with a microphone and loop the game segments and they speak and perform the parts fresh. Anybody with internet access can get gunshot and explosion effects.

I’m not making that up. We recently did that against the visuals for a game promotional trailer. I was the audio guy in the quiet room.


Thanks for the advice. I guess I can add the individual sounds for the action scenes since there is rarely any dialogue. Though the idea of dubbing might be slightly difficult to do as there is a lot of dialogue to cover.

Although, since most of the scenes with dialogue has only vocals and music playing in the background, is it right to say that I can treat that section of audio as a song?

I’ve been reading through the forums for ways on keeping the vocals and getting rid of the music (central pan remover, voice trap, extra boy), but I’m still confused as to how each method works? Is there any way to somehow lower the music or perhaps boost the vocals? Also, has anyone had any experience with these software’s, are they useful?

Sorry for these questions but I’m a novice to this field


Note: An example of the type of audio I’m referring to is the first sample in the previously attached file

I also forgot to mention that if I have the original music (instrumental) and the original music with the vocals (instrumental + vocals), is there a way to somehow cancel out the two instrumentals and be left with the vocals? This idea was brought up on an earlier forum and if I’m not mistaken, it would only work if the instrumentals were identical?

To give some extra information about the game, in the theatre mode, which allows the user to free-roam the area in a camera and then record the shots, the music is constantly playing on a loop even while the scene is paused and no action is taking place. According to this, I believe that the vocals are simply added on-top of the music playing and we’re not recorded and mixed together.

So from this, while the scene is paused, I can recored the looped music which would represent the ‘instrumental’ section. Then I can play the scene so the looped music with the dialogue can be recorded, representing the ‘instrumental + vocals’ section. Hence, the two instrumental sections would be exactly the same, apart from the fact that one has vocals and the other doesn’t.

Could this idea possibly work?

I’ve done some more research, reading and testing and have managed to reduce the background music to a significant extent. Is there a way to reduce it further?

The beginning steps came from the following forum

Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Added two copies of the audio

  2. Used the ‘Vocal remover (for centre-panned vocals)’ effect on the 2nd track with the settings

  • Remove vocals
  • Simple (entire spectrum)
  • Frequency band lower and upper limit (Hz): 500 2000
  1. Used the ‘Noise removal’ effect to get the noise profile of the entire 2nd track

  2. Used the ‘Noise removal’ effect on the 1st track with the following settings

  • Noise reduction (dB): 20
  • Sensitivity (dB): 20.00
  • Frequency smoothing (Hz): 1000
  • Attack/decay time (secs): 0.00
  • Noise: remove
  1. Used the effect ‘Amplify’ on the 1st track
  • Amplification (dB): 18.4 (it varies from audio to audio so I just used the given value)
  1. Used the ‘Equalisation’ effect on the 1st track
  • Select curve: Bass cut
  1. Used the Brainworx bx_solo plugin on the 1st track with the settings
  • M solo
  • 400% Stereo width

I’ve uploaded the two samples, before and afterwards using the effects, in the same file


OS - Mac version 10.7.3