Removing vocals

I am new to Audacity and I need some help. I have two audio files (.wma) that I need to make a final version. The first file is an accompaniment of the second file. I want to take the narration of the second file and incorporate it in the first file (virtually leaving out all other vocals). How can I do this?

Can I assume Audacity will not import the WMA files right? Download and install the FFMpeg software package. That allows Audacity to open up and manage many more different types of sound files than it can do by itself.

Each time you import a soundfile, it will stack itself up one above the other and play at the same time. You can use the Envelope Tool to fade each track up and down at the right times to produce a pleasant mix.

Scroll down to Envelope.

I think you want to do something impossible. What are the two shows? I mean exactly what. Multiple conversations on the second file and you need to isolate just one voice for mixing into the second file of, say, music?

You can mix, voice-over and narrate all say long, but if the desired voice on the second track is mixed in with a bunch of different voices, you’re dead. If the narration voice is always by itself, that may work.


Thanks for your reply. I have a track that has music and vocals as well as parts of narration mixed in. I have another track of the same music less the vocals and narration. Not sure if he could be done but what I would like to do is to take just the narration part and overlay it on the second track at the right timing. Could this be done? This is for a musical at our church.

Probably not, but you can easily import everything and install the sound packages and find out.

I think you stopped just short of getting all the words in.

The second track has all the voices and music running at the same time, right? There are no tools to split up a performance like that into individual performers. You need a “clean” narration to do this. Just the narration with absolutely nothing else going on at the same time.

Some posters have suggested that if you have two identical tracks, one with voices and one with mixed voices and music, you can digitally subtract one from the other and derive a third, clean show, one with clean music. Yes, certainly, if you had two identical tracks. You don’t. WMA sound format is compressed and compression changes the sound depending on content.

This is a sister of why we say never do production in MP3, also a common problem. Two seemingly identical MP3 or WMA files are not identical and will not subtract from each other correctly.


The Desperation Method is go back and record the narration in an empty church. Combine that with the clean music track. That you can do.

People new to recording and production are horrified that the Big Kids (pros) occasionally have to go back and do a reshoot.


Thanks for your help as I see your point. However, after going back and looking at my original post and response, I don’t think I was as clear as I should have been. So here goes again:

I have two tracks. One track is the accompaniment track that has just the music. The other track is the listening track that has the music and vocals plus narration. What I want to do is to take just the narration portion of the listening track (it doesn’t matter if the music is playing in the background as it all lines up) and overlay that in the accompaniment track. This should be possible, right? Again, it doesn’t matter about the music playing in the background of the narration as it lines up with the accompaniment track.

Is it possible to do this? If so, how would I over-write that portion in the accompaniment track? I know that I can paste, but that just inserts it there.

By the way, forgot to post that I have Audacity 2.0.3(?) running Windows 7. I know that I have version 2.0 something as I am writing this response while at work.

The current version is 2.0.6. You can get it here: Audacity ® | Downloads

You mean an “audio file” that has just music?

You mean an “audio file” that has music + vocals + narration?

If so, one thing that you probably not do, is to remove the “music + vocals” from those parts of the second file where the narration is occurring. What you can do, is to silence, or reduce the volume of the “music + vocals” in those parts of the second file in those parts where there is no narration.

The simplest way to silence part of a track is to “select” it (click and drag along the waveform to highlight it) then press “Ctrl+L” (or select “Edit menu > Remove Special > Silence Audio”)

So you want the two files to play at the same time? Yes you can do that.
Just open Audacity, then from the File menu, Import the two audio files. They will appear in Audacity one above the other and will play at the same time.
If you need to line them up, use the Time Shift tool.

When you “Export” from Audacity (File menu) to create a new audio track, the two tracks in Audacity will be mixed together into a single file.

What he said.

Like I said, you should load all the software and tracks and try it. I’ll stop shooting at you now.

Post back if you have troubles anywhere in the process. Just import both tracks and they will appear one above the other and play at the same time. Jiggle the position of one (or both) sooner or later (left and right on the timeline) so the music lines up and then start managing the voices.