Unusual Vocal Removal Method

Greetings, I have Audacity on Windows 7 and I have something unusual.

I have a song I’m trying to remove the vocals from, but that’s not the unusual part.

For some reason the artist releases a version of the song that is devoid of the music, it’s 100% just the same vocals.

This gives me an unusual opportunity to remove the vocals using the vocal track itself, but I’m unsure of the method in doing so.

If anyone has any ideas on how to do it I would greatly appreciate it.

And if the method needs a different version of Audacity, I have it on a Windows 10 computer as well but the Windows 10 computer is not my primary machine but I’ll use it if necessary.

it’s 100% just the same vocals.

If that’s true it can work but it’s probably not true. :frowning:

I assume they are both stereo?

Open the full-version.
File → Import Audio to import the vocal-only.
Select/highlight the vocal track and Effect → Invert.
Export and the two files will mix (sum) and the inverted track will be “subtracted”.*

…This can work only if the vocals are actually identical, including identical levels and time/phase alignment, and if no additional processing (i.e. mastering) was done to either file after mixing.

You can do this kind of thing yourself as an “experiment” if you carefully make the mix yourself and don’t change anything. But in that case you normally have both unmixed recordings already so there’s no real need to do the subtraction.


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  • If it’s not the same recording subtraction sounds identical to addition.

Open both in Audacity. They should appear one above the other and play at the same time. Select one (Select button on the left) and Effect > Invert. They are now opposites of each other. The up and down blue waves are backwards to each other.

Play it. If you got insanely lucky, the show will play with no vocal. File > Save a Project or File > Export a WAV or MP3. Done. Audacity will mix everything together when it exports. Saved Projects retain all the original tracks.

What will probably happen is the show will play with a weird echo or two vocals. You can use the Time Shift Tools (two sideways black arrows) to push one song sooner or later in relation to the other and then you can use the other Audacity sound tools until the cancellation is complete.

That is very difficult to do if it is even possible. If it’s an older song on analog tape, the chances of matching are zero. Analog tape just doesn’t work like that.

If it’s a modern song with digital production, the chances of matching are zero because nobody I know will do that presentation without “messing with it.” Messing with it kills the match.

Good luck.

Koz