Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Recording engineering discussions and questions. Also a great place to discuss software, plugins, and computer based recording/arranging.
Post Reply
dennett340
newbie
Posts: 38
Joined: September 15th, 2006, 12:23 am

Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by dennett340 » March 2nd, 2011, 5:22 am

To the veterans of recording,

I'm very uninformed when it comes to recording and audio engineering.

My question is - when you want get an instrumental mix from a song that already has vocals in it- is it just a simple a process of taking out the vocal track? Or is it more complicated than that?
Do you have to raise the level of the entire instrumentation b/c it was lowered in the original mix with the vocals,
so that the vocals would take center place?

How simple or complicated is the process?

User avatar
cnev
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 4906
Joined: June 2nd, 2003, 11:07 am
Location: New Britain, CT

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by cnev » March 2nd, 2011, 5:29 am

I would think it's not that easy but I'm not 100% sure. I've never heard of an "easy" way to remove a vocal track from a pre-recorded record.

Do you know of a way? I think I've heard of software that attempts to do it not sure how good of a job it does.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

User avatar
dogbite
Musically Insane
Posts: 6354
Joined: July 14th, 2005, 8:06 am
Location: Coulee country, WI

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by dogbite » March 2nd, 2011, 6:44 am

not simple. if not impossible.

User avatar
kent_eh
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1884
Joined: February 20th, 2006, 6:39 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by kent_eh » March 3rd, 2011, 12:35 pm

in the final mix (which is what you have) the instruments and vocals are all blended together.
In order to attempt to separate them, you need to remove the frequencies of the vocals without removing other things.
Which is impossible, because vocals, guitars, keyboards, and even some of the drums ALL have some frequencies that overlap.
Ya can't remove one without affecting the other.

You can reduce the obviousness of the vocal, but it won't go completely, and it'll take out a lot of other instruments with it.
I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep

User avatar
cnev
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 4906
Joined: June 2nd, 2003, 11:07 am
Location: New Britain, CT

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by cnev » March 3rd, 2011, 1:29 pm

Your best bet is to find backing tracks without vocals or else record your own tracks.

Are you doing this to practice your singing or something?

Not sure what you are doing but you could look into karaoke versions of the songs you are interested in. If they are avalable then those won't have any vocals.

Also if you check Powertabs and GuitarPro (I think that's the name) they are MIDI but they are pretty good you can use that they don't have vocals.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

User avatar
Chris!
newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: October 2nd, 2008, 4:19 pm
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by Chris! » March 4th, 2011, 7:51 pm

Ah, I do believe it is possible. Observe this clip, which is the exact opposite of what you want:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87FjkqtK67o

(listen closely, and you can hear bits of the music in the last phrases)

Do a search for "remove vocals from a song" on your favorite search engine. Although there are plenty of software gizmos on the market, I remember reading online about the actual method to do it. If you have good-enough software for recording/sequencing/mixing/whatever, it should be possible to do. Let your fingers do the surfing, and remember copyright laws :D I remember seeing a magazine ad in the 1980's for a device or cassette tape (!) that did this, so it must be possible to do this in the analog world.

As was previously said, you're going to remove part of the instrumental sounds when doing it, because you will be canceling out the frequencies shared by the vocals. However, I would think a professional mix would try to separate the various instruments (including voice) by frequency range to keep the track from being muddy, right???

User avatar
cnev
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 4906
Joined: June 2nd, 2003, 11:07 am
Location: New Britain, CT

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by cnev » March 7th, 2011, 8:14 am

What another Chris from CT OMG :shock:

Anyway, I don't think the final studio mixes are seperated by any frequency range since they all over lap and if you start cutting off frequencies from instruments I would imagine it wouldn't sound to good.

There is software out there that claims to remove the vocals and some work better than others, but you almost always will still hear some vocal bleed through and you will definitely be cutting other frequencies out there's no way to just extract the vocals.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Cat
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1224
Joined: July 14th, 2008, 6:16 pm
Location: NSW Northern Rivers

Re: Getting good instrumental mixes from tracks with vocals

Post by Cat » March 9th, 2011, 1:00 am

Gidday...

What software have you access to...and what software was used on those input tracks?

Cat
"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"

Post Reply