Recently I needed to remove the vocals from a audio file. The instrumental version of this song was not available, and my partner, a school teacher, required the instrumental version for her students to sing to in a school assembly.
After a lot of Googling, and many poor quality suggestions, guides and applications, I finally stumbled upon an easy and free method to strip vocals from a MP3 or other file using the program Audacity.
Here is a short YouTube video on the very quick process to remove the vocals using Audacity.
If you can view the video, here are the steps:
- Install Audacity, download for free for Mac or Windows from SourceForge.
- Open the file you wish to strip the vocals (File > Open).
- Where the song is loaded, you will see an “X”, file name (e.g. Test Song), triangle pointing down. Press the downwards triangle and select Split Stereo to Mono.
- Press the downwards triangle again and press Mono.
- Repeat Step 4 for the other channel (after stereo is split to mono, you will see there are two “X, Test Song, Down Trinagle”).
- Select the bottom channel, up at the top menu select Effect > Invert.
- Export the file to save in your desired format such as WAV or MP3 (File > Export).
- Enjoy your vocals free track.
There is some quality degradation when removing the vocals, and an original instrumental version would be preferred. But for many uses (such as a school assembly), this is very suitable.