Introduction: Making a "Soft-Vocal" Instrumental in Audacity

Picture of Making a "Soft-Vocal" Instrumental in Audacity

Okay, today I'm going to show you how to make a "soft-vocal" instrumental (An instrumental with soft vocals) in Audacity, a free, cross-platform sound editor. (An instrumental is lyric-free music or just instruments.) ***This instructable does not work with "mono" type audio, it must be "stereo."***

Thanks to LDW, I will provide these instructions on how to make you audio file a "Stereo" type file
::To make the audio file stereo simply copy the track to a new track and save the track as a whole file, making it dual-channeled! :D-Thanks!

This is kinda picky on which songs you use. Sorry about that, it's not for professional work. ;)

Step 1: Download Audacity

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First off, if you don't already have it, you need to download Audacity here Home

Step 2: Open Audacity

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Now that you have Audacity downloaded, open it up.

Step 3: Importing Music

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Now you need to import your music. To do this, you need to go into the toolbar of audacity, and click the "project" box. A list will appear, click import audio, and find and select the audio file you would like to make a "soft-vocal" instrumental out of.

Step 4: Imported Audio

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Now your music should be imported, and it should look like this, a "sawtooth" waveform.

Step 5: Splitting Stereo Track

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Now you need to split the stereo track. To do this, click the little arrow beside the song's name, and from the drop down menu, choose "split stereo track." The track should now be split. If not, the track is mono, and unfortunately as I stated, this does not work with mono tracks.

Step 6: Now to Invert the Track

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Now, you need to invert the bottom track. Click the bottom track to make it fully "grayed out." (It will be grayer than everything else.) Now while still grayed out, select from the toolbar, the "effect" button, and drop down menu will appear. Select "invert." (My effect list looks different because I downloaded extra plug-ins from the Audacity website. But you don't need to worry about that, they are optional.)

Step 7: Make Both Tracks Mono

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Now you need to make both tracks mono. To do this, select the little arrow beside the name again, and select "mono." You need to do this to both tracks.

Step 8: Make Into One Single Track

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Now to make it into one single track. To do this, you need to download the lame_enc.dll file. Once downloaded, go to the toolbar and select "file." The drop down list will appear, select "Export as MP3..." You will be prompted with a pop-up telling you that you need to select the "lame_enc.dll" file. Select the "lame_enc.dll" file from wherever you saved it. And after exporting to wherever you selected, you'll have a "soft-vocal" instrumental of the audio you used!

Step 9: Finish

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You should now have a "soft-vocal" instrumental of your audio. But you make still hear a faint presence of lyrics, and that's supposed to be there. To make this quieter, you need to go back up to the "effects" tab on the toolbar, and from the menu, select "amplify." You need to amplify it in the negative direction. (like -4.8) Then re-export it as MP3, and your done! Uses for this could be to included lyrics synced to the music, and make karaoke. Have fun!


19wilkinsonz2 (author)2014-09-03

I am not trying to be rude, but this tactic is a bad one. There are two ways, and both suck. I think that most songs will not work, but if u have a slow and soft song, then it may work better. I was trying to do Bo$$ by Fifth Harmony, and it sounded horrible.

Hoboman (author)19wilkinsonz22014-09-03

I understand, it's totally alright, and I appreciate the feedback :o) I'm always surprised on what songs will and will not work. I'm no audio engineer and I'm not exactly sure of the mechanics behind this process, but it is always a fun venture to experiment with the technique with various tracks; especially since this method usually produces a result with less quality than the original.

I've used heavier songs before with this method and found successful results. Usually I attribute this to the busy musical work going on, drowning out the softened vocals, and I would assume a softer song would actually be harder to mask successfully.

I did note in the beginning of the instructable that it /is/ quite the finicky process, and I'm sorry that your result wasn't "music to your ears" ;o). I would look into karaoke tracks if you really want a refined version of your song without lyrics. You'd be surprised by the amount of songs you get ahold of nowadays! Thanks again for your feedback and reading my 'ible.

MyV2 (author)Hoboman2017-01-24

it worked but you could still hear the vocals at most part (i listen to vocaloid UTAU hetaloid ect.) but it doesnt really work for that sadly but still good job

shubhm5 (author)2016-09-01

I I downloaded lame encoder but there is no option of export as MP3 in file file files so how do I export it I want it in instrumental can you do it for me

TaylorB78 (author)shubhm52016-09-01


PinkyL (author)2016-01-05

Thank you! Will try this. Hopefully it will work for me ><

chipper35 (author)2012-08-12

Exceedingly cool! I'm going to do this!!!

dj maddshredda (author)2011-01-16

hey i cant select any of the effects?

picbuck (author)dj maddshredda2011-02-23

That fools everybody. Effects become available only when something is selected.

To select part of a track, drag across it. To select all of a track, click an empty spot in the left part of the track, where the volume and balance controls are.

Seaspider1 (author)2009-04-29

even when I amplify it after all 9 steps, it doesn't make a change in the sound, I know I highlighted everything correctly. Any ideas?

Hoboman (author)Seaspider12009-04-30

Like I said, this technique is very picky on what material it wants to work with...I'd really love to help you, but sadly I can't.

mar007com (author)2008-12-28

hi!I've done this all instruction.but sounds disapear after inverting and make mono each plss..

Hoboman (author)mar007com2009-01-29

Sorry for the long reply, I'm not really sure why that is happening. There should be no reason that the sound disapears. Are you sure you followed the directions complete? (i.e. invert only one track/mono a certain channel?)

screamboy3000 (author)2009-01-29

i do it all right but about the part after when u still here the lyrics a bit well ive tried lots like -4.8 -5.2 -6.5 and all lyrics still wont go! what shall i do?

Hoboman (author)screamboy30002009-01-29

I should make this clear, this will not make a lyric-less instrumental, but more of a soft-vocal instrumental. Sorry this title is misleading, I will fix it immediately.

Father Christmas (author)2008-12-12

did it exactly the same wiht 7 diff audio tracks. didn't work at all :( i want CoB's "Lake Bodom" as an instrumental type. not fair. lol

brownm09 (author)2008-11-28

DjProToJeeX, please show me how to make an instrumental for a song that's meant for multiple types of music...I'm desperate to find something other than the "split stereo track" method, which doesn't work on any of my songs. Thanks!

snoopdoggsaju (author)2008-09-01

the amplify method doesn't work for me. why??

Hoboman (author)snoopdoggsaju2008-09-02

Well the amplification isn't really a method, it just lowers the volume of the music so that the vocals are more disguised. Should I have made that clearer in the instructable?

Teriaki (author)2008-06-06

Whenever I use this tactic It always ends up in a blank song with no sound, this never works for me. Hasn't in 3 weeks and I don't think it ever will.

awkrin (author)Teriaki2008-08-05

me too

Hoboman (author)Teriaki2008-06-07

Thats odd.

DRADIS (author)2008-05-17

If I just want to cut the vocals out of part of the song do I just 'gray' the part of the song I want to change, instead of the whole thing?

Hoboman (author)DRADIS2008-05-20

I would think so, try it and post your results. :)

DRADIS (author)Hoboman2008-05-21

I used this to cut out certain words of an AC/DC song for a school project, and it worked great!

Hoboman (author)DRADIS2008-05-22

Glad it worked. did U get an A? :P

DRADIS (author)Hoboman2008-05-22

A- :)

Hoboman (author)DRADIS2008-05-22

thats good ;)

Fro (author)2008-05-15

pretty cool idea and well-made instructible, but it's nowhere near perfect and didn't work that well for me. it's defininitely "picky". i saw some comments talking about how to do this better and more effectively though, so could you direct me to how to do it.

Hoboman (author)Fro2008-05-16

I couldn't exactly tell you what to do. I'd talk to DjProToJeeX about that. He seems to know.

pyromanizak (author)2008-05-14

this is on the audacity website. but ur instuctable makes it a lot easier to understand plus thanks for the amplify tip :)

Hoboman (author)pyromanizak2008-05-15

no problem, thanks.

sterlingsilver (author)2008-05-14

Nice 'ible. Not perfect but definitely functional.

Hoboman (author)sterlingsilver2008-05-14


DjProToJeeX (author)2008-04-19

nice instructable. but you are misleading when you say make instrumentals. it doesnt make an instrumental. It Brings out the keys in a track to help make an instrumentals, vocals will still be present. and there is a few more efficient ways to actually produce a more quality key present track or "instrumental" as you call it useing pro tools. and this is also just the basics when you say its picky. its more cause you dont actually know what your doing to do it proper. it would be like a how to rebuild a cylinder head and you focus on a 454 head. well theres a few different style heads and you have to do things for each ya know. and BTW, I have to know Did you see this on the YouTube video from like a year ago from malfunction online. cause theres better methods that even say how to better this method. right in the comments, i give this a C overall. I was pretty dissappointed with this Overall.

Hoboman (author)DjProToJeeX2008-04-19

I saw this on Youtube a while ago, but it was brought back to my attention, and I didn't see it on I'bles, so I posted it. I'm sorry you were disappointed with my instructable. And I never knew about the guitarist/bassist thing, pretty cool.

DjProToJeeX (author)Hoboman2008-04-19

maybe we need to collaborate so we can bring it a little more up to par for the average user.

DjProToJeeX (author)DjProToJeeX2008-04-19

he doesnt tell you that this is meant for guitarists and bassist's to use for most music genres that have such instruments. so you can hear the keys and people that can play by ear then can learn the song and bring it to tabs or write it out. which is what the original magazine article that told people this method, then made it to youtube now here, pertained too. this Isn't to make a hip hop instrumental theres a much more complex and efficient way to do that.

dchall8 (author)2008-02-28

Looks we go!

dchall8 (author)dchall82008-02-28

Hmmm. Not getting very good results. Tried on Beatles "Til There Was You" and on Blues Brothers "Rawhide." Results are unlistenable. Still fiddling around.

earlyjp (author)dchall82008-02-29

Not sure about Rawhide, but the Beatles often released "unrealistic" stereo mixes. The song title escapes me now, but I remember one with backing vocals on the right and lead vocals on the left (maybe, Paperback Writer?). It's not surprising that such a mix would sound bad after summing the right and inverted left channels.

DjProToJeeX (author)earlyjp2008-04-19

the left and right thing is a production trick this happens in a lotta music. sometimes even with instruments. ive heard tracks with a 1 guitar on the left and another on the right. you couldnt tell if it werent for the speakers being seperated by 10 feet.

DjProToJeeX (author)dchall82008-04-19

i ahd great results with Beatles tracks this method and a little fiddling

Hoboman (author)dchall82008-02-29

hmmm, most of the music I tried works. And like earlyjp said, the Beatles did make some "unrealistic" stereo mixes. But I'm not exactly sure about the Blues Brothers, that should have worked...Tell me if you ever get it working.

DeadlySurfer (author)2008-03-02

Nice Instructable. Can anyone tell me if it is possible to use tracks from a CD? When I import they come out like 2 seconds long.

DjProToJeeX (author)DeadlySurfer2008-04-19


Hoboman (author)DeadlySurfer2008-03-02

Try ripping the tracks first, then import them.

DeadlySurfer (author)Hoboman2008-03-02

Ripping with Audacity? Because I've ripped them with WMP and iTunes, and there the ones that won't work. Should I use a different program?

Ah, got it. Ones from iTunes worked. Thanks :)

Sorry , false alarm. Still too fast. Ideas anyone?

About This Instructable




Bio: 6'3" electro-mechanical engineering technician with a taste for spicy foods and things that fly. Enjoys long walks on the beach. Other hobbies include watching ... More »
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