Go on. Admit it. You want to let rip with a microphone … or hairbrush. And sing along to your favourite songs. But you don’t wanna share the stage. You want to remove the vocals from your favourite song tracks so that you can be the star. You can buy Karaoke versions of songs, but it is possible to get rid of (or at least reduce) the vocal track on a CD or MP3 with software. And what’s more you can do this for free. You just need to learn how to remove vocals from a song track!
How To Remove Vocal Tracks with Audacity
It is possible to use audio editing software and make a reasonable attempt yourself to remove the track from a wav file or mp3. You can do this with any decent audio editing software, but you can download Audacity and have a go for free.
There are two ways of removing the voice from your song files. You need to make sure they are in a format that Audacity can read (*.wav, *.mp3, *.aiff are common formats) and then import. is quite straightforward, and the results are pretty good for most CDs, although if your recording is very old, or a live recording you will find the results are much less satisfactory, for most standard recordings you can remove the vocal track and become the star performer yourself. Also be aware this is not an exact science!
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However, if you download and install the latest version of Audacity you will find that one of the processes in there is Vocal Removal. So import your track and just use the tool. There is a fuller explanation of how it works in their tutorial section. If you want more control, it is also possible to remove vocals (or considerably reduce their volume) by splitting the stereo track into two mono tracks and inverting one of the tracks. This video is a great step-by-step tutorial on how to do this.
So Now You’ve Removed The Vocals, What Else Do You Need?
The easiest way to turn your computer into a beast of a karaoke machine is with a USB microphone. Make sure you pick one that has a headphone socket … that way you can listen to what you’re doing while you sing along. A good entry level USB Microphone that comes with headphones, and can also be used as a standard mic as well is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB/XLR Dynamic Vocal Mic. Or if you want to spend a bit more, consider the Rode NT-USB which is a professional studio condenser microphone.
We road-tested the best-selling USB mics available, so read our ultimate guide to USB mics so you can hear what they all sound like, and see video reviews of what they look like.
You might also like our video and article on how to record your first vocal track over a backing.