Difference between revisions of "Vocal Removal Plug-ins"

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{{intro|Under certain circumstances it may be possible to remove, or at least attenuate, vocal (the human voice) from a musical recording.|The problem is far from simple, and there is no sure way of achieving a good result.}}
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{{Intro|This page describes techniques which on '''some''' stereo tracks '''may''' allow you to remove or isolate vocals (or other parts of a recording) from the rest.|2=  }}
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{{Hint|1=There is no universal, reliable way of doing this without having the original multi-track recordings. Different tracks will require different techniques to achieve maximum possible attenuation or isolation. This will depend on where the vocals are positioned in the stereo field, and on their [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_frequency frequency] content compared to the rest of the audio.}}
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As well as the above method supported in Audacity itself there are various third-party plug-ins that can be used to try and remove or isolate vocals.
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__TOC__
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==Audacity's built-in Plug-in==
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Audacity has a built-in effect for vocal removal '''Vocal Reduction and Isolation''', accessed by: {{Menu|Effect > [https://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/vocal_reduction_and_isolation.html Vocal Reduction and Isolation...]}} see [https://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/vocal_reduction_and_isolation.html this page] in the Manual.
  
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==Windows VST Plug-ins==
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There are several Windows VST plug-ins that can be used in Audacity for vocal removal and isolation. For installation of VST plug-ins, see [[#vst|below]].   
  
==Introduction==
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*[http://www.cloneensemble.com/vt_main.htm '''Voicetrap'''] is a commercial plug-in featuring center channel removal by frequency-based and cepstral methods (that is, not a simple subtraction of one channel from the other). It has an advantage over kn0ck0ut of providing stereo output for the "vocals removed" track, as well as offering isolation of center-panned content. There is a demo version with a "mild" vocal removal setting (but no isolation ability) that works in Audacity.
 
This page is about techniques for removing the vocals from music recordings, or more generally removing or isolating one part of a recording from the rest. Unless the original multi-track recordings are available, this is not generally possible. That is, there is no universal, reliable way of separating what you want from the rest. There are however some tricks you can apply (on ''stereo tracks only'') that can fool the ear into thinking that the vocals have been removed or isolated. Whatever technique works best on your particular track, and how good the result sounds, depends entirely on where the vocals are positioned in the stereo field, and on the vocals' precise frequency and overtone content compared to the rest of the audio.    
 
  
==Case 1: Vocals in the middle, instruments spread round them==
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* Brainworx have a free (registration-required) VST plug-in '''[http://www.brainworx-music.de/en/plugins/bx_solo bx_solo]''' that lets you solo mid and side channels so provides opportunity for vocal isolation or removal in the right circumstances.
  
If the vocals are panned in the centre of a stereo track (fairly common in "pop" music tracks), the so-called "vocal removal" technique can ''sometimes'' be effective. This removes what is common to both tracks (i.e. the vocals), leaving behind what is different (i.e. the instrumentals).  
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* There is a commercial VST plug-in called '''[http://www.elevayta.net/product13.htm Extra Boy Pro]''' which offers useful functionality for those interested in vocal removal, isolation or modification of the different components of an audio track. This claims to be capable of isolating, removing, suppressing or enhancing ''any'' component of a stereo track, based on its identified frequency and spatial "signature" (components are selected inside a "2D Mode" spectrogram window). Naturally the author points out that the exact results are subject to the particular characteristics of each track. Multiple components of a track can be processed simultaneously (for example, to isolate piano and vocal, or enhance piano and bass). A 14-day free trial is available which periodically silences the processed output.
  
To try this technique in Audacity, you split the stereo track into its left and right channels, make both mono, invert all (or a selected part) of one of them, and play back the result. See {{external|1=[http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=editing&i=remove-vocals this page]}} of the {{external|[http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq Audacity FAQ]}} for step by step instructions on this technique, or a {{external|1=[http://youtube.com/watch?v=PqXiKYG3J7M YouTube video tutorial]}} covering the same process.
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==macOS / OS X Plug-ins==
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* There is an [http://loudsoftware.com/?page_Request=Products#voxRed voxReducer] PPC Audio Unit plug-in (14 day free evaluation) you can try in [https://web.audacityteam.org/download/mac current Audacity]. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.6 (using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28software%29 Rosetta] on an Intel Mac). It will not work on OS X 10.7 or later as there is no PPC support.<p>VoxReducer is similar to the Nyquist Center Pan Remover in that it aims to reduce the strength of center-panned vocals, but differs in having a phase offset adjustment and a slider for adjusting the intensity of the vocal reduction. Place the voxReducer.component in either {{path|/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/Components}} or {{path|~/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/Components}}. </p>
  
You should note that this will remove everything panned in the centre, not just vocals. In pop music this can mean removing the bass and rhythm parts. Removal of the vocals is normally incomplete and will leave artefacts behind, especially where reverberation (echo) is used, and where there are backing vocals. Sometimes certain minor strands of the instrumentals are exposed which are completely covered in the uninverted mix. This technique work particularly badly with tracks where a lot of stereo reverberation has been applied, as this spreads each sound source, and makes them very hard to extract from each other.
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* Brainworx have a free (registration-required) VST or Audio Unit plug-in [http://www.brainworx-music.de/en/plugins/bx_solo bx_solo] (download link [https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/downloads.html#bx_solo here]) that lets you solo mid and side channels so provides opportunity for vocal isolation or removal in the right circumstances. See voxReducer above for Audio Unit installation or [[#vst|below]] for VST installation.
  
==Case 2: Vocals in one channel, everything else in the other==
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== Linux Plug-ins==
  
If you have an unusual stereo track where the vocals are mixed hard into one channel and everything else hard into the other channel, you can simply split the stereo track into left and right and delete the vocal channel. If you want to isolate the vocals rather than remove them, you can of course delete the other channel. To split a stereo track in Audacity, click on the downward pointing arrow at the top of the Track Panel (where the mute/solo buttons are ) > {{menu|Split stereo track}}. Then to delete one of the channels, click the {{menu|[X]}} to left of the downward pointing arrow. If you delete the wrong channel, use {{menu|Edit > Undo}} to get it back. Finally, click the downward pointing arrow again and choose "Mono", so that the track will play out of both speakers.
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* [https://github.com/jeremysalwen/kn0ck0ut-LV2 kn0ck0ut-LV2] A port to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LV2 LV2] of the now discontinued kn0ck0ut VST plug-in. It usually requires compiling but you can obtain a few [https://bugs.launchpad.net/~dobey/+archive/audiotools/+index?field.series_filter= kn0ck0ut packages for Ubuntu].  
  
==Plugins==
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<div id="vst"></div>
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== Plug-in Installation ==
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For instructions on how to load new effects into Audacity please see these pages in the Manual:
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* [https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/installing_plug_ins.html Installing VST Effects]
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* [https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/installing_plug_ins.html Installing LV2 Effects] .
  
As well as the above methods which are supported in Audacity itself, there are various third-party plugins that can be used to try and remove or isolate vocals.
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[[Category:Plug-ins]]
 
 
===Center Pan Remover===
 
 
 
There is a Nyquist plugin called "Center Pan Remover" which can automate the steps involved in the Case 1 above so you just have to select the area of track you want to apply the effect to and click {{menu|Effect > Center Pan Remover}}. This can be downloaded from the {{external|[http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/nyquistplugins Audacity Nyquist Plugins page]}}. This plugin also has an option to merely invert a range of frequencies in one channel rather than invert the whole channel (and so may be less destructive of the non-vocal parts of the music than a simple inversion of one channel).  Note that although two channels of output are produced, the result is mono because both channels will be identical. 
 
 
 
To install this plugin, place it in the Plug-Ins folder inside the Audacity installation folder. On Windows computers, this is usually under "Program Files"  The plugin will be available after restarting Audacity, underneath the divider in the Effect Menu.
 
 
 
===Windows Plugins===
 
 
 
Two Windows VST plugins are known of that can be used in Audacity for vocal removal and isolation.   
 
 
 
*{{external|[http://www.freewebs.com/st3pan0va/ '''kn0ck0ut''']}} can sometimes remove vocals where they are not centre-panned but are rather different in frequency make-up compared to the non-vocal parts of the track.  This is a free plugin. It works on two mono tracks (split from a stereo track and made mono as above) by extracting the right channel frequencies from the left hand frequencies, leaving the "result" in the former left channel. Alternatively, if your vocals are centre-panned, this plugin can often make a good job of isolating them (as opposed to removing them).
 
 
 
*{{external|[http://www.cloneensemble.com/vt_main.htm '''Voicetrap''']}} is a commercial plugin and features centre channel removal by frequency-based and cepstral methods (i.e. not a simple subtraction of one channel from the other) and has an advantage over kn0ck0ut of providing stereo output for the "vocals removed" track. It also offers the option of isolating centre-panned content. There is a demo version with a "mild" vocal removal setting (but no isolation ability) that works in Audacity.
 
 
 
If you wanted to try either of these VST plugins in Audacity, simply place the unzipped .dll file from the plugin's zip folder, along with the unzipped vst-bridge.dll from the Audacity {{external|[http://audacityteam.org/vst/vst-bridge-1.1-win.zip VST Enabler]}} into Audacity's Plug-Ins folder. The Plug-Ins folder will be in the folder into which you installed Audacity, usually C:\Program_Files\Audacity. On restarting Audacity, the new plugin will appear in the Effect Menu underneath the divider. Should vst-bridge.dll not work, try the {{external|[http://www.gaclrecords.org.uk/VST_Enabler.dll previous VST Enabler for Windows]}}. Simply place the already unzipped VST Enabler.dll in Audacity's Plug-Ins folder along with the plugin's own .dll, then exit and restart Audacity.
 
 
 
Note that all VST plugins in Audacity only have a generic tabular
 
interface due to licensing restrictions imposed by Steinberg.
 
 
 
There is also an additional commercial VST plugin called '''ExtraBoy''' which offers useful functionality for those interested in vocal removal or modification of the different components of an audio track. There are two versions of this plugin, but unfortunately neither work properly with the currently limited VST support that Audacity can offer.
 
It seems that the processed audio is always completely silenced irresepective of the plugin settings used. Both versions of ExtraBoy  do function with other audio editors which offer full VST support, so you could always export a track from your Audacity Project as a WAV or AIFF file and process it in Extraboy in another editor.
 
 
 
The {{external|[http://www.elevayta.net/azuifgeh.htm "lite" version of ExtraBoy]}} is quite similar to VoiceTrap but offers some vocal removal ability on all tracks (not just on centre-panned vocals). It has two "vocal removal" algorithms (1) on the basis of the vocals' frequency characteristics, and (2) on the basis of their spread in the stereo spectrum. The two algorithms can be combined to obtain the best possible removal in a particular case, and full stereo information is preserved in the processed track. A "vocal isolation" algorithm is also provided.
 
 
 
The {{external|[http://www.elevayta.net/product13.htm 14 day full-featured "demo" version]}} claims to be capable of isolating, removing, suppressing or enhancing ''any'' component of a stereo track, based on its identified frequency and spatial "signature". Naturally the author points out that the exact results are subject to the particular characteristics of each track. Multiple components of a track can be processed simultaneously (e.g. isolate piano and vocal, or enhance piano and bass).
 
 
 
===OS X Plugins===
 
 
 
On OS X you can try the {{external|[http://primo-media.com/voxReducer.php Vox Reducer]}} Audio Units plugin (14 day free evaluation) in Audacity, as long as you use Audacity 1.3.2 or later, for which you must be on OS X 10.3 or higher.
 
 
 
This is rather similar to the Nyquist Center Pan Remover in that it aims to  reduce the strength of centre panned vocals but is slightly different in that it has a phase offset adjustment and a slider for adjusting the intensity of the vocal reduction.
 
 
 
Try putting the voxreducer.component in either of these two locations
 
as Audacity should see it there
 
 
 
:{{path|/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/LADSPA}}
 
 
 
:{{path|~/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/LADSPA}}
 
 
 
If that does not work you could try either of these locations (as suggested
 
by the program documentation)
 
 
 
:{{path|/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/Components}}
 
 
 
:{{path|~/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/Components}}
 
 
 
[[Category:Tutorial]]
 

Latest revision as of 10:12, 13 October 2020

This page describes techniques which on some stereo tracks may allow you to remove or isolate vocals (or other parts of a recording) from the rest.
There is no universal, reliable way of doing this without having the original multi-track recordings. Different tracks will require different techniques to achieve maximum possible attenuation or isolation. This will depend on where the vocals are positioned in the stereo field, and on their frequency content compared to the rest of the audio.

As well as the above method supported in Audacity itself there are various third-party plug-ins that can be used to try and remove or isolate vocals.

Audacity's built-in Plug-in

Audacity has a built-in effect for vocal removal Vocal Reduction and Isolation, accessed by: Effect > Vocal Reduction and Isolation... see this page in the Manual.

Windows VST Plug-ins

There are several Windows VST plug-ins that can be used in Audacity for vocal removal and isolation. For installation of VST plug-ins, see below.

  • Voicetrap is a commercial plug-in featuring center channel removal by frequency-based and cepstral methods (that is, not a simple subtraction of one channel from the other). It has an advantage over kn0ck0ut of providing stereo output for the "vocals removed" track, as well as offering isolation of center-panned content. There is a demo version with a "mild" vocal removal setting (but no isolation ability) that works in Audacity.
  • Brainworx have a free (registration-required) VST plug-in bx_solo that lets you solo mid and side channels so provides opportunity for vocal isolation or removal in the right circumstances.
  • There is a commercial VST plug-in called Extra Boy Pro which offers useful functionality for those interested in vocal removal, isolation or modification of the different components of an audio track. This claims to be capable of isolating, removing, suppressing or enhancing any component of a stereo track, based on its identified frequency and spatial "signature" (components are selected inside a "2D Mode" spectrogram window). Naturally the author points out that the exact results are subject to the particular characteristics of each track. Multiple components of a track can be processed simultaneously (for example, to isolate piano and vocal, or enhance piano and bass). A 14-day free trial is available which periodically silences the processed output.

macOS / OS X Plug-ins

  • There is an voxReducer PPC Audio Unit plug-in (14 day free evaluation) you can try in current Audacity. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.6 (using Rosetta on an Intel Mac). It will not work on OS X 10.7 or later as there is no PPC support.

    VoxReducer is similar to the Nyquist Center Pan Remover in that it aims to reduce the strength of center-panned vocals, but differs in having a phase offset adjustment and a slider for adjusting the intensity of the vocal reduction. Place the voxReducer.component in either /Library/Audio/Plug-ins/Components or ~/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/Components.

  • Brainworx have a free (registration-required) VST or Audio Unit plug-in bx_solo (download link here) that lets you solo mid and side channels so provides opportunity for vocal isolation or removal in the right circumstances. See voxReducer above for Audio Unit installation or below for VST installation.

Linux Plug-ins

Plug-in Installation

For instructions on how to load new effects into Audacity please see these pages in the Manual: