How to Remove the Voice From a Song and Only Hear the Background Music

Once a song has been mixed, the only way to cancel out the vocals and leave only the background music is to use an audio editing technique called “phase inversion.” When a song is mixed, the vocal track is traditionally panned to the center, so that the vocals sound exactly the same on both the left and right stereo channels. By inverting one of the channels, everything that is equal on both -- in this case, the vocal track -- is canceled out. Many audio editing applications come with a built-in vocal removal tool that performs this edit effect automatically.

Portrait of a woman singing into a microphone.
You can use audio editing software to strip a song’s vocals for karaoke.
credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Audacity

Step

Load the CD that has the song you want to edit into the computer’s CD drive.

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Launch Audacity.

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Go to the “File” menu, click “Open” and browse to the CD drive. Select the song you want to edit. Click “Open” to import the song onto a track in Audacity.

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Click the “Audio Track” arrow. Select “Split Stereo Track” from the drop-down menu. What was a single stereo track is split into two separate tracks, one for the left stereo channel and the other for the right channel.

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Click just above the “Mute” or “Solo” button on the second audio track to select the track. Open the “Edit” menu, and click “Invert.”

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Click the “Audio Track” arrow for the second audio track. Select “Mono” from the drop-down menu.

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Click the “Audio Track” arrow for the first audio track. Select “Mono” from the drop-down menu.

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Click the Play button to hear the results.

GoldWave

Step

Load the CD that has the song you want to edit into the computer’s CD drive.

Step

Launch GoldWave.

Step

Go to the “File” menu, click “Open” and browse to the CD drive. Select the song you want to edit. Click “Open” to import the song onto a track in GoldWave.

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Click on the track to select it. Type “Ctrl” plus “A” to highlight the entire waveform.

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Open the “Effects” menu. Point to “Stereo.” Click “Reduce Vocals.”

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Click the Play button to hear the results.

WavePad

Step

Load the CD that has the song you want to edit into the computer’s CD drive.

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Launch WavePad.

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Click the “Open File” button in the menu, and browse to the CD drive. Select the song you want to edit. Click “Open” to import the song onto a track in WavePad.

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Click on the track to select it. Type “Ctrl” plus “A” to highlight the entire waveform.

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Open the “Effects” menu. Click “Reduce Vocals.”

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Click the Play button to hear the results.

Waveosaur

Step

Load the CD that has the song you want to edit into the computer’s CD drive.

Step

Launch Waveosuar.

Step

Go to the “File” menu, click “Open” and browse to the CD drive. Select the song you want to edit. Click “Open” to import the song onto a track in Audacity.

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Click on the track to select it. Type “Ctrl” plus “A” to highlight the entire waveform.

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Open the “Process” menu. Click “Vocal Removal.”

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Click the Play button to hear the results.