Quick Karaoke: Remove Vocals from CD Recordings

Quick Karaoke: Remove Vocals from CD Recordings

You can easily create your very own Karaoke CDs using the latest version (1.3.13 Beta) of the free audio editing program Audacity, which is available for both Mac and Windows users.  To download Audacity 1.3.13, go here.

Before we get started, you should be aware that removing vocals from a recording it not a perfect art.  There will always be some residual vocals left on the backing track, but once your singer is performing along with the backing, they’re generally not too noticeable.

Import Your Song

The first step is to import your song into Audacity so it’s ready for editing and there are a couple of different ways you can do it.

Method 1 (if you use iTunes to manage your music):

  • Open Audacity
  • Open the iTunes window and re-size it (or position it) so you can see the Audacity window behind
  • Locate the song in iTunes
  • Drag the song from iTunes on to the Audacity window
  • After a moment (be patient!), the song will appear as a wave file in Audacity

Method 2 (if you don’t use iTunes)

  • Open Audacity
  • Go to File > Import > Audio
  • Locate the song on your hard drive
  • Click Open and after a moment, the song will appear in Audacity as a wave file

Removing the vocals

Once the song is in Audacity, you can play it back using the playback controls in the top left-hand corner

To remove the vocals

  • Go to Effect > Vocal Remover (for centre-panned vocals).  Leave the settings as they are and click OK
  • Play back the song to test the results.  If you get a poor result, try running the effect again with different settings

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By |2018-09-08T07:06:44+00:00May 18th, 2010|Macs and PCs, Teacher Tech Tips|2 Comments

About the Author:

I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community - an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.


  1. Jeremy July 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Here is another free tool to remove vocals from your music – http://www.vocalremover.net Just upload you music and vocals will be stripped automatically. No software required!

  2. […] Audacity will do most of the things that Transcribe! does and in fact, I’ve been using for quite some time as a transcription tool so if you’re looking for a free option it’s a good choice.  However, it’s the ease of use that makes Transcribe a worthwhile investment. I would advise downloading the latest beta version of Audacity (rather than version 1.2.6) because there are some extra effects included which will come in handy (such as the “Vocal Remover” effect). […]

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