Learning how to remove vocals from a song was, until recently, a complex and frustrating task involving tricky processes like phase cancellation.
Thanks to developments in AI processing, there are now much better options out there to suit whatever you may need, like an acapella extractor, or a tool for vocal removal and vocal isolation.
As an alternative to learning how to remove vocals from a song manually, scouring YouTube for backing tracks, or paying a subscription fee to access other vocal removal tools, we are excited to bring you our newest feature: Splitter!
What is Splitter? Backing tracks, vocal isolation, acapella extractor, and more
Splitter is our new AI-powered tool which allows you to accurately split a song into four separate tracks: vocals, bass, drums and other instruments. You can use it as the ultimate practice tool to make custom backing tracks for your practice sessions, as an acapella extractor, or even as a study tool for mixing, producing and sound design.
Splitter is free and easily accessible for all BandLab users. Go ahead and download the app on Android or iOS to get started!
How to take vocals out of a song
We’ve prepared a handy guide on how to use Splitter to amp up your practice sessions. But if you’re here to learn how to remove vocals from a song quickly and easily, here’s a step-by-step guide to removing vocals with Splitter.
1. First, you can find Splitter in the ‘Create’ tab, under the ‘Tools’ section.
2. Next, tap the + button to open your file picker and select a song to import. It can be any audio file, as long as it’s under 15 minutes in length. (You can also import video files and Splitter will be able to extract the audio).
3. Once Splitter has finished working, you’ll be able to control the 4 separated stems in the Player. Use the Mute button to mute the vocal track and just hear the other instruments.
4. Done! You can now tap the export button to save the new file to your device.
You can also open the tracks in Studio or export them to your DAW of choice if you would like to record over them. (Check out our post for tips on recording vocals on your phone, or for a more advanced setup you might enjoy these tips from Abbey Road Studios).
What else can Splitter do?
Vocal isolation & custom mixes
We’ve discussed how to remove vocals from a song, but the Mute and Solo buttons can also be used to create any other ideal combination of stems.
Drummers, guitarists, pianists, and other creators can use Splitter as an acapella extractor or vocal isolation tool by solo-ing the vocal stem, ideal for practicing accompaniment skills. You can also use the mixer to pan or change the volume of tracks, so they stay in your mix but are kept out of the way of your performance.
BPM analyzer & tempo changer
When you import your file, Splitter acts as an automatic BPM finder. It also gives you the ability to slow down or speed up your track, which is an incredibly powerful tool for getting better at your instrument faster.
You could, for example, lower the speed and play at a comfortable pace, gradually increasing until you can nail that guitar riff at full speed.
You might also try playing the song faster than full speed. This is a surprisingly effective exercise which trains you to perform better under pressure, and makes playing the song at normal speed feel almost leisurely in comparison.
If you need more practice tips, you might enjoy this list of 10 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Music Practice from NPR Music.
Key detector and pitch shifter
Splitter can also work as a key detector. This is very handy if you need to work out chords or a melody by ear, or if you want to practice improvising over the song.
Need to change the key? If you’re a vocalist and struggling with a song because it’s out of your vocal range, Splitter can pitch the song up or down for you.
Need to practice a difficult section over and over? Splitter features a looper which is set to loop the entire track by default, but can be changed by dragging the region markers left or right.
This, combined with the BPM changer, will help you practice difficult sections more efficiently than ever before.
Splitter saves up to three previous sessions under the ‘Recently Imported’ list. But, if you want to more permanently save your session, you can open your stems in BandLab Studio.
BandLab Studio is our cloud audio workstation, and your personal space to create. In the Studio, you’ll be able to record your own audio tracks and edit them as you like.
For some ideas to get started, check out our posts on using AutoPitch for vocals and adding effects to guitar and bass.
Now you know how to remove vocals from a song using Splitter, how to use it as an acapella extractor or for vocal isolation, plus how it can be included in your regular practice regime.If you haven’t already, download the BandLab app for *Android or iOS and you’ll find Splitter in the ‘Create’ tab. Happy practicing!
*If you don’t see the key and speed adjustment features on Splitter – rest assured you’ll get them with the next update!