Digital DJ Tips forum member Jon writes: “I am looking out for instrumental versions of songs, for my mashups. I also remember seeing an article somewhere that mentioned there are softwares to remove the vocals of any song and leave only the instruments; if that is true please do let me know that as well. Many thanks!”
Digital DJ Tips says:
To answer your first question. When a song is first released to DJs, often there are several mixes, including dubs, instrumentals, DJ tools (beats etc), acapellas and so on. This isn’t always the case, but it often is. Specialist sites like Beatport might have some of these, and some may even make it onto the release EP, but the best place to look for them is DJ digital download pools like DJCity or Promo Only. These sites charge a monthly subscription for unlimited access to their DJ-friendly versions of tunes, and find the right one for you and they can be well worth joining.
The second question is perfectly well answered by one of our forum members, Deathy, who says: “The way that the programs that remove vocals work is by a phase inversion trick between the stereo images of your audio, because typically vocals are mixed completely centre – and when that is the case, it works well (but not perfectly, you will usually have some minor residual hints of the vocals in your track). However, it is not uncommon in more modern music to have effects on the vocals that remove them from the centre of your audio image, so your mileage may vary. The good news is, one of the packages that does this is the free and open source Audacity – you can read their page on how to use it to remove vocals here.
“There are other ways to remove vocals that can often remove vocals even if they are not centre, but they involve a lot more work, and depending on the density of the frequency spectrum, may still not be able to do it. The one that comes to mind immediately is Melodyne from Celemony, which is a very awesome piece of producer kit, but is also a bit on the expensive side and is a complicated tool rather than an automated program… and it also does a whole lot more than just remove vocals.”
Thanks Deathy for your contribution there! If any reader is interested in taking this further, Deathy adds some more info here.
Where do you source your instrumentals and acapellas from to make mashups? Any advice you’d like to add to the above? Please feel free to do so in the comments.