DJs and acapellas have always had a close relationship – throwing an acapella over an instrumental is practically a rite of passage for every new DJ. But where is the best place to get acapellas of songs for your DJ sets?
And actually, nowadays, do you even have to find them? Because as of recently, there is another option: Use software (that’s often free) to make your own.
Learn DJ tricks with the acapella master: James Hype’s Mixing Skills
So whether you want to find studio-quality acapellas to use in your DJ sets, or you’re happy to have a go at making your own, in this article you’ll find the web site, store, download pool, software or web app that’s right for you.
1. Where To Get Acapellas
Best dedicated acapella websites
Way before the internet, DJs used to buy (often shady) vinyl acapella 12″s or albums of acapellas – but ever since the MP3, the “traditional” way to locate acapellas has been specialist websites. Try these:
The OG, although it is fiddly and frustrating to use. It nonetheless is worth persevering with, as the site contains a wealth of acapellas, many of which you may not find elsewhere.
UPDATE 23/2/22 – It seems to be down, possibly for good.
Price: Free (download limit per month)
Go to website: Acapellas4U
Not so much a new kid on the block any more, but still a much more recent addition to the scene. Voclr.it is a slick operation that gives you a limited number of acapellas for free, before charging a small subscription.
Price: Free (5 downloads per month), £8/month (unlimited)
Go to website: voclr.it
Best download stores and record pools for acapellas
Most dedicated dance music stores will have a certain number of acapellas on sale, and DJ download pools certainly feature acapellas among the DJ-friendly versions of tracks they offer. Try these:
Beatport DJ Tools
On the huge Beatport download store, you’ll find a section called “DJ Tools” with many acapellas on sale.
Go to website: Beatport DJ Tools
Go to website: BPM Supreme
Read this next: How To DJ With Acapellas – A Beginners Guide
2. How To Make Your Own Acapellas
No, of course I don’t mean turning on the mic and singing them! Nowadays, AI and amazing computing power means that it is possible to “extract” the voice from a full track, thereby creating any acapella you wish, using just your laptop or phone.
They’ll never sound as good as the real studio acapella when done this way – but they often get plenty close enough for your own DJ sets, quick down and dirty re-edits and so on. Here are some options to try:
Virtual DJ is a popular DJ program for Mac and Windows, and it has this function built in. The best bit is, you don’t even have to buy it – there’s a free version of the software, that will let you “extract” acapellas “live”, then you just record the result. Instant acapella MP3s, of anything, for free!
Go to website: Virtual DJ
djay Pro AI
Algoriddim’s djay Pro AI is another DJ software that also has this feature, for Mac and iPhone/iPad. You pay a subscription for the software, although one subscription will work across both platforms.
Price: Free 7-day trial, then $7/month
Go to website: djay Pro AI for Mac, iPhone and iPad
A studio grade app and priced accordingly, DeMIX Pro is being used by some of the more serious DJ/producers among our community here at Digital DJ Tips – and everyone who uses it, raves about it. Again, it’s standalone software, for Mac and Windows.
Price: $25/month or $250/year
Go to website: DeMIX Pro
Izotope RX 8
You could also look at audio treatment software Izotope RX 8, which has a feature called Music Rebalance – again, raved about by many who use it (and again, equally “pro” in price).
Price: Free 30-day trial, then $299 for RX 8 Standard
Go to website: Izotope RX 8
Neural Mix Pro
A cheaper option, this is from the makers of djay Pro AI. Like the apps above, Neural Mix Pro has lots of export options making the process fast, and several features tuned to DJs that the others don’t offer.
Price: $50 one-time in-app purchase
Go to website: Neural Mix Pro
Finally, although we haven’t tested this, RipX has got a glowing recommendation from my friend Mixmaster G over at DJCU, who tested loads of these platforms and recommends this one over all the others. Worth a look!
Price: Free 5-day trial, then $99 for RipX DeepRemix
Go to website: RipX
Our final recommendation is one example of a breed of web apps, which can achieve this task for you without you ever having to download or install anything. With our example LALAL.AI, extracting an acapella is as simple as dragging and dropping a music file into its site on a browser window. There are free and paid-for plans.
Price: Free (Free pack) / $10 (Lite pack) / $20 (Plus pack)
Go to website: LALAL.AI
Is this legal?
Acapellas and acapella use has always been a grey area for DJs. We are not legal experts, so we offer you these two things: One, DJs have been doing this since time immemorial, and two, if you want to DJ with an acapella, we think it is ethical to have purchased the full, original track at some point. From there on, it’s fair game.
Make your DJ mixes stand out from the crowd: James Hype’s Mixing Skills
There is no one “right” solution for always getting the acapella or acapellas you need, just like there’s no one “right” place to get all of your DJ music – part of the fun is the chase! But hopefully this article has given you lots of ideas about how to find acapellas to use in your DJing, many of which will cost you very little, or nothing at all.