How To Create Your Own Vocal-Free Karaoke Tracks

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create karaoke tracksI’m sure you will agree with me that there’s nothing better for the spirit than karaoke. Whether you like singing or not, once you get over the initial embarrassment and start picturing yourself standing on stage and singing with a real band, it becomes a truly uplifting experience.

Karaoke is not necessarily a group activity – what about karaoke tracks you can listen to in the car, singing along to yourself? Or even while working on your computer? There’s an endless amount of fun to be had with vocal-free tracks.

Somehow, though, it’s always hard to find the ones you really want. YouTube is full of vocal-free tracks, but it’s never the ones you really feel like singing. I’ve always wished I could create my own karaoke tracks from my own favorite songs, but it always seemed like a really complicated task. Something only real audiophiles would be up to. Turns out I was wrong. Creating your own karaoke tracks is actually easy as pie, and takes about 5 to 60 seconds to accomplish, depending on the method you choose.

The songs you create may end up sounding a little bit warped, but hey, no one’s coming to karaoke night for the quality of the music anyway.

Do It Yourself With Audacity [Windows, Mac, Linux]

I’ve been seeing this method around for quite a while, but never believed it actually worked until I tried it. This method is the more satisfying of the two, and works with any audio format you can think of (I tried Mp3 and Ogg, both worked perfectly).

To create karaoke tracks using this method, the first thing you need to do is download Audacity. Audacity is a great audio editor, and works on pretty much any OS. Once you have Audacity, launch it and load the song you want to strip of vocals (File –> Open or File –> Import –> Audio will do the trick).

create karaoke tracks

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Once your audio track is loaded, you’ll usually see two blue tracks. These are the two stereo tracks of your song. In order to get rid of the vocals, your first step would be to split these tracks into two separate audio tracks which you can edit individually. To do this, click on the small black triangle on the top left and choose “Split Stereo Track”.

create karaoke songs

Now that you have two separate tracks, double click on one of them (doesn’t matter which) to select all of it. Click the “Effects” menu and choose “Invert”.

create karaoke songs

This will invert the entire track, which will enable us to cancel it out. If you listen to the track now, the vocals will still be there. There’s one step left, and this is the important one: Click on the black triangle for both tracks, and change both of them to Mono.

create karaoke songs

It’s very important that you change them both, otherwise the vocals will not be stripped. That’s it, you can now hit play and listen to your new karaoke track. You can also export it into an audio file to create your custom karaoke playlist (you’ll need the LAME Mp3 encoder if you want to export to MP3).

So how does it work? This method doesn’t work with every song, but it should work with most. Without getting too technical, most songs are recorded on two stereo channels, with some instruments balanced more to the right, and some balanced more to the left. The vocals of the song are usually in the center, therefore appearing on both tracks. When we split the tracks and invert one of them, the vocals on the inverted track cancel out the vocals on the regular track. We then switch them both to mono, and we’re left with only instruments.

If the song you chose uses reverb, you might here a slight echo of the vocals, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If the song you chose is different than most, and the vocals are not dead centered, this method might not work at all. The best way to find out is to give it a try!

For Mp3s & CDs: Karaoke Anything! [Windows]

If you don’t feel like doing the actual work, you can let Karaoke Anything! do it for you. Note, however, that this app only works with audio CDs or Mp3 files, and you can’t load Mp3 playlists, only individual files.

Using Karaoke Anything is dead simple. Launch the app, choose “MP3 Player Mode” or “CD Player Mode” and you’re pretty much done. If you chose to use Mp3 files, click on File –> Open to add your song. Click play, and the song will start playing without any vocals. It’s like magic!

create karaoke tracks

You can use the “Karaoke Effect” slider to control the vocals’ volume, in case you want to be able to hear it but still sing over it without it interfering.

Which One Should You Use?

That really depends. In general, both methods give similar results, although some songs may end up better using one method than the other. If you want to create your own vocal-free files, if you want to use anything other than Mp3s or CDs, or if you’re not using Windows, Audacity is the obvious choice. Otherwise, give Karaoke Anything a try, and you might be able to kick off the party in the time it takes you to download a 2.5MB installer.

Do you know of other ways to create your own karaoke tracks? Don’t forget to tell us about them in the comments!

Image credit: Singing cat image via Shutterstock

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Comments (66)
  • Camille Guerrier

    Thank you for sharing this great idea about making your own vocal-free karaoke tracks. I love doing karaoke for fun and for vocal practice. It’s good to know that you can do it yourself with audacity (Windows, Mac, and Linux). It’s true that it is always hard to find the songs that we really want. I have also been wanting to buy accompaniment tracks to help me with vocals. Thanks!
    -Chris | http://choralrehearsaltracks.com

  • jraju

    I have a question. I read the article which is excellent.
    What about the singing lines with video. Is there any trick on that. Most probably the download of video songs is the first step and the strip the vocal is the second. because, in audio you only hear the music. But in video, there is a provision of lines appearing in the screen for you to sing exactly at the same time

  • thakor gautam polarpur polarpur bhimnath

    that s so cool ..

  • MirMusic

    it does not work.. NEITHER one works.. the results are crappy crappy always…does not matter what song you use and which format…. I have tried over 10 and NONE works… When a song is mastered and mixed, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to break them down to tracks they were originally recorded on as each instrument is recorded on a separate track in either stereo or mono modes (if you do not know what stereo and mono means, you should find a different hobby startiiiing RIGHT NOW)… so when it is mixed and mastered, and effects applied, it is virtually impossible to separate them – think of mixing two types of sands and now good luck separating them .. this is how song tracks are mixed…don’t waste your time…

    • Katharine

      Okay, no need to be nasty. If someone doesn’t know stereo and mono they should just look it up. You weren’t born knowing what they are. Yes the song is recorded on multiple tracks but the principle works because splitting a stereo track, making both tracks mono (playing equally out of both the left and right speakers), and inverting one track (if the vocals are not panned to the left or right) means that theoretically the sound waves of the vocals should be lined up but inverted which will cancel out the sound. The problem is when the vocals are not all centered and/or when certain effects are used because then the vocals bleed into frequencies they normally wouldn’t.

  • Karthik Kondri

    Very Nice :-) It works!

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.