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Occasionally, you may have a song from which you want to either eliminate or extract the vocal. Maybe you're making a karaoke version of the song, maybe you want to sample part of the vocal to place in another track you're working out. Now if you have the original multitrack file of the recording, it's a simple matter to either mute the vocal track or to mute all the other tracks to get what you need. Well, what if you don't have the final mixed-down version? Maybe it's a song you extracted from a CD or downloaded online. Audition has a great tool for isolating vocals that you can use in those instances when you don't have access to the original recordings. I have the file Breakdown Mode.mp3 open right now. Let's listen to a few seconds.
(music playing) So we just heard the lead vocal as well as some background vocals in there. Now how on earth will we go about pulling that vocal out of there? I only have one file here that has all the music mixed together.
I'm going to select a portion of the song that has both the vocal and the background vocals, which I think is right about from 30 seconds in to maybe about 55 seconds in or so. (music playing) Okay, so with that selected, I'm going to go to Effects > Stereo Imagery, and choose Center Channel Extractor.
So this effect works by honing in on the frequencies that are equally balanced in both the left and right stereo channels, what's known as the center of the mix. Usually, the lead vocal as well as bass and other lead instruments are mixed to the center. Audition is able to identify these elements and then either boost or eliminate them. Under the Extraction tab, you can choose to extract the audio in the Center, Left, Right, or Surround channels. If you want a lot more control, you can select Custom and select the sounds you want to get rid of by its Phase Angle, Pan, and Delay. I'm going to stick with the Center channel for now.
The Frequency Range slider sets the range of the frequencies you want to remove, in this case the Center channel. For this example, I would probably choose Female Voice. But really, the easiest thing to do in here is to choose one of the presets to start with. And we even have a Karaoke setting here which as you can see reduces the vocals by 20 dB. So I'll place it again so you can take a listen and note how it's actually able to keep the background vocals in while reducing the lead vocal, and I'll toggle this on and off a few times few times so you can hear what it's doing. (music playing) So that's pretty cool, right? You can use the Center and Side Channel sliders over here to make further adjustments.
So, for example, I can still here a bit of a lead vocal when the effect is running, so if I want to drop it down even more, I could just drop the Center Channel down. If I want less background vocals, I can drop the Side Channel levels. (music playing) So you do have to be careful about dropping either one too much, otherwise, you start losing the rest of the music.
(music playing) So the presets here are a good place to start from. If I wanted to do the opposite of Karaoke, I could choose A cappella, and that isolates the lead vocal. (music playing) It's not perfect, but it does get rid of a great majority of the music, which might be enough depending on what you need to isolate it for. Okay, so that's the Center Channel Extractor for isolating vocals in a stereo mix.
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