When making a mixtape or set, it is essential to distinguish yourself from all other DJs performing at the same venue. One of the best ways to do this as a relative newcomer to the space is by implementing an acapella into your track. 

Many have used this technique almost as long as DJing has been in the relative mainstream. However, if you have not done it before, it can be challenging to figure out how to isolate the vocals necessary. 

Vocals occupy a large area within the song’s frequencies. Separating all of these well-ingrained branches of the audio is difficult because of their diversity.

Luckily, it is not impossible.

Here are some of the best ways to isolate vocals from the entire track.

Finding an acapella already separated.

If you are working with a popular song, Google it. You might find a separated version of the vocal track. Unfortunately, this straightforward approach only works with famous tracks. (People are not putting in all the work to separate the audio from an unknown piece when they could do it for a song on the Billboard-Hot-100.) So, it won’t work for every track you want, but when it does, it’s pretty simple this way.

Use the Phase Cancelation Method.

If you can’t find a separated acapella, try Phase Cancelation. Phase Cancelation requires both a digital audio workstation (DAW) and an instrumental version of the song. Using an inverted instrumental, Phase Cancelation “cancels” out the existing instrumental tracks in the full version, isolating the vocals.

Put both the full version of the song and the instrumental version into your DAW and invert the instrumental track. The result is a smooth and clear audio track. Most DAWs have the capability to do this, including Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio. While this method touches on the magical, it’s not practical without the instrumental version.

Using Audacity.

Audacity is a free audio management tool with a vocal remover plugin that isolates vocals like Phase Cancelation does. After dropping the track into the timeline, select the audio, click control + A, then select Effects > Vocal Remover. This straightforward method creates a separated vocal track, but without the excellent separation Phase Cancelation does.

Of course, if you don’t like it you can adjust it. For example, if the separation is too strong or weak, you can edit the strength of it.

Use a Professional Tool such as iZotope RX.

iZotope RX is a professional digital audio workstation that allows for capabilities beyond amateur software. Its Musical Rebalance plugin lets you divide a single track into portions called stems.

For example, you could split a single song into the components of its drums, bass, and vocals. All you need the base version of iZotope RX and your initial track. Throw the track onto the software and then separate it after adjusting the sensitivity.

Unfortunately, all of this functionality comes at a $299.99 price tag. However, if you can afford it, it is incredible, and you should spend the extra cash.

Acapella tracks are one of the best ways to distinguish your mix from all of the other DJs projects at a given venue. However, separating the vocals for your acapella from the song that it comes from can range from easy to nearly impossible.

But when you get it right and win the gig, you will be dancing for joy instead of singing the blues.

References:

How To Remove or Isolate Vocals From A Song: Guide For 2021. DJ City. (2022). Retrieved 9 May 2022, from https://djcity.com.au/blog/how-to-remove-or-isolate-vocals-from-a-song-guide/

Here’s how to isolate vocals from a full mix in your DAW. MusicRadar. (2022). Retrieved 9 May 2022, from https://www.musicradar.com/how-to/isolate-a-vocal-from-a-full-mix-in-your-daw

How to Isolate Vocals From a Song – Musician Wave. Musician Wave. (2022). Retrieved 9 May 2022, from https://www.musicianwave.com/how-to-isolate-vocals-from-a-song/