Removing vocals from a track?


So this has been killing me as of the last week or two. I'm trying to remove the vocals from the Pinocchio OST's "When You Wish Upon A Star" so I can get as best an instrumental track as possible. Back in the day, Winamp had an awesome plugin that did a damn good job at removing vocals from most tracks (be it for karaoke, or just to listen to the instrumentals only such as I enjoyed) but that's ancient history.

I've been messing with the track in Audacity and following this tutorial on removing (or rather, dumbing down) vocals, yet the step by step isn't working for me. When I split to mono and invert one of the mono tracks, they simply cancel out and create silence.  :-\ I'm wondering if it because the track, to start with, isn't true stereo, and converting to mono basically does nothing? Even if I rip "stereo" from the CD, if it was recorded mono then that kinda screws things up.

I'm wondering if anybody else has done something similar in the past?
Every recording is different, so what might work well for one recording, may not work well for others. As a test, I would try removing the vocals from something more contemporary, and see if you get better results, then you will know it is not you, it is not Audacity, but it is the source recording itself that is problematic.
Pretty sure the Pinocchio soundtrack is mono and that it'd be subsequently impossible to remove the vocals even a little bit.
kkocka said:
When I split to mono and invert one of the mono tracks, they simply cancel out and create silence.  :-\ I'm wondering if it because the track, to start with, isn't true stereo, and converting to mono basically does nothing? Even if I rip "stereo" from the CD, if it was recorded mono then that kinda screws things up.

You can verify if the track is mono by viewing it on a phase display ( a straight line would indicate mono. ).
How are you splitting to mono.? ( I haven't looked at the link yet ). If the tracks are totally cancelling, then they are exactly the same.

Vocal removal (kinda) works by mixing the the common vocal information back with the original information except out of phase. Since vocals are usually in the center ( common to both stereo tracks ), if you mix that back in but out of phase, the center information cancels. The music tracks tend to be spread across the stereo field so will not be the same in both tracks hence it doesn't cancel (as much). If vocals have reverb. added to them, the reverb. is usually spread across the channels as well so that will be left behind too.

Is there not a preset for vocal removal in Audacity you can try?

A channel mixer configuration something like this:
New Left channel  = 100 percent Left  + negative 100 percent Right
New Right channel = negative 100 percent Left  + 100 percent Right  Inverting the input (right) channel
These settings will collapse the sound field down to mono.

Where for example a Left value of 50 and a Right value of 50 results in a new channel that contains equal audio from both the current L and R channels.

edit: After looking at the video, the "first step" is doing what the channel mixer config. above does. If your original "rip" is two channels, zoom in and look at the waveforms. If they look identical, they are more than likely mono. ( By the way in the video BP stands for Band Pass. )

(There were two posts while I was typing my original post)

BTW - There is a Karaoke version of Wish Upon a Star out there, available on Itunes I believe, that has nearly the same instrumentation as the soundtrack version, without vocals.
I checked that track in the REAPER phase display JS plugin (gfxGoniometer) and it shows a straight line that is perfectly vertical. :(
Yeah guys, I think I'm SOL on this though I appreciate the investigation. I'll look into Winamp again temporarily just to see the result, but I specifically need the OST version as its what is used in the Fantasy Tower at the Disneyland Hotel. Its 2 years after I started working on this project and can't believe I'm still working on it (and I haven't even begun Frontier Tower yet).
Is Pinocchio available on Blue Ray? These releases seem to split up the channels for a surround effect. Often the vocals will be on a separated track from the instrumentation. I know Snow White is available this way. It is worth checking out.
He would need an image of the disc, which would require him to pirate an image of the disc that he has then, which would be a big no-no by the site's rules. :D At the same time you could add a bluray drive to your rig for under $50.
I "think" my PC plays bluray but I only have one Bluray disc which I can't locate at the moment (it's a natural history one). I'm happy with SD.
I understand what you say about imaging  ;)
I don't even know if my PC plays blue ray or not. It is a new computer, so it may, but I don't own any blue rays...
The German Edition of Pinocchio BD has also a French Track, which is the only one on this disc, where you have the clean music only on the surround channels... But there is no channel that has only the vocals without the music.
For the record, my BD player is a PS3 so yeah there's audio out in the form of HDMI. I might start snooping around using the disc and/or ways to work around this. I'll also look into the variety of downloadable int'l versions.
You have digital out on the PS3 (regardless of fat or slim) so as long as your mobo/audio card has a connector for it you can use that.
Hopefully this will help:
Disneyland Hotel Fantasy Tower BGM - When You Wish Upon a Star (induction).flac
The file has 15 secs. of handle to help line up the edits to the tracks before and after this one.
You should be able to replace the section in the OST track that has Cliff Edward's vocals with the equivalent section from this file, and equalize the replacement audio to match the OST track.
There is distortion near the beginning of the file when the piccolos & pizzicato strings come in, but that's before the vocals start so the distorted audio won't be part of the replacement audio.
Thanks dude, its something to work with for sure. I was debating getting an induction mic just to record this tower + Frontier Tower as well, given some of the rarities in song inclusions.