Isolating or removing vocals from a song

This page describes some methods to try to isolate vocals in stereo tracks.

Using AI to separate vocals

This functionality is only available on Windows and Linux

You can use the Intel OpenVINO Music Separation plugin to separate vocals from music. To do that, first download and install the plugin as described here.

Once installed and Audacity is restarted, you can find it in Effect -> OpenVINO AI Effects -> OpenVINO Music Separation.

Here, choose the appropriate separation mode. The 2 stem - Instrumental and Vocal works well on most songs, while the 4 stem version can be useful to extract only drums and bass, if a song happens to feature these instruments.

The Inference Device setting lets you choose what processor should do the work:

  • CPU always works, but is typically slowest

  • GPU is typically fastest on high-end computers

  • NPU can only be used on modern Intel processors, and is similarly fast as GPU.

Note: This effect takes a lot of computing power, as do all AI effects. It tends to be faster on a second run, after the model has warmed up.

Manually separating the stereo field

A faster, but typically less reliable method of removing vocals is to take advantage of their typical position in a stereo field

  1. Invert one of the mono tracks by selecting it and then choosing Effect -> Invert

  2. Play back the result.

This will remove everything panned in the center, not just vocals and returns a dual mono result (both channels have the same audio). In some music this could mean removing instrumental parts. Removal of the vocals can often be incomplete leaving artifacts behind; this is especially true where there are backing vocals or where reverb (echo) has been applied as this spreads sound sources and makes them very hard to extract from each other.

Alternative AI models

Note: This is an experimental feature not part of the normal Audacity installation.

To use AI models in Audacity, you first need to download the current alpha with this feature from

Once you have installed this version, you can download and apply AI models via Effects → Deep Learning Effects.

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