Learn how to make mashups with Stem Separation

  1. Blog
  2. DJ Mixing Software

How to Isolate Vocals: Best Methods in 2024

Vocal isolation tools allow you to extract vocals from a recording, and convert it to a new vocal track file with no other sounds or noises. These types of tools are useful for a range of people and tasks, including music production, DJing, audio restoration, radio, podcasting, and many more situations. 

Thanks to advances in machine learning and audio technology, vocal isolation algorithms can now be incredibly powerful, and achieve near-perfect results. 

There are a bunch of vocal isolation tools on the market today from a range of brands - and the quality can vary a lot from product to product due to the underpinning techniques and technology. 

This article demonstrates some of the use cases for vocal isolation, explains exactly how you can use vocal isolation tools, and shares some of the best tools available today!

TL;DR - Vocal Isolation Tools#

  • Vocal isolation tools help you to separate the vocal layer of an audio recording, from other noises. 

  • These are used by music producers, DJs, podcasters, broadcasters, technicians, and a range of other audio professionals.

  • There are several vocal isolation tools on the market, with varying quality and functionality. 

  • DJ.Studio has a unique stem separation feature, letting you isolate vocals (and other instrumental layers) with exceptional quality. 

What is Vocal Isolation and How Does It Work? #

how vocal removers work

Vocal isolation is an audio processing technique where vocal (voice) elements of an audio recording are separated from the other sounds. 

This can either be used to isolate the vocals to remove the background noise/instrumental tracks or remove vocals, leaving only the background or instrumental track. 

Vocal isolation software uses various algorithms and processes to achieve their results. Primitive forms of this process may use a mixture of gating and equalisation, but more modern techniques will use machine learning for vastly superior results. 

This more advanced method will train an AI machine learning algorithm to recognize the frequency and dynamics of vocals using spectrum analysis, creating a clear algorithmic distinction of the type of sound it’s looking for. It then uses some kind of phase cancellation to remove all the unwanted frequencies, leaving (mostly) only the vocal elements. 

This process is never 100% perfect, as a lot of frequencies will cross over between the vocals and other sounds, which will leave unwanted ‘artefacts’ where you can still hear traces of the removed sound. Although for the most part, quality vocal isolation tools can yield near-perfect results. 

Why Isolate Vocals?#

why isolate vocals

There are a range of situations where vocal isolation tools are desirable - and when it's useful to create isolated vocals from a recording. 

  • Music Production - Vocal isolation tools can give music producers more control over their tracks, and is a useful trick for sampling vocals from tracks for making remixes and mashups. 

  • Creating Acapellas - There is a high demand for acapellas of popular tracks, these are essentially the original track, but only the vocal in isolation with no background music. These are used for remixes, performances, creating a karaoke version and instrumental version out of the studio version, and many other situations. 

  • DJ Mixing - DJs can use a vocal remover or isolator in a range of situations. Notably, they might be interested in removing vocals from one track for a transition and playing it over the instrumental of another track. These are an emerging tool which is rapidly being seen as a pro-DJ’s secret weapon for mixing two tracks together.  

  • Broadcasting - In radio, TV, and podcasting, vocal isolation is an important tool for improving the quality of audio production. For example, vocal isolators can be used to clean up an interview that was recorded in a noisy environment, by removing background noises. Vocal reduction might also be useful when mixing the final audio balance of a busier audio scene.  

  • Audio Restoration - These tools can be used to repair old or damaged recordings, and are even used in espionage and military operations. 

  • Removing Curse Words - You can use vocal isolation tools to selectively remove curse words from recordings. This is perfect if you need to make a clean or radio friendly version of a track with explicit language. 

These are just some of the broad situations where vocal isolation tools are used, and there are countless other more specific examples. 

How to Isolate Vocals: Full Guide#

How to isolate vocals

There are a range of processes that can be used to isolate vocals, but by far the most effective method involves some kind of dedicated vocal isolation tool - specifically one that uses machine learning to drive the algorithm. 

You could manually isolate vocals with EQ, gating, and spectrum editing - however, this will be incredibly time-consuming, it requires experience, and the results will generally be low quality.

Using custom vocal isolation software is always the best choice like DJ.Studio’s stem separation tools - which is the quickest, easiest, and most effective method. 

Basic Vocal Isolation Workflow#

Below, I'll explain the basic general process for using a vocal isolation tool.

  1. Open your vocal isolation software.

  2. Import the audio file you want to isolate the vocals from.

  3. Change the vocal isolation settings (if available) to more precisely target the type of vocals you’re working with. 

  4. Preview the results and tweak the settings as desired. 

  5. Render and export the finished audio. 

In the next section, I’ll share the specific technique for using DJ.Studio's vocal isolation tools, which revolves around the same technique as above, but in more detail. 

How to Isolate Vocals in DJ.Studio #

remiving vocals in dj studio

DJ.Studio has a brand new stem separation and vocal isolation functionality. 

Being such a new app, it uses cutting-edge technology that offers some of the best-sounding isolation algorithms in its class. 

While this software is primarily designed as a DJ mix creation suite, the vocal (and stem) isolation software is so powerful that it’s actually worth using just for the isolation alone. 

To Isolate Vocals in DJ.Studio:

  1. Download and open the DJ.Studio app. It can run in the browser for making mixes and other features, but the stem separation is only available in the installed app. 

  2. Create a new Local File project

  3. Import the track(s) that you want to isolate vocals from. 

  4. Activate the Stem Separation plugin and features as specified in this guide: Activating Stem Separation in DJ.Studio.  

  5. Either:

    1. For Vocal Isolation: Highlight a section of a track > right click > copy vocal to sample.
      This isolates a vocal from a track and converts it to a solo vocal audio sample, that can be copied and placed around the project. 

    2. For Transitions: Open the transition tab > Click Stems in the Stems/EQ toggle. Now you’ll see the 4 stem lanes appear in the timeline. Edit the volume automation for each stem as desired.
      This is useful if you want to make a DJ mix with a transitioned vocal from one track to the next. You can also set the volume of the drums, bass, and melodic instruments independently. 

Using the above steps, you'll quickly be able to start isolating vocals in DJ.Studio. You can use these isolated vocals directly in your DJ.Studio DJ mixes, or you can export them from your sample folder into your music production DAW to use as an acapella or remix. 

It's worth noting, that these steps only show you the vocal isolation and stem separation workflow for DJ.Studio. 

In reality, DJ.Studio is a deep and fully-featured DJ mix production suite. It has a huge range of features and integrations designed to make the mix-creation process easier and more flexible. (I don't have room to explain it all in this article - so make sure you explore the website and try the free trial). 

DJ.Studio is ideal for beginner and professional DJs alike. 

Some of the main features and benefits of DJ.Studio include: 

  • A new approach creating DJ mixes, with more flexibility, accuracy, and speed than traditional methods. 

  • Access an interconnected DJ software universe - DJ.Studio is integrated with all the main DJ software (rekordbox, Virtual DJ, Serato, Traktor, and more), meaning you can access your libraries and analysis in DJ.Studio, and then send your prepared mixes back to your live software. 

  • Speed up your promotional process. Because DJ.Studio makes the mix creation process so fast, you can share a lot more promotional mixes, helping you to grow your audience and profile as a DJ faster. 

  • For professional DJs, DJ.Studio is the ultimate mix planning and preparation tool. You can experiment with new music, setlist ideas, and transition styles without needing to setup your decks. You can even use it offline, so you can prep for your next show on the plane or train!

  • Mix music from streaming sites - DJ.Studio gives you the unique ability to make mixes from audio on streaming sites like YouTube, Spotify, and Beatport Streaming. This essentially gives you an endless music library, letting you discover the latest new beats to use in your mixes (without wasting money buying tracks you never use). Learn How To DJ With YouTube.

  • Create Videos - The software even features a video creation tool, helping you to quickly make animated, audio-reactive videos to accompany your mixes! Making Videos With DJ.Studio.

  • Fast Support - With a dedicated support team, you'll never get stuck without help when making your mixes.

  • Interact with the DJ.Studio Community - Get connected with more DJs, listeners, and professionals in the active DJ.Studio community. Find inspiration on our online mix hub, and become part of the DJ.Studio Discord community

The Best Vocal Isolation Software #

Here are some other decent vocal isolation software options. - Isolate vocal

  • LALAL.AI - An online vocal isolation tool. It's mostly free, but the results and controls are a bit limited. 

    lalalal ai
  • Izotope RX Music Rebalance - This more advanced tool has a steep learning curve, and is pretty expensive, but can achieve great results. It's a plugin so you'll need to use it in a DAW. 

    izotope rx
  • vocalremover.org - Geared toward karaoke creations, this free online tool is easy to use and has decent results. 

    vocal remover. org.


dj studio stem separation

Now that you're aware of how and why to use vocal isolation, it's time to put your knowledge to the test. 

One of the quickest and easiest vocal isolation tools is DJ.Studio's stem separation features (as explained above). You can start using this for free today with the 14-day trial. No credit card is required!

This gives you access to a cutting-edge new vocal isolation algorithm. Enjoy!

Noah Feasey-Kemp
I started DJing when I was 15. Started a record label, residency by a club in Bristol. I’ve played at all the biggest clubs in Bristol (and the small ones) and have entertained thousands of dancers! I love writing about music, DJing, and technology. I've been blogging for DJ.Studio since the start of the project, and am always happy to answer questions and help fellow DJs out!

FAQs About Isolating Vocals

How do you isolate vocal audio?
Is it possible to separate vocals from a song?
How do DJs isolate vocals?

Excited to start mixing?