Stripping Music in Garageband (For Remixes)

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by jotade11, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. jotade11 macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    I have bee trying to figure out whether it is possible to create decent remixes from .mp3 files in Garageband, after taking out vocals or other instruments. Here on the forums, I found two threads saying 'no, too much interference and background noise', but on Yahoo Answers, I found this.

    I'm not all the concerned about the quality of the stripping, plus hopefully it won't be so bad as to be audible over the other beats in a remix, but could anyone clarify this for me?
    Thanks so much!
  2. bassism macrumors member

    Dec 22, 2004
    It's possible, though it depends largely on how the track was mixed. With most popular music you might be able to get results well enough to remix, but it's going to be hit or miss, depending on the song and what you're doing to it.

    Another method you could try is to take a stereo track, and invert one channel. Essentially this will subtract the information that is the same in each channel. Since vocals are usually mixed in the centre channel, this will subtract the vocals.

    However, the people saying no are also right. There will almost always be reverb/chorus/etc on the vocals that strays from being purely central in the mix, which you can't do anything about. In most cases this will leave you with something of poor quality and unsuitable. But, it's always worth a try, sometimes it can work decently well.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Listen carefully to the MP3 on a pair of high quality monitors or studio headphones. If the vocal is clear and sounds like it is coming from dead-center stage and also the other instruments are NOT also coming from center then the technique will work well enough. But is the sounds are not well separated in space across the line that connects your two monitors then the technique will not work very well. So listen and pick one that will be easy for your first try.

    All you are doing here is removing what is common to both channels and keeping the difference. At best the trick is not perfect
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    The "invert signal" trick works, as said above, only on select songs, depending on how the various tracks are placed in the stereo spectrum. The old "Vocal Eliminator" in those music magazine ads used this processing trick.

    One well-known song that it works on perfectly is The Mamas and the Papas' "Dream A Little Dream Of Me." Cass Elliot's vocals are dead center; the acoustic guitar is panned completely to one side, the drums and strings completely to the other. The "invert" trick cancels out Cass, and everything else is now heard on both sides.

    There are quite a few "classic" songs that have such extreme panning; another example is James Brown's "I Feel Good". His vocals are entirely on one side; all the instrumentation is on the other. Turn off one speaker, and boom-- instant karaoke!

    Most 21st-century mixing techniques involve more subtle sound placement and use of stereo delay/reverb that affects each channel differently. The "invert" trick is not as reliable nowadays because of it.

    On top of that, the OP mentions MP3 compression. This throws another problem into the situation. As a lossy compression scheme, MP3 throws away data in order to shrink data size, and does not compress each side equally. This results in stereo artifacts that, when reconstituted for playback, can leave little gurgles and burbles after an "invert". It's best to work from a lossless source (if possible) for remixing purposes.
  5. mannix87 macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2005
    in the southeast
    ditch the thought. if you want a decent mix, you need the individual stems/tracks (vocals, drum beats, synths etc) of the tune that you want remixed. if you dont have access to these, your mix, much as you try to, will have all sorts of artifacts in it & it'll be muddy. a lot of artists nowadays offer their stems available for download (radiohead, NIN, imogen heap etc) or you can try DJ sites such as beatport.

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