To remove vocals from a song using REAPER, load in the song and duplicate it, pan your tracks hard left and hard right, invert the phase of track one using the ‘Phase’ toggle, and then switch from stereo to mono on the ‘MASTER’ track and press play.
Removing Vocals In REAPER
Removing vocals from a track is very handy if you just want to hear the instrumental version of a song, record a vocal cover of a song, etc.
In my opinion, the best way to go about vocal removal is to use a plugin/AI technology designed specifically for it.
Sadly, REAPER does not come with a stock vocal removal/isolation plugin.
However, in this comprehensive guide, I will show you how to remove vocals from a song in REAPER without spending money on a third-party plugin!
How To Remove Vocals From A Song In REAPER
To remove vocals from a song in REAPER, you can either use a third-party vocal remover/isolation plugin or a website (I recommend this method)
Alternatively, you can duplicate the song, pan each track hard left and hard right, invert the phase of track one, and then switch your ‘MASTER’ track from stereo to mono.
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial
Here is a list of the things that you will need for this tutorial:
- REAPER DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
- An audio track with vocals to work with
- A third party vocal removal/isolation plugin or AI website (only if you want to go about it this way and not manually)
Step One – Insert And Duplicate Your Track
The first step for removing vocals from a song in REAPER is inserting an audio file of that song into the DAW and duplicating it.
Now we are ready to move on.
Step Two – Pan Your Tracks
The next step is to pan our tracks hard left and hard right.
With our tracks properly panned, let’s move along.
Step Three – Flip The Phase And Switch To Mono
The final step for removing vocals from a song in REAPER without plugins is to flip the phase of track one and switch to ‘Mono‘ on the ‘MASTER‘ track.
If you have followed these steps correctly, you can now press play in REAPER and hear the song without any vocals!
Using Third-Party Plugins For Vocal Removal
As I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend using a high-quality third-party vocal remover plugin or website.
Using a vocal remover plugin will make the audio much more clean and workable than the method that I outlined here.
Here are a few plugins that can do the same thing:
- Vocal Remover is a free online vocal removal/isolation plugin. Make sure to donate a bit to the developers if you can!
- Splitter.ai is another fantastic and free online resource.
- Lalal.ai is an excellent vocal removal/isolation plugin that offers a short free trial.
How To Isolate Vocals In REAPER
To isolate vocals in REAPER, you can use a third-party plugin, or you can do it the following way:
Start by loading in the track with vocals and the instrumental track into REAPER.
Next, invert the phase of the instrumental version, and you are all done!
Keep in mind that this method is a bit crude. Using the third-party software listed above is a much better way to isolate or remove vocals from a track in REAPER.
How To Edit Vocals In REAPER
To edit vocals in REAPER, I use a combination of my mouse and different hotkeys that I have memorized to split, copy, cut, paste, move, and quantize vocal tracks in REAPER.
I think that REAPER is a very smooth DAW to edit in.
Here is an article that will give you more insight into REAPER editing.
How To Clean Up Vocals In REAPER
To clean up vocals in REAPER, I recommend using ‘ReaEQ‘ to cut harsh and unneeded frequencies.
ReaEQ is REAPER’s stock visual equalizer plugin. It is excellent to use if you are trying to clean up a vocal track.
For example, we’re working on a vocal track with some low-end room ambiance and some high-end hiss or sizzle.
Let’s apply an HPF (High Pass Filter) and an LPF (Low Pass Filter) to filter out unneeded frequencies.
Now that we have our vocal track filtered, let’s use a couple of bands in the mids/high mids to locate and cut any other harsh or annoying frequencies.
Using ReaEQ is my go-to method for cleaning up vocals in REAPER.
How Do I Get Rid Of Background Music In REAPER?
To get rid of background music or background noise, I recommend using a third-party vocal isolation plugin or software like the ones I mentioned above.
These programs will locate and isolate the dialogue in your audio and help you eliminate unwanted background music and background noise.
However, if you want to do this with just the tools in REAPER, I recommend using heavy low-end, high-end filtering and a few band cuts with ReaEQ to cut out the background music.
Find the approximate frequency range in which you can hear the background music and cut these areas as much as possible before the overall track starts to sound unnatural.
Be careful that you do not cut out too much of the dialogue you intend for people to hear when going through the steps of noise reduction.
Background music/background noise reduction is a pretty simple task when you know what you’re doing.
What Is the Best Way to Remove or Isolate Vocals from A Song Using REAPER?
Although you can remove the vocals from a song in REAPER using the methods I outlined in this article, the best and most efficient way to do this is by using a third-party vocal removal/isolation plugin or software.
Why Would You Want to Remove the Vocals from A Song?
Here are some reasons that you would want to remove the vocals from a song:
1. If you want to listen to just the instrumental track
2. To record your own vocals over the instrumental track
3. To hear small details in the instrumental track better (this is helpful if you are trying to learn a song on an instrument)
Why Would You Want to Isolate the Vocals of A Song?
Here are some reasons that you would want an isolated vocal from a song:
1. To hear a vocal recording closely to learn the different harmonies
2. To take the vocals from a song and do a mashup with another song
Check out the following article if your panning is not working in REAPER.
about the author
I’m Jack Oberkirsch, a film and media composer residing in Denver, Colorado. I play in several local bands and have been touring the country for nearly a decade.
Since 2016 I’ve been focusing on studio work and production and have moved into the realm of film and media composition.
I like to combine and implement many different musical instruments and styles to convey the director’s vision on any given project.
I also enjoy writing material for music libraries and sync placements.