How to take out the vocals in a song on GarageBand

GarageBand is a digital audio workstation, or “DAW,” that comes free with the iLife suite of applications for Macs. With GarageBand you can record, mix and your own music using just your computer keyboard. During this process, you may wish to temporarily or permanently remove all or part of the vocals. You can also use GarageBand to remove vocals from other recordings, for example to create a karaoke backing track.

Muting vocals recorded in GarageBand

The GarageBand interface is split into tracks, to which you record the individual tracks of audio. Turn on the “mute” button on the vocal track to remove the vocals. This button in the header of the track with the singer icon. You can switch mute on and off to hear the track with and without vocals. If you don’t know which track contains vocals, use the solo function to listen to each in isolation.

Deleting vocals recorded in GarageBand

To get rid of a bad vocal take, highlight the audio data in the vocal track and hit the backspace key. This permanently removes the audio from the GarageBand interface. If you do this in error, press the “cmd” key and “z” key together to undo.

Editing out vocals recorded in GarageBand

GarageBand enables you to edit individual audio files. So if you’ve got a near perfect take, but with a bad line, you can chop out the offending audio. To do this, highlight the portion of audio you want to remove using the waveforms on screen as a guide.

You may need to listen to the section a few times while following the time bar to see which waveform corresponds to which bit of audio. Once you’ve highlighted the audio to be removed, hit “Choose Control” in the menu bar, select the scissors and “snip” the selected audio. This deletes it from the track.

Taking out vocals from a stereo file

You can use GarageBand’s EQ function to enhance or diminish the prominence of certain frequency ranges. Done to extremes, you can effectively hide vocals. This method is useful if you can’t access the individual audio tracks and only have one stereo audio file, such as an MP3.

Hit play, then click on the eq band and move it around the graph onto which it is superimposed. You’ll different frequencies reducing and increasing in volume as you move the cursor around. This is a crude but simple way of getting rid of vocals, but may leave you with a slightly dull sounding finished product.

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About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for