I have a song for which I have the song itself, and an isolated drum track from a live performance that fits perfectly in time with the original. Given these 2 things, is there software that can do a decent job at removing the drum track or at least lowering it? I would really like to make a remix of it, but I need the drum track to be lowered.

I do not care if the software is pricy, free, etc,

If there is another way to remove drum tracks from songs I am open to that too.


3 Answers 3


I'm afraid that isolated track is not going to help you much. Multiband ducking / FFT substraction is possible, but only works at least almost satisfyingly for signals in a limited frequency range; even then it leaves ugly artifacts and/or much of the signal you want to remove. Drums fill the whole spectrum, so this won't work at all. You may be thinking of ideal phase cancelling, but that only works with a plain digital mix of the track with something else; in a track that was recorded independently the phases have random relations to those you want to get rid of, so they won't cancel.

Removal of anything from a record without completely destroying the track is still only possible by carefully removing the most audible frequencies of those events by hand, with a tool like Algorithmix reNOVAtor. Which is nicely usable for removing single sound events, removing an entire drum track is possible but extremely painful.


If the drum tracks are identical, or close enough, you can try to align the tracks and invert the phase of the drum track.

Although a lot of stuff that should be there will be removed in the process, even if you manage to cancel out the drums.

  • this is your best bet...
    – frcake
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 16:30

The problem is that a drum hit is essentially white noise added to the signal. If it is of high enough volume, then it really is impossible to pick out what is "signal" and what is "noise". Your separate track of drums is not going to help that much, because percussion is chaotic, that is, the signal will look different every time you play it, and thus techniques which involve canceling out the signal in the time domain aren't going to work, especially since those techniques are sensitive to exact timing. As mentioned in another post, spectral based subtraction is also not going to help either, because percussion is generally spread spectrum: It covers all frequencies, so you can't simply remove the frequencies it's located in and be left with something decent.

My best guess would be to remove the transient sections by hand, and then simply interpolate the removed regions in the spectral domain, using a spectral editor. The assumption that this technique works under is that the everything else in the recording besides the drums is varying slowly, i.e. lacking any other transient element at the time of the drum hits. Of course, this is probably not true. But my guess is you can't get any better.

Oh, also one more possibility, is you can try using the transient-steady state separation in aubio. Then you can spectrally subtract the second recording from just the transient part. That probably should give you similar results to the above technique though.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.