I like to take samples from my record collection. Sometimes the vocals to sample are over beats and melodies, but if those are predictable drum machine beats, then I can also sample the drums in a different part of the song, setting me up to subtract the beats from the vocals.

I understand that some manual bandpassing or band canceling may be necessary and that the result isn't guaranteed to sound great! Still, what software tools can align the two samples from the same recording for this purpose?

  • Honestly, there are so many samples available that I wouldn't consider it worth the effort. it's the kind of trick you're going to have to do by eye, I would think.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 13:54
  • Yes, I'm concerned that it's too much trouble to do by hand, but a program that uses a beat detection technique could maybe do it in one step. I'm still hoping someone has written such a program. Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 23:30
  • 1
    I don't think there is such a tool. If you find one, Post it here! I've always done this kind of thing by hand. It only takes about a minute, but more complex mixes can take longer. In the past, I've used a series of phase cancellations to help extract a mono element from a stereo environment with near-perfect results.
    – n00dles
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 13:42
  • @MarcW i could spend one minute! would you mind relating what audio editor and commands make it that easy? do you start by determining the location of the elements in the stereo field? Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 23:26
  • @MarcW Hmm, interesting idea! So you essentially sample the drumtrack as a mono file, phase invert, create a 'stereo' track with this and a mono mixdown of the music/vocals clip, then mixdown to mono?
    – Skarik
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


If you are able to filter out the vocals, you could invert the phase and that would cancel out the vocals, leaving the rest of the track intact. You can remove the vocal if it is centered in the mix. The problem is that drums and bass tend to be centered as well, especially the kick.

Using mid-side processing you could potentially extract the elements you want, but it depends on the mix. You can read more about this technique here, but I guess you already use this approach.

In Ableton you can use the warp markers and align the entire track to the correct BPM, then just set a marker at 1.0.0, before copying to a new track.

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