Vocal Eliminators

Chris Chapman

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Location
Greenville, Michigan, United States
Hey gang,

Anybody have any positive results with a Vocal Eliminator to kill vocal tracks on a recording? I know a couple of companies sell this gear, and every year I have students asking to rip vocals off of a track. Any thoughts? Looking at the Alesis Vocal Zapper as an example, I guess, of the gear.

Thanks,

-Chris Chapman
TD, Greenville Performing Arts Center
 

SHARYNF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
they all work based on the concept that the vocal will be centered between the l and r, so they take down the frequencies in the vocal range and phase reverse left or right.
they sort of work, depends on how the song was recorded

Sharyn
 
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avkid

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Lakewood, NJ
Ehh...
As usual, the more money you spend the better the results are.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
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Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
All the ones I've ever heard just muddy up the mid-range and make everything sound like it's being played back on a really old stretched cassette tape.
 

silvrwolf

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2006
Location
Downers Grove, IL
All the ones I've ever heard just muddy up the mid-range and make everything sound like it's being played back on a really old stretched cassette tape.
I agree with Van on this one. The vocal eliminators do not remove sound from what I have seen is that the units take the frequences that vocals are usually in and lower them or sometimes completly remove them. THis means that if you have other insturments or sounds in the song that register on the same frequencys then those to become lowered. Ultimitly though you can never totally remove the vocals from a song. As one of my college professors said "trying to remove the vocals from a track would be like trying to unbake a cake". Its just not possible to totally remove them.
 

jkowtko

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Jan 9, 2007
Location
Redwood City, CA
All the ones I've ever heard just muddy up the mid-range and make everything sound like it's being played back on a really old stretched cassette tape.
Isn't that a type of sound effect (flange)? ;)
 

pacman

Active Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Location
Atlanta, GA
I have one of the current Alesis units & years ago at another facility (in the days of records & cassette tapes), had a Thompson Vocal Eliminator. The results can be astoundingly good or purely awful & it all depends on the mix & the quality of the original. Your's usually in good shape with original CDs. Whatever the device finds that is common to both channels is what will get zapped. Typically, that includes lead vocals, bass guitar & some portion of drums. That leaves whatever was mixed left or right of center & usually includes cymbals, synths & keyboards, rythym guitars, backup singers, etc., in varying degrees & quality.

The biggest problem I've found is in lead vocals with lots of reverb, which by nature, will be slightly left & right of center. That will most often kill or severely reduce the desired result. If your end plan is to produce a karaoke track for someone to sing along, you can mostly cover the remaining traces of lead with the karaoke singer, especially if you apply some reverb to their vocal.

The Alesis Vocal Zapper has presets which allow for quick setup, but no flexibility in "tuning" to get better results. The Thompson VE was much more flexible in being able to change various things to get better results. Unfortunatley, the current DSP-based model is quite expensive for varying quality results you might get. The Alesis is $99, so you've not blown a bunch of cash if it doesn't work every time. There's no way to predict how well it will work, you just have to give it a try with your material.

BTW, you'll end up with mono end product as a result of the vocal reduction. The old Thompson unit had a stereo synthesizer tp generate "pseudo" stereo & I'd guess the current version does as well.
 

pacman

Active Member
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Jul 14, 2004
Location
Atlanta, GA
I forgot to mention that there are some pretty good examples of what to expect from this type of deivce on http://ltsound.com. I wouldn't expect to get results as good as their best examples from the Alesis, however.
 

SHARYNF

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Joined
Sep 3, 2006
do you need to do it in real time, or can you take the song, bring it into sound forge for instance and process it

Sharyn
 

Chris Chapman

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Joined
May 25, 2006
Location
Greenville, Michigan, United States
We have a ProTools free rig and could take the time to go through and mirror the frequencies and all of that fun stuff. Problem is turn around time. To do that and get a nice clean result you eat a lot of production time. This is primarily for Choral concerts where a student wants to do a pop song that doesn't have an instrumental or karoake version available.

I have a good sound tech who works for me, but I don't want to eat all of his time in Pro Tools production for one song in a single concert. Hence the the entire Vocal Eliminator discussion. I see there is also a bunch of off the shelf software that does this too, so I might experiment with some of that as well.

-Chris
 

avkid

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Lakewood, NJ
Go buy the stuff you want to try(hardware, not software) from GC or someplace like that, if you don't like the result you can just take it back and exchange it for something useful.
 

SHARYNF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
We have a ProTools free rig and could take the time to go through and mirror the frequencies and all of that fun stuff. Problem is turn around time. To do that and get a nice clean result you eat a lot of production time. This is primarily for Choral concerts where a student wants to do a pop song that doesn't have an instrumental or karoake version available.
I have a good sound tech who works for me, but I don't want to eat all of his time in Pro Tools production for one song in a single concert. Hence the the entire Vocal Eliminator discussion. I see there is also a bunch of off the shelf software that does this too, so I might experiment with some of that as well.
-Chris

Certainly not a long process, capture the song, invert the phase on one of the stereo tracks track, cut the eq in the mids .... output the result
This is really not rocket science, the commercial units do just that they don't have any AI build in ;-)

Sharyn