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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I’m new to performing, and I wanted to play an alto sax part over a particular T-square sax song for a wedding event. Unfortunately, I don’t think a backing track version was ever released.

I have a mp3 file of the full song, and was wondering what the best way would be to remove the alto sax part from the track. I have zero experience in audio editing but am open to learning how to do so! Not fussy about the overall sound quality as well. Thank you!
 

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Hi all,

I'm new to performing, and I wanted to play an alto sax part over a particular T-square sax song for a wedding event. Unfortunately, I don't think a backing track version was ever released.

I have a mp3 file of the full song, and was wondering what the best way would be to remove the alto sax part from the track. I have zero experience in audio editing but am open to learning how to do so! Not fussy about the overall sound quality as well. Thank you!
You can't really remove one instrument from an mp3. If there is a section of the tune that doesn't have any alto, you could cut it down to just that section and then loop it however many times you need to.
 

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You may just get some reduction of any signal that is in the centre of a stereo recording by inverting the phase of one side and then bouncing to mono, but is only very occasionally successful.
Can you do that, with an already existing fully mixed track?
 

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Can you do that, with an already existing fully mixed track?
If it is a stero track yes.

I have known it to work, but only when the signal you want to eliminate is the only signal panned directly in the centre, and vey little else is.

When the two tracks (left and right) are out of phase, when they are subsequently mixed together into one mon track, any signal which is identical on both L& R) will be cancelled out and so will no longer be there.

In many mixes the lead vocal or lead instrument is panned in the middle and many other instruments are left ot right so it can work. There are various issues

  • You lose everything else that is also panned centrally - very often the bass
  • Reverb that has been applied is very often stereo, so that would remain as a kind of ghost.
There is now plenty of software that can do unmixing (e.g. Audiosource) but I haven't tried them. I have heard people change/iune remove wrong notes, chords etc using Melodyne

here is another one that has a free trial:

 

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I use the technique that Pete describes a lot, when I'm working out instrumental parts, nowadays mostly for when I create backing tracks for my tribute band. I have used this technique many many times in the past for hearing parts that are buried in the mix, but I would say it is exceedingly rare for it to result in a usable backing track. I've probably listened to hundreds of songs this way, and I'm not sure I've ever heard it produce a result that would make a usable backing track. It does depend on the content of the mix of course, and the style of music. I have almost always done this for pop music (in the most general sense). But you will almost certainly lose the bass, and the kick drum (if present), and as Pete says, you will normally here the reverbs for the parts that are missing. Often, you'll find it completely changes the sound of the mix, and background parts that weren't very noticeable are suddenly very clear. It's worth a go, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Very very occasionally, you might find that stems for a track are available on the web, which you could remix to create a version of the track. You can try multitrackmaster.com for that.

In general, I've found the only way to create a good backing track is to do it yourself, and I've done this a lot. Painstaking, but you can get fantastic results if you have the skills and patience.

You could try karaoke-version.com, there are lots of usable tracks there that people have created. I've no idea if they would have the track you're looking for. Good luck!
 

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I’ve tried cutting down part of a track, but I didn’t have much success. But I was using GarageBand. Maybe as others have suggested you could mix your own track.
 

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My method is to pull the mp3 into a track on your DAW. Then practice playing drums until you can record a drum track that fits the original. Then practice playing bass until you can record a bass track that fits. Then practice playing piano until ...... and so on. Eventually you can mute the original mp3 and have a nice backing track. And you will officially be a multi-instrumentalist!
 

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Try downloading a free demo version of the Anytune app. It has a really simple 2D graphic EQ, which I've used in the past to eliminate much (though rarely all) of unwanted tracks from mp3s. That'll at least show you pretty quickly whether the sax part can easily be removed, or at least attenuated to the point you can play over it--though I suspect that you'll find that the previous posts are all correct, and it can't really be done. At the very least, you'll be able to slow down the mp3 in Anytune so it's easier to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Try downloading a free demo version of the Anytune app. It has a really simple 2D graphic EQ, which I've used in the past to eliminate much (though rarely all) of unwanted tracks from mp3s. That'll at least show you pretty quickly whether the sax part can easily be removed, or at least attenuated to the point you can play over it--though I suspect that you'll find that the previous posts are all correct, and it can't really be done. At the very least, you'll be able to slow down the mp3 in Anytune so it's easier to learn.
I just tried this option out and wasn't too hopeful, but the ReFrame function did a pretty good job of removing the sax part! or at least to the point where hints of it could be ignored. I suspect this is because the alto sax notes are on a clearly higher frequency than all the other instruments in the track. Not perfect, but usable enough! Thanks for the recommendation.
 

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Sony Sound Forge 8.0.53 does it quite well. I used it to restore old audio recordings that were still on reels. You can cut and paste pieces of the phonogram, and you can stretch both "bass" and "treble" in records of poor quality. The equalizer is good for editing. It isn't easy to understand at the first time, but if you sit then the options for themselves, I think you'll find. It looked like can do. You can hardly make a complete studio-quality minus, but you can try it. Another option is to find music already ready on YouTube and stream it through Online Converter MP3. It will be a lot easier and faster.
 
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