Old School Magic or just senile tricks from the past?…


Hey guys, it’s Andre

This technique is pretty old school… so old school, even my bosses, Andy and Oli used this trick back in the days 😉

When it comes to creating stunning beatmatched Promos, acapellas are a pretty useful tool and it’s cool to create mash-ups with them.

Now here’s the problem: How do you get these acapellas? Sometimes you might be lucky and find an acapella version of the song, but in most cases you have nothing but the original and maybe an instrumental version.

If you’re in the luck of having both the original and the instrumental version, you can still try to use this trick to create your own acapella version.

Phase cancellation is the magic word and can be performed in every DAW with no big effort. I’m going to show you, how to do this:

The session below contains both the original as well as the instrumental version of the song in two different tracks.

Phase Cancellation Session

Make sure, both the original and the instrumental have the same quality, length, tempo and loudness. The more similar both versions are, the better the result will be.

Accuracy is important. Both waveforms have to match to create a better effect.

Matching Waveforms

By playing out both versions at once, you might hear a kind of distorted version of the song.

For phase cancellation, the instrumental version needs to be phase inverted. Most DAWs have a certain plugin to invert audio. In Pro Tools you can find this in AudioSuite –> Other –> Invert

You just need to process the instrumental with this plugin.


Another technique is using an equalizer, which has an invert function. Digidesign’s built-in Digirack EQ also features this function. Just add this as insert to the instrumental and this will create the same effect.

Inverted EQ

Now play both versions again with the inverted instrumental version and you hear that a lot of the original song is gone and, but the vocals are still playing.

Here’s a simple example, first with the full song, then with phase cancellation:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/74095097″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Both original and instrumental version, have the same frequency and the same timing (if you worked accurately), but have completely inverted phases. The two signals collide and cancel each other. The final result you can hear is the difference between original version and instrumental version which has not been canceled – in this case the vocals.

By matching the waveforms exactly you can optimize the quality of your acapella. Also using an EQ will get you a much clearer acapella.

Master EQ

This technique won’t replace a professional acapella version for sure and it won’t work every time, but it’s definitely worth a try and maybe you can finally create the acapella version, you’ve been looking for.

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