Reasons for Unmixing

I think this question fits in the lounge. The unmixing functions are somehow all the rage, there are more and more plugins and DAWs that can do this, and of course, it’s generally a fascinating thing. But I don’t quite understand what it is really needed for. On one hand, there’s copyright, which - I think - doesn’t allow you to use a well-known song for karaoke without permission, unmix it, sing on it yourself, and put it on YouTube. On the other hand, it’s better to use the original tracks for a remix. Are there professional tasks where unmixing is needed without violating copyright? Are there authors who want a remix but no longer have the original tracks? Or what? How and for what do you use it? Excuse my lack of knowledge, but I’m just curious. :slightly_smiling_face:

I had a case of a recording made on cassette tape, which consisted of a vocal with guitar accompaniment. The original cassette machine ran fast, which meant the recording was too slow when played back on a professional machine for digitzation. The guitar was also out of tune and the guitar performance was amateur. The vocal, however, was excellent. The singer is deceased.

Following digitization and speed correction, I was able to extract the vocal perfectly and reconstruct the song with professionally performed guitar accompaniment.


Thank you, that’s an interesting example and also an honorable way to remember the singer.

other uses for demixing without copyright infringment:

  • create remixed performances at events / venues that are licensed to perform copyrighted materials
  • extract bass guitar track to practice for your weekend cover band bass playing gig
  • remove vocals for rehearsing for a cover-band gig
  • extract guitar and/or keyboard accompaniment to feed into Cubase chord track for automatic chord recognition (for whatever reason one might like to have or know the chords).
  • extract drums to re-create a drum groove to be used on a different drum track
  • private (unpublished) hobby remixing
  • remixing of material where copyrights have expired
  • remixing of materials that are public domain
  • remixing of materials that are CC-BY licensed

Also: There’s a large amount of music being made, that’s never published - so no copyright infringement, even if any or all of the source material is copyrighted.

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Thank you very much, Nico. Great input, especially this tip sounds interesting. I’ll give it a try and I’m curious to see how it works.

During COVID I decided to learn drums (LOL). I got a basic set of Roland V Drums , a teacher ( virtual ) and have been at it since then. Of course I’ve upgraded the drums piece meal as I went along.
You’d think I was about to say I demix recordings to hear the drums? You’d be wrong. I do it to remove the drums so I can play along to my favorite tracks “my way”.
OK, OK it’s probably not a good thing for the overall sound of the song, but it is great fun! And of course educational. Occasionally there’s a part of a piece I can’t get through, so listening to the isolated original drums can give an idea of how to approach it at my level.
Currently I split a song into 4 tracks using RipX ( it can do it in batches of songs). I put the the isolated tracks into Cubendo, use Detect Tempo to make a click track, print the click track as an audio track, then play the isolated tracks mixed with the output of my V Drums ( usually using EZ Drummer sounds ).
The click track is important because even on a pro recording the tempo of a song might vary, and because you can’t hear the drum track ( and it’s a recording ) the ‘band’ won’t stay in time with my drumming/tempo!
After a while though you get to know a song well enough that the click can be dropped out… and now I’m the drummer!
I have hundreds of tracks to choose from by now!
Rock show every Friday night at my place…


Drum karaoke! :+1:

Another one, easier transcription of brass sections and such. Listen in isolation, then listen in context, much easier than listening to the same 1,5 seconds of the full mix 60 times in a row and trying to figure out who plays what.


I almost feel like we’re writing marketing copy for SpectraLayers Pro 11 in this thread. :rofl:


A band came to me recently to record 4 songs. Then they told me they had 2 other songs that they were happy with from another studio, except that they had used an electronic drum kit. I was able to use Spectralayers to remove the exisitng drums, then record and mix acoustic drums onto them.

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Yes, that is a good idea to create play-alongs, just for personal use. One could also generate songs in Suno and then separate the tracks. Or, in general, it is also very helpful for transcribing.

That is a very good idea, I will try that as well.

That looks like it, yes. I am very curious to see what SL Pro11 can do.

I find this a very interesting example of using SL in a professional situation. Does it make sense for the drummer to play almost identically to the separated electronic drums to potentially mask any artifacts, or is that irrelevant?

Yes, the drummer tried to play as close to same part as before. Any differences were hidden by volume masking. The band had thought they would have to totally redo both songs. Of course, I could have kept quiet and taken more money to do that but I’m an idiot!