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How To Make a Karaoke Track and Video

Karaoke backtracks have become a dime a dozen. Furthermore, you can find plenty of free karaoke backtracks on platforms such as YouTube. There are backtracks available on Spotify and other paid services as well.

And you can even join the recent retro resurgence crowd and get yourself some classic CD+G discs for your karaoke collection. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to these methods. So, you may want to know how to make a karaoke track and video by yourself.

Sometimes, you might want a better quality version of a track, or you don’t like the instrumentation the creator chose. Perhaps you’d like to try one of the more obscure numbers from the catalog of an artist that isn’t that popular, to begin with. But, what to do?

Relax, I gotcha back, Jack…

This is the 21st century, and we have technology that can do marvelous things. Furthermore, some of this tech is so simple you can train yourself to use it from your kitchen counter while having your oatmeal.

With a bit of learning and practice, you can create a library of karaoke backtracks to add to your collection with ease. 

Luckily, you don’t have to be that tech-savvy. And, it doesn’t take hours when you get the hang of it. Just remember, you can’t use these tracks to make money or promote yourself; that’s illegal due to copywrite reasons. That being said, let’s get started with…

How To Make a Karaoke Track and Video

Track and Video

To create your own karaoke track, you will need a high-quality version of the track you want and remove the main vocal track as much as possible. You can do this using a variety of software tools. For example, Audacity, Pro Tools, or any other DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

Then, you need to export the audio file and combine it with a lyric video. This can be done using video creation websites or software like Video Editor on Windows and iMovie on iOS. Here’s the shorthand:

  1. Remove vocals from the original track.
  2. Combine backtrack with a lyric video.
  3. Export or convert the final file into the correct format for the karaoke device.

In this article, I’ll be exploring each step so that you can get a basic knowledge of what you need to get going on your own.

Remove Vocals from the Original Track

There’s not much point in standing up there with a mic in hand if you haven’t got a backing track to sing along to. So, start by making the instrumental track by removing the main vocal from the original file.

Where to get the original track

There are plenty of options for obtaining the original music. Just make sure you can get it in at least an MP3 file format. Ideally, you’ll want a WAV format as this is uncompressed. Here are some free methods to get MP3 music files.

  • Soundcloud – A world-renowned music streaming service that allows artists to make some of their material available for free should they choose to. Not everything is free, though. What’s nice about SoundCloud is that the artists sometimes make both MP3 and WAV file versions of their songs or albums available. So, you’re getting high-quality files from the start.
  • ReverbNation – A great source for Pop and Hip-Hop tracks. There are some great alternative options available as well.
  • JamendoMusic – A great free resource where you can download independent music.
  • SoundClick – More like a registry of music that is being given away for free by the artist. Essentially, it scours the internet for free music being distributed by an artist on their website and then creates a link for it on the SoundClick website. 

Download Audio Editing Software

The next step in removing the main vocal from the original track is getting your hands on audio editing software. There are too many options available to list them all here. But, rest assured, there are enough free and paid services to suit anyone’s needs. Here are a few:

  • Audacity – This is the workhorse used by people all over the world. It’s free and can be downloaded on both Windows and Apple operating systems.
  • Pro Tools – One of the world’s most popular DAWs. It offers a suite of professional-grade tools that can be used to improve the track you end up producing. The program costs around $100 a year and can be downloaded for both Windows and MAC.
  • Free and paid DAWs – Many are available, including BitWig Studio, Fruity Loops, Studio One, Ableton Live, Steinberg’s Cubase, Reaper, and Bandlab. The last one is a free DAW with a suite of effects. Many of these DAWs are paid, but they come with various packages to suit your needs as well as free trial periods.

For this article, I will be sticking to Audacity. It is available to anyone for free, and the principles I will explain can be applied in any other DAW you choose to use. You can visit the Audacity website to download the software to your computer.

Removing Vocals Using Audacity

Using Audacity

Once you’ve got Audacity installed, you’re ready to begin removing the vocals from the original track. Take note that this process is not perfect.

It will yield different results depending on the frequency content of the original file. In the end, the success of the cutting will depend on the frequency range that the vocal occupies. 

The Steps:

  1. Open Audacity and import the original audio file. This can be done via drag-and-drop or by clicking file, import, audio, and then navigating to the file on your computer.
  2. Use the selection tool and your cursor to highlight the portion of the track from which you wish to remove the vocal. 
  3. On the menu bar, click on the “effects” tab. A drop-down menu will appear. 
  4. At the bottom of this list, click on “Vocal Reduction and Isolation.” A window will open.
  5. Here you will find a few parameters to play with. You can do so in good time, but first, listen to how the default setting affects the audio. Activate and deactivate the effect in real-time to make comparisons; this will train your ear. 
  6. Click on “Ok,” and your track is made.

Exporting the Track

The next crucial part of the process is to export the track you’ve made in the correct format. For most users, this is likely to be MP3. The problem is that Audacity does not allow you to export as an MP3 file, only in WAV format. 

It is important to note that if your karaoke device supports WAV files, it will be to your benefit to use this format as it is uncompressed. However, if you have to use MP3 files, fear not. There is a handy MP3 encoder that comes with Audacity. 

This used to be a downloaded extra but is now built into Audacity for Windows and Mac. Although, if you’re using Linux, you still have to download the add-on. Here is how to export it as an MP3 file from Audacity:

  1. On the menu bar, click on “edit” and then on “preferences.”
  2. A small window will open; click on “libraries.”
  3. If MP3 is not selected or downloaded, click on “download,” and Audacity will take you through the rest of the steps. 
  4. Once the MP3 encoder is installed, you can go back to the menu bar and click on “file” and “export as MP3”.
  5. A window will appear, allowing you to navigate to where you want the file to be exported. Click on “OK” when you’re ready, and hey presto. 

Combining Instrumental/Backtrack and Video

Just like audio software, video editing software is abundant in the modern age. There are options to suit every wallet and circumstance. This software is vital when learning how to make a karaoke track and video.

Again, there are hundreds of other options that offer a variety of packages. So, don’t be afraid to do some exploring to find the one that will work best for you. But, to give you an idea of what’s out there, I included a comparison table of the easiest video editors for making karaoke backtracks.

Video Editing Software Comparison Table:

NameCostRequires DownloadCompatibility
MakeyoutubevideoFreeYesWindows & Mac
Animaker $12 a monthNoWindows & Mac
KapwingFreeNoWindows & Mac
Video Editor FreeUsually PreinstalledWindows
iMovie Free Usually PreinstalledMac

Most of these software options will be similar, with some slight differences in customizability and extra features. There are also a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube for all of these, so make use of those. 

For this article, I’ll be sticking to Kipwig and Video Editor. I chose Video Editor since I don’t own a Mac. But, I did some research, and the process will be very similar to iMovie. 

Making a Lyric Video Using Kapwing

Using Kapwing

  1. Import the instrumental track you made using Audacity. Click on “Edit Audio” to do this.
  2. Use the “Text” button located on the far left of the top toolbar to add the lyrics to the music as it plays. 
  3. On the left-hand side will be a miniature representation of the slide you are working on. At the top of this window is a grey ribbon. You can click on the little block icon on the right side of the grey ribbon to edit this time.
  4. Just below the little window described in step three is an “Add Scene” button. Use this to add another slide and keep repeating the process until you are finished.
  5. Once you are happy with your video, click on “Publish.” You can then select a place for the file to be created and click on “OK.”

Making a Lyric Video Using Video Editor

  1. Select “Add a New Project” from the main screen when you open Video Editor.
  2. Once the new project is open, add the title card. To do this, select “Title Card” at the bottom left.
  3. Next, add your backtrack. Click on “Background Music” to do so.
  4. Once you’ve done this, add text. Click on the “Text” button at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Right next to the Text button is a “Duration” button. Click on this to customize the display time of each slide.
  6. When you’re happy, click on “Finish video” in the top right corner of the screen and select an export location.

Get the Format Right

In many cases, you might not have to convert anything when you make a karaoke backing track. If you are connecting directly to your karaoke setup, then you’re golden. Once your file has been exported, you can just play the file from your laptop or desktop computer.

When using an external karaoke machine, check which file types work with the hardware and compare them with your file. If you don’t know the format, you can right-click on the file, then select properties. The file type should be displayed in the window that comes up. 

Video Editor files are usually saved as MP4 files, so if your machine accepts this, you should be fine. However, if you need to convert your file, there are some options to do just that.

Convert Your Video to Another Format

The format you end up choosing will depend on your system and its capabilities. So, it’s important to make sure you know which formats your karaoke system supports. 

Fortunately, there are free online converters that will allow you to convert from virtually any format to any other format. For example:

  • You can convert MP4 to MP3+G by first converting the MP4 to MP3 and then converting the MP3 to MP3+G. Some online converters will allow direct conversion from MP4 to MP3+G.
  • Some online converters will allow you to convert directly from MP4 to CD+G.
  • You can also use an online converter to convert directly from MP4 to DVD.

Again, your specific hardware may make use of a particular file format. So, make sure you are using the correct one for your karaoke system to get the best results.

Love Yourself Some Karaoke?

We’ve got you covered. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Karaoke Machines, the Best Karaoke Speakers, the Best Karaoke Microphones, the Best Karaoke Microphones for iPhones and Smartphones, the Best Tailgate Speakers, and the Best Party Speakers you can buy in 2022.

Also, take a look at our detailed articles on the Top Karaoke Songs That Anyone Can Sing, the Best Karaoke Games, the Best Duet Karaoke Songs, the Best Karaoke Apps For Smart TV, and How to Get Karaoke Songs for Free for more information and ideas on karaoke.

How To Make a Karaoke Track and Video – Conclusion

There you have it. A quick guide to a few options for making karaoke tracks with lyric videos. Getting the original, removing the vocals, and combining it with a lyric video doesn’t require sound engineering skills. It only takes a little practice and some patience. 

Remember, there are dozens of video tutorials if you get stuck. And, don’t forget to double-check your format before you export.

Until next time, good luck and make yourself heard.

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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