How to Use a Center Channel Extractor VST Plugin to Isolate or Remove Vocals
A center channel extractor is a type of stereo imagery effect that can keep or remove frequencies that are common to both the left and right channels of a stereo audio signal. This can be useful for isolating or removing vocals, bass, or lead instruments that are often recorded in the center of the stereo field.
There are different center channel extractor VST plugins available for download, but they all work on a similar principle: they use phase, amplitude, and frequency discrimination to identify and separate the center channel material from the mix. In this article, we will show you how to use one of them: the Center Channel Extractor effect in Adobe Audition.
Step 1: Load the Center Channel Extractor effect
To use the Center Channel Extractor effect in Adobe Audition, you need to load it as an insert effect on the audio track or clip that you want to process. You can find it under Effects > Stereo Imagery > Center Channel Extractor.
The Center Channel Extractor effect has two main tabs: Extraction and Discrimination. In the Extraction tab, you can choose what to extract or remove from the center channel. You can select one of the predefined options: Center, Left, Right, or Surround, or you can select Custom and specify the precise phase degree, pan percentage, and delay time for the audio you want to extract or remove.
For example, if you want to isolate the vocals from a song, you can select Center as the option to extract. If you want to remove the vocals from a song, you can select Center as the option to remove.
Step 3: Adjust the frequency range
In the Extraction tab, you can also adjust the frequency range that you want to extract or remove. You can choose one of the predefined ranges: Male Voice, Female Voice, Bass, or Full Spectrum, or you can choose Custom and define your own frequency range.
For example, if you want to isolate or remove only the vocals from a song, you can choose Male Voice or Female Voice as the frequency range. If you want to isolate or remove everything from the center channel, you can choose Full Spectrum as the frequency range.
Step 4: Fine-tune the discrimination settings
In the Discrimination tab, you can fine-tune the settings that help identify and separate the center channel material from the mix. These settings include Crossover Bleed, Phase Discrimination, Amplitude Discrimination, Amplitude Bandwidth, and Spectral Decay Rate. You can adjust these settings by moving the sliders or entering values manually.
The optimal settings may vary depending on the source audio and your desired result. In general, higher values for Crossover Bleed and Phase Discrimination work better for extracting the center channel, while lower values work better for removing it. Lower values for Amplitude Discrimination and Amplitude Bandwidth cut more material from the mix, but may also cut out vocals. Higher values make the extraction depend more on the phase of the material and less on the channel amplitude. The Spectral Decay Rate can be used to smooth out background distortions.
Step 5: Adjust the center and side channel levels
In both tabs, you can also adjust the center and side channel levels by moving the sliders up or down. These sliders specify how much of the selected signal you want to extract or remove. For example, if you want to isolate only the vocals from a song, you can move the center slider up and the side slider down. If you want to remove only the vocals from a song, you can move the center slider down and the side slider up.
Step 6: Preview and apply
To preview how your audio sounds with the Center Channel Extractor effect applied, you can click on the Play button at the bottom of the effect window. You can also use the Bypass button to toggle between the original and processed audio. If you are satisfied with your settings, you can click on Apply to apply them to your audio track or clip.