Sometimes DJ mixes can sound really dry if nothing but instrumentals are used all night long, but fortunately DJs have access to a very cool tool – acapellas. The vocal-only track of a song, an acapella can fit beautifully into a mix and spice up the dullest of sets. There is no better feeling than mixing some great vocals with a banging song — perfectly in key — and creating a fresh remix on the fly. Then the crowd looks at you amazed, thinking, “That’s not supposed to be there… but I love it!”
Want to know where to find acapellas? Look no further. Here is a list of my favourite sources and a few more – just because you’re awesome.
This site not only has a very useful and helpful forum, but also boasts an amazing amount of free acapellas. Acapellas4u has been on the scene for 7 years, and it’s growing everyday. It also allows users to upload the vocals they have and based on those uploads get credit for more downloads. As amazing as the pool may be, the downloading comes with some limitations that are based on the number of posts you have. Every member gets 30 downloads per month and must upload or be active in the forum to download more. Another limitation is that you must have 50 posts or donate to the site in order to see the BPM of each accapella. More posts basically means more downloads.
A favorite of source of music for many DJs, Beatport also has a DJ Tools section with acapellas and an almost-perfect user interface. It has more than 4,300 acapellas. The bad side is that they cost as much as entire songs — as high as $2.50 for each acapella. That may sound like a bit much, but you can also find acapella packs that are quite a lot cheaper than individual purchases.
The German DJ Tunes is pretty much everything you need for finding great music and it has a collection of acapellas that surpasses Beatport’s array. During the time of writing they had 5218 tracks, which are priced more or less the same as in Beatport’s store.
Another great site for house music that only has a handful of acapellas but you can still find a lot of great vocals. Just like Beatport it has a good interface, making it very easy to listen to the tracks. Prices go a bit higher here, up to $3.99 per track.
Here are a few more plentiful record pools for your acapella seeking pleasure:
As a reminder, two previous posts on DJTechTools dealing with the similar subject of finding digital records online:
Making your own acapella
For a more hands-on approach you can always take a track and extract the vocals yourself. In order to achieve this you need the normal version with vocals and the instrumental version of the song and they have to be the same quality. With a process called sample inversion you extract the vocals from the song. You put the two song side by side in a DAW and you invert the instrumental. Export audio and voila, your acapellas is ready. For a more detailed version of this process check out this video:
That’s it for this part. If I forgot anything please let me know in the comments section. Next time we will look at how you can use acapellas to your advantage in your DJ set and some tips on preparing them with beatgrids!
For advanced on-the-fly remixing, try mixing acapellas with individual samples—get started with our DJ PowerTools!
Additional reading: Make sure your accapellas work by mixing in key
Key Analysis Software Smackdown
About the Writer: David Meridian is a DJ based out of Slovenia- This is his first article for TechTools. Want to contribute your self? Visit this page.
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How do you get like Acapella for mainstream songs. I see people mix them all the time and have no idea how they get the Acapella.
http://www.voclr.it <— Great free acaella website
Although there are many sites on the internet offering thousands of commercial acapellas and they are free to download, none of them you can really publish and even if you would like to do it, it’s highly expensive. You have to obtain a clearance (in many cases this is impossible unless you are well-known artist) and pay instant royalties for authors. On this website – http://www.katelesing.com – for small one-time payment, you can get everything.
Hey great post, you should list some sites to get instrumentals as well
Does anyone know a good source for instrumentals? a google search reveals karaoke versions which don’t quite sound right
Thanks for the mention Ean. Check your email please.
I made my dog go crazy with that AT&T true voice thing.. LOL’s were provided thanks.
@Lol4k – Don’t worry, that will be covered soon.
Many thanks for continuing to cover this angle. Also, some of the tips in these comments really hit home. Off to go practice quantizing and punching in properly! Keep up the great work.
great article as always!
@ Phil, thanks for the tip. Is the demo site done for now or did I get oustted for typing the word “FAHKING”? LOL!
@Bitin’Bulleit – Those are some great sites, thanks!
this is was i’ve been looking for !
thxs ean !
I use Acapellas in all my sets. I mix Deep House and Detroit Techno, and acapella’s spice up all of my mixes. Sometimes my entire set is done this way. I give progressive house and house music some competition.
I use traktor pro with 4 decks; decks C and D are dedicated to the acapellas.
Instrumentals are only good only if it contains no drum beats or vise versa.
awsome tip thanks dj techtools
Nice article !
Noob Question : How do you introduce Acapellas in your set ? ^^
I download some accapellas song on accapellas4u and try to mix it with the original song but no way, it does not sound good :p
ALRIGHT! Nice post Ean. 🙂
WHAT ABOUT INSTRUMENTALS??
@ Phil Morse – Using the at&t synthesis is similar to using Text to speech on a Mac. type what you want it to say into TextEdit and record what it says using Garageband or an audio utility such as Audacity or Audio Hijack Pro. The at&t app has more realistic sounding voices and other languages though. Nice tip Phil! Already bookmarked the page and have downloaded some drops to use in my next set.
good article, always appreciate the ones with practical application. I use some of these sites already so I’ll share some of my own secret tools
http://acapellas4all.blogspot.com/ – Great blog, updates once a day or more.
http://www.blacklabelled.com/community/viewforum.php?f=18 – Similar to Acapellas4U
http://fromdjs4djs.com/ – A budding site I stumbled across recently, they have some helpful stuff under “Tools,” like acapellas and (BPM) transition tracks
I’m not one for piracy but a quick torrentz dot com search for acapellas revealed very many GiGaBytEs of such .. I’m almost tempted but I know most of those artists are in it for the fame and money and not for the joy of music, so I won’t shiat on their dreams by downloading their intellectual property
@Phil Morse: That is some great advice, I will make sure to use it in the follow-up article.
yeah i used jamglue for a while, now i just diy or dl from youtube. i just hope the quality is good most of the time 🙂
The Link [quote post=”6395″]DIY ACAPELLAS[/quote] is very useful….!
meh. after jamglue went down finding good acapellas became much harder. thanks for the links though, I’ll look into those…
Hmm, I’m still waiting for the article about midimapping parts of ITCH to extra controllers.
Acapellas are nice to play with, but everyone can find some via Google.
buy singles of vinyl!!! i not wanna hate because turning digital is amazing
LMFAO on the Halo picture… Gotta love halo…
Great article! I was thinking about this a few days ago. This and the ipad dj apps article sure makes me come back for more! You should do an article video game related. Maybe how a dj could find a gig in such industry or maybe some trick with music game controllers. Perhaps something about best dj dvd’s since i saw dj shadow in tune and on time this morning… Hmmm… Animals that can dj? Lol gtg my bus is here!
Master Chief FTW :D:D!!
Very handy post as usual, thanks. Another good acapella trick is to nick AT&T’s voice synthesis software (for that Stephen Hawking effect) to make your own spoken loops to personalise your mixes and to drop over your sets when playing live – you can do it all online and there’s a choice of voices (here is the link):
It’s good as you can use the venue name or your DJ name which can sound quite professional. I DJ at a night called “Sunset Rocks” and have used this trick in the first 45 seconds of this promotional mix for my night, IDing the name of the event:
It’s good fun and free!
Ah the good old live bootleg remix, when I used to be more of a battle dj I had a handful of routines using three decks. On one deck I’d have the vocals running, leaving the other two for instrumentals, when the chorus or verse changed I’d cut or mix a different beat in. These routines had great affect but were a little stressful and had to be heavily practiced. Traktor has really opened up the live remix for me, when using my external set up (1210’s & battle mixer) I load vocals in deck C which is controlled via midi and the channel is routed to my session in/thru (which nearly every battle mixer has). Having the acapella not controlled by dvs means I can use sync lock to which ever of the dvs controlled deck is set to master!
great article. i’ve had some problems getting acapellas fitting in with songs. i use mixed in key but it still sounds…off.. to me. i think its mostly because i’m accustomed to hearing the song without the acapella.
glass candy acapellas sound good over pretty much any nu disco tracks though =D
[quote comment=”32008″]Quite missleading title.[/quote]
agreed- changed! It was acapellas for my fela’s
Quite missleading title.