21 Sep 2019

Here's something impossible, being done.

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Unmixing and remixing with Melodyne Unmixing and remixing with Melodyne Celemony/RedShark

This is an older RedShark article that we're republishing today, because it doesn't matter how many times we see this demo of Melodyne: it's simply amazing, and that's because this is something that isn't supposed to be possible

Weekends at RedShark are brought to you to you in association with Adorama, our worldwide retail partner. Adorama is always a great place to go for video, audio and photography products. It always has a massive range in stock, and is always competitive.

I've always been told that you can't unmix audio tracks. You can't separate the vocal from a backing track, any more than you can take the dye out of a liquid.

It's really hard to unmix things because sound tends to be "additive". Somehow, though, we seem to be able to do this with our ears and our brains. We can tell the difference between a girl's voice and a guitar, and we can separate a trumpet from a piano.

Getting a machine to do it is a hard problem.

But here's a video of the impossible being done: It's an Adele track, and her voice is separated by Celemony's Melodyne software from a guitar track.

But wait, there's more!

Once the vocal track is isolated, the software lets you edit individual notes. You can actually change the tune that Adele's singing. It doesn't just do this by pitch changing: the software gets "inside" the note and preserves the "shape" of Adele's voice, so the new note sounds like she really sang it, instead of the usual, squeaky, Mickey Mouse effect.

This software has been around for a while but it's being refined all the time. It's not perfect, but it works well-enough to be pretty useful.


David Shapton

David Shapton was the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications from 2012 to 2020. 

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