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
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.