This free plug-in can help you create backing tracks from original recordings.
Item: Tonebytes GLS – Vocal Removal Plug-In
Mic Rating: 3/5
At A Glance: Tonebytes GLS (“Get Lost, Singer!”) is an effect plug-in that is designed to remove vocals from songs. It uses a technique known as “central channel subtraction”, as the lead vocals are typically panned to the centre of track, that it combines with filters to try to preserve the bass and drums that are likely to also be in the centre of the stereo field. As such, GLS only works with stereo tracks and is not suitable for use with mono recordings.
High Notes: The plug-in is easy to use and works very well on some tracks. Although the plug-in works best with vocals that do not feature a lot of stereo effects, they can still be slightly muted by narrowing the stereo before processing. The ability to narrow the stereo field before and after the processing adds greater control over the sound than basic centre channel subtraction with eq.
Off Pitch: The plug-in does not run as a stand-alone application – so you will need to have a VST 2 compatible DAW system to use it. It is also still only 32-bit compatible when most DAW systems are moving towards 64-bit.
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Ultimately the effectiveness of a plug-in like this relies on how the source material is mixed. If all the instruments in a track are hard-panned and the vocals are centre panned and have very few stereo effects, then the plug-in can work well. That said, there are plenty of songs that aren’t mixed in this way and with these tracks the plug-in starts to become much less effective. Also, the any plug-in that uses this type of technique to remove vocals from a track, will always effect the overall sound in some way and will never be able to compete with the sound quality of a professionally made backing track. At the end of the day, the pug-in is completely free and, when it works, is a really easy way to make a backing track of your favourite songs that you sing over for rehearsals or just for fun.
Manufacturer’s Website: ToneBytes
Other Reviews: VST4Free
Chris Kennedy is the principal product reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about his work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.