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How to Isolate Drums From a Song

Isolating drums can be accomplished quickly and easily with audio-editing software.
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Sometimes a drum beat or pattern is so good, you want to hear it by itself. Although it's not the easiest process, isolating the drums from a song is possible if you have the song in its original, nonmixed form. Since multitrack audio-editing programs are capable of playing individual tracks, you can solo the drums or mute the other instruments to hear all or some of the drum parts. If you just like the tom fills or the snare and kick drum, you can isolate those as well with a few clicks.

Things You'll Need:

  • Mutlitrack Audio-Editing Software
  • Speakers Or Headphones

Open the audio-editing software you will use to isolate the drum tracks by double-clicking the icon or opening it from the Programs menu. The song must be in a multitrack format in order to isolate the drum tracks successfully; stereo mixes are not usable for separating individual tracks.

Open the song you would like to work on in the software. Although it varies from title to title, access the "Open" command from the File menu. After the dialog box opens, search for the particular song, double-click it or single-click it and click "Open." Wait until the program opens the file to start working. Alternately, you could import the song using a similar process, replacing the "Open" command with an import command.

Play the song to make sure it is the one you are looking for. Listen carefully to the drums to be sure they are ones you want separated. Lower the volume on all of the tracks other than the drums to isolate them. This process accomplishes the goal, but it is time-consuming and will make it difficult to switch between isolated drums and full instrumentation and vocals.

Solo all of the drum tracks to isolate them from the rest of the instruments and vocals. Click the "Solo" icon on each channel strip that contains parts you will isolate. The "Solo" icon will be located on the left side where the sliders for volume are located. Soloing the tracks will automatically mute all of the other tracks for the song. Use this method if there are only a few drum tracks and many other tracks. It will be quick and efficient and will prevent you from wasting time clicking "Mute" on the multitude of nondrum tracks in the song.

Mute the instruments other than the drums. Muting the other instruments is similar to soloing the drums, because the muted track will disappear and will not be heard. This method is preferable if there are only a few nondrum tracks you do not want playing. If there are only three instrument tracks and 15 drum tracks, this method will be quicker than the previous step. Click the "Mute" icon on all tracks that are not needed to isolate the drums.

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