The choir director drops a couple CD's and a track listing in your lap and says, "We’re using these split tracks for the Christmas service." Personally, I don't like skipping around from song to song on a CD during a performance. I also don't like using a split track for a big event. Following the simple steps I use, you can simplify your audio work.
A split track is simply a stereo audio track in which the left or right channel has something the other does not. Usually it's the vocals. Singers love these because they can hear how the song should sound and then sing to just the instruments.
Using a stereo channel on your mixer, you can use the panning knob to pan out the channel with the vocals. Or you can cut them out.
Here's how I do it using Audacity.
1. Burn the CD track to a stereo file in a lossless format.
2. Open up the file and you’ll see two rows; one row for each channel. If not, right-click over the channel and pick "split stereo track."
3. Mute the channel you think has the vocals.
4. Play the file and make sure you've muted the correct channel. Retry with the other channel if necessary.
5. Delete the vocal channel.
6. Highlight the remaining channel (Edit-> Select-> All) and then pick "Duplicate."
7. On the new track, select the small down arrow and set the new track to the correct left/right channel.
8. Play the file again and make sure it sounds clear and correct out of both speakers/headphones.
9. Export to lossless format under the File menu. Different types are listed.
In the case of more advanced split track recordings, the songs can be split up into separate tracks. In this case, I like to insert each track into audacity after the end of the previous file. This way, I've converting six tracks into one.
I use this same process for each song. Once I've got all my songs prepared, I can order them to match the order they will be played.
Once I've got the order set, I can burn them to CD or use a file instead (maybe you'd rather play it through the computer hooked into the sound system.)
Using this method, all my audio tracks are in order and I don't have to worry about remembering to pan out the vocals. Another benefit to this method is that split tracks can have a lot of tracks per song. For example, song #2 can list on the CD display at cut 19 and end at cut 29. So if you lose your place, you're in trouble.
Remember, you should do everything possible to simplify your work during a performance. Using this method, you can do just that.
Thought? Questions? Comments?