HOWTO: Make Karaoke on your Ubuntu Box!

Update: If you enjoy Karaoke, you might want to try http://thesimsonstage.ea.com/. I tried it out once, and simply loved it.

Last week I searched the internet for a way to “make” karaoke – strip out the vocals from my songs.
This way, I get songs without the vocals – only instrumentals – so I can sing along instead of the real singer. Turns out this is called karaoke 🙂

So, my hunt led me to two things:

PyKaraoke (#fail)

This is a software that can be installed with a simple “sudo apt-get install pykaraoke“. But, this somehow did not do what it is supposed to do. 😦
So I figured out a new way to do this (after a LOT of googling).

Mplayer, your friend (#yay)

So here’s a DIY for how-to-make-your-own-karaoke:

1. Install the required software

You need mplayer and lame encoder. Installation is pretty simple: sudo apt-get install mplayer lame shntool

2. Remove the vocals from the song

Here’s how to do that: mplayer -ao pcm:file=<output file> -af karaoke <input file (song)>
This command will (try to) strip the vocals from the input song (audio, video, whatever) and will dump the output as “PCM Wav” encoded audio. Relax, this just means that the output song is NOT in mp3 format. And its size is huge.

3. Convert the wav output to mp3

Here’s how: lame -V2 <input wav file> <output mp3 file>
Make sure that there are no spaces in the file names during this “lame” operation. (I don’t know what happens if there are).

So far, so good.

And here’s the catch: not all songs respond equally well to this “procedure”. Some pointers:

  1. This procedure is meant to “attenuate” the voice, not remove it, like, completely. (#ref: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9787)
  2. Songs with male voice repond better than ones with female voice.
  3. Sometimes, drum beats are also badly attenuated along with the vocals. In any case, the “boom” of the beat gets killed.

So much for being a killjoy. But all said and done, I still use this method. It works on some songs, and it doesn’t on others.

Q: So what do you do if this method doesn’t work?

A: Search for a better method, and if you find it, post it in here!

HOW TO: Install Nvidia Graphics Card Driver on Ubuntu Intrepid

I’ve seen many methods on how to install the driver for Nvidia graphics card.
Here’s a method that is almost foolproof, involves no conf file editing, and can be done purely using apt-get package manager.

In case you are wondering, this method installs the “177” driver (the one that is supposed to be “recommended”).

So here goes:

  1. “sudo apt-get install nvidia-177-kernel-source nvidia-glx-177 nvidia-kernel-common nvidia-settings xserver-xorg-video-nv”
  2. Open System > Administration > Hardware Drivers
  3. Select the driver that says “Nvidia accelerated graphics driver 177 [recommended]”
  4. Click the Activate button (at the bottom of the window).
  5. You’re done!

After it completes successfully, you will need to restart your computer. And viola! Your graphics card is ready to use!

How to install ubuntu: a painless procedure

Here’s another screenshot tutorial.

This one shows how to install Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) Desktop Edition on a computer. Read (rather view) the complete tutorial first, then go about installing ubuntu on your computer, with this article by your side.

If you want to know how to get Ubuntu, go here.

Boot up your computer from the Ubuntu Hardy CD

Boot up your computer from the Ubuntu Hardy CD

Wait for ubuntu to boot up from the live cd

Wait for ubuntu to boot up from the live cd

You can use ubuntu without installing it

You can use ubuntu without installing it

Click "Install" to install. Really simple!

Click "Install" to install. Really simple!

Select Language

Step 1: Select Language

Select your location (timezone)

Step 2: Select your location (timezone)

Select keyboard layout

Step 3: Select keyboard layout

Set up your partitions

Step 4: Set up your partitions

Intoduction to partitioning

Step 4.0: Intoduction to partitioning

Set up the root partition "/"

Step 4.1: Set up the root partition

Next lesson about partitioning

Step 4.2: Next lesson about partitioning

Set up your "home" partition

Step 4.3: Set up your "home" partition

Create a swap area

Step 4.4: Create a swap area

Partitioning done - five easy steps!

Step 4.5: Partitioning done - five easy steps!

After this step, you may be taken to a “Migration Assistant” if you have windows XP already present on your computer. You can safely proceed further without making any changes. Just press Forward. Of course, if you want to see what it does, do it sure!

Personal details - the easy stuff

Step 5: Personal details - the easy stuff

Ready to go!

Step 6: Ready to go!

Go take a stroll

Step 7: Go take a stroll

Done!

Step 8: Done!

There you go! You now have a great system installed, all done manually by yourself.

If there are any questions about the procedure (like in the partitioning), feel free to ask. I always help my friends 🙂

[ Info: How I took these screenshots

I used VirtualBox and created a virtual machine on my computer. Then I installed ubuntu on it, and took screenshots of the process from my host operating system.

The pictures were edited with Gimp. ]