Sing With Me ~Vocaloid~

August 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

River here!  Last week I introduced UTAU to anyone who is interested.  So this week, I’ll go over Vocaloid!

So what is Vocaloid?

The Basics

Like UTAU, Vocaloid is a voice synthesizer.  Unlike UTAU, you have to pay for it: YAMAHA Corporation spent many years developing it, so it’s professional-level.  The newest version of Vocaloid, Vocaloid 3, is capable of making very realistic-sounding singing.  (Still not as good as human singers XD).

Screenshot of the software interface for Vocal...

Screenshot of the software interface for Vocaloid (English version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are more than forty voicebanks (Vocaloids) available to purchase if you add up all the voicebanks for the original Vocaloid, Vocaloid 2, and Vocaloid 3.  That’s pretty impressive, considering that Vocaloid started out with a very small niche market!  And there are more being developed.  These voicebanks are often combined with character art, and sometimes personality data.

Hatsune Miku is mostly responsible for Vocaloi...

Hatsune Miku is mostly responsible for Vocaloid’s success. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fun Fact: Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku is the most popular Japanese voicebank.  In fact, she’s the most popular Vocaloid in any language!

The Program

Vocaloid has a graphical interface that makes it easy to develop songs.  (Though I don’t own any version of Vocaloid personally–too expensive!– I have seen it used.)  You specify the length, phoneme*, and tone of the note that you want your Vocaloid to sing.  Repeat for all the notes you want, and you have a song.

*When my friend showed me how she did music using Megurine Luka’s English voicebank, she could just type in the actual words, not the individual phonemes.  Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

With the Vocaloid 3 update, triphones** were added to make the singing smoother, and users could select the language to use at installation.  And perhaps the best of all, you can also now import your background music, so that you can mix the music and the singing with less effort!

**Similar to UTAU’s VCV (vowel-consonant-vowel) technology, but that’s a post for another day.

The Pros

  • With the new Vocaloid 3 engine, synthesized singing sounds more realistic than ever.
  • Over forty voicebanks available (Vocaloid-Vocaloid 3)
  • With Vocaloid 3, you can import the background music and mix the music and singing.
  • You can do duets/choruses with Vocaloid, as it allows you to use more than one voicebank.
  • Triphones added in Vocaloid 3.
  • More professional results than using UTAU.

Fun Fact: Some Vocaloids are so popular that they have countless merchandise based on them!  Like Miku’s cute little Nendoroid, here:

Fluffy Pillow (3)

(Photo credit: animaster)

The Cons

  • Vocaloid is expensive!  Each Vocaloid 2 set, which includes both the program and the voicebank, is from $100-$300.  The Vocaloid 3 program, which is sold separately from the Vocaloid 3 voicebanks, costs around $120.  Each voicebank costs from $100 to $300, especially if you have the voicebank imported from another country.
  • The synthesized singing, while more realistic with the Vocaloid 3 update, still doesn’t compare with singing by a real human.
  • Without proper tuning, the singing sounds really robotic, and sometimes just plain awful.
  • The Vocaloid 2 engine provided with Japanese voicebanks is in Japanese.  While there is a way to translate it to English (the program itself is originally in English), it’s still annoying.
  • Umm. . . did I mention that it’s expensive?***

***And on that depressing note, how about I give you a picture of Kagamine Rin to cheer you all up?

Nendoroid Kagamine Rin - Pose 3

Nendoroid Kagamine Rin – Pose 3 (Photo credit: animaster)

Learn More

If you want to learn more about Vocaloid, you can go to YAMAHA’s official Vocaloid website (English site).  Here you can find more info on the Vocaloid program, the voicebanks, and links to the websites of companies who produce voicebanks.

There’s also the official Vocaloid store (English site), where the Vocaloid 3 program and some Vocaloid 3 voicebanks are available for download, if you want to learn more about pricing, or if you’re ready to take the plunge.  Both the official Vocaloid site and the Vocaloid store are available in Japanese, too.

Note: The Vocaloid 3 program download is currently on sale for $113 until the end of September 2012.  Just in case you’re interested.  (Not that it matters for me, still too expensive. DX)  The companies who develop voicebanks also occasionally have sales.

There’s also the Vocaloid wiki.  Here, users and fans of Vocaloid gather to learn about, discuss, and share knowledge about Vocaloid.  I’ve learned a lot by going here.


Entry filed under: Music, Vocaloid. Tags: , , , , , .

Ten Under Ten: Manga Favorites Happy Labor Day!

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