While searching for Text-To-Speech programmes, I came across the VOCALOID speech synthesizer & YAMAHA has even developed a special 3D - GUI for this VSTi!

Wonders never cease…

I took a look at these a few months ago. I got all excited because I thought - hey, I don’t have to subject the world to my singing … Vocaloid Man (or Woman) can sing for me. I was pretty disappointed though, the results were pretty robotic-sounding, in my opinion … even in the demos, where presumably the full programming power of experts was used to show it off as much as possible.

SOS had a review as well a while back, for normal people (as opposed to professional Vocaloid programmers) it apparently takes forever and a day to do the programming to get it even close to that good.

After that, I decided that if Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Mark Knopfler could sing professionally, I could sing on tape for private consumption!


thanks for your impressions! The fact that they mention Mike Oldfield as a famous user makes it even more unattractive though I liked the robot video heralding the era of sophisticated political manipulation…:smiley:

I definitely prefer that great Electronic Poem by Florian Schneider-Esleben:

"Analog synthesis with system
tonally, visually comfortable
Technically, logically functional
Prototypical and specific.
Modular and variable
light, compact and transportable.
For a musical adventure
A-100 not too expensive.
MIDI-control from the computer
A-100 to the future!

No doubt, it sounds so much more attractive in the German language…


First of all - I wanted to thank joan baez for bringing up this topic ! It is something I have been toying with for years… I also wanted to thank Mike Oldfield for recording his vocaloid song over 6 years ago (yes, vocaloids are old in some parts of the world).

I have used… ummm… played with Vocaloids for years… Unfortunately they do not sound very good in English language (as their source ‘samples’ are usually taken from Japanese voice artists) but they CAN sound very good in Japanese due to the nature of the language phrasing.

I own and was on the pre-order list for Sonika when it came out a long time ago but like others pointed out - ‘PROGRAMMING’ a vocaloid has a learning curve… and has almost NOTHING to do with music composition…

The learning curve would be similar to taking you average 1st year high school band student and throwing them in front of a DAW with zero studio experience… im not kidding there… :ugeek:

These are NOT VST’s as we know them… they are NOT instruments, they are simply speech systhesis tools that we have to painstakingly spend hours phonetically entering words and then thinking on new phonemes to make words SOUND real… then add vibratto, pitch, volume, sustain, etc… all … basicaly MANUALLY - using zero music skill whatsoever…

It is actually ‘programming’ and very involved.

One of their sales pitches mention things you have control over:

And that’s just the beginning - you have control over all of the following parameters, which you can bring to bear on any part of your creation:

Changing syllables/phonemes.
Timing of each note (precise position/length).
Vibrato (you can change its type/position/amount/frequency).
Crescendo or diminuendo.
Pitch bend (amount, and positionable in time).
Glide (portamento).
Resonance (Frequency/bandwidth/amplitude).
Gender factor.

What they forget to say … is you control those manually… and they must ALL be adjusted to make a song… MANUALLY for each syllable ! :astonished:

After reading this - some one with a lot of time will beat me to it… but I have some things in the works using vocaloids…

Non-Yamaha Public Domain vocaloid software include 3-D animation software so you can make your ‘singer’ dance to the song you make… yet MORE programming… google MIKUMIKU DANCE to get the old, yet free software… and pray it has been translated from Japanese…

UPDATE: I found english versions in Google… yes - its 100% FREE to download… heres the GUI of the worldwide MOST popular vocaloid named MIKU


There are HUGE followings of people who basically WORSHIP these ‘vocaloids’ and even dress like them to go out to parties… its a BIG scene in Asia… and always puts a smile on my face…A Tim Curry type of smile… that makes most of the girls want to run… for no reason… the Tim Curry from … well from ANY of his movies… the smile has stayed the same for decades :laughing:

Original Vocaloid Miku image

Some may as why I am so much ‘pushing’ this 3d and photos when the topic was simply vocaloid…

Well - for enthusiasts if you dabble in Vocaloid and ignore the physical character attached you become a leper… and an ousider ATTEMPTING to penetrate their ‘scene’ (sorry … Tim Curry smile again)

Go to Google (or yahoo) and click IMAGES then type VOCALOID to see what I am talking about…

Here is a good Vocaloid Miku ‘cosplay’

Zero-G realized that and they released their Vocaloid SONIKA package along with a ‘persona’… There were MANY engloids (aka English vocaloids) before Sonika… but they did not find much success… because they were outsiders… trying to move into a market with an almost religious following… they did not follow the rules and ignored Avatars, cosplay etc… until Sonika…

This is the front page photo direct from ZERO-G
When I ordered this VST I also got a free WALL POSTER of the girl as well… they are merely fitting in to the ‘scene’ now

Actual Box I recieved

Other ‘english’ Vocaloids include LEON, LOLA, BIG AL, MIRIAM, PRIMA

Once again… STEEP learning curve… they sound fake… but then again… turn on your radio… and how many REAL singers sound fake with autotune now adays?

My ‘secret plan’ is vocaloid + cubase built in ‘autotune’ for a sound so unique people will sh#^#$* their pants on the dancefloor :smiley:

Here is my FAVORITE vocaloid song with 3D video to go along with it.

YOUTUBE LINK - full 3d Vocaloid video and song to go along with it -

Dont get me wrong… I am in awe by the possibilities… it is just a LOT of work to make them sound real… The post above by Alexis had a link to an english vocaloid song… and it sounds like… well… a NSFW word :laughing: You just PERSONALLY try to imagine that voice in one of your songs… they are just not DYNAMIC enough… and that song likely took COUNTLESS hours to tweak the voice just to sound like THAT…

With a few more months of tweaking you could actually use it in a radio hit ! - thats not MONTHS in post production… thats not months working on your song… thats MONTHS TWEAKING the vocaloid alone ! Thats why I decided to autotune my vocaloids.

Im implore you to watch the YouTube video… this shows what a vocaloid CAN do.

YOUTUBE LINK - full 3d Vocaloid video and song to go along with it -

In fact Yamaha/Sony or someone released a commerical CD of songs created with vocaloids… unfortunately its in japanese but about 20% of THAT one release sounds GREAT even for real performers!

I own the CD but I will find some links IF I can actually find one to share that does not violate any rights (online purchase demo etc).

PS… sorry for typing to much… but these forums are the only time I get to speak in english - and its a fun language :blush:

Here is the VST interface with the words “COME ON YEAH”

As entered that sounds almost identical to typing the same words into this:

After minor tweak of vibrato and phoneme adjustment and brightness and clearness and harmonics you get results:

Phoneme adjustment:

Phoneme UI

Vibrato adjustment:

Then one of these for each of the harmonics, brightness, etc:

END RESULT for that one phrase:

Count how many words, syllables and beats are in your song… simply rinse and repeat… and you will be there in no time…

Ooh - did I mention you need to do all of this over if you change your song that the vocals go over? If not it will simply not match up - just HOPE you never change tempo after setting the vocaloid up… and ooh no… dont change key… in fact… dont change anything… :laughing:

and end result sounds like this ----> CLICK TO HEAR MP3 (not too much work for for 2 BEATS - slightly less painful than sticking needles in your eyelids… just BARELY though)



Toyota USA just used VOCALOID MIKU in their May 2011 commercials for the 2011 Toyota car !

The car maker is also sponsoring the Holographic concert on July 2, 2011 in Los Angeles during ANIME EXPO 11
I HOPE there will be english songs there AND I hope they debut teh new Vocaloid3 format with improved vocal control…

MUST SEE official vocaloid car commercial VIDEO on youtube CLICK HERE —> - YouTube

note - video footage shows a HOLOGRAPHIC Vocaloid in concert… that is 100% Authentic footage. Here - where I live vocaloids are popular and musicians in concert use 3d animated HOLOGRAMS in concert for the vocaloid ! EVERY show or event is always sold out (pretending you dont understand door security when they tell you to go to the back of the 2 hr line helps get in faster :laughing: )! - just google “VOCALOID MIKU COSPLAY” and you too would be lining up for all the nsfw imagery I can not begin to describe in any forum :smiley:

Its like the characters are basically PUBLIC DOMAIN here - just make a song and use em up !

If you do a good song - no one ever says WOW - SAVADIOUS - THATS A GREAT SONG !

What they do is tell ALLL their friends - to listen to the NEW MIKU-MIKU SONG ! That dang avatar gets all the credit from the public… we… musicians simply work for HER ! hahaha

note - there are MANY ‘vocaloids’… MIKU HATSUME is just the most popular worldwide… as evidenced by the USA car commercial using Miku herself !


SOME FREE versions are non-VSTi and standalone - but companies like ZeroG, etc made VSTi versions… with a pricetag to match…

You too can look like a vocaloid… many online shops have complete uniforms…

PS: That uniform does NOT gurantee popularity…
CLICK HERE to see why - you click… its YOUR eyes… I will not be responsible for what you see :laughing:

It does work for others thou

NOTE2: Steinberg and Yamaha are partners. Yamaha makes vocaloid and they integrate quite well with cubase.

I also think Miku is not available in the USA… thus the limited popularity in the states… Amazon japan tells you "International shipping restrictions: This item can not be delivered outside of Japan. " click —> HERE

fascinating. Thanks for the culture bite.

Dear Savadious,

thanks a lot for giving us an insight into the Vocaloid cosmos!
I watched a few Vocaloid tutorials and now Ive learnt that working with this software can be compared to producing animated films. It must be an enormous effort to edit phonemes in such a way that they sound like naturally spoken phrases including breathing sounds etc. Im convinced, this stuff might offer enormous musical possibilities - far beyond the Cher “Would You Believe?”-FX plague we`re subjected to at the moment.

Young teenagers with impressionable minds totally overwhelmed by the digital world, not able to tell their artificial idols apart from the makers in the back - just wonderful!

This is POP! :mrgreen:



Even harder for them - being able to see a hologram perform a duet in concert backed by a live band :smiley:

Other Vocaloids also hold their own…

Despite the … umm… NICE attire - the music is actually much more tame than western music. As a California native during my teen years it seemed music was all about sex, drugs and shooting at random people…

Here is a vocaloid with subtitles… VERY interesting when you see the whole song basically says:
- I want to spin around when I dance but my friends do it better. Oh well I will spin anyway to watch me…

The part that give me a Tim Curry grin… is when she said
“I need exactly 85 centimeters clearance so you can safely watch when I spin…”

(she needs more space as the song goes on until its eventually a few thousand kilometers needed) interesting that it holds teen audiences with such a light subject

I will try to put that into an RnB song… wish me luck :laughing: jk

Well - heres that spin 85 centimeters song live in concert via hologram also

Well - my time in this country will hopefully give my music an edge … maybe I will return one day as the SHOGUN OF HOLLYWOOD ! :wink:

Music magazine article of interest → http://www.clashmusic.com/feature/pixel-perfect-meet-hatsune-miku

Oh, Hollywood! I`ve heard about it. That is the place where even the tinsel is fake, right?

Along the same lines, the local silicon mines have been depleted of their ore … :smiley:

Placing my order now for tinsel towns finest Iron Pyrite ! :laughing:

That was interesting Savadious, good stuff :slight_smile:

Very interesting.

Cantor 2 is another vocal generating VST plug-in:
(64-bit and VST3 is being developed, but currently only 32-bit and VST2.4)


VirSyn also has a vocoder (sort of related, and very good) that is already 64-bit and VST3:


Hi Steve,

Vocaloid being used as a tool to emulate a human singing voice surely would be rather boring and in this case I`d second your recommendation to rather improve ones singing though there are other ways of using the human voice in pop music

Hmmm, an ‘Old Schooler’ might say, ‘What a crap!’ :smiley:

Be-Be-Be-Be-Be-Best wishesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss


Trying to break new ground and creating new types and styles of music with new soundscapes and combinations of them, on the other hand, do require new ways to generate sounds and creating patterns (and I am not just talking about note patterns, but also core ways of making sounds).

A synthesizer doesn’t have to be an emulated electric guitar, per se, but an actual new instrument that reminds of a electric guitar. Sort of like a Sitar that reminds of some sort of guitar, with effects/modulations, for the obvious reason that it is a stringed instrument, but nevertheless.

What is the difference anyways, if a piece sounds good, in respect of how it was created? Much like the nature of the mastering paradigm, it’s not important how you got it to sound good. If what you did, is what it takes, then that’s that. There are general tricks to it, but in the end, all that matter is the result.

It reminds me every time that, whenever a new plug-in or new instrument (which of course is rather rare) comes out, we are getting a little closer to emulating traditional instruments, not just in sound but also in the “feel” of playing it. BUT, much more importantly, that we are creating new instruments (not just sounds) that reminds of traditional instruments, that in some respects are better than the original. And no, no need to point out that “they can never replace the originial”, because that is not what I said, at all. That is also not my point, to replace instruments, but the fact still remains, that something new certainly could replace a traditional instrument. Not necessarily because it sounds alike, but because it actually sounds better. I mean, at some point the electric guitar took over from other stringed instruments, it’s basic progress.

I see that Steve Fogal included a quote containing “good old fashion MUSIC”. This to me, and please do not get offended Steve because I do see your point, is closing the door on new, and potentially better, forms of music. I mean, what is “good old fashion MUSIC” anyways, but something that we (me included, and of course others) like? It’s not the ultimate music, other than in perhaps for people living today (and maybe even some tomorrow).

People living under various other musical periods (classical, as an example) might have been appalled by what we call old fashioned. This does not take away the fact that it sounds good, but I am pretty sure they would’ve classified it as “new rubbish” and the music from their own time as “good old fashion MUSIC”. And please don’t see this as I am trying to be an ass. I am simply stating a meer thought.

Good input. For the first time in decades I was reminded of the old Analog warmth vs Digital sterility issue that we all heard in every studio in the 80’s - 90’s.

I would be hard pressed today to find a studio that was still 100% analog reel tapes.

Maybe there will be another age of adaptation on the horizon… same as we had in the industry back when… Now I do miss my razor blades, scotch tape and all…

…but that undo button is a lifesaver today :sunglasses:

Id say, theres nothing wrong with that & your comment proves what a well behaved “Old Schooler” you are calling that stuff “very, very strange music” :slight_smile:

Agreed though I know musicians whos greatest joy it is to jam with others / play live. Sitting in front of a DAW for hours, editing sounds/drum patterns/basslines etc. would surely bore the hell out of them. Therefore the result is not necessarily "all that matters". Sometimes I spend a whole night with recording & editing. After a while I tend to get very euphoric cos the whole thing apparently starts to work out. The next day I wonder how awful the stuff sounds but Id never say, its been a waste of time because I will always remember .

The recording studio itself (especially the tape-machine) has changed the way we make music in a revolutionary way.
Brian Eno gives a very vivid description of that revolution in an interview with Charles Amirkhanian at KPFA Radio, Berkeley/CA, Feb. 1980 Hence a modern DAW is nothing else than a digital re-make of the “good old fashioned recording studio”.

In an attempt to create something (completely) new, the only thing that matters is to develop ideas on how to use something in an unconventional way (e.g. Hendrix adding a lot of feedback noises to his guitar playing; Presley adding a slap back delay to his singing). Again, I agree with Steve: I dont need a <Singing Agent 3> (maybe its already in the works?! :mrgreen: ) though I appreciate a for I am a lousy drummer & it`s unrealistic to be an excellent instrumentalist in all aspects of music (drums, bass, keyboards, guitar etc.).

Sampling devices e.g. are mostly used as , e.g. in order to save money and not have to drag a huge Steinway onto stage but play it out-of-the-box. Sampling is very rarely used in a creative way as in the Byrne/Eno song I have linked.
Hence a newly developed hard- or software does not necessarily create a new musical style, it`s still the people who discover new ways of using it.



I have Miriam and use it very effectively for background vocals. Very nice with a little effort. I use it for mostly one sylable words or for ooos and ahhs. Better than Kontact chorus loops. Sounds very passable if used in the background. Not very usable for lead vocals. For the $79 price right now for downloaded version it is a good tool.

Unless it was embedded somewhere above, there is even a Vocaloid 2: :slight_smile: