Vocaloids! Singing computers!

It's only cool if no one's heard of it.

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halkun
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Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby halkun » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:28 am UTC

Ok, most likely you have never heard of this interesting little piece of technology from Yamaha, so I'd thought that I'd introduce you.

Image

A vocaloid is a text-to-speech voice synthesis program with one major difference, it sings. As opposed to writing out text and have the computer repeat back what you wrote, this program takes both text and a melody, and the computer sings back what you have created. The results can be absolutely astonishing and sometimes indistinguishable from a human.

The box above is Miku Hatsune (初音ミク) and she the first release of the second generation technology. (There are going to be three new Vocaloids that use version 2). She has quite a cult following in Japan.

So what does a vocaloid sound like?

Well, Japanese first of all. The language has almost a 1:1 representation between their phonetic alphabet (kana) and the sounds the letters make. (As opposed to English, where our alphabet is understaffed). So it transcribes Japanese out of the box. English, not so much. There is an English version of the Vocaloids, which I will get to later.

To give an example of what they sound like (and the interface to the Vocaloid system), you can look at this, which is a first generation vocaloid named Meiko.

The vocaloid system isn't without a bit of controversy. JASRAC, (The Japanese equivalent of the RIAA, but much more corrupt) is having kittens over this. There was a stint where Google was found censoring the technology from the web searches. This rather weird turn of events was never really explained by Google Japan, it it happened right after a TV show tried to show the Vocaloid technology in a very bad light, and showing the users as nothing but talentless pirates "copying" music. Irregardless (yes, that's a word), Miku here has been the #1 best selling software package in Japan.

Now, you can, with a lot of work, have Vocaloids sing in English. An example of Miku singing the ending theme to Portal (Still Alive) can be heard here which is filled with awesome and win.

The actual English vocaloid, named "Sweet Ann" can be seen here singing Crazy and Making Whoopee. It's cute, but seems to be missing the "fun" of the original Japanese vocaloids.

The program's about $150, which is dirt cheap for what it does. I can easily see this as costing upwardly for a grand or more.

Here are some more cute songs.

Possibly the most famous Miku song, Ievan Polka
Futari no Mojipitan. (This was linked with Cubase, you listen in stereo headphones for the full effect)
Mikumiku(Original Song with neat 3D)

And finally ----

Miku*Star Not really a vocaloid song, but some animator was having a blast animating her and the other two second generation Vocaloids in 3D. (The ending had me in tears!)

I'd thought I would just share this with you guys.
Image

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Ghandi 2
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Re: Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby Ghandi 2 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:47 am UTC

Irregardless is not a word. It's listed in the dictionary as slang, but that's only because people keep using it for some reason. It doesn't even make sense.

On-topic: Japan has the craziest things.

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Gelsamel
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Re: Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby Gelsamel » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:15 pm UTC

Just picked up a Miku Hatsune album by UtsuP called "TRAUMATIC", it is FUCKING AWESOME.

Preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr1KdJbef_8
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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SirMustapha
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Re: Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:52 pm UTC

And I thought nothing could be worse than what Mike Oldfield did with the Vocaloid software in Light + Shade, now I get a Japanese cartoon thing "singing" Still Alive?

Why do I even open certain threads??

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Gelsamel
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Re: Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:41 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:And I thought nothing could be worse than what Mike Oldfield did with the Vocaloid software in Light + Shade, now I get a Japanese cartoon thing "singing" Still Alive?

Why do I even open certain threads??


You mean why do you open certain links?
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Beacon515L
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Re: Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby Beacon515L » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:30 am UTC

Ages ago I did a rendition of the Aria Di Mezzo Carattare from Final Fantasy VI using Miku, which was apparently okay-ish. Of course, then I discovered I wasn't the only one with the same idea. That said, with enough work, one can most certainly get good sound out of Vocaloid; but personally, I think I'll mostly stick to Native Instruments. X3

Kenji Miyamoto
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Re: Vocaloids! Singing computers!

Postby Kenji Miyamoto » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

On the subject of "Still Alive" and necromancy (2007-2010, and now 2010-2012), there's a similar piece of software called UTAU: http://utau.wikia.com/wiki/UTAU_wiki

It's "free as in free beer," and there are hundreds of voicebanks floating around out there. Here are a couple example songs from a popular voicebank:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP1uQNueWXA
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REYoatKqE9U


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