Buy A Vocaloid Online

Have you ever had trouble getting a really good singer to sing your songs? Maybe she's a diva, and your personalities clash. Maybe he's just impossible to work with. Maybe your song is great, but your social skills aren't up to speed. Or maybe you can't afford to pay for the services of a professional singer. Have no fear! Yamaha Vocaloid is here!

Image Credit: Wikipedia
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Yamaha Corporation came out with its first Vocaloid in 2004. A Vocaloid is a music synthesizing computer program that produces vocals when the music and lyrics are input through the computer keyboard. The first Vocaloids were Japanese language only, but now there are English versions as well. Vocaloids use the latest technology to blend speech synthesis with artificial music. The Vocaloid program creates the correct pitches and overlays them with a phonemic level of articulation. It's really quite amazing!

Vocaloid Miku singing "Lilium"

Male and Female Vocaloids

Vocaloids can have either feminine or masucline vocal characteristics, and a choice of a Japanese accent or an English language pronunciation. The most popular Japanese feminine sounding vocaloid is called Hatsune Miku. Her male counterpart is named Megurine Luka.

Male Vocaloid Megurine Luka sings "Just Be Friends"

The tutorial below, which has to be watched in Youtube, shows you how to build a short vocal phrase for your Vocaloid. When you launch the application, an empty page for your vocals will appear. You get to choose the time signature and to control the beat setting. Then, you enter the notes one by one. You can use a virtual pencil to select each note according to the piano key it corresponds to in the visual display. Enter one note per syllable. Then enter the lyrics, and transform them, with a simple click, from the standard orthography of the language you used to a phonemic rendition. If you don't like the automatic phonemic version of any syllable, you can touch it up manually until you are satisfied with the pronunciation.

Vocaloid Tutorial Number 1

You can play back one musical phrase at a time, and you can change individual phonemes to make the pronunciation sound more realistic, or to make it conform to a particular dialectal variant.

Vocaloid Tutorial 2

In order to make musical stylistic changes to the phrase, you can decide to set the duration of each note manually (the program calls it the velocity of the note), and you can add vibrato or other specific effects such as legato.

Vocaloid Tutorial 3

Crescendo and Pitch Bend

You can also add a crescendo effect, and you can make selections concerning the pitch contours of each individual note. Not only have you set what note is to be sung for which syllable, you get to add "pitch bend", to indicate whether the note goes up or down any during its entire temporal duration. All of these little touches make the difference between something that sounds like a robot singing, and an emulation of a human singer.

Vocaloid Tutorial 4

Noise, Resonance and Gender Factor

There are other aspects of the vocal quality that can be set using the control track. They include clarity of sound, noise, resonance and something rather mysterious called "Gender Factor".

Vocaloid Tutorial 5

As Many as 16 Different Vocal Tracks

Each track is monophonic, but you can create as many as sixteen different tracks for the same vocal sequence. This opens up an opportunity for choral singing. If you decide to make a chorus, it is important to give individual vocal characteristics to each singer so they will not sound like identical copies of the same singer. You can even change the pitches in the sequence to create harmony.

Vocaloid Tutorial 6

Replacing Live Singers or Just Creating Demos for Live Singers

If you have mastered the process of creating Vocaloid singing, this means that you do not need to hire a talented human singer in order to distribute a passable demo of your song. Will Vocaloids entirely replace live singers? That seems unlikely. But there are a number of situations when having the Vocaloid option will serve as a real advantage. Perhaps the human singer you are dealing with is not a good sight reader. A Vocaloid demo will help him to learn the song. Or maybe you have an excellent musical composition that is theoretically singable, but you don't know anybody with that kind of range. Distribute your Vocaloid demo far and wide, and the right singer for the song may eventually surface. In Japan, there are pop groups who specialize in performing to Vocaloid renditions.

Vocaloids aren't all you need, but they are a nice tool to have in your musical and anime arsenal. If you want to produce an animated musical, there is no better place to start.


(c) 2010 Aya Katz

Vocaloid Ann Sings Scarborough Fair

Comments 27 comments

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

Wow! Now Disney Radio can do everything in software; no need for expensive talent any more. Very cool.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nicomp, yes, but it's not limited to giant corporations like Disney, anymore! You and I can do it, too!


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 6 years ago from New York State

If it could recite poetry expressively without turning it into a song, I might find it useful.

Thanks, Aya, this is new to me.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, that's an interesting question. I imagine that a natural sounding, expressive poetry recitation might be achieved using this software, although you would have to experiment. You could try to keep the overall pitch fairly flat, but use the pitch contour for each syllable to achieve the right vocal inflection for the meaning of the phrase. However, this would be under-utilizing some of the strengths of the program for music, and there might be a simpler text-to-speech program that would serve you as well or better.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

Wow Aya that is amazing. This should be an impressive tool for songwriters and perhaps music teachers. I don't think there's any worry that performing artists will be replaced by this technology, though!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Wannabewestern, yes, I think Vocaloids could be a great pedagogical tool for music teachers. It can also be a stimulating way for people with poor coordination to become involved in music production. And no,I don't think it will ever replace live singers.;->


Cecil 5 years ago

How do you download it? Do you actually have to buy it or can you get it from the web? I've been looking for a solution forever but nobody will tell me or knows. Can anyone out there help me? I must have Vocaloids! And not the cheap Brittish version either. Real, Japanese, Vocaloids. Please?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Cecil, I bought Vocaloid Lola through Amazon, but there are some problems with that software. It doesn't always do what it's supposed to. Yamaha developed the algorithm, but if you want to have a voice, you need a vocal library. Do you want a Vocaloid that sings in Japanese? Then go to the Japanese Vocaloid website, and they will direct you. But if you want an English speaking Vocaloid, you will need to buy a program from the people who provide an English vocal library, who were licensed by Yamaha to use their algorithm.


Sam 5 years ago

Oh good lord.... *shakes head* Luka is a /female/ voice, that video you have there is a cover.

This is Luka singing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-78rMrN29M

And that example of Miku was terrible. Here are some better examples of the true potential of vocaloids:

Paradise of Light and Shadow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gSJO1QxiSA (Not the best vocals, but the song/story is awesome)

Karakuri Burst: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW-6U5bCyS4&feature... (Rin and Len's "append" updated vocals)

Tower of Sunz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lunu6sE5Q4 (Long one, Miku sound so real, though. Lyrics start a minute in)

World is Mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrN4vMRDZGM (Even has charming breathes added)

Breathe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atjfmVUJvqU (Male this time.)

Dark Woods Circus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsjTBdiPq8o (Just because it's awesome)

Wide Knowledge of the Late, Madness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGMO1ko5EuM (Rather unnerving)

Can't I Even Dream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GR5WV87tsk (Very beautiful and sad)

Yes, I intentionally went from happy to scary to depressing. There's such a wide range in Vocaloid songs.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks for the correction, Sam. And for sharing all those videos. Do you actually use Vocaloid software yourself?


Sam 5 years ago

No, I'm not nearly talented enough to write a song. 'm just a really big fan. There's a fairly large fanbase out there for vocaloids. I guess the draw is that it's made by just average people, so it doesn't have to be accepted by producers. Most of the mainstream stuff is so... generic, but when anyone can post a song, you get some really interesting stuff. It's more about the writers than the singers. If you'll notice, the amount of love songs is very low, unlike regular music. Also, i just realized I forgot about Mothy's incredibly famous "Story of Evil" series.

Daughter of Evil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jinoDKNjx8Q

Servant of Evil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwnyPIbt1BA

Regret Message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4shMkF0ymk

Daughter of White: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f0ljVok71U


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Sam, I really like "Daughter of Evil". Thanks for sharing the "Story of Evil" songs.

It seems as if the makers of these videos are not only great songwriters, but also fairly good technicians. I have not been able to achieve anything comparable with the Lola software I bought.

BTW, I am running a singing competition for one of my songs (music by Daniel Carter). If you know of any Vocaloid user who would like to enter the competition, here is the link:

http://www.pubwages.com/09/announcing-a-competitio...


salariser 4 years ago

I just wanna to kown when can I download the vacaloid 3 from internet!Though this is little weaked......


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Salariser, you should go to the Yamaha site, and proceed from there, depending on which Vocaloid you want.


Logan 4 years ago

Your article is interesting, but somewhat flawed. It is good for those who don't know what Vocaloid is, which I assume was your intent when you wrote this article, however, people from the Vocaloid fandom would tear this article apart.

"The first Vocaloids were Japanese language only, but now there are English versions as well"

Actually, the first Vocaloid's were English only. Leon and Lola were released in 2004, followed by Miriam the same year. It wasn't until Meiko (late 2004) in which Vocaloid was introduced to Japan. Even the first Vocaloid 2 Vocal database was English (Sweet Ann, and not Miku like most assume)

"Vocaloids can have either feminine or masucline vocal characteristics, and a choice of a Japanese accent or an English language pronunciation."

The first part of this statement is true. If the Vocaloid user adjust the "Gender Factor" they can make a male sound more like a female, and vise versa. The second half is wrong though. The only singer who can swap between English and Japanese CURRENTLY is Megurine Luka (hence her name: Round-sound, being able to sing in both languages). It is possible to make the English Vocaloids sing Japanese, and vise versa, but editing the phonetics is a pain, and it is much easier to just purchase a Vocaloid for the language of the song.

Also, not all Vocaloid have a male or female companion. The only two like this are Rin and Len Kagamine, which are sold together. The rest have "fan-made" gender opposites. Fan-made Vocaloids, like Hatsune Mikuo, were designed to give the orignal character, Hatsune Miku, a male counterpart. These fan-mades are usually made by editing the pitch of the song and posting it as a new singer (the American way), or editing the parameters of the orginal singer so the original singer and the fan-made can sing together (the Japanese and smart American way).

As for your problems with Lola, she is a Vocaloid 1 Vocaloid and is twice out dated. It is nice for people to use her, and she has many nostalgic fans who prefer her more android voice over the newer Vocaloids, however, her orignal purpose was to be a back up singer for a song. She is not meant to be the main vocals, hence the lower quality of her voice. It i very hard to make a Vocaloid like Lola sound realistic, however, with proper editing anything i possible. If you are actually trying to use her to make a song I would suggest either Sweet Ann (from Power FX) or Sonika (from the same company as Lola (Zero-G). You can go directly to their website for their purchase.

Suggesting people go to Yamaha's site is nice, but not really helpful. Most Vocaloids, like all of Cryptons (Meiko, Kaito, Miku, Rin, Len, & Luka) cannot be purchased except from the website (crypton.jp) and only by Japanese customers (unless you purchase from a third party like amazon). The actual editor was produced by Yamaha, whereas the Virtual singers were created by different companies.

Zero-G (Zero-g.co.uk): Leon, Lola, Mirian, Prima, Sonika, Tonio

Crypton Future Media (Cypton.jp): Meiko, Kaito, Miku, Rin, Len, Luka, Miku Apppend, Rin Append, Len Append

Power Fx (Powerfx.co.uk): Sweet Ann, Big Al

Internet Software: Gackpoid (Gakupo), Megpoid (Gumi), Lily, Gachapiod (Ryuto)

AH Studios: SF-A2 Miki, Yuki, Kiyoteru, Iroha

Yamaha: VY1: codename Mizki, VY2: Codename Yuuma

Kioon: Piko

I personally have all the Vocaloids listed above. I stop collecting once Yamaha made Vocaloid 3 a whole program itself (for Vocaloid 1 and Vocaloid 2 the editor came with the singer; whereas, now you must pruchase Vocaloid 3 separate to use Vocaloid 3 Vocaloids, however, Vocaloid 2 Vocaloids work on V3) and I have found each of them good at singing different thing. Personally I don't post what I make since I only make covers of already existing songs, but I can insure people that every Vocaloid can work well with any song, if sufficient attention is paid to the quality of the song. Sometimes serious editing will be necessary for some Vocaloids (ALL of V1, Lily, Piko, Rin and Len Act 1, et cetra) where almost none is required for others (Gumi, Crypton's Appends, VY- series, Yuki et cetra).

I did enjoy your article, and sorry for going on a tangent, but Vocaloid is something I know a lot about, so I tend to get a little too "vocal" about it.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Logan,

Thanks for your very detailed comment. I appreciate the additional information and the corrections, as they certainly add value to this article.

I wrote this hub before I had a Vocaloid, so I was only then looking into the possibility of using artificial singers to create demos for songs.

So far, human singers have served my purpose better than any vocaloid. However, there are some songs that I can't seem to get human singers to do. I am currently trying to get this song produced:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh9zmrx5UGM

It's supposed to be sung by a group of children. Are there Vocaloids that sound like children? Do you know of anyone who might accept the challenge of producing a Vocaloid version of the song?


Carli 4 years ago

So, um, its impossible to get the Vocaloid program in america? :(


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Carli, it's not an open source program that you can modify to your own specifications. Yamaha licenses specific companies in different countries to sell the program together with a voice library that works for that population.

I live in the United States. I bought Vocaloid Lola through Amazon, but it is distributed by a British company, I think. There were lots of problems using the program, I had trouble getting tech support.


person 4 years ago

you have a really bad typo ... luka isn't mikus male couneter part shes just another femal... and miku dosent have a male counter part there are just males and females ecept with rin/len bruno/clara kaito/meiko


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Person, okay. Thanks for the correction.


Elise 4 years ago

Um awhile ago you asked if there were Vocaloids that sounded like kids. Kaai Yuki is a Japanese Vocaloid that was voiced by a preschool-grade 3 kid (I don't know exactly. Also Ryuuto (Gachpoid) who is also Japanese has a childlike voice. Otherwise I would recomment Rin, Len and Miku who all sound very childish, again Japanese.

However as it looks like you need English I would say Oliver. Oliver is a young male English Vocaloid 3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09bh_9cFT2M

As you yourself said Vocaloids can be 'genderbent' which can make them sound like kids as well. Hope I helped... :)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Elise. I will look into the possibility of using Oliver.


Elise 4 years ago

No problem, Aya. Don't forget to try playing with gender factor if you already have Lola! :) Also if you like syncing stuff together, UTAU is a free program in Japanese however you can record and download your own (and other people's) in all sorts of languages! There have got to a few "kid sounding" ones!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Elise, tell me more about UTAU. Are you saying we can record our own voices, then get them to sing on pitch with the program?


Elise 4 years ago

UTAU is a voice synthesizer based on Vocaloid but free. UTAU uses basically the same format but with less features. UTAU voices are usually more robotic as they can be recorded by anybody. Kasane Teto is probably the most famous UTAU and even Miku's creators know her name and she appears in their official Vocaloid game.

Here's Teto singing a duet with Miku.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFMJFHP0mz0&feature...

Good users and voicebanks can be just as good as vocaloids. Here is Namine Ritsu singing Bacterial Contamination.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_k1zd1KYzc

Here's somebody testing their English voicebank on UTAU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0-3RKDS_ME

So in short yes you do record your own voice (or someone elses should you want to [with their permission of course]) As you may know to make a vocaloid sing you write in the lyrics. For example: se ka i de i chi ba n o hi me sa ma(beginning of world is mine in Japanese romaji) For the Vocaloid to sing it has all of the sounds (English Vocaloids use different phonetics) so to make an UTAU you have to record all of the nessacary sounds of the language.

HOWEVER UTAU can be difficult to run on certain computers, you have to be able to turn on Japanese Language support and even the the writing is usually gibberish or ?????(T) and stuff. There are English patches and it's fairly simple once you know where everything is but you should know the softwhere is in Japanese. There are various tutorials on YouTube showing you how to use UTAU and give you links for stuff like the English patches.

To record and UTAU, you go though all the sounds in one pitch as steady as possible holding out the note for maximum quality, sometimes people record different octaves to maxamize ability but it is not nessasary. UTAU can also genderbend. Many people diplay their voicebanks and many of them can be downloaded, if you need a group of children you could ask/look around UTAU wiki. http://utau.wikia.com/wiki/UTAU_wiki


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Elise, thanks! This is very useful!


Elise 4 years ago

No problem and good luck!

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