By Kodakami on Jul 17, 2012 | 1 Comment
Hey everyone! Long time, no blog. I’ve been neck-deep in VOCALOID music and other duties this summer, but I’ve been set back by an unexpected fatal hard-drive crash. I hope this brief recap of my Anime Expo 2012 trip will be enough to prove I’m still alive!
First item on my little list here would be how blown-away I was by the fan-driven Mirai no Neiro panel this year (see last year’s article). I’ve been to every Mirai no Neiro at AX so far and I have to say that I wasn’t prepared for this year’s. I don’t mean to be too harsh, but it’s true that I sat down in my seat on the afternoon of Day 1 (the first half of the panel) preparing my friend next to me for a session of cheesy acting and niche music.
Continue reading “Kodakami’s Anime Expo 2012 Recap” »
By Kodakami on May 16, 2012 | 18 Comments
With all the existing English-Language Vocal-Synthesis Voicebanks, and new ones on the horizon, it’s sometimes hard draw a line between which are “Engloids” and which are “Engroids”.
Luckily for us, some people got together and decided to create an English Test for Voicebanks and figure out whcih ones can ‘passably’ sing English.
We like to call it the “Kit Kat Challenge”.
Continue reading “The English Test (aka the “Kit Kat Challenge”)” »
By Kodakami on Jan 9, 2012 | 2 Comments
Hello English Vocal Synthesis world! Kodakami here, and I’m freshly back from the Anime LA 2012 convention, where I was able to make it to two VOCALOID panels, one of which I was graciously invited to attend as a special guest! I believe Hentai is going to be covering the latter panel in more detail than I can, but I’m just here to mention it in passing as a teaser.
I had the honor of meeting some awesome people in this blossoming Western VOCALOID community including Tempo-P of Vocalekt Visions, OperaGhost from here at Engloids.Info and DeviantART, and 39DIYMMDConcert who, among a few others, has made it his personal mission to put the technology necessary for a VOCALOID concert into the hands of the common fan. Everyone I ran into was so fun and helpful, which gives me hope for the future of Engloids, as well as the Western VOCALOID community as a whole!
Look forward to a full article dedicated to the panel in the next day or two. As for me, I believe I have an English UTAU original to get back to.
By Kodakami on Nov 12, 2011 | 1 Comment
This article is the first in a series written to provide you, the reader, with all the information you need to know about each English VOCALOID voice. All the information in this article is either from the Internet or, as is more often the case, from the opinion of the author. If you find any incorrect information, please tell us by leaving a comment and we will correct it as soon as possible.
Big Al is the mascot character representing the second VOCALOID voicebank released by PowerFX Systems AB
. It was designed to be used with VOCALOID2, but it is theoretically compatible with the VOCALOID3 engine as well. He is also the fourth English-language-only VOCALOID2 voicebank.
Big Al was originally designed for release in 2007 or early 2008, but after scheduling conflicts between original voice-provider Michael King and PowerFX, they was forced to re-record the bank with new voice-provider Frank Sanderson.
- What makes Big Al different?
There are usually two things that a first-time listener to Big Al will notice immediately.
The first is his undeniably masculine voice. Prior to Big Al’s release there were only three male VOCALOID2 voices, two of which capitalized on their higher, more feminine vocals, while the third had been released less than two weeks prior. When compared to these other voices, Big Al’s voice comes more or less as a shock (though many had been prepared by earlier demos with his first voice-provider). It is both naturally deeper than his Japanese counterparts’, and in addition, harder and rougher. Overall, it has an immediate impression of masculinity.
The second thing one might notice about Big Al is his American accent. While most English VOCALOID voices have a neutral or British English accent, Big Al’s is the first to have phonemes recorded so as to sound American in origin (while this was by choice or happenstance is unclear). This accented bank is one of the things that makes Big Al’s voice very unique among the Engloids. While it can be counted as both a blessing and a curse, it is a major point of definition for Big Al in either case.
- What kind of voice does Big Al have?
Big Al’s voice can be described as “bassy”, meaning it has a lot of bass-frequency sound to it. This means that he has a booming voice which is, more often than not, in need of equalization to make manageable. While these bass tones are what give him his masculine sound, they are sometimes also a contributing factor to his difficulty to understand when coupled with a backing track.
Despite the extra bass in his voice, Big Al’s most natural ranges are actually not that low. In fact, as his voice goes lower, it reaches a threshold where it begins to develop a raspy quality (around C2 for many phonemes). This rasp is, like his accent, either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you intend to use Big Al’s voice.
- What makes Big Al difficult?
Because Big Al’s accent is, at the moment, unique, he has a few phonemes which are notorious for being difficult, or just different.
Continue reading “Big Al’s Big Article” »
By Kodakami on Aug 21, 2011 | No Comments
Hey there again! Have you ever wondered why your music doesn’t have that professional-sounding edge that other Producers seem to be enjoying? There are a number of ways to improve the production quality of your sound. Mixing your vocals properly can make the vocal line stand out more, but what can be said for the rest of the music? A professional studio will spend thousands of dollars, expertly crafting every line to make a single track sound the way it does, but you can make leaps and bounds in the same direction with only a little research and practice. One solution to help bridge that gap is to wrap your mind around the concept of panning.
In modern music file-formats, we use at least two channels to carry the sound waves; one for the left ear/speaker and one for the right. Panning makes the sound play more on one side than the other. This gives the sound the illusion of coming from slightly to the listener’s left or right. As simple as this concept is, its intelligent use can make the difference between a mess of instruments clamoring for your attention, and a masterpiece that sounds like you’re at a live performance. To put panning to work for you, it’s best to first learn a few things about how instruments are situated when performing.
Bring out the instruments!