Thoughts on Yohioloid and His New Demo

Hi! I’m Kodakami, and this is a Kolumn.

Looks like we have another Yohioloid demo, this time from the well-known and respected Giuseppe-P! If his credentials aren’t already established by the quality of his covers, then you’ll surely know him for being the first business card on every English Singthesis company’s Rolodex. It seems like every English voicebank earns a Giuseppe-P cover demo, and well they should. It’s legendary, Giuseppe’s ability to pick a song that precisely compliments a given singer’s voice, and then to bring it with finer execution than most Western cover-producers’ today.

This time around, we have Yohioloid (I’ll call him Hio) singing a cover of pop artist Robbie Williams’ single, “Bodies” from the album Reality Killed the Video Star. To me, the choice of this 2009 single is a breath of fresh air – both a relief from the endless EDM and modern Billboard Hot 100 titles that pervade the Engloid cover scene, and from the classical and folk songs that people often force on Vocaloid only to sound “different”. The choice of “Bodies” also impresses the producer in me for it’s bold goal of tackling a high-charting pop song that many Vocaloid fans might still not have heard (it charted highly in Europe, but not on Oricon).

Even with the bar set as that high, Giuseppe still manages to deliver. From its faithful, true-to-the-original mixing, to its use of the original harmony lines to fill out Vocaloid’s inherent weakness of vocal sterility, I feel like great care was put into the details here. After all, he wants to show us how passionate he really is about this new Engloid.

Now then, let’s talk about Yohioloid. Is he a good or bad voice? Should we really be calling him an “Engloid”, and not an “Engroid”? Since we can’t put him up to the Kit-Kat Challenge just yet, we can only figure based on demos as they are released. After hearing Hio’s cover of “Bodies”, I believe I can safely say I’m positive he’ll pass with flying colors. With this demo alone, I can confidently say that Yohioloid, while being more heavily accented than almost any other Engloid, has such fidelity of recordings as to be more understandable than almost any other Engloid. This suggests to me that, which a little tampering around and the discovery of a few new phoneme-workarounds, Hio might just be the answer to what the majority of the Western community has been crying out for: A Japanese-English bilingual voicebank.

I’m not here to sell a product, of course, but if you ask me “Would you buy Yohioloid and use him?”, I’d have to admit that, though I tend to be against heavily-accented banks, I would jump on a chance to have this bank.

I’d classify Hio as a high-risk-high-reward Vocaloid, not for people who are content with slapping a 4-year-old VSQ on a karaoke track and saying “I make good music”. No, I think Hio is for people who really do care about vocal quality and are willing to work hard to make something beautiful with the best-quality tools.

  • Arbacyk

    But we have like three Japanese-English voicebanks; Luka, KAITO, and GUMI (GUMI is probably someone’s best choice).

    • jsmith0552

      You can never have enough voice banks. All singers don’t sound alike from one end of the continent to the other, and that’s not even considering native English speakers not from the U.S. Imagine if Utada Hikaru ever had a vocaloid based on her voice. Presumably her English would levels above any bi-lingual vocaloid we have to date, as her English is already excellent.

    • LaurenLCD

      Echoing what jsmith0552 said, there’s never enough voicebank combinations (and Gumi is at best, a basic English bank. In spite of her amount of samples, she’s missing a lot of data – she’s the only bank that requires an extra dictionary to compensate). Unlike the native Japanese banks that go English, Yohioloid doesn’t have the problems that come with them: inability to separate L/R without sounding strange [pirate ARRRGH], separation of vowels (we have 19/20 to their 5 and theirs sound more like approximations at times), and he’s already fluent in both languages. They’re both accented by his native Swedish, but his first language doesn’t impede on his ability to be understandable for the others. If anything, we sorely need more dual language banks that don’t come from Japan.

  • Accented in what way? Oliver has a very heavy British accent, Sweet Ann an Australian one. I found Yohioloid to be phonetically fluid, I could understand every word without lyrics with just his demo.

    • Arbacyk

      I can understand everything he’s saying too but I think he has an accent too, he definitely doesn’t sound like a native English speaker (and he was bound to have an accent considering how strong YOHIO’s is too).