Tag Archives: Yohioloid

Kodakami’s Review of Yohioloid

So, the time has finally come! VocaTone’s second Vocaloid voicebank, Yohioloid, is released to much applause. Personally, I feel it’s a major milestone for the Western community, because this is the first bilingual English/Japanese voicebank to have both very good quality English and Japanese. While his English is indeed accented (Swedish-Japanese I think?), the voicebank still lends itself remarkably to small tweaks and tricks to achieve respectable results. All in all, I’m very happy to have gotten to work with the voicebank and even contribute a few (very small) suggestions.

“Pros and cons”, you ask? I only got to play with his English bank, so my commentary is limited to half of the package.

On the downside, as I mentioned, ‘Hio is clearly not a native English speaker. The good news is, with only a few vowel replacements, I was surprised to hear a big difference. I’d rank his receptiveness to phoneme-tweaking on the same level as Big Al’s or Avanna’s. With such an easy-to-fix problem as number one, I think it speaks volumes for this quality voicebank.

As for the second disadvantage, along the same lines, some of his English phonemes don’t play nicely together. I noticed “eI and “N” (“ang”) don’t have a smooth transition, which is a fairly common combination in American accents. I substitute “e N” (a more British or perhaps non-regional version), but it’s not quite what I want. In the end though, I did manage to quickly find an alternative phoneme combination, so I suppose it’s not that big an issue.

Somewhere in the middle of a pro and a con is the formant in his voice. For you non-music-speakers, that’s the same as Vocaloid Editor’s “gender” value. While ‘Hio sounds distinctly male in his natural pitch-range, once you get above a certain point on the piano roll his voice takes on a more feminine tone until it’s hard to hear him as the same singer anymore. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preferences, but I find it not so much a “good” or “bad” thing as just a “thing”.

On the other end of the discussion, I think ‘Hio’s voice is great in a wide variety of musical genres. Because of his higher range, he’s great at sailing over the top of the sea of thick musical textures you might find in trance or in metal. As a producer, I like writing songs where the instrumental lines can be enjoyed even without the singer, which often makes it difficult to add a singer on top of them. I don’t have this problem at all when mixing Yohioloid in, and I’d call that a definite plus.

As a final compliment to this product, I’d like to refer back to my first point: Yohioloid is one of only a few bilingual Vocaloids on the market today. More than anything else, I appreciate the opportunities this provides for more cross-over between those Vocaloid producers who write in Japanese, and those who write in English. It’s a great chance to try writing music in a different language, without the investment of buying a different voicebank that you might end up regretting. In plain English that means you’d be buying two separate, remarkable voicebanks for the price of a single, modestly-priced one.

To put it all together, Yohioloid ended up surprising me. When I expected a bilingual voicebank to have low-quality English, VocaTone delivered a respectable musical instrument that I’d be glad to add to my growing collection. While I don’t think this particular Vocaloid will be the one to bring balance to the Force, nor the Vocaloid movement to the West, I do think that it has the great potential to turn the world’s (and even the kuudere Japanese community’s) glance in our direction.

Yohioloid on Sale Now! Additional Demos Debuted

news_yohioloid-on-sale-now

The wait is finally over! For those that have been waiting for it PowerFX/VocaTone’s newest bi-lingual Vocaloid is finally released. Right Hio can only be purchased as a digital downloads but Bil Bryant of PowerFX assures us that the physical DVD edition should be in stock for international shipping some time next week.

Yohioloid’s bi-lingual nature hasn’t seemed to have affected his pricing with his digital download price comparable to Oliver on release at $129. The physical edition is expect to be priced at $149, but no word as of yet if an Yohioloid + Editor DVD combo pack will be made available. For those interested in just the DVD of the Vocaloid 3 Editor it is available for purchase here

 

Purchase Yohioloid:

Digital Download – $149
Retail Boxed – $169

 

The last batch of demos before his launch include Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” as covered by Giuseppe and a Japanese demo of Kiroro’s “Mirai E” as covered by Alberto. You can find the two demos embedded after the break. Expect an in-depth column on Hio later this week as Kodakami gets some hands-on time with PowerFX’s latest Vocaloid.
 

Continue reading “Yohioloid on Sale Now! Additional Demos Debuted” »

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.

VocaTone & VocaloidMaster Release New Yohioloid Demo

Earlier today, Giuseppe-P, in association with VocaloidMaster and VocaTone, released a new demo with our first official look at Yohioloid’s English voicebank. The song is a cover of ‘Bodies’ by Robbie Williams.

In a commentary concerning the demo, Giuseppe states that he felt that Yohioloid had a lot in common with Robbie Williams’ style. He comments that both their voices are very versatile, and that finds the timbre of their voices very lovely.

He goes on to say that Yohioloid has some very similar qualities to Sweet Ann in that they both, when used properly, can be used for almost any kind of song. He states that his initial views changed radically after getting some hands-on time with the voicebank, asserting that it “would be a great Vocaloid”.

Beyond that, Giuseppe comments on some of the technical aspects of the voicebank and its recording process. He shares how difficult it is to record a voicebank, and how some Vocaloid sometimes end with less-than-stellar results because of that.

He adds that Yohio seemed differently-recorded than any Vocaloid he has previously worked with, with samples of better quality than any Vocaloid (English or Japanese) that he has ever worked with before.

Giuseppe goes on to explain some of technical challenges he faced creating this particular demo and how he wanted it to sound as “natural and real as possible” before finally ending his message with the following teaser:

The voicebank is coming soon[™]. There are more demos on their way, with some due as soon as next week, and he can’t wait to see what his fellow Producers do with this amazing Vocaloid.
Continue reading “VocaTone & VocaloidMaster Release New Yohioloid Demo” »

PowerFX Responds, Statement from Bil Bryant

Yohioloid Official Statement

In response to our previous article Yohio Vocaloid’s Art & Voice Samples Leak Bil Bryant, CEO of PowerFX Systems AB has released this statement concerning the Yohioloid.

In the statement he apologizes on how VocaTone has handled the contest, confirms that the vocal sample was indeed Yohioloid, albeit in an unfinished work-in-progress form, goes over how the winning art was selected, and talks about YOHIO’s latest happenings including how he recently placed second in the Melodifestivalen Eurovision song contest.

You can find Bil Bryan’t full statement here, as a response to the article we published, and quoted in full below:

Hi, Bil from PowerFX here – It´s great to see such passion amongst Vocaloid users. I would just like to set the record straight on a few things and apologize for the way the contest was run.

The demo that was leaked is from a beta version and is not finished. I have no idea who leaked it and we did pass it around to a few people to get feedback. Remember it is a BETA version! Also, Yamaha did not pick the cover YOHIO did. YOHIO in March took part in the Melodifestivalen in Sweden a nationally televised event where the winner represents Sweden in the Eurovision song contest.

Yohio won the Swedish vote but became second because they had other counties voting. YOHIO in his gracious runner up concession endeared himself to many and this brought on an immediate tour of concerts and performances all over Sweden on top of planned Japanese, Swedish and English album releases this spring So having him review over 200 submissions was not easy.

Finally when he was in Stockholm for a TV appearance he came by our office and we once again reviewed every submission and selected one but YOHIO asked for the artist to change something before he would accept it, it took a couple days but it was done and then we announced. Then we could announce the runners up but then we wanted them reviewed again to make sure.

It was our mistake just not to communicate the delay better – apologies from PowerFX.

With the above statement we finally have some insight into how the contest was conducted, how the winners were selected, and what the root cause of the delays were. As stated in our original article Bil emphasized that all details are subject to change as Yohioloid is a Vocaloid still under active development.

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