Tonio follows on from the success of Vocaloid PRIMA, Zero-G announced a release date of February 2010 for Vocaloid TONIO, a brand-new plug-in virtual singer modeled on the voice of a professional male classical singer, and powered by Yamaha VOCALOID2 Singing Synthesis Technology.
Tonio was first announced at the NAMM trade show and was set to be released back in early February 2010 Zero-G's website. According to Sonika, he apparently had a sore throat and a date of June 2010 was then confirmed. However, by the end of June Zero-G released a note that he was complete but the final touches were being made to his program and would be delayed another week. Demos would follow soon, possibly a week after the extended delay was announced.
A demo was released on the 8th of July 2010, he is forecast for release within the next "few days" and was eventually released on the 14th of July 2010. He had several demo songs including Una furtiva lagrima, La Donna e Mobile Demo, a duet of Big Al and him singing Tu vuo fa l' americano and a duet of him and Prima singing Cinque Dieci Demo.
His software comes with the VSQ file for "Una furtiva lagrima".
When he was first mentioned by Zero-G, they noted that they were planning to redesign their older vocaloids, but neither he nor Prima would get a new look as they felt they were fine the way they are. This is because Tonio is one of their professionally aimed Voicebanks and so the boxart and voicebank is not aimed at the general Vocaloid fandom itself.
His boxart is from a stock image. The photographer was Alija who has submitted her work to various stock photo websites. An example of the original is here titled "Portrait of Young Man Wearing Tuxedo, Black and White" File#: 7060644, there are other images based on the model.
Tonio is due to be released into Taiwan by E-Capsule. He received a new boxart and was featured in a 40 second demo. The full version of this song "Treasure" was later released, in this video Tonio was referred to as "Baron Tonio".
Tonio favors the lower octaves. However, despite being focused on a baritone to tenor vocal, he is capable of going much higher without suffering as much as other male Vocaloids. Like Prima he is also considered amongst one of the more professional aimed Vocaloids.
Tonio does not possess the same engine version of Vocaloid 2 as Big Al, who possesses the next version of the software. While he does not have the final edition of the Vocaloid 2 software (VY2 has this version), Tonio had a few additions that patches some flaws in older Vcaloid 2 versions. For example, Tonio's software plugin can be used to fix several issues related to his partner Prima's installtion, which has problems with 64-bit Windows 7 OS.
Pronunciations related to the letter "r" in the english alphabet may not sound well for Tonio, as he tends to be flat. The word "singer" for example (see sound sample below). Some notes may also be muffled, so its best to pay attention to his phonetics when users have him sing. Tonio is more robotic sounding and less natural than Prima. Notes shorter then a single whole note may be difficult for him. When the word "Sacred" is broken up into two half notes, he will only pronounce the ending half ("Cred") and leave the first half out ("Sa"). Moving the notes to another track may or may not resolve the problem. Otherwise he shares Prima's problem of being ground to the classical style of music vocal and is difficult to tweak into other styles. He has no breath samples.
In December 2010, Sound on sound writer Tom Flint gave Tonio only 3 out of 5 stars, less then Sonika's review in March 2010 (who recieved 4 out of 5 stars). Part of the problem was owed to how strange Tonio's opera-based voice became with editing, and can be quote as saying how they "just sounds odd when coloured with an electronic effect". Flint felt that perhaps Opera wasn't the best choice for Vocaloid, stating the issue is that the Vocaloid software makes it too robotic to sound natural and less useful.
Examples of Usage
Once Before the Fall
| Youtube Broadcast |
Phantom of the Opera (Medley)
|Featuring:||Tonio, Big Al, Megurine Luka, Prima|
| Youtube Broadcast (reprint) |
|Nicovideo Broadcast Youtube Broadcast |
Notable Tonio Songs
He did not receive the same impact as Prima did and to top it off, his release came at an awkward time when focus was on the new stream of Japanese Vocaloids like Lily. Ironically, had he come out when he was first proposed (early 2010), he would have had no competition from any other Vocaloid and would have had more focus.
In both the Western and Japanese fandom he is amongst the least seen in use of the English capable Vocaloids on Nico Nico Douga and Youtube. In the the 2011 top Zero-G products ranking released in 2011, Tonio was the only one of the 3 Vocaloid 2 voicebanks from Zero-G that was not in their top 25 rankings. He is oveall ranked as the least seen Vocaloid 2 voicebank.
A independant Vocaloid search on Nico Nico Douga revealed that most Vocaloids had less then 1,000 videos uploaded on Nico Nico Douga in between July 1 and December 15 with Tonio falling into that category as well.
- Since he follows Big-Al, who also had a late release a joke within the fandom notes how the male English vocaloid always seem to be late arriving (also often joked as "suffering from Big Al syndrome"). Even within the Japanese fandom, jokes are made about Tonio and Sonika being nearly obscure due to their bad timing, the former being more obvious.
- His fan item has been viewed as the Martini as his proposed character item (because Prima's was said to be wine). Sonika later twittered about Tonio being unable to go swimming on their holiday since he was suspicious of any liquid not at least partly Martini based. Notably, Tonio's item is the only established item that has been confirmed of any Zero-G Vocaloid.
- A little bit of personality has been revealed from time to time via Sonika's Twitter. According to Sonika when Prima, Tonio and herself went camping, Tonio spent the whole time complaining. Incidently, the lack of martinis were his biggest complaint.
- Just as Prima is referred to as by Sonika as "Auntie Prima", Sonika referred to Tonio as "Uncle Tonio", but also confirmed the two are not married and this was just a term Sonika referred to them as.
- Tonio's Taiwan design is a reference to monster/oni in Asian opera house stories.
- First male Vocaloid 2 produced by Zero-G
links and passwords are provided publicly by model producer(s)
- DeviantArt (TwilightAnimeLife) - MMD Tonio Model