Okay so I'm still on "play-around" sessions for Sonika and Al and its time to weigh up the differences between them.
- Quality; Big Al is smoother, be it he may appear more robotic then Sonika due to his thicker voice Vs her softer + that the acursed Vocaloid engine putting its 2 cents into the mix on some notes. Theres no background noises with Al, Sonika has that high pitched plucking sound and while Al may sound more robotic, he maintains his voice strong enough even when his voice is viberating to the digital do-das in order to still be usable. Sonika on the other hand, she breaks up a LOT when she is forced to rely on engine. In one particular case, I found she didn't even sound out the pronounication completely in the middle of a phoneme.
- Clarity; Big Al is CLEAR on all note as far as I've seen, Sonika on the other hand? She is not as muffled as others have stated, she is just extremely soft, however, for some reason she is crystal clear on about a dozen notes, sharper then Big Al in fact.
- Control; For the most part, Sonika is so soft you can barely hear her or ultra clear, if the voicebanks were completely in either, her voice would be the most stable as overall as no matter what range you put her in, she sounds pretty much the same. Big Al is odd, he actually changes the way he sounds almost completely in some respects, the pronounication stays the same and the voice is still his, but the contrast between Al low and high is quite remarkable. He looses something in his voice as he goes up in the scales, whereas Sonika stays Sonika.
- Glitches; Sonika has caused my Vocaloid 2 software to crash twice so far. Notably only when I use her with FL studio. Its REALLY fustrating because until I got her, Al worked with FL studio with no problems. But whenever I use her on her own or with Al, the Vocaloid 2 software starts playing up. Its really annoying, especially when I'm exploiting the file as a wav. format. Theres no reason for it because Al is fine, its JUST HER.
- Pleasing; Okay, I complained Sonika was a pitch I hated, but I take it back, her high pitch voice isn't actually annoying, the thing about her voice thats been annoying me was those STUPID background noises in her samples. Their pitch is higher then hers, and THEY are the things that have been preventing me liking Sonika's songs for the most part. But compared to Al, she actually has the more pleasing voice to work with, if they ever actually go back and fix her, she will be a REALLY good product.
- Range; Al is fine from Bass (though he is flat) up until Alto, though I don't recommend that range as he is annoying to listen to. Sonika... Is... Yeah...
- Accessablity; if Sonika was cleaner, boy she'd be a great main singer. Al's a great back up singer, can be a good main singer if you lower him down a lot. But thats it. Thats ALL you have to do with Al, lower the octaves and possibly the pitch and your there with him. Sonika, oh, you've got to spend so long on her I can't be bothered so I'm still focusing on "reality sucks!" techniques with her.
And this is where I come to say, DESPITE the actual flaws with her, Sonika is actually overall the more useful Vocaloid, IF you can work with her. And honestly. If Zero-G had worked on her a little longer to perfect her, she would have been the best Vocaloid of Vocaloid 2 for the Engloids. Better then Luka. Better then Sweet Ann. Better then Big Al. Better then Prima or Tonio.
I really would like Zero-G to consider Appends for her, to expand her voicebanks, or even to just put out an Act 2, but thats not going to happen. But an Append would not go unmissed because she was one of the more popular of the voices despite her flaws. But for now, Sonika's bugs are whats causing her problems. ITs not like folks in the fandom are angry with her, from what I gather a lot of them really like her, however, their put off but the bug after bug after bug.
This leaves Sweet Ann and Luka as the two core singers for Vocaloid 2 in the meantime... :-/