VOCALOID3 (commonly shortened to just "V3" in reference) was the successor to VOCALOID2 by YAMAHA Corporation. The new VOCALOID engine was revealed on June 8, 2011 by YAMAHA via NicoNico Douga live stream. It can be purchased at the official VOCALOID site.
VOCALOID3 was first announced mid-2011 at a special invitation only event. The release date was set for September 2011, however it was held back on several occasions until it was eventually released on October 21, 2011. This particular version had a large amount of early promotion, and there was almost as many new voicebanks revealed as there were in the entire VOCALOID2 range. YAMAHA also showed great interest in promoting its well established Japanese VOCALOID producer fanbase while expanding the usage of VOCALOID itself.
New languages were prepared in Spanish, Korean, and Chinese along with the Japanese and English VOCALOID line up.
YAMAHA's first attempt to revive the voice of a dead singer was realised with Ueki-loid. Due to its complexity they confirmed that it will be a while before the same can be attempted with an English speaking voice..
Additional versions of the software were also released, including VOCALOID Editor for Cubase (including a "NEO" version), an updated "SE" (second edition) version and VOCALOID NEO. The SE version includes a larger number of Job Plug-ins than the original, all of which were previously downloadable from the YAMAHA website for free. Users who owned the original editor did not have to buy the SE edition, as all new content was supplied free of charge from YAMAHA in the VOCALOID STORE. Likewise, users who owned the Cubase version of the software did not need to buy the regular version of VOCALOID3 or the SE version.
The Cubase version used any available vocal for the current VOCALOID2 and VOCALOID3 compatible versions. In the case of "NEO" and "SE", some of the previously released VOCALOID3 vocals were re-released with new versions of the 'VOCALOID3 Lite version to match the engine updates.
In August 2014, a service called VOCALOID NET was released. For the first time this allowed users to exchange information between this version of VOCALOID™ to both the VOCALOID Editor for Cubase and iVOCALOID.
The engine was also adapted for the game "Daigasso! Band Brothers P". This version can also manipulate the player's own voice into a rudimentary VOCALOID. Though results are low in quality, this is the first time a user has been able to use a version of the VOCALOID™ software to make a "VOCALOID".
Impact on voicebank developmentEdit
Some studios had expansion packs and updates intended for VOCALOID2 in development. The VOCALOID voicebanks known to have been affected by the release were GUMI's Extend, English Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka's Append, KAITO's Append and MEIKO's Append. After the announcement of VOCALOID3 these were delayed and released for VOCALOID3.
SeeU was also intended to have an English voicebank, but was released early so it could meet the VOCALOID3 initial release without it. Consequently some phonetics for English were included in her Korean voicebank, but not enough for full English capability. A full version of a SeeU English voicebank began production in 2012, but has since been put on hiatus.
As of the start of VOCALOID3 more private voicebanks have been produced, as well as new "exclusive" vocals given limited release. Although private licensing at this level is new, several unreleased vocals were made in the VOCALOID2 era. Further more, VOCALOID was not originally considered for commercial release at all, making the concept older than the engine.
MEIKO V3's "Power" vocal was confirmed to have only been made possible with the new VOCALOID3 engine, and Wat commented that the original Kagamine package could be re-examined. This was owed to the engine improved wavelength capabilities.
In the past, the editor and voicebank were sold together. This meant that to get the latest version of the software users were required to purchase a newer voicebank. As of VOCALOID3, updates now come directly from YAMAHA themselves because the editor and voicebank are sold separately.
- Ver.184.108.40.206: was released 2 November 2011 and was a general glitch fix update that repaired things that were making the editor crash.
- Ver.220.127.116.11: was released on 21 December 2011, the fix reorganized the libraries of VOCALOIDs into languages and resolved a few glitches.
- Ver.18.104.22.168: was released 26/01/2012 as an automatic update, simply running the VOCALOID3 software on a system with an internet connection will allow the software to update itself. A few new features were added such as CTL+R; this will change the order of note from lyric to phoneme.
- Ver.22.214.171.124: was released 21/2/2012 to improve various things, notably, keyboard shortcuts have been added for note placement and selection, and the ability to export tracks to their own separate sound files has also been added. The Alt key can now be used to bypass quantization settings, and various other improvements have been added. For more information check here.
- Ver.126.96.36.199: Was released on 23 March 2012
- Ver.188.8.131.52: Was released on 10 July 2012.
- Ver.184.108.40.206: Was released on 4 August 2014.
- Ver.220.127.116.11: Was released on 9 December 2014, which supported the loading of VOCALOID4 VSQX files and general improvements to stability.
As VOCALOID4 was announced it was revealed that Megurine Luka V4X was going to be released for the newer engine, rather than the originally planned V3. A temporary product page was added to the Crypton Future Media website before the announcement, listing several voicebanks for Megurine Luka V3, these vocals were Japanese/Power/Soft/Cute/Whisper/Closed and English. Many of the previously listed voicebanks were moved into the new Piapro Studio E.V.E.C. functions capabilities and were not released for VOCALOID™ at all.
- OS: Windows 7/Windows 8/Vista/XP
- CPU: Celeron Dual Core 2.1 GHz or more
- RAM: 1GB or more
- HDD: 200MB free space or more
Note these requirements only apply to the VOCALOID3 engine itself. Users need to check each VOCALOID package and its requirements before installation as some variation may occur between releases.
If you own VOCALOID Editor for Cubase, you do not also have to purchase the full version of the VOCALOID3 software.
Vocal libraries released for the VOCALOID3 engine. Windows and Mac version, VOCALOID NEO, included.
Private, abandoned and other non-commercial releases.
Note; more can be found on the Status page
Starter packs are VOCALOID2 or, more commonly, VOCALOID3 releases that are sold with the VOCALOID3 software included. The idea is this cheapens the first voicebank a producer buys for the engine. Not all normal releases for VOCALOID3 have been given starter packs. Below is a list of voicebanks that have been sold as "starter" vocals. A number of the starter packages have been retired, and can no longer be purchased.
In December 2013, a starter kit was introduced for both Windows and Mac users. This contained all the essentials to begin VOCALOID production. Included inside the box is VOCALOID Editor for Cubase and Cubase7.
Note: VOCALOID vocals are sold separately and do not come with this version.
VOCALOID-P data packsEdit
As well as the engine, it is also possible to buy the .VSQX files used for songs made by famous producers. The first of the VOCALOID-P data series packs was released with the VOCALOID3 engine and can be purchased separately. Previously, the majority of .VSQ files had been recreated by fans and not the producers themselves.
Vol.2 of the series was released on the December 16, 2011, and a 3rd instalment with just GUMI songs was released on March 16, 2012 in conjunction with her update V3 Megpoid - Native.
Examples of usageEdit
|IA||V3 Megpoid Native||Aoki Lapis|
|V3 Lily Native||Luo Tianyi||V3 Gackpoid Native|
|KAITO V3 Straight||YUU||KYO|
|Hatsune Miku V3 (ORG)||MAIKA||Merli|
|Macne Nana (JPN)||MEIKO V3 Straight||kokone|
|Tohoku Zunko||galaco NEO Red||Rana|
|Gachapoid V3||Chika||Xin Hua|
A new feature in VOCALOID3 is Triphones, these will instantiate a different sound if a particular set of three phonemes are pieced together, for example, allowing “ka” to sound different in “aka” compared to “ika” improving language quality. VOCALOID2 voicebanks, even when imported into the VOCALOID3 engine, will not process these sounds. VOCALOIDs of all languages can use triphones, it is not restricted to one language in particular, these sounds can also be cancelled out using the hidden phonetics if users do not wish to use them.
The software will also update itself automatically or manually, updates are received directly from YAMAHA itself. Compared to previous support, updates are free and much easier to gain access to.
There are now some updates to the list of hidden phonetics. VOCALOID3 introduces the Glottal Stop (written as [?]) and improvements to the vowel-to-vowel connector (written as [-]) to increase the smoothness of the actions between vowel carrying. One of the improvements to the VOCALOID3 engine database was the inclusion of new voiceless sounds for VOCALOIDs (written as [*_0]), something they did not possess in VOCALOID2. When VOCALOID2 voicebanks are imported into VOCALOID3, the engine has the capabilities to add these additional sounds to their voicebank libraries, making them from existing samples the VOCALOID had. Some voicebanks in VOCALOID3 do not assign codes for breaths ([br1] to [br5]) and you can instead import various noises directly into VOCALOID.
The engine itself is now localized, so issues from VOCALOID2 over language problems are absent, such as those present in Megurine Luka. Although she had an English voicebank, she did not have the English interface because she was sold to the Japanese market. Users can now select the interface language upon installation.
VOCALOID3 saves in the new standard format of ".VSQX" and can save .VSQ files as .VSQX files. .VSQX allows more data to be saved than .VSQ, and lets the newer details of the VOCALOID3 engine be more easily saved. UTAU did not support this new file type when VOCALOID3 was released, though conversation into .VSQ is possible at the cost of some minor data loss. Therefore, it is still possible to transfer VOCALOID songs onto UTAU.
The engine itself is sold standalone or with additional voicebanks, which in turn can be bought as stand alone software. This is a departure from VOCALOID and VOCALOID2 who had the engine sold with the voicebank.
In late April 2014 VOCALOID NET was announced, which had the ability to interact with the VOCALOID3 software directly.
Smoothness is more noticeable in VOCALOID3 whereas VOCALOID and VOCALOID2 both became choppy or robotic sounding when they met some pronunciation issues. Furthermore, when entering into slurry words clarity is more easily maintained than past versions, though this is still effected by the vocal type and sample quality more than the engine itself. Other improvements include using the VEL to control the length of consonants much more significantly.
Results from VOCALOID2 vocals will not be the same for VOCALOID3 and improvements are noticeable with phonetic data translations being much smoother. However, it does not allow backwards compatibility with VOCALOID engine voicebanks. Glitches such as the noted "pluck" glitch continue over from VOCALOID and VOCALOID2, however, it is less noticeable in this engine even for imported VOCALOID2 vocals, and is often rendered as a softer, quieter sound. The audio quality itself has been improved.
The importation of VOCALOID2 into pirated versions of VOCALOID3 has also been known to have handling issues, both from pirated and official versions of the VOCALOID2 software. None of these issues were present with VOCALOID2 and all related to new features of the VOCALOID3 software. Users who do not own legal versions will miss out on many of the new features for VOCALOID3.
Wat, who was working on VOCALOID2 versions of vocals that eventually became VOCALOID3 products, also mentioned that VOCALOID3 allowed for voicebanks that had previously not been possible for some singers. This increased exploration of vocal types in VOCALOID.
Noboru mentioned that he believed also that V3 added new sounds to English vocals. In addition, a new dictionary was added with improvements, making larger difference between VOCALOID2 and VOCLOID3 vocals.
Language handling still faces issues, for example, IA and OLIVER both slur their vocals at faster paces if not controlled. This event occurs because of a long-term problem VOCALOID still suffers from in regards to the VOCALOID's sample database, wherein the software has difficulty fitting all samples into the allocated space set for each word in each beat. This issue has been present in the software since VOCALOID.
Even the highest quality VOCALOID2 voicebanks when imported into VOCALOID3 have issues competing with the quality of the average VOCALOID3 vocals.
Updated versions often do not contain new recordings (such as those of GUMI - Native) as it is possible for studios to re-use the data recorded from VOCALOID2 samples for new voicebanks in VOCALOID3. Therefore, sometimes there is no rush to buy new versions of older voices from the VOCALOID2 as the voice is virtually the same.
Although VOCALOID2 is supported, VOCALOID is not compatible with this engine.
NeutrinoP also discussed some of the continued engine flaws duringthe pre-released of Megpoid English. Noting "its engine still uses some "obsolete" algorithms (like having the same set of samples for a specific range of notes), but that can be adjusted now in DAW". They also mentioned there were glitches in the engine which impacted all V3 English vocals.
In March 2013, an issue related to galaco appeared which impacted VOCALOID3 when daylight savings kicked in. The engine would appear to "expire" and a pop-up would appear requesting the user to activate the software. As this issue was only related to galaco, uninstalling her or turning off daylight savings was the only solution to resolving the problem. Users in countries (e.g. China) which did not use daylight savings, did not experience the issue.
- "Demo" by SSW ft. Lily
- "Demo" by SSW ft. Camui Gackpo (Gackpoid)
- "Demo" by SSW ft. Ryuto (Gachapoid)
- "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by tan.j ft. SONiKA, rendered in VOCALOID2 and VOCALOID3 engine
- "Rose + Thorn" by EmpathP ft. AVANNA and LEON, a comparison between VOCALOID1 and VOCALOID3 engine
To help the development and promotion of VOCALOIDs within the VOCALOID3 range, the VOCALOID STORE was opened up by YAMAHA. Furthermore, YAMAHA set up their own music publishing site much like Karen-T to promote Vocaloid music. Several events have also been arranged to showcase new products, such as the Vocafarre. YAMAHA's approach was to bring the VOCALOID software back into the professional realm through a more serious promotional tone.
Studios have continued to promote their VOCALOIDs. Internet Co., Ltd heavily promoted their VOCALOIDs with the launch of V3 GUMI Megpoid. AH Software also began heavier promotion, with Yuzuki Yukari having the widest vocal capabilities offered on sale of any new VOCALOID at the time. Bplats continued to focus on their VY series by relaunching them under the "VYv3" title with improved vocals. Crypton Future Media, who had established much of the VOCALOID fandom via Hatsune Miku in the VOCALOID2 era, have opted to enter the VOCALOID3 era in 2013 with updates and new additions to previous voices. They are still focused on selling their established VOCALOIDs to America, as well as re-launching the VOCALOID era VOCALOIDs in the newer engine with the releases of KAITO V3 and MEIKO V3.
Studio DEEN focused on the fandom side of VOCALOID by holding a competition for a fan to become the voice of their first VOCALOID, Aoki Lapis, and her successor, Merli. They have done a number of small promotional ads for Lapis. MoeJapan entered the VOCALOID market with Tone Rion, focusing their marketing on the Otaku side of the VOCALOID community, rather than professionals. 1st PLACE opted for a subtler launch of their first voicebank, IA being promoted as a more mysterious VOCALOID.
YAMAHA did not support the English version of the software at first, and did not launch an English language version of the VOCALOID website until close to OLIVER's release. PowerFX decided to focus its marketing at the now established English VOCALOID community and most promotions for OLIVER were done through the forum VOCALOID Otaku. Zero-G also entered the engine later, and decided to continue aiming at professionals with their newest VOCALOID AVANNA, a Celtic themed voice.
SBS Artech managed to gain interest from outside of Japan with their first VOCALOID SeeU, primarily a Korean vocal. They also promoted SeeU with the claim that she could achieve English as well as Korean, and included a Japanese voicebank. However, interest in her was more mixed among Japanese producers.
New company Voctro Labs faced a bumpy start due to the a backlash against the artwork of their first two VOCALOIDs. However, despite this they were able to gain some ground via a replacement artwork contest.
A CD titled "The VOCALOIDs" was released in conjunction with the launch of VOCALOID3. The CD contained 18 songs sung by Japanese VOCALOIDs and a booklet with information about the VOCALOID characters used. Mew was also featured on the CD for the first time.
Official Guide BookEdit
The official guidebook for VOCALOID3 was also released in conjunction with the software.
Run by YAMAHA, the VOCALOID STORE was one of the biggest new developments for VOCALOID. As well as an outlet for buying the software, it offered CDs of various songs, plug-ins and merchandise. It replaced the old website for VOCALOID in both Japanese and English, the latter having not been updated since the VOCALOID era, as well as adding Chinese and Korean versions. The English version is, however, hosted by Bplats. Originally, it did not directly sell English or Spanish VOCALOIDs, but did contain links to where they are being sold by the developers.
Updates and other information about current and upcoming VOCALOIDs were also listed on this website. Updates for the VOCALOID3 software were sometimes released here as well. The website was open for world wide purchases.
In previous generations, the VOCALOID website only offered the workings behind the software, and did not host a store. The VOCALOID STORE played a significant part in marketing the VOCALOID software in Japan, and made many products easier to purchase. However, it previously only linked to the studios which made VOCALOID2 voicebanks, therefore there were ongoing issues with gaining access to older VOCALOID products.
On 8 May 2015, it was announced that the Japanese VOCALOID STORE would be shutting down on the 26th. They apologised for the sudden announcement, and thanked users for their support.
VOCALOID3 Music ContestEdit
On November 15, 2011, a music contest was announced. It ended on March 31, 2012 and offered prizes. To enter, users had to write an original song or cover and upload it to Nico Nico Douga by March 31, 2012. The contest was hosted by YAMAHA.
Producers are allowed to enter with the following VOCALOID3 voicebanks:
- V3 Megpoid
- Tone Rion
To qualify, your song must have the tag "VOCALOID3発売記念コンテスト" locked.
Prizes were determined by YAMAHA, Dwango and the studios releasing VOCALOID3 products allowed in the competition:
- Internet co., Ltd (Megpoid/CUL);
- 3 winners will get one VOCALOID product from Internet Co., Ltd
- SBS Artech(SeeU);
- 1 winner will get a ticket for two to Seoul in South Korea for three days and two nights.
- 1 excellence winner will get 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi
- imyss Prize (SeeU);
- Cosmetic Gift Set from imyss for 1 winner.
- YAMAHA Prize (VY1V3/Mew);
- Grande Prize: Cubase6 for 1 winner.
- 3 excellence winners of a VOCALOID3 library of YAMAHA of your choice
- MoeJapan/Dear Stage Prize (Tone Rion);
- 1 winner is invited to Akihabara (2 tickets)
- 10 winners will get a courtesy ticket for Dear Stage.
- 1 winner, YAMAHA's TENORI-ON "TNR-O"
- Dwango Prize (any library allowed in the competition);
- 5 winners will receive assorted goods related to Nico Nico Douga.
The competition was later extended to the June 30, 2012 and a new prize (special prize for participation) was added. The prize in the competition is confirmed to be an exclusive voicebank that will be given to anyone with 3,000+ views, this prize is the voicebank for galaco. V3 Lily and V3 Megpoid - Native have been added to the list of VOCALOIDs allowed in the competition.
The view count of '3,000+' needed for the special prize for participation was later lessened to 1,000+ views.
Aoki Lapis has also been added to those VOCALOIDs who can be entered in the competition. Since then IA and Yukari have also been added with additional prizes from the appropriate supporters of the software. This left Clara, Bruno and OLIVER unable to be used to enter the competition.
The list of new prizes:
- i-style Project Prize (Aoki Lapis);
- 1 winner will get Aoki Lapis original silver ring and Cubase starter pack.
- PV category Prize (any library allowed in the competition);
- 2 winners will get Wacom professional graphics tablet with wireless kit (medium size) Intuos5 touch PTH-650/K0 .
- Rookie Award (any library allowed in the competition);
- 1 winner will be interviewed by the chief editor in a feature article of Gekkayo Magazine, and the score of the winning song will appear in the magazine.
- Lawson Prize (any library allowed in the competition);
- 1 winner: The winning song will be played in Lawson stores for a month.
After the contest was over a further extension was given to allow more users the chance to get Galaco. This time, the rules were extended to allow any sold VOCALOID3 voicebank in the competition, including VOCALOID voicebank libraries that had previously been unable to be used in the contest.
VOCALOID itself celebrated its 10th birthday during this version of the software, and several projects, one of which was ZOLA PROJECT, were run in 2013 to commemorate the event. The anniversary celebrations began on February 26, 2013.
This generation was more focused on making VOCALOID its own genre of music. There was also pressure to push into America, with the launch of projects like VOCALOID Trans-Pacific.
Compared to VOCALOID2, the response to new VOCALOID3 vocals has been mixed. Some Japanese voicebanks like Tone Rion and Mew initially failed to match the previous VOCALOID2s in popularity growth. The reasons for lack of popularity in newer products appears to be varied. VOCALOIDs like SeeU have struggled in particular due to Japanese and Korean cultural politics and differences of feeling between the fans of the two countries. Popularity was also affected when no popular producer picked up the voice and made songs with them, some producers holding back for particular VOCALOID releases.
Initially, criticism was made by both Spanish and English VOCALOID fans as they had been left in the dark regarding the new software. At the beginning of the VOCALOID3 launch, they faced less promotion and coverage than the other 3 languages offered. For instance, the CD released for VOCALOID3 titled "The VOCALOIDs", which acted a pre-release promotion for the VOCALOID software, was solely focused on Japanese products. An English version of the VOCALOID STORE now exists, it was put up in beta format in Jan 2012; several months after VOCALOID3 was launched and a month after the launch of the first English voicebank. Both Spanish and English VOCALOIDs were absent from the store, though later added in an "overseas" section. The previous incarnation of the English VOCALOID website which the store replaced had not been updated since the release of VOCALOID.
More criticism came in the form of the initial reaction to the avatars of Bruno and Clara. Voctro Labs responded by hosting a competition with the wining entry having the possibility of becoming the boxart, if the artwork was deemed good enough. It is speculated that the poor reception impacted VOCALOID AVANNA, who required artwork changes during her development phase. YAMAHA themselves rejected a realistic style of artwork for Avanna in favor of a more anime-esque approach. Though SONiKA had an Eastern-influenced appearance, Avanna's style was very different to the one Zero-G had used in previous VOCALOID and VOCALOID2 vocals.
One of the issues surrounding the standard Vocaloids (note, this is mostly regarding the "Yamaha" group which are considered the standard vocals) up until this point and through out VOCALOID was how close in nature many vocals ended up being. This would lead to a change of approach for Vocaloid4 to make vocals more unique. Vocals at this point were fixed on being easy to use for music and the various vocals had the same processes worked upon them, resulting in vocals with very similar traits and few had "unique" qualities that reflected the character of their vocal.