On July 1, Crypton Future Media announced an August 31 release date for the upcoming Hatsune Miku V4X series of Vocaloid sound banks, with preorders now open. The new visuals on the product web pages put clothes back on Miku, whose naked portrait adorned the previous beta-version web page. The basic Japanese language release will consist of five sound banks—Original, Soft, Solid, Dark and Sweet, with the first three including Crypton’s own E.V.E.C. extensions. A separate V4 version of the English language sound bank will also be released, and it will be available as either a standard release, a barebones release (just the library without Piapro Studio, etc.) or bundled with the Japanese version. Pricing (in JPY, tax included) comes to 21600, 17280, 15120 and 12960 for the Japanese/English bundle, Japanese, English and barebones English versions, respectively, with a 25% upgrade discount for registered users of Hatsune Miku V2/V3.
Voice actress Asami Shimoda attended this year’s Kawaii Kon as a guest of honor, holding autograph sessions and Q&A panels on April 8–9 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. Affectionately called “Asapon” by her fans, Shimoda has played many roles in anime and games, but she is known mainly for the twins Ami and Mami Futami from the Idolmaster series as well as Vocaloid characters Kagamine Rin and Len. During the autograph sessions, she also talked briefly with fans and had pictures taken together, while the Q&A panels led to her discussing various aspects of her personal life and career, including how she became the voice behind Kagamine Rin/Len and what it was like during the recording process.
Crypton updated the official webpage for the upcoming Kagamine Rin/Len V4X today, adding more information to the original teaser site. Rin/Len V4X, slated for a late December 2015 release, will be available at a 17280 JPY price point (including tax), whereas a bundle version that also includes the English voice banks comes in at 21600 JPY; the English Rin/Len V4X comes in at 12960 JPY standalone and doesn’t include Piapro Studio. Download versions of Rin/Len V4X, the English voice banks and the bundle will be released on SONICWIRE. Discount pricing (25% off) will be available through June 30, 2016 for currently registered users of Kagamine Rin/Len V2, at 12960 JPY for the standard package and 16200 JPY for the bundle package that includes English. Preorders for the packaged versions also start today, and people interested in the download version can sign up to be notified by email when the download will be ready.
During Anime Expo 2015, we had the chance to sit down with 1st PLACE‘s CEO Murayama Kumiko and ask her a few questions regarding the VOCALOID sound bank and character IA. During this interview, she explained their approach to marketing IA as well as the possibility for an English version.
Event organizers for MIKU EXPO revealed last month that the Shanghai leg of the concert and exhibition series will be held on June 27 and 28 at the Fengyun E-Sports Arena, with a daytime (13:00—15:00) and nighttime (19:00—21:00) concert per day as well as access to an exhibition area for ticket holders. All tickets available through official channels sold out at lightning speed. Organizers also held a press conference on June 11 revealing new merchandise, such as a PlayStation 4 panel engraved with MIKU EXPO artwork. Apparently the final concert will also be streamed for free through video website iQIYI.
According to a press release from AH-Software, VOCALOID4 updated versions of Nekomura Iroha and miki will be released on June 18. VOCALOID4 Nekomura Iroha will come in Natural and Soft versions, with the former being an augmented version of the original VOCALOID2 sound bank and the latter being an all-new sound bank for more gentle singing. VOCALOID4 miki will only have a Natural sound back, being an upgraded version of the original one. Each product will come with MMD models of the respective characters, Music Maker Silver (a simplified DAW), Charamin Studio 90 Day Version (for animations), Video Easy SE (for video editing) as well as a demo version of VOCALOID4 Editor. Demo songs for Iroha and miki can be found on AH-Software’s official SoundCloud account. Pricing is as follows (sales tax is additional):
|Product||Boxed Package||Download||Upgrade||AH-Soft Customers|
|Iroha Natural||10800 JPY||8000 JPY||6000 JPY||8500 JPY|
|Iroha Soft||10800 JPY||8000 JPY||6000 JPY||8500 JPY|
|Iroha Complete||17800 JPY||–||10800 JPY||14800 JPY|
|Iroha Starter||23800 JPY||–||16800 JPY||20800 JPY|
|miki Natural||9800 JPY||7000 JPY||5000 JPY||8000 JPY|
|miki Starter||16000 JPY||–||11000 JPY||14000 JPY|
Upgrade pricing is for registered owners of the respective VOCALOID2 versions. AH-Soft special pricing is for registered owners of any AH-Software product. Iroha Complete includes both sound banks and the Starter versions also include the full version of VOCALOID4 Editor.
Following the April 30 closure of the Korean and Chinese store fronts for the online shop VOCALOID STORE, it appears that the Japanese store front is also expected to close on May 26 at 5:00 PM Japanese time, according to a news update on the store’s website. Each of the different language store fronts sold slightly different items, with the Japanese store front stocking both packaged and download versions of VOCALOID software as well as Cubase, books, CDs and various merchandise. The news update indicates that the English store front will continue to operate as usual, albeit its selection pales in comparison to the Japanese one. Customers who have purchased download products on the Japanese VOCALOID STORE are urged to login to their accounts and make sure they have downloaded all of their installers and written down their activation serial numbers. The upcoming closure is the latest in a series of closures of VOCALOID-related services provided by b-plats for Yamaha, with digital music distribution agent VOCALOID MUSIC PUBLISHING having closed doors in late March of this year as well.
Meanwhile, Yamaha expects to open a different store front called VOCALOID SHOP in late May on their VOCALOID NET website. According to the announcement, this shop is expected to provide download sales of both VOCALOID libraries and editors, with the current lineup not finalized yet. Yamaha is also looking into hosting Job Plugins in the shop as well. With the new VOCALOID SHOP, customers are expected to be able to download installers for Yamaha-branded VOCALOID software products previously purchased on the VOCALOID STORE, with products released by other companies currently under discussion. Yamaha’s VOCALOID NET is a website providing various online services to VOCALOID users, including a simplified online implementation of the VOCALOID engine as well as cloud storage and file exchange capabilities.
According to the latest press release from AH-Soft, the VOCALOID4 version of Yuzuki Yukari will be released on March 18. The three individual Yukari flavors (Jun, Onn, Lin) will be available as both a download and boxed package, whereas AH-Software will also be releasing a “complete” boxed package containing all three as well as a starter pack that also includes VOCALOID4 Editor.
The official website for the VOCALOID-themed mobile game VOCADOL is now open, revealing a cast of eight characters—Lily, Merli, Aoki Lapis, Anon, Kanon, CUL, kokone and MIZKI. The freemium game is billed as a combination of idol raising game and mystery adventure, and it is expected to be available on both iOS 7+ and Android 4+ platforms sometime in 2015. People who register their email address beforehand will supposedly receive a special in-game item when the game formally launches. Author Kuroda Kenji, known for his mystery novels as well as Gyakuten Saiban novelizations, will be establishing the background and writing the script, and Yoshitaka Ushiki of Yumekui Merry and “Advent Cirno” fame will be responsible for the main visuals.
Yamaha has announced at the NAMM 2015 tradeshow the upcoming release of a female American English VOCALOID4 library called CYBER DIVA. Being Yamaha’s first direct release of an English VOCALOID sound bank, CYBER DIVA is touted as being able to reproduce the natural pronunciation of a native English speaker, and it is expected to be available as a download to customers in the US during the first quarter of this year for 149.99 USD. A packaged version is also expected to be released in Japan in early February as well. There are currently five demo songs available on YouTube (1,2,3,4,5), with two songs created by UtataP and three songs made by a collaboration between CircusP and CrusherP. The recommended pitch range is from G2 to C4, and the recommended tempo goes from 60 to 180 beats per minute. The library will have only a single voice bank (and thus is not cross-synthesizable) but is touted to be able reproduce “rough” as well as “harsh” vocals through VOCALOID4’s growl feature. The official website also posted an interview detailing the development process, showing the many problems that were encountered in the nearly two years of development.