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.
Evolution of E.V.E.C.
The “X” in the version labelling for Crypton’s products indicate the presence of what it calls “Enhanced Voice Expression Control” (E.V.E.C.) features; these are in addition to the standard Vocaloid 4 capabilities, and they are implemented as additional phonemes which the Piapro Studio editing software can automatically leverage. Each V4X release so far (Megurine Luka, Kagamine Rin/Len, Hatsune Miku) has had slightly different features.
V4X was originally introduced with Megurine Luka V4X, and consisted of three features—voice color, voice release, and consonant extension. Voice color affected the vowel portions of sounds, allowing the user to specify a slightly different timbre per note, e.g., to give the appearance of powerful singing, whispering or falsetto. Voice release allowed the user to add either short or long breath sound to the end of a note, mimicking what singers often do with long notes. Lastly, consonant extension could be used to accent the starting consonant of a note to make it clearer and/or more powerful. E.V.E.C. was implemented in the two Japanese sound banks, with non-E.V.E.C. versions of the same banks available in the final product.
With Kagamine Rin/Len, the feature set slightly changed. The number of “voice colors” was reduced from the whopping nine colors of Luka V4X to only Power and Soft for the Kagamine release. Consonant extension was now called enunciation extensions, with “strong enunciation” leading to something like shouting; the product page recommended using strong enunciation in tandem with Vocaloid 4’s growl feature. Both Rin and Len received one E.V.E.C. sound bank and two standard sound banks each, with the two standard sound banks being entirely different from the E.V.E.C. “standard” voices.
Enunciation extension features see an upgrade in Hatsune Miku V4X. In addition to “powerful enunciation”, the user now has the ability to have Miku sing with “weaker enunciation”, which causes her to sound more breath-laden. The three E.V.E.C.-enabled voice banks also implement these enunciation features in different ways; the Original E.V.E.C. bank with “powerful enunciation” is supposed to sound like the previous Power bank, whereas the Soft E.V.E.C. bank with “weak enunciation” is supposed to sound more whispery. The Power/Soft colors as well as the Short/Long releases appear to be the same as the Kagamine release.
While E.V.E.C. can be easily invoked using Crypton’s Vocaloid editing software, Piapro Studio, they can also be invoked using specialized phonemes in Yamaha’s standard editing software packages. While Crypton provides no official support for using E.V.E.C. in this manner, users have managed to discover the phonemes on their own.
Products and Pricing
Crypton will be offering both boxed and download versions of Hatsune Miku V4X, with simultaneous physical and digital releases on August 31; this happens to be the date on which any activated version of Hatsune Miku V4X Beta expires. Digital releases will be available through Crypton’s online store, Sonicwire.
Hatsune Miku V4X
The main product, which comes in at a tax-included price of 17280 JPY, consists of three E.V.E.C.-enabled Japanese banks (Original, Soft and Solid) as well as two standard Japanese banks (Dark and Sweet). As has been standard since the V3 releases, this product works on both Mac and Windows and comes bundled with Vocaloid editing software Piapro Studio as well as a DAW: Studio One Artist Piapro Edition (APE). In addition to the sounds that come with Studio One, Crypton also provides Mutant VSTi (Windows only) and some bonus samples from Sonicwire.
- Original (E.V.E.C.)
(recommended tempo/pitch range: 60–160 BPM/A2–E4)
Cute and honest, a more expressive version of the original Hatsune Miku.
Suitable for pop and dance pop.
- Soft (E.V.E.C.)
(recommended tempo/pitch range: 60–160 BPM/A2–E4)
With adjustable softness of voice, a cute and elegant voice.
Suitable for soft rock, ballads, folk music and ambient, etc.
- Solid (E.V.E.C.)
(recommended tempo/pitch range: 65–160 BPM/D2–C4)
With adjustable strength, a tension-filled voice.
Suitable for pop, rock, dance and electro, etc.
(recommended tempo/pitch range: 60–160 BPM/D2–B3)
With lovely singing and breaths, a beautiful yet melancholic voice.
Suitable for ballads, jazz, folk music and ambient, etc.
(recommended tempo/pitch range: 55–155 BPM/F2–D4)
Filled with breathy sounds, a pretty and whispery voice.
Suitable for French pop, ballads and electronica, etc.
In addition to the product description, the official website also lists five songs that were created using the beta version of the library, noting that the final version improves on the beta. The five songs listed were: DECO*27’s Ghost Rule, Mitchie M’s Amazing Magician, doriko’s Yuki ga Tokeru Mae ni, Re:nG’s Yume Miru Macaroon Girl and tilt-six’s Anachro Noise.
Hatsune Miku V4 English and Hatsune Miku V4X Bundle
The V4 English sound bank is touted as a bright, cute and “natural” English vocal, with recommended tempo and pitch ranges being 80–135 BPM and B2–C#4, respectively. It is available in two flavors: a standalone version (15120 JPY) as well as a barebones version (12960 JPY). Both are digital downloads, and the latter is a cheaper version that does not come with the bundled Piapro and Studio One software packages. The new English bank is supposed to be “cuter and more like Miku”, with producer Wataru Sasaki tweeting that she sounded somewhat like the Original and Vivid Japanese banks.
Like the case with V3, Crypton is also offering a bundled version that includes both the Japanese and English sound banks. It comes in both physical and digital varieties, with both priced at 21600 JPY, tax included.
Preorder and Upgrade Pricing
The boxed versions of Hatsune Miku V4X (and bundle) are now available for preorder through Crypton. Furthermore, users who have registered Hatsune Miku V2 or V3 (including the J+E bundle as well as the English-only release) with Crypton can preorder with special upgrade pricing. This results in a discount of 25%, reducing the price to 12960 JPY, 11340 JPY and 16200 JPY for the Japanese, English and bundle versions, respectively. There appears to be no upgrade discount for the barebones English version. The upgrade pricing is automatic once a user has logged in (including for the download versions), and it will only be available through the end of February 2017.
|Hatsune Miku V4X||17280 JPY||12960 JPY||Yes||Yes|
|Hatsune Miku V4 English||15120 JPY||11340 JPY||No||Yes|
|Hatsune Miku V4X Bundle||21600 JPY||16200 JPY||Yes||Yes|
|Hatsune Miku V4 English Barebones||12960 JPY||-n/a-||No||Yes|