Vocaloid is a singing synthesizer application developed by the Yamaha Corporation that enables users to synthesize singing by typing in lyrics and melody. It utilizes Yamaha's Vocaloid synthesizing technology with specially recorded vocals of voice actors or singers. To create a song, the user must input the melody and lyrics. A piano roll type interface is used to input the melody and the lyrics can be entered on each note. The software can change the stress of the pronunciations, add effects such as vibrato, or change the dynamics and tone of the voice. Each Vocaloid is sold as "a singer in a box". The software is available in English and Japanese.
The software is intended for professional musicians as well as light computer music users and has so far sold on the idea that the only limits are the users own skills. Japanese musical group Supercell (Sony Music Entertainment Japan) have featured Vocaloid as vocals in their songs, and record labels in Japan also have released compilation albums featuring Vocaloids.
The first release based on the Vocaloid 2 engine came from PowerFX with Sweet Ann in June 29, 2007 whose boxart was based on a Frankenstein's monster. This was closely followed by Crypton two months later with the first of their "Character Vocal Series", Hatsune Miku, on August 31, 2007. Zero-G's first Vocaloid, Prima, came out on January 14, 2008 with voice of a Soprano opera singer. Internet Co., Ltd also joined the Vocaloid development with their first Vocaloid Gackpoid on July 31, 2008, whose voice was provided by Japanese international singer Gackt. Gackpoid includes a new program, OPUS Express, for mixing vocal parts with accompaniment or phoneme data. AH Software later released their first Vocaloids on December 4, 2009 bringing the total of studios producing Vocaloids to five. Other significant releases include Crypton's Megurine Luka, the first bilingual Vocaloid and Zero-G's Sonika who was developed to being able to speak any language even though she is primarily an English vocalist. Kaai Yuki also became the first Vocaloid to use a child's voice.
Crypton Future Media released the first dual voice banks Kagamine Len and Kagamine Rin, a Japanese male and female. On July 18, 2008, Crypton Future Media released the updated edition of Kagamine Rin and Len, named "act2". For a period of time, users who had bought the old version were allowed to get the new version for free. On June 18, 2008, beta demonstration songs using the new version were released on the company's official blog. The expansion disc is an entirely different software and does not affect the original Kagamine Rin/Len installation in any way, giving the user options to either use the old or new voice sets exclusively or combine their usage. Crypton Future Media have now retired the sale of their old Kagamine voice banks and it is now no longer possible to buy the software from them. This was also the very first voice bank update to be done for any Vocaloid.
On April 30, 2010, additional voice banks were released for Miku under the name Hatsune Miku Append, with a package of six different tones of Miku's voice: Soft (gentle, delicate voice), Sweet (young, chibi voice), Dark (mature, heartbroken-like voice), Vivid (bright, cheerful voice), Solid (loud, clear voice), and Light (innocent, heavenly voice). This was the first time a Vocaloid has such a release and more Append are reported from Crypton Future Media at later dates.
One of the Vocaloid compilations, Exit Tunes Presents Vocalogenesis feat. Hatsune Miku, debuted at number-one on the Japanese weekly Oricon album charts dated May 31, 2010, becoming the first Vocaloid album ever to top the charts. Another album, Supercell by the group Supercell also features a number of songs using Vocaloids. Other albums, such as 19's Sound Factory's First Sound Story and Livetune's Re:Repackage, and Re:Mikus also feature Miku's voice. Other uses of Miku include the albums Sakura no Ame (桜ノ雨?) by absorb and Miku no Kanzume (みくのかんづめ?) by OSTER-project. Kagamine Len and Rin were also featured in the album Kagamine Rin/Len Cover Album.
Vocaloid 3 soon to be?!Edit
Vocaloid 3 has been confirmed, and is said to be aimed to be Yamaha's most "realistic voice engine yet."[who?]