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2 day review on Prima
Jan 31 2009
12:24
tigerleo
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For a start this is less than stellar software – far from commercial quality – no doubt we are on the bleeding edge with vocal instruments, however this is not just bleeding but at times simply just bloody poor:

[b:3h2ol6gj]Samples:[/b:3h2ol6gj] the samples in themselves are not strong. Levels are all over the place [at times at least 10dB or greater difference between notes at differing octaves]. Pitching is questionable on some notes. “Prima” would imply that the vocalist is the best, however that is far from reality – there are better [free] soundfonts out on the net with better quality samples and native tone and pitch than reflected by ‘Prima’. It would appear that little time or effort was put into the actual sampling – either the vocalist has no microphone technique or the audio engineer had no understanding of levels and compression.

[b:3h2ol6gj]Software:[/b:3h2ol6gj] the software is very, very rudimentary. Interface is poor, features are very poor and in reality one could expect far superior efforts from DAW software written in the early 1990’s. There are no multiple undo’s, limited global settings and changing what global settings there are for the vocalist must be done in a separate application requiring one to close the Vocaloid2 editor first. Attack and decay can only be changed for individual notes unless you use a predefined setting – however one cannot select a range of notes, for example, and change their attack and decay as a group selection. Also, notes appear to be preset with portamento by default which certainly makes for messy phrasing in faster passages – there is, according to the manual, a way to reset this for each track, but again there is no way to change these settings to a range of user selected notes.

The software also lacks basic things like reverb and compression – and compression is certainly something that you will want to use when using Prima. The VST implementation simply did not work with my sequencer meaning that all vocal arrangements had to be performed in the Vocaloid editor without the benefit of hearing the phrasing with the instrumental accompaniment – vocal arrangements then needed to be exported as .wav files, imported into the sequencer and then tweaked considerably with eq, reverb and compression to bring some life into the otherwise very lifeless and inconsistent Prima performance. A very frustrating work flow that makes one feel that the VST implementation as stated in the manual is a con…

[b:3h2ol6gj]Manual:[/b:3h2ol6gj] countless messages advise, strongly, to read the manual before using the software – the manual itself is light and less than informative – there is no depth or real substance; however this is also reflected by the actual software no doubt to begin with.

[b:3h2ol6gj]Overall:[/b:3h2ol6gj] if one was expecting shareware/freeware software when purchasing Prima then perhaps one would be content – however as commercial software Vocaloid2 Prima is simply not worth the money. Thankfully not all commercial music creation software developers take the same view of the quality of their software’s output as Zero-G has done with this – I am just surprised that Yamaha has any relationship to this at all.

[b:3h2ol6gj]Recommended:[/b:3h2ol6gj] No, not for the price – fortunately I obtained the download version which saved me AU$100, however in reality this is a $30 shareware quality product.

Jan 31 2009
13:18
Giuseppe
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Everything you have said here has not proved to be an experienced musician.

I respect all your opinion about Prima and I’m sorry much that you think that you have lost your money.

I would like to know why you wasted your money on something you hate.

I want you to know I don’t belong to the team member, or earn money with Vocaloid, I’m a user like you.

Nobody has taught me to use Vocaloid, I’ve not read the manuals, Vocaloid editor is so simple it does not need to learn to use it, if you are a musician, and with this simple program you can create great works.

I’m not going to follow this "war didactic" about Vocaloid and Prima. I would say more but I prefer to shut up.

Jose

Jan 31 2009
13:49
tigerleo
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[quote="Giuseppe":3mnsrfm9]Everything you have said here has not proved to be an experienced musician.[/quote:3mnsrfm9]
Begging your pardon, however I have been a musician for around 35 years.

[quote="Giuseppe":3mnsrfm9]I would like to know why you wasted your money on something you hate.[/quote:3mnsrfm9]
I purchased the software after reading some promising reviews and listening to the examples – this does not mean that the software and documentation is poor after that fact. I did not state that I ‘hate’ the software – you read too much into what I wrote or you are in fact blinded by what you appear to love.

[quote="Giuseppe":3mnsrfm9]Vocaloid editor is so simple it does not need to learn to use it, if you are a musician, and with this simple program you can create great works. Jose[/quote:3mnsrfm9]
Yes, it is simple software – too simple and too limited compared to other VST instruments.

I gave my honest review after actually paying money for this software – live with it as I will need to now.

Jan 31 2009
14:13
Giuseppe
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I said what I had to say, you have not yet proved to be a professional music and to talk of a software in this way.

Jan 31 2009
14:17
tigerleo
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[quote="Giuseppe":ge2y7acc]I said what I had to say, you have not yet proved to be a professional music and to talk of a software in this way.[/quote:ge2y7acc]
Are you a professional "music[ian]" – can you prove it? Stop crapping on people because you disagree with their opinions.

This is what I have composed in the past two months – hardly release quality however they are not bad for 1 to 2 day scratchings:
http://tigerleo.com/?cat=10

Jan 31 2009
16:41
Giuseppe
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I’m not a professional musician, I don’t have work nowadays, I don’t have money, am poor. If you think that you are qualified to judge a software in 2 days you are a great professional, I already have demonstrated what Vocaloid can do, and I can assure that Vocaloid can do many things more and better, but with more work.
I’ve made sing to Vocaloid in many languages and with great fluency and without knowing the language.

But I’m really so tired of Vocaloid and Giuseppe says "goodbye" to Vocaloid

Jan 31 2009
16:53
tigerleo
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[quote="Giuseppe":1zqrpxad]But I’m really so tired of Vocaloid and Giuseppe says "goodbye" to Vocaloid[/quote:1zqrpxad]
Well, that’s honesty – I would be tired of it too after more than two days as it is truly a poor product that sings flat – that is its greatest weakness amongst many which are mainly software related.

Those two days I spent were like 32 hours – close to one week’s worth of time and effort – so, no, it is not a trifle what I wrote. I wrote what I did only because of my immense disappointment with what is touted as being a ‘great’ piece of software. It isn’t.

Jan 31 2009
17:04
Giuseppe
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And what is the difference of 2 days and 32 hours to assess a software?

Jan 31 2009
17:16
tigerleo
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2 days in my case is not 14 to 16 hours with lengthy breaks inbetween ;) – I sit infront of the computer and don’t move except to feed my cats in the evening… :D

The point being in that time I can make most things work – this [Prima] has inherent problems that no amount of time will bring a satisfactory result in my opinion – if it is not on pitch to start with then the question that needs to asked is "why?".

I am a ‘perfectionist’ – I hear faults and am often never happy – after a day or two then things usually sound OK – with Prima they sound worse unfortunately to my ears. I am happy for you that your results have differed than mine and the time you must have spent composing in different languages proved rewarding. Perhaps, as far as I can see, that is the secret – Prima sounds best in things other than english [assuming one is prepared to put the time into the phoneme structure of each syllable].

Jan 31 2009
17:22
Giuseppe
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The users wait for too much of the last technology.

"import midi, import lyrics and play" and it is not like that.

Prima is capable of singing perfectly in English, but I am not going to be I who demonstrates this

Jan 31 2009
17:34
tigerleo
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Not if it is flat it isn’t – and this is not about import, plug and play for me – I spend countless hours sculpting notes to get the right sound – I have done the same with Prima. The problem is many fold – pitch problems, sibilance problems, level problems etc etc – these things should not be an issue with a commercial release – particularly a "version 2". Neither I or any one should have to put up with correcting the developers’ short comings just to get levels even close – no one should have to put up with pitch problems in a commercial release.

Nothing about what I do musically is plug and play except for using Jamstix drums – even then that takes a great deal of manipulation to get the right sound, rhythm and accents – then dumping back as midi and editing to get what I want. Everything else apart from two tracks using an arpeggiator or a couple of distirted guitar rhythms are pretty much all hand written and sculpted… I do not like to use other’s ‘musical sequences’ as such…

I do not have "perfect pitch", however I do have a good ear from classical training and years playing in bands – Prima is off.

Jan 31 2009
18:12
tigerleo
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[quote="Giuseppe":3azggzwx]Prima is capable of singing perfectly in English, but I am not going to be I who demonstrates this[/quote:3azggzwx]

You actually have – I found the link to your MySpace page – some very nice examples there of what Prima can do – in languages other than English – perhaps they don’t sound good for those of those native tongues though as "Somewhere over the Rainbow" sounds distinctly disgusting from an English language viewpoint – not saying that what you have put together is bad, just that Prima can not handle it.

Curious as to what VSTs you used for the backing – Prima is out for me with Garritan and Independence as well as Creative/Emu soundfonts [which are all in tune with each other].

Feb 2 2009
06:33
maiki
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Giuseppe, with all due respect, I don’t think your response is fair.

You apparently like Vocaloid ( a lot!), and Tigerleo tried it, and was disappointed with it, and expressed that. He didn’t say he "hated" it.

He spent his money because he thought the program would be better, and he was disappointed.

He certainly sounds like a knowledgeable musician, and he made some very good points. I think the Vocaloid developers could learn something, by reading his criticism, and hopefully improving the product. It is true, that it could use a lot of improvement. It is a technology still in its infancy, that has a long way to go.

Of course you can disagree with his criticism, and point out what you disagree with, and why, but you do not have to attack the writer personally, impugn his intelligence and musicianship, etc.

You really don’t have to become defensive, and feel you have to defend your beloved Vocaloid!

[quote="Giuseppe":1rjgvrtl]Everything you have said here has not proved to be an experienced musician.

I respect all your opinion about Prima and I’m sorry much that you think that you have lost your money.

I would like to know why you wasted your money on something you hate.

I want you to know I don’t belong to the team member, or earn money with Vocaloid, I’m a user like you.

Nobody has taught me to use Vocaloid, I’ve not read the manuals, Vocaloid editor is so simple it does not need to learn to use it, if you are a musician, and with this simple program you can create great works.

I’m not going to follow this "war didactic" about Vocaloid and Prima. I would say more but I prefer to shut up.

Jose[/quote:1rjgvrtl] :D

Feb 2 2009
06:37
maiki
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You have to realize, Tiger, that this is a VERY NEW technology, even in Version 2. You know about various music programs, but how many have you used that can sing words? There are only a few, and all have problems. It is still very new technology, with a long way to go. Software always takes a long time to develop, over many versions, it does not come out perfect, even by a version 2.

[quote="tigerleo":26rq5h77]Not if it is flat it isn’t – and this is not about import, plug and play for me – I spend countless hours sculpting notes to get the right sound – I have done the same with Prima. The problem is many fold – pitch problems, sibilance problems, level problems etc etc – these things should not be an issue with a commercial release – particularly a "version 2". Neither I or any one should have to put up with correcting the developers’ short comings just to get levels even close – no one should have to put up with pitch problems in a commercial release.

Nothing about what I do musically is plug and play except for using Jamstix drums – even then that takes a great deal of manipulation to get the right sound, rhythm and accents – then dumping back as midi and editing to get what I want. Everything else apart from two tracks using an arpeggiator or a couple of distirted guitar rhythms are pretty much all hand written and sculpted… I do not like to use other’s ‘musical sequences’ as such…

I do not have "perfect pitch", however I do have a good ear from classical training and years playing in bands – Prima is off.[/quote:26rq5h77]

Feb 2 2009
08:48
Giuseppe
Madrid
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Maiki I don’t love "Vocaloid", I love the work and the effort.

The users hope that the software do all the work to you without effort. When Yamaha obtains it at the time is when the musicians and singers must start being afraid for his job.

Feb 2 2009
11:50
Giuseppe
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I will say this another way

Surely that the users who speak and judge badly a software are angry with them themselves for not being able to control this program easily.

That does not give them the right to throw them away the work and efforts of the people who work and strive for a computer program.

I have said often in my Vocaloid tutorials that the most important thing is " the patience and the effort "and a lot of practice.

For example Work Builder and Symphonic Choirs, WB is a good tool, but it needs much more work of which a user waits.

It is necessary to be a bit more constant and to be demanded much more to yourself.

Feb 3 2009
05:18
tigerleo
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Giuseppe: This has nothing to do with puttung or not putting effort in – you keep insinuating that this is the problem with using Vocaloid – that it is the end user’s fault, or perhaps my deficiency. The fact is that the problems I pointed out are not going to correct themselves the more I use the software – to think that they would and that the software will eventually overcome all these issues with continued use indicates that one lives in "la la land".

To maiki: Thank you for your understanding – yes, I do appreciate that this is radical software in some ways and that perhaps one should not expect a totally polished product. However, the pitch problems I find unacceptable – other issues such as editing notes etc would improve assuming responses to customer feedback. If, however, everyone simply says "this is great software" then of course nothing will improve.

Truthfully, there have been times when I have entered noted/phrases into Prima and she sounds like a second rate text-to-speech engine. Rather fustrating and disappointing to say the least. Sure, putting effort into the phrasing etc does resolve some of the issues, however when I can not incorporate that time effort into an existing composition because the vocals are flat does make me somewhat annoyed. I am now reluctant to use the software at all, which is a shame really…

Feb 3 2009
09:11
Giuseppe
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You indicate in your blog… "I decided to try Vocaloid 2 ‘Prima’ and purchased it last night." and you make a test.

Does not seem it´s a little premature to judge a program without having had before does practise with he?

My demos of English and French are not good at all, surely it is for that I do not know these languages by no means and I base on my "musical ear"

The Prima pitch problems: The default configuration of it is very soft but you can form it very easily, the musical notes have a very soft "attack" and a "glissando" between the notes that you can remove automatic in order that the voices Vocaloid have better final touch.
I invite you to see my tutoriales in order that you see since I have configurated the editor.

I’m Vocaloid user from 4 years ago and still I do not dominate this program totally.

Feb 3 2009
13:55
tigerleo
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That was the first of three tests – I posted two – spending around 14 to 16 hours on each – the third I gave up on as it sounded absolutely woeful [I have heard better text to speech engines] after relentless editing and then wrote the post here.

If the pitch problems can be fixed with attack then that goes to show that the software, once again, is poorly implementated and documented. I have removed the glissando on experiements, and while it does resolve obvious ‘bent’ notes the initial pitch is still out.

You can keep defending poor software, however commercial software should not be beta-ware that the unsuspecting public must experience severe limitations with. If this software has been around for 4 years then I am surprised that such issues have not been resolved with documentation and/or default settings and other user capable adjustments. Man, I have freeware software that includes pitch correction! I have commercial and freeware vocal soundfonts that all play perfectly in tune with no adjustments necessary – I can change attack, decay, release, sustain etc without pitch problems. This software is flat and it cost reasoanable money. Seems more effort went into the splash screen on this software than the actual functionality itself.

That’s it for me – I am not going to waste my time anymore with this post or this software at this time. I can achieve a lot more using software that does not have inherent faults and limitations to compose music with rather this Vocaloid2 Prima – and afterall it is about composing music – not fighting with poor software that produces disappointing outcomes. We are now in 2009 not 1989 and software does not need to be dodgy, featureless products of days gone by – if it was all about "having to put the time in" to contend with software deficiencies then we would all still be working in DOS or SML – but again, this is now 2009 – time some software developers caught up with the times.

Oct 26 2009
21:36
wizardofice
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I agree with some of what has been said. I have both Miriam and Prima and find that the program for Vocaloid 2 is somewhat lacking. With Vocaloid 1 I can control the voicing of the consonants with a numerical adjustment, then the vowels with the resonances. I cannot find a way in vocaloid 2 Prima. I find the voice way to breathy even if I reduce the breath in both the singer and the bottom of the screen.

As far as using in a program lie cubase as a VST it is not going to happen with either one. In Voc 2 I can start it and listen to it and even adjust the song and lyrics but cannot export the mix as the voice sound just disapears – the phonemes just get erased automatically. I cannot get either one to connect as rewire either.

I usually use Miriam by playing a midi trac in the Cubase Project then exporting that to use in Vocaloid 1. Getting decent bacground vocals is fairly easily done but not good enough for lead vocals by a long shot.

To be clear the program for Vocaloid 2 is not very good. The samples as previously mentioned are all over the place as far as volume at different notes. Not nearly enough adjustments for things like the vowel sounds and consonents, and the instruction manual tells little or nothing about how to make decent sounds – although Vocaloid 1 is no better in that regard.

I would have to recommend if you want Vocaloid to stay away from Vocaloid 2 and stic to vocaloid 1. Even at $99 for Prima (via download) and $179 for Miriam I would go for Miriam way before using Prima.

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