January 31, 2009

Vocaloid2 Prima review

Filed under: General,Rant — steve @ 8:28 pm

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:

Samples: 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.

Software: 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…

Manual: 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.

Overall: 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.

Recommended: 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.

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