Earlier today, Yamaha held a press event along with invited guest Itoh Hiroyuki (CEO of Crypton Future Media) at the Yamaha Ginza building; the event was also streamed live on niconico. During the event, Yamaha announced their “NEO” line of Mac/Windows VOCALOID products, including VOCALOID Editor for Cubase (VocaCu for short), VY1V3, VY2V3, Mew, Aoki Lapis and ZOLA PROJECT. They also outlined procedures for current owners of (the Windows version of) these products to be able to obtain the Mac version for free. The first half concluded with a demonstration of VocaCu, and the second half was a presentation from Itoh. It appears that Miku V3 Japanese and Miku V3 English will be separate products. Miku V3 Japanese will also feature several different sound banks as well. Details on which sound banks, pricing and distribution channels are expected to come out in early August, although a brief shot of a computer screen revealed Dark, Soft, Sweet and Solid variants in addition to Original and English.
UPDATE: Fixed final parts of Crypton presentation for accuracy.
The event opened with a demo song for the new VOCALOID Editor for Cubase NEO, wherein a musician sat down at a desk and started layering on instruments one after another before finally adding VOCALOID singing to the song. After the video stopped playing, the MC for the event, Kizaki from Yamaha’s publicity department came up to the stage and started introductions. First he called up Kenmochi Hideki, head of the VOCALOID team, to give an overview of the history of VOCALOID and introduce the new products.
Kenmochi started by recounting ten years ago when Yamaha first sent out a press release regarding VOCALOID, and how back then the Japanese pronunciation started with a ‘v’ sound instead of the ‘b’ sound that is used today. He then pointed out a little passage from the press release that read: “Note that VOCALOID will work on a personal computer with Windows installed. Mac OS support is planned.” So now, ten years later, Yamaha can finally support VOCALOID on the Mac, and they’re apologizing to and thanking people for waiting such a long time.
While talking about the process of converting the software to support Mac, Kenmochi noted that VOCALOID was split into three parts — the GUI, the synthesis engine and the sound bank. Although it is obvious that the GUI and synthesis engine need to be ported to the Mac, it is not apparent what needed to be done with the data in the sound bank. Kenmochi pointed out that since the license engine is coupled with the sound bank, it’s not just data and thus it has to be ported as well.
For the synthesis engine and GUI portion, as a first step, Yamaha is offering the new VOCALOID Editor for Cubase NEO, an updated version of VocaCu that supports both Windows and Mac. VocaCu is a plugin that interoperates with Cubase to allow VOCALOID editing within the Cubase DAW environment. Meanwhile, for sound banks, Yamaha is planning to release NEO versions of several of their current VOCALOID3 sound banks, such as VY1V3, MEW, Aoki Lapis, ZOLA PROJECT and VY2V3. Commenters on niconico were saddened by the lack of ToneRion. Documents on the Mac and Windows versions are also going to be interchangeable.
Furthermore, for those who have already bought one of the aforementioned sound banks for Windows, Yamaha will provide free of charge a Mac installer as well. The procedure to move from Windows to Mac consists of deactivating the product on Windows (using the recently released deactivation tool from Yamaha), downloading and running the Mac installer, and then activating on the Mac. VocaCu NEO and VY1V3 NEO are expected to be released on August 5, along with Mac installers for VY1V3 and MEW. MEW NEO itself isn’t expected until September. Meanwhile, ZOLA PROJECT NEO and Aoki Lapis NEO are planned for October, with VY2V3 to come in November. The Mac installers for original versions of those are also expected in the same corresponding months.
With Kenmochi’s segment wrapped up, the event moved onto a live demonstration of the capabilities of VocaCu by VOCALOID producer CaptainMirai and Yamaha instructor Aoki Shigeo. After the demonstration, Aoki asked CaptainMirai that although he mostly works in Windows, would he be interested in the Mac version; CaptainMirai replied, saying that he actually wouldn’t mind getting a Mac. And with that, the presentation moved to the second half with Crypton Future Media.
For the Crypton segment, the MC invited on stage CEO Itoh Hiroyuki as well as Media Phage Department Lead Tanabe Shigeru. Starting out, Itoh mentioned that they’ve been pestered with two questions continuously for the past six years and now they are ready to provide solutions. The first question was “what do we do about the backing music?” and the second was “will you support Mac?”
To answer the first question, Itoh outlined the Hatsune Miku V3 product, stating that it’s something that enable anyone to become a creator of music. The way they approached this was to make this software an all-in-one package, which includes Japanese sound banks, VST plugin Piapro Studio to edit the vocals and a DAW and plugins to create the backing instrumentals. Details about this release are expected to be released in early August.
Next, Itoh wanted to talk Mac, starting with a slide of two apples on a tree, with the text “Mac support” on top. He outlined how the various components such as Piapro Studio, the VOCALOID API they licensed from Yamaha, the Hatsune Miku sound bank and the DAW would sit together and communicate. Furthermore, he noted that although Piapro Studio is VST only at the moment, they’re working on adding AU support as well for the Mac users.
Although he had hinted only at two topics, he then moved on to talking about the third topic, Hatsune Miku V3 English. This appears to be a Mac/Windows release with AU support expected in the future. It will be sold internationally in North America, Latin America, Europe and Taiwan, etc. He also noted that Hatsune Miku V3 English will be a separate product from the Japanese V3 release. Details again are expected in early August.
Finally, for the fourth topic, he brought up the fact that MEIKO V3 was in production and that like the other V3 releases from Crypton, it will be in an all-in-one package. MEIKO V3 is expected to support Mac/Windows as well and will come out this fall or later. They also hope to have Mac support for KAITO V3 by then. Furthermore, for the future, Crypton plans to make all of their characters compatible with Mac. For owners of the current versions, Crypton will offer a special program to purchase the new and updated versions.
In closing, Itoh mentioned some miscellaneous announcements, such as an upcoming Piapro collaboration coming this weekend for icon designs in Piapro Studio. It was at this point that they let slip a shot of the screen that showed six Hatsune Miku V3 sound banks, labeled MIKU_V3_Original, MIKU_V3_Dark, MIKU_V3_Soft, MIKU_V3_Sweet, MIKU_V3_Solid and MIKU_V3_English. He also pointed out the revamped VOCALOID pages on Crypton’s website. Furthermore, Crypton opened a “Crypton Channel” on niconico earlier that day, and Crypton will be holding a Piapro Studio workshop at Magical Mirai. Lastly, they are planning a new project aimed at creators, alluding to the VOCALOID creative movement spreading outside of Japan.
After these announcements, the presentation moved on to a demonstration of Piapro Studio by Tanabe. Although KAITO V3 was bundled with Studio One as the DAW, the demonstration at this event was done with Piapro Studio plugged into Cubase instead. During the demonstration, Tanabe inputted a note sequence and then changed the lyrics and parameters live as it looped continuously, seamlessly except for one point when the audio glitched for a second and an error screen popped up. He also demonstrated Miku English, Piapro Studio’s auto-add-note feature for when there are too many syllables in the lyrics and also Piapro Studio’s ability to edit multiple vocal tracks at once, allowing the user to easily see and edit the different notes all on the same screen.
The closed with Yamaha Music Japan’s Miyawaki Seichi giving closing remarks. Astute watchers on niconico realized he was wearing a shirt underneath his jacket that simply had ‘wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww’ (comment commonly found on niconico, approximately translated as ‘lolololololol’) written all over it. At the end, he noted that it was kind of hot and took off his jacket to reveal the backside, which had ’88888888′ (niconico comment for applause) and ‘VocaCu’ written on it, as he walked off stage.