VOCALOID booth at CES 2013 (from Facebook)
The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show

When it comes to the coolest new stuff in technology such as gadgets, software, accessories, appliances, etc. The International Consumer Electronics Show or simply CES is one event a techie such as myself should not miss. 

Most of the tech press were bashing CES and saying they were no longer attending because of the large crowds or because of the absence of the big companies or they don't have much cool stuff to show. TWiT didn't even do shows from the CES venue, the Las Vegas Convention Center, as they did last year. So I was on Revision3, The Verge, and other tech media outlets this time for the latest CES coverage. To be fair though, TWiT still did CES coverage although they were a little delayed. 

But those people saying they're not attending for those reasons, mostly not so young people who attended CES in their days, are missing the point. CES now is no longer about the big companies and their products, they're on their own now. It's all about the smaller companies and the new and innovative stuff that we see there. It's actually the reason why there are so many people at CES.

VOCALOID is one such example. 

"We were impressed at the number of visitors to our booth and the great interest in our technologies." - Yamaha on VOCALOID CES booth turnout (Facebook)
People at the VOCALOID booth (from Facebook)
VOCALOID is a vocal synthesizer software developed by Yamaha wherein users can generate singing vocals by inserting musical notes and the corresponding lyrics in a 'piano roll' interface. Initially suffering from disappointing sales in its infancy, it has since then become highly popular in Japan as well as its neighbors and its popularity is also making its way worldwide, especially in the West.

The vocal synthesizing technology had a long way to make it this far, and one way to introduce it further to more people is to have a booth at CES. I was honestly excited that VOCALOID was joining one of the world's largest tech expo. It would surely gain a lot of attention for the reason that it was something different; something that is still rather new in the music industry, and it is certainly innovative to make use of vocal samples from someone and it would be turned to synthesized singing vocals. It's one of those things people are looking for at CES

Naturally, it would have a rather negative response because of the 'machines-taking-over' mentality and that it is feared that it would replace singers but right now, it does have its place in music. Not all music producers can always have a singer available so it is a start for them. Plus, it does have a different appeal, especially the Japanese ones.

Nevertheless, I hope the technology will be made more aware to more people and eventually gets the attention it truly deserves, especially the English voicebanks as Yamaha together with some Vocaloid-developing companies plans to push through the West as they try to promote Vocaloid to become as popular as it is here in the East. Crypton Future Media, the company behind Hatsune Miku, is not one of those as they have their own plans. They are even having their own VOCALOID editor which will be different from the one shown at CES. - but that's another story.

Be sure to stay tuned in a few days for some of my picks from CES 2013 (most likely it would be in video form - the first one I'll be doing this year)

Leave a Reply.