On F/OSS and Singing Synth.

As somebody who has been familliar with UTAU for about 5 years, (has it really been that long???) I’ve always had a bit of an issue with the fact that UTAU is closed source. Sure, it’s great that the software is “free as in beer,” so to speak, but I lament how the community cannot make any improvements of their own to the core program, such as making the program Unicode so that more orthographic systems are supported, or allowing “reverse configuration” for VC samples.

As a point then, I decided to conduct a search for open-source singing synth technologies so see what I could find, since it’s been a few years since I’ve last looked and I wondered what the community has done since then.

There’s Rocaloid, but that doesn’t seem to be ready for prime time, as the old code has been deprecated and the creators are working on a new version.

However, another program that looks promising is QTau, an open-source singing synth that is meant to act as a substitute for UTAU. I haven’t tried it yet, however it indeed looks somewhat promising. It probably won’t replace UTAU for an average user anytime soon given the fact that it is currently GNU/Linux only, but the point of this is I have a new toy to play with. Muahaha. Updates forthcoming, if I get a chance to hack around with it.

What I’ve Been Reading: Strawberry Pop-Tarts and Moonie Codes

It’s been a little bit since I’ve made a blog post, so I thought I would fix that. I’ve mostly been busy with working, getting ready for the new semester, and mindlessly surfing the internet. 

That last point, however, spurred me to write this post. I stumbled onto a Sailor Moon wiki called WikiMoon, which not only had information about the various series (series-es? serii?), but also discussed the fandom, as well. Two things about the latter interested me.

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An Unorthodox Use of Singing Synth

Singing synthesis research is surprisingly diverse; it is not limited to trying to make synth voices sound more “realistic” by any means. In addition, it has some surprising applications, as well.

For example, the article “Word Level Automatic Alignment of Music and Lyrics Using Vocal Synthesis” by Maddage and Sim details a system for aligning synthesized vocals with text lyrics, one that could possibly be used in the karaoke industry if it becomes well-refined enough.

Instead of using Hidden Markov Models, like most systems aligning vocals and text, the authors used synthesized vocal signals. They also used a TTS model of singing synthesis.

Now, this last point is the most interesting to me. Most commercial singing synth systems, if not all of them, use a system with a piano roll interface, and while, English vocaloids use some rudimentary TTS in the form of a dictionary, it makes me wonder what if somebody did develop a commercial singing synth that was closer to the TTS side of things. Would it be more or less usable than the current products out there? My guess is that it would be less usable, but I don’t know for sure.

A Gallery of Unamused Computer Science Pioneers

On the day I discovered that marvellous copy of WordPerfect hiding in the shelves, I also found something else interesting: it was an illustrated computer dictionary with a bunch of pictures of…somewhat suspect quality, I would say? However, I realized something quite amusing: a good deal of them looked like they were annoyed. Case in point:

Seriously, he looks like he’s side-eyeing someone who cut in front of him in line at the post office.

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Review: Lihit Lab Bag-in-Bag

When I saw this baby while browsing JetPens, I knew I had to pick one up and try it. Hearing the guys at the Pen Addict podcast give a fairly favorable review of it solidified my decision as well. One of the things that tends to annoy me in my day-to-day life is the fact that I have to pack my backpack every night before I go to class. I don’t want to carry around all my textbooks and notebooks with me at once, especially since I have to walk a half a mile every day there and back. Needless to say, saving my back is “a good thing.” So, when I saw this, I thought it might make packing for school a bit easier.

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