Vocaloid II

I mentioned Vocaloid way back in July and now it's popped up in this New York Times article. It does a good version of hyping the possibilities of voice emulation, here's a fun quote from Michael Stipe:

Michael Stipe of R.E.M. heard a Vocaloid version of "Amazing Grace" online, and he said he was impressed. (The Yamaha Corporation includes samples with a recent press.) But he wasn't prepared to rush out and have a font created. "I would hate to think that 250 years from now Altria would use the Michael Stipe voice to sell organic soy to a Mars landing," he said. "It's intriguing in 2003. I'm not sure about 2303."

I think I've heard two different recordings from this thing. The Japanese one sounded really good and the English Amazing Grace one sounded pretty fake to me. I'm assuming this will go in the digital actors bin of "you can produce an OK lifeless facsimile of the appearance or sound of an actor or musician, but you can't make them do anything worthwhile without a ton of work and possibly the original artist".

The article also talks about cloning Elvis's voice for use in commercials but doesn't mention that there's a whole industry of Elvis impersonators already out there. I'm not sure making a program really makes an Elvis jingle much more attainable for advertisers.