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MEIKO (メイコ) is a Japanese VOCALOID originally developed by Yamaha Corporation and distributed by Crypton Future Media, Inc.. She was one of the 4 known "Project Daisy" vocals and was initially released for the original VOCALOID engine.Her voice is provided by the Japanese female singer-songwriter, Meiko Haigō (拝郷 メイコ Haigō Meiko).

MEIKO was the third voicebank to be released along side a version of Piapro Studio.

Concept

Etymology

"MEIKO" comes directly from her voice provider's name, "Haigō Meiko."

MEIKO's codename was "HANAKO";[1] it likely came from "Yamada Hanako (山田花子)", a placeholder name for female characters, and the Japanese equivalent to "Jane Smith". "Megumi" was also a name considered during her development.[2]

She is often misnamed Sakine Meiko by fans. The name originates from the eponymous derivative character, depicted as herself in her younger days.

Appearance

The first illustration of MEIKO was done by Shogo Washizu, often called わっしー(Wasshi), a former member of Crypton.[3][4] Crypton placed this product on the market with box art that depicted a female character. This character had nothing to do with the singer's image, but her anime-based appearance appealed to a mainstream audience and the software sold well.

Wat described how different the intention of the CV series was to the concept of KAITO and MEIKO during the development of KAITO V3. Consequently Crypton took a different direction with their updates in comparison to the Appends of Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin & Len, and Megurine Luka.

History

Marketing

The original release of both KAITO and herself was noted for their lack of marketing. Aside from a DTM Magazine article, both Japanese Vocals went largely under the radar. MEIKO fared better then KAITO despite this and went on to be one of the more successful of the 5 original VOCALOID vocals. Some focus was given to the older engine, but only after VOCALOID2 had gained popularity, with basics such as tutorials produced where there was once not anything at all.

However, despite this the act of putting a character on the boxart was popular, though the image was not of MEIKO originally. The act of putting a character on the boxart was carried over to following VOCALOIDs to encourage creative activities by individuals, expanding the characters based on each user's individual needs.[5][6][7]

Voicebanks

MEIKO had a number of VOCALOID releases, some of which were released also for Piapro Studio versions that used the VOCALOID API.

MEIKO's original release was aimed to be a professional and standard vocalist with no significant stand out tratis compared to Hatsune Miku, who was intended to be her replacement in VOCALOID2.[8] When MEIKO was updated, the voicebank had to be completely re-done with a similar tone to the original, thus some aspects of the vocal have changed in consequential versions. The vocal was also originally a counter-partner to the KAITO "Straight" vocal.

A more powerful version of the "Straight" vocal. Its conveyed tone is similar to the "Power" voicebanks of Kagamine Rin. This vocal was initially recorded in 2009, and was intended to be a part of what would have been MEIKO V2, however the vocal did not produce satisfactory results in the VOCALOID2engine, leading to Power being shelved. It was brought back out 4 years later, and due to the VOCALOID3 wavelength improvements over VOCALOID2, the vocal was re-added thanks to V3 making the vocal possible. This is the oldest vocal in the MEIKO V3 package, being 10 years old while the MEIKO V3 software itself is only 5 years old.
  • MEIKO V3 (Piapro Studio), February 4, 2014

A more deeper toned vocal with allowance for more mature sounding voice. While it shares the same name as Hatsune Miku's Append Dark vocal and its subsequent VOCALOID3 and VOCALOID4 incarnations, the direction for MEIKO's was different. It is a natural tone change for MEIKO.
  • MEIKO V3 (Piapro Studio), February 4, 2014

A soft whisper-like, yet natural sounding tone.
  • MEIKO V3 (Piapro Studio), February 4, 2014

The English vocal for MEIKO, allowing for her to sing in English. This vocal allows for better English results over using a Japanese vocal for the same purpose. The drawbacks to this vocal, however, are its small tempo and vocal range. The tempo range sits at a low 30 bpm total, spanning 100-130 bpm, and its optimum range sits at B2 ~ B3. This leaves her English vocal sounding sad or heartbroken, much like Hatsune Miku's Dark vocal. This can prove to be unideal for some users who wish to create English songs with MEIKO V3, and may choose to use one of her Japanese vocals instead. However, this vocal is perfect for users who wish to create sad songs, songs of loss or heartbreak, etc. with MEIKO, as the vocal is capable of conveying strong emotion despite its limitations.
  • MEIKO V3 (Piapro Studio), February 4, 2014

References

  1. 最初のコードネームは、MEIKOはHANAKOで、KAITOはTAROということですね。
  2. 開発段階では「めぐみ」という案もあったそうです
  3. Meiko Haigou's official web site
  4. Morio Morito Blog - MEIKOとKAITOのパケ絵描いた人について+α "Illustrators that illustrated Meiko and Kaito"
  5. IT Media News - 異例の売れ行き「初音ミク」「ニコ動」で広がる音楽作りのすそ野 (Extraordinary sales for Hatsune Miku as Nico spreads the music)
  6. Crypton MEDIA phage - [Vocaloid2情報] 出張終了のお知らせ。
  7. G-Search side B - バーチャルアイドル?ボーカロイド?今話題の初音ミクって何? (Virtual Idol? Vocaloid? Hatsune Miku is the new topic now?)
  8. http://blog.crypton.co.jp/mp/software/vocaloid/
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