What is a Vocaloid?

A Vocaloid is a singing program that was created by YAMAHA Corporation. Various companies have created “Voice banks” for the program, which are the singers, and are mainly Japanese. The Vocaloid program itself does not include any voice banks, just the tools to make it sing/alter the voice. A voice bank (VB) is just the voice. You cannot use one without the other. The Vocaloid editor (the program/engine) has went through several upgrades, with each one adding a number to the program. The most current version of the Vocaloid program is V4 (Vocaloid 4). To correspond with the program upgrades, it is common for a voice bank to also have an upgrade, and their name will usually change accordingly, with the Vocaloid version following their name. An example is KAITO V3 (The original voice bank was simply “KAITO”). One voice bank is a kind of “library” in and of itself, so one voice bank can have multiple styles of the voice included in it. For example, the KAITO V3 voice bank library contains “Soft”, “Straight”, “Whisper”, and “English”. Not all vocaloid voice banks come in more than one language (bilingual). VB are usually produced for the Japanese language, but have also been made for English, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. An older VB is considered ‘retired’ once a newer version comes out, although it is usually included as an updated version in the upgraded library.

A Voice Bank usually has a character associated with it, which has some level of a personality and/or background, and thus had created what is called a “virtual idol”. A “vocaloid” (Not “Vocaloid”, as in the engine) refers to the character of a voice bank. A VB itself is created from voice samples of an actual person, commonly a singer or an actor. The character created for a VB has nothing to do with the person from which the voice came (although part of their appearance or personality may stem from the original person it was based off of, as in the case of Gakupo and the real singer Gackt). Virtual Idols have been coming increasingly popular, even performing concerts. The appeal to the Vocaloid program is that anybody can create songs with it and whatever voice banks they have. Although not necessarily needed, the Vocaloid program does not come with and instrument library or program, although when making digital songs usually music is desired to go along with it, so music programs such as studios (MIDIs) have to be bought separately.

There also exists a similar program called “UTAU” that has their “UTAUloids”. The difference being is this program is shared for free and anybody can create an UTAUloid. One of the most famous ones is Kasane Teto.


The most popular Vocaloid voice banks are created by Crypton Future Media Inc. In order of creation, the six Japanese Crypton vocaloids are: MEIKO, KAITO, Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin & Len, Megurine Luka. They have all went through upgrades, and here are all the versions of every bank:

  • MEIKO V3
  • KAITO V3
  • Hatsune Miku
  • Hatsune Miku Append
  • Hatsune Miku V3
  • Hatsune Miku V4X
  • Kagamine Rin & Len
  • Kagamine Rin & Len Append
  • Kagamine Rin & Len V4X
  • Megurine Luka
  • Megurine Luka V4X

Hatsune Miku is the most popular of all the vocaloids created. Rin & Len, along with Luka are commonly viewed as the next popular, respectively. Miku has performed several concerts featuring her friends over the years, as well as several ryhthm games [“Project Diva” installments].


Another company to produce VB is 1st Place Co., Ltd. They have created the very popular IA vocaloid, which is so popular it is considered second only to Miku. IA is the only vocaloid not released from Crypton to have her own video game [“IA/VT -Colorful-“], and have several successful concerts. 1st Place Co., Ltd. has created the following voicebanks:



Another company is Internet Co., Ltd. and they have created the popular vocaloids Gumi (Megpoid) and Kamui Gakupo (Gackpoid). The more popular voice banks and their upgrades are:

  • Megpoid
  • V3 Megpoid
  • Megpoid V4
  • Gackpoid
  • V3 Gackpoid
  • Gackpoid V4
  • Lily
  • V3 Lily
  • CUL
  • Rana
  • Rana V4
  • Galaco
  • Kokone
  • Chika


Other notable companies producing voice banks are YAMAHA Corporation, AH-Software Co. Ltd., EXIT TUNES Co., Ltd., and PowerFX Systems AB. There are many more voice banks available, and some of them include:

-Yuzuki Yukari
-Yuzuki Yukari V4
-v flower
-v4 flower
-Galaco NEO
-anon & kanon
-Xin Hua
-Hiyama Kiyoteru
-Hiyama Kiyoteru V4
-SF – A2 miki
-SF – A2 miki V4
-Nekomura Iroha
-Nekomura Iroha V4
-Utatane Piko
You can read more information at a great Vocaloid wiki where I first learned all about vocaloids years ago: http://vocaloid.wikia.com/wiki/Vocaloid_Wiki