CHAPTER 2.1: INSTALLING NEW VOICEBANKS
So, you may have already noticed that we only have one voicebank downloaded in the program. And, with the fact that there are THOUSANDS of voicebanks up online, waiting to be downloaded, what voicebank should we download? You may want to refer to this section if you're looking to download voicebanks and try them out so that you can use them as references for creating your own voicebank.
What Are Voicebanks?
Let's get an explanation on some things before we get to download some voicebanks.
In UTAU, voicebanks are sound libraries that can sing songs for you, depending on the project/UST you are using. UTAU uses a voicebank's wav files and renders them using a resampler, resulting in a synthesized singing voice.
Voicebanks that are able to be downloaded are hosted online, usually on services such as MediaFire, Mega, Google Drive, and BowlRoll. Some voicebanks require passwords to download them, and others are simply up for private distribution. They range according to the format, tone, and a whole lot of other factors. They also have their own avatars! Think about the Crypton VOCALOIDs, as they have their own anime-esque avatars. Typically, these voicebanks are referred to as UTAUs, or more informally, UTAUloids.
In terms of format, we have CV (consonant-vowel; the most popular format for beginners), VCV (vowel-consonant-vowel; another popular format geared towards intermediate users), and CVVC (consonant-vowel-vowel-consonant; a new format that takes up less space than VCV). However, these aren't the only voicebank formats out there, as there are other formats that exist according to languages and what not. For simplicity's sake, we are going to focus on the main three. Keep mind that these three formats are optimized for the Japanese language.
Most of the voicebanks you download are usually located within the voice folder in the UTAU directory. Whenever you download a new voicebank and put it in the voice folder, UTAU will scan over said folder and have that new voicebank registered the next time you boot up UTAU.
Deciding on what voicebank to download is quite overwhelming, but worry not! We'll tackle that obstacle very soon.
Deciding What Voicebank To Download
Now that we've gone over the recap, we need to assess what we want when downloading voicebanks:
- What format do we want? CV? VCV? CVVC?
- Do I want to download a monopitch or a multipitch voicebank?
- What voice do we want? A cutesy voice? A deep, mature voice?
- Where will we download that voicebank?
- Is the download service that hosts the voicebank reputable?
This will help us in finding the voicebanks we are looking to download. Once you've figured out what voicebank to download, great! It'll also help in figuring out your favourite voicebanks.
As an example (you don't have to exactly follow along on what I'm about to do, but you're more than welcome to if you want), I'm thinking of downloading a multipitch VCV voicebank with an androgynous tone (yes, I'm a sucker for androgynous-sounding voicebanks), so as long as the hosting service is reputable.
TIP: For beginners, CV voicebanks are recommended, as they are easier to use. But everyone has their own learning pace, so if you have already learned how to use other voicebank formats, that's great!
Looking For Voicebanks
So, where do we find the voicebank we want? We'll go to one of UTAU's largest voicebank databases: UTAU Wiki 2.0. A lot of UTAU users go through the wiki to find and try out new voicebanks, and the wiki is getting new entries of voicebanks every day.
Using The Search Option
Usually we would use the tag system to find what voicebank we want, but because we are specific on what voicebank to download, the tag system isn't enough. Luckily, we have the search option to use, as putting our keywords into it will give us the most desired results. The searchbox should be located at your left, just below the tag lists box.
For example, in the searchbox, I'll type in the words "androgynous", "vcv", and "multipitch".
Once you have filled in your desired keywords, smash that Search button and you'll get a couple results.
Looks like we got a LOT of results based on the keywords we chose! With that, I suggest you look around and check out each entry to see what voicebanks fits your criteria the best, like looking at their profile and listening to their samples. I looked over the search results to see what UTAU I had interest in the most, and eventually I figured out that Tokumei was my best bet after looking after their profile and listening to their samples.
Once you've found your desired UTAU via their wiki entry, you should find their official site linked, where the voicebanks downloads are. If not, then usually there are download links under the Voicebank Distribution header. Sometimes, one UTAU can have many voicebanks up for download, so pick the one that you like the best!
On my end, I took a look around Tokumei's wiki page to find what voicebank I wanted according to my criteria. After much searching, I figured that their Solid voicebank exactly fit my criteria.
Downloading The Voicebank You Want
When you find the voicebank you want to download, click on its download link. It'll usually redirect you to the hosting service, where the voicebank can be downloaded. Once you're redirected, you should look around for a download button to begin downloading the voicebank.
For me, I was redirected to Google Drive, where the voicebank I wanted to download was being hosted. That's where I got mine.
WARNING: If the voicebank download is hosted on Axfc Uploader, be warned that that site is infested with a lot of inappropriate ads. To prevent this issue from happening, it is recommended that you use an ad blocker to avoid seeing such ads. A good ad blocker is uBlock Origin, and it is currently available as a Google Chrome extension.
Depending on how large the voicebank you're downloading is, it'll take some time for it to finish downloading on your computer. On your browser, there should be a little downloads section that pops up, and keeps track of the voicebank you're downloading (of course, that varies depending on the browser you use; on my end, I use Google Chrome).
Once the voicebank is finished downloading, you should go to the File Explorer and find the Downloads library; that's where the voicebank you downloaded is usually located unless you changed the download location.
Installing The Voicebank
Now that you've found your downloaded voicebank, you might notice that the voicebank comes in usually a RAR or a ZIP archive. While ZIP archives don't require any special software to extract them, RAR files or any other kind of archive file types require special software to extract them, such as WinRAR. If you downloaded a voicebank that's in a RAR file, then WinRAR is recommended to extract them. Though, for convenience purposes, I recommend downloading WinRAR first. It'll be easier to extract archives that way. Hell, it can even remember directories of where you extract things.
Sometimes, a voicebank can come as an EXE file, whereas you open it, it acts as an installation program similar to how you would install programs on your computer.
Now you should notice that the icon of the voicebank you downloaded is a RAR icon. It basically signifies that WinRAR will open it if you click on it. So, double-click on that voicebank archive, and you should be greeted by this screen.
What you want to do next is click on the voicebank folder to select it. Don't double click on it; that'll just lead you to the voicebank's contents.
Now, click on the icon shown below (Extract To).
This will bring up a panel of where to extract the voicebank you selected.
Now, you are given two options on how to find the voice folder path:
- Destination path: The way how you find the destination of where your voice folder is depends on where you installed UTAU. You can go to File Explorer and find where the voice folder is. Once you have found that, copy the file path and paste it to the Destination path box.
- Find the voice folder via the white box: I specified the box with the red text inside it. It's similar to the first option, but in my opinion, it's a little easier to do since you can just navigate to the voice folder is. Click on that folder, and the Destination path box with update with the file path.
Click OK and let the extracting process begin.
Again, depending on how large the voicebank is, it'll take longer for the extraction process to be completed. So, be patient and wait until it's done.
Booting The New Voicebank
Once the voicebank is finished extracting, the final step is to open up UTAU. The following process is rather simple.
Now, you should click on the voicebank name of the voicebank that is loaded up, which will bring up the project properties like this:
Then, click on the ▼ button that's beside the info button. That should give you a dropdown of all the voicebanks you have so far. Find the voicebank that you just extracted, and click on it.
Click on the OK button and the new voicebank should start loading. Wait patiently! The time it takes for a voicebank to load solely depends on how big the voicebank is and how powerful your computer is.
And there should be a change of an icon and the voicebank name by now, as shown in the image above. That means that you've successfully installed a voicebank. Congratulations! I hope this guide was of use to you. The next tutorial will on how to use UTAU.