I wanted my songs to include vocals, but unfortunately I am only a shower singer. Although I have done some singing (choir mostly), I struggle to hold a decent tone, let alone sing good enough to be used in any recording. On a budget, getting external vocal assistance would not work either, and I don’t know anyone that could do the singing for free. Basically I was down to two options; do the singing myself and use AutoTune to fix it up, or use a vocal instrument.
Both options seemed not to be very attractive at first. If I did the singing myself, a lot of work would be required to process the recording, and I am not sure that it would sound good in the end after all. Vocal instruments on the other hand have limitations and tend to sound robotic and stuttered. However a vocal instrument has the advantage of being a tool in composing, for me at least, this was key. I decided to give it a go, and I figuted that if the results were not according to my expectations, I could always reconsider later.
There are many vocal instruments available on the market, some are just a collection of samples, while others are more elaborate. I went for the Vocaloid from Crypton. I spent another $149 on Megurine Luka V4.
The software can sing in Japanese and English, and there are a number of parameters that can be changed, brightness, openess, vibrato etc. With the vocal instrument loaded in my DAW I can write lyrics directly, change notes, timing and mix directly into the song. This capability as a song writing tool proved out to be very useful, and I could play around with vocals just like any other instrument while composing.
The budget so far:
Megurine Luka V4: $149