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Chipspeech is a retro styled vocal synthesizer created to reproduce vintage vocal synthesizers released in the 20th century.
Plogue Art et Technologie, Inc is a small company specialized in chipbased technology and aiming to recreate chip effects and sounds and apply them to modern technology. Chipspeech was one of their many ideas they planned for years to create, however, they were held back on the means to execute it. Though they had the technology, they lacked the knowledge. The Chipspeech software was born after they hired a member of their development team with Phonetic knowledge, allowing them to come up with ideas on how to create a vocal synthesizer technology.
The software acts as stand alone or plug-in software to various DAWs. It can sing and talk and supports two languages: English and Japanese (though Japanese currently does not have talk capability). There are various means to adjust the vocal in the way the user wants, creating some very unique sounds and results.
Unlike Vocaloid, CeVIO or other synthesizers words are typed as sentences. If used as a plug-in into a DAW, the synthesizer will play each sentence in the keyboard. The software is easy to use but requires some work to master.
The software currently has 12 characters, with an optional 13th being able to once downloaded known as "Daisy". Daisy was able to go into Alter/ego and is the only character able to do so. Daisy is, however. currently retired and unavailable for download. The other 12 characters are based on various synthesizers, such as Rotten.ST based on Atari ST’s STSPEECH.TOS or Dandy 704 based upon the IBM 704 computer. With the exception of Dandy 704, all have a cyberpunk-style character illustration representing each voice, with Dandy 704's instead being Steampunk. There is a basic "storyline" between the characters and a "canon" as per say. However, this does not impact the software itself.
Usage for MusicEdit
The main strength of the engine is it can have a multiple number of synthesizer styles built into it. While some like Dandy 704 or Lady Parsec are based on samples recreation vocals much like VOCALOID or UTAU, others like Dee Klatt do not have samples and are fully synthetic sounds. They are instead based on direct input, meaning they recreate to various degrees faithful recreations of their engine, with Dee Klatt's being a fully rendered "live" feed back. This is a sharp contrast to VOCALOID and other synthesizers, which are centred around just a single style or two of creating results, Chipspeech has an almost endless number of ways it can synthesize vocals or be adapted and new functions have been added over time for this reason as well as new vocal types. For example, along with 5 new vocals since release, the Circuit Bending feature was added in version 1.032. This mimicked the circuit bending method of getting unique vocals from the classic old chips, which allowed for 'one of a kind' results.
The vocals themselves are difficult to find otherwise in their original chip forms, some being impossible to find due to how old their technology is. Many of the Chipspeech vocals came directly from chipsets that are either not compatible with modern computers, or unable to be found in the first place with a few of the rare chips being sold for thousands of dollars.
They can easily recreate nonsensical vocals and provider vocal special effects for use in music and sound, to which it has an almost unlimited amount of results it can recreate. The software is regarded as fun to use and play with. In contrast, Vocaloid and other modern synthesizers find it much harder to create such level of unique sounds, as they are too realistic and grounded in reality with engines designed against such purposes.
The various vocals have varying results of sound. Some are clear and crunchy such as Otto Mozer, while others muffled and vague sounding such as Vosim. As they are based on old technology they are all dated vocals and do not reflect the modern sounding ones. Therefore they at best barely sound human and do not attempt to even sound remotely like an uncanny effect. This can be off putting for those inexperienced with synthesizers of the past who and those who want realistic sounding vocals. These unrealistic vintage synthesized sounds therefore can be hard to sell as a concept to modern producers compared to realistic sounding ones, so their strengths as vocal sounds can also be considered a set back.
The vocals vary to such a degree that a producer can find 1 vocal much harder to use then another, and each vocal needs some consideration when being used. This can be exampled with Lady Parsec and Terminal 99. Though are based on the same synthesiser do not use the same methods of producing results as Lady Parsec is sample based and Terminal 99 is code based.
The software is notorious for its timing issues.