According to Zero-G, they looked at what was missing and decided that there was a gap for a classical soprano voice. This voice type was decided during MIRIAM's release, along with a choir type voice. Prima's voice provider was a singer who answered an advertisement that was placed on a music academy website.
After some test samples in the VOCALOID software, they decided to go ahead and record her voice for the VOCALOID2 software. Demos released for her included "Lakme Flower duet Delibes," amongst others.
She was unveiled to the general public in Feb 2007 and was originally set for a Spring 2007 release. Prima was first demonstrated along with Sweet ANN and BIG AL at the NAMM show in 2007. When Sweet ANN was released a responding comment to the release asked about Prima. A reply noted that they had not heard anything from Zero-G Limited and presumed a delay in development.
At the end of 2015, it was announced that from March 31, 2016, VOCALOID2 was being retired and no new serial codes were be issued by Yamaha. Zero-G announced that they would continue to issue import codes to legitimate owners of Prima, SONiKA and Tonio.
Prima has the voice of a professional Soprano opera singer. Her partner vocal is Tonio.
In 2016, EmpathP spoke on Prima. She noted her voice was both a first for Vocaloid as nothing had been heard like her before and she was a turning point overall in Vocaloid production. Her significance led to the possibilities that instead of creating just a basic singer, "styles" were possible and that in her opinion, Prima stretched the showed the potential of VOCALOID2.
She is also the only VOCALOID2 voicebank that can match Hatsune Miku on high notes, and both tie for highest VOCALOID2 optimum range at #E5. Prima is also capable of reaching notes that some real singers have difficulty reaching.
She also has the largest optimum vocal range of any English VOCALOID2 voicebank.
She has one of the most powerful-sounding voices of the VOCALOID2 voicebanks and favors long, drawn-out notes, having a good note ascension.
Her treble range is powerful and louder, she has sharp pronunciation, thus is why she is able to produce high quality singing results in the higher ranges.
Her bass range is quite strong with the same sharp pronunciations, but in comparison is quieter sounding.
Her vocals blend together fairly easily when used correctly, and is one of the smoother English capable VOCALOID. Many consider her one of the most natural sounding for the English capable VOCALOID in the VOCALOID2 range, if not, she is the most natural sounding.
Prima was noted for having less overall clarity than Sweet ANN, but producing better quality singing results.
Prima can produce a wide variety of tones and has some of the most superior singing results of English VOCALOID2, evening out singing Tonio. When it comes to classical singing vocal style, especially her forte of opera, she can easily be morphed to sound like a tenor or baritone and is generally better then Tonio at morphing her vocal due to being better overall in quality then he is.
She and Tonio are both extreme good vocals for general atmospheric and vocal background noises as their vocals can be quite haunting, so they do not always have to have lyrics to sound good.
Phonetic notes as noted:
Prima did not have a standard English voicebank database and had a customized library with additional content. She had a trilled "R" sound, which was added to allow her to be able to mimic opera better.
Prima was also the first English capable VOCALOID with the ability to make breaths ([br1] to [br5]). She is also the only Zero-G VOCALOID2 who is able to make them, and is also the English VOCALOID2 female voicebank with such besides Megurine Luka.
Her bass contains issues with ground noise loop which can be heard when using certain phonetic sounds ("v" and "n", for example).
Software issues as noted:
Prima is one of the hardest VOCALOID to work with, as she is grounded to her opera-esque style of singing. Prima was ranked as a more difficult VOCALOID to use in Japan than Kagamine Rin & Len's original package. As such Prima's biggest flaw is no matter what tone you give her she still sounds like she is trying to sing opera and this can limit the unique sounding results you can achieve with her vocal.
Prima became famous for an issue related to the VOCALOID2 engine, which would render the VOCALOID2 editor unable to be opened when older VOCALOIDs were installed over newer ones. The cause of the problem was simply that Prima did not share the same version of VOCALOID2 as previous VOCALOID2's did, like Sweet ANN, Hatsune Miku and Kagamine Rin & Len.
There may be some issues with installing Prima on a 64-bit system as the installer for her software refuses to open on certain versions of Windows. According to Zero-G, installing Tonio first, and then Prima, will fix this. Prima works in Windows 7 in 32-bit mode.
Sound on sound writer Tom Flint raised some points during Tonio's review about the genre of opera-based VOCALOIDs. As quoted in a statement on Tonio, it was noted, "...just sounds odd when colored with an electronic effect," as the opera effect just sounds too robotic.
A 2.40+ GBs, Prima installed version, Prima's sample database has the largest Hard drive consumption of any single Vocal for VOCALOID2.