I saw a lot of people on Twitter saying they’d only be interested in Synth V if it allowed custom voicebanks. And a lot of other people are arguing that it’s unfair to expect Synth V to be free. These two ideas are not mutually exclusive. Synth V could remain commercial while allowing open library development. On the off chance that Kanru Hua hasn’t settled on a development model, I wanted to see what other people think about my dream model.
Kontakt by Native Instruments, an extremely popular engine for sample libraries (i.e., soundbanks), is commercial and allows users to create their own banks in the full version. It also has a demo version that times out after 15 minutes, which you cannot make custom banks with. There are banks that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and there are free banks, and barring a partnership between Native Instruments and a particular’s bank developer, you need the full version of Kontakt ($500) to use a bank.
I think an adapted Kontakt model could potentially work for Synth V:
- A) you need full Synth V to develop a voicebank or B) you need to buy a development kit to develop a voicebank
- “official” voicebanks (those made in collaboration with Dreamtonics, like Eleanor and Aiko) continue to run in both full and trial Synth V.
- “fanmade” voicebanks cannot run in trial Synth V, or only run with limitations (e.g., they stop working after 15 minutes)
Pros of an open model:
- access to hundreds of free and paid voicebanks make buying the full engine a more appealing choice
- could use a Steam/app-store type model, where paid fanmade voicebanks can get more attention in exchange for a revenue split with the store
- makes Synth V a competitor with just UTAU, not Vocaloid, Cevio, Alter/Ego, Sharpkey, Realivox Blue, and Emvoice One
Cons of an open model:
- may devalue paid banks that don’t stand out
- ??? (I can’t really think of anything else)
Does anyone have holes to poke in this, or other ideas? Also, please note that I’m not saying I wouldn’t buy Synth V without custom banks, but right now I’m not in love with any of the banks available and like the engine itself more than the banks that are out.