Went to a book store and found these awesome magazines about digital / electronic music production.
The first one is a sort of tutorial for a Japanese software called Utau. It’s described as a “singing synthesizer”, and it’s essentially a freeware vocaloid software. It does have a few tricks that set it apart from more commercially established vocaloids, such as the ability for a user to record their own voice and then use that as the basis for synthesizing new words and melodies.
The fact that it’s free has also lead to a significant user base in Japan, with 100s of free, user created voice banks (some capable of singing in up to 15 different languages) and add-ons available online. It’s greatest restriction is that you need a PC running Windows that supports a fully Japanese locale, and almost all the usable documentation as well as the UI is all in Japanese.
I picked up the magazine with the intention to buy it, until I realized that it was Windows only. Since I do not have a Windows box in my MBP right now, I decided to hold off for now.
You can read more about UTAU here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utau
If you are interested in vocaloids and speak and read Japanese, it’s a great place to start and get your feet wet, before investing in one of the commercial packages.
The second magazine is a monthly one called “DTM Magazine”. The reason it looked interesting was because it lists a catalog of software synthesizers and DAWs current for 2013, and I wanted to see what kind of apps / synths are popular in Japan at the moment.
I haven’t had a chance to read through it, but just browsing the pages I already spotted some interesting synths that I have not come across before. I’ll post an update if I find something interesting worth sharing.