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since some years I'm a Vocaloid fan and I share with some
professionals the opinion that it is the best singing voice software
synthesizer with a technological advance of some years.
The question if it is close to a real singing voice is partially
context dependent, referring to which database/voice you are using and
what you want to do with it. The results can be of highest quality where
listeners cannot distinct between a real and the synthesizer's voice.
If you want to know more about the scientific basis, please read the
Ph.D. thesis of Jordi Bonada: http://mtg.upf.edu/node/1231
He conducted a
listening test with different examples. There you will find the in-depth
evaluation of the output quality.
There are some tricks of the trade in order to produce high quality
outputs. Just typing in the melody and the lyrics surely works, but to
produce a more natural characteristic you should learn how to use all
the additional parameters like brightness, vibrato, etc. Google
"Vocaloid tutorial" and check out the YouTube videos.