6

I have heard it many times before, but I can't recognize where the TTS file/engine comes from. But what in do know is that it sounds very old, so it seemed appropriate to post this question here.

This is an example of the TTS I'm talking about:- Old TTS

I finally found it on this online TTS tool, the "US Male" but I still have no clue where it comes from. I was hoping that y'all could recognize it and recommend me the TTS file.

  • The online tool to which you link has Hindi English accents, hinting that the tool author(s) might be Indian. Even if they are,though, it doesn't mean whoever designed TtS in questions was Indain also. – RichF Jan 16 '18 at 0:42
  • No the author of the website is Swiss, I believe. But the TTS file is not probably made by him. – Retrax Jan 16 '18 at 0:56
7

The site linked is using FLITE or Festival Light, an optimized open source reimplementation of the Festival speech framework. Development goals where fast(er) generation, (relative) small footprint and low power consumption so it can be used on upcoming PDAs of the early 2000s.

Festival is developed since 1995 at the University of Edinburgh, while FLITE development happens at Carnegie Mellon University since 1999.

Being rather recent (post 2000) I wouldn't really consider this software retro. Though, the underlying synthesis model dates back to the 1970s.

If your memory is really about something classic, maybe you remember some system using an SSI 263 (Votrax SC-02) chip? There have quite a lot boards using that chip all thru the 80s and early 90s. TRS-80, PET and Apple II all the way to PCs got their speech boards.

Don't get fooled by the many less than great examples on Youtube, as they usually only show the basic capabilities, where the majority of TTS is done in with the chiptables, which naturally only give a rather robotic voice. There has been better adjusted software available fine-tuning the output with results much more like what the FLITE examples show.

  • 1
    I can confirm the Votrax and TRS-80 connection. In the very early 80's, like 80 or 81, my father and I went to NYC to a computer show and saw text-to-speech in action with a Radio Shack Model I. Unfortunately, I was a starving student at the time and couldn't purchase one for mine. We both thought it was cool as hell, though. My father wanted it to be integrated to his Model II's point-of-sale software to say "Thank you, come again" after printing a receipt. – Bill Hileman Jan 31 '18 at 18:49
3

It sounds like the Amiga Narrator device. I remember it had really weak intonation.

Other old devices that it probably isn't: MITalk/DECTalk (“Stephen Hawking”), TI TMS5100 (“Speak & Spell”), Apple MacinTalk (Radiohead “Fitter, Happier”), General Instrument SP0256/AL2 (lots of 8-bit speech devices), SAM (Apple II/C64, Software Automatic Mouth: s-macke/SAM: Software Automatic Mouth - Tiny Speech Synthesizer), …

  • It's been a long time since I heard Narrator speak, but I have my doubts this was the Amiga's voice. The male voice could be, but the female voice is very suspect. IIRC, the female Narrator voice was more "natural" than the male, but in the linked TtS site, the female voice is awful. Also, if @Raffzahn is correct, then it sure sounds as if TtS quality failed to advance from the Amiga's release in 1985 to FLITE a decade or more later. – RichF Jan 16 '18 at 7:44
  • This doesn't sound like flite. I use flite a lot, and have done for some years. The quality did increase quite well, but sampling quality and processing power has always been a limiting factor. Also, most general-purpose TTS is developed to sound good enough for phone use, and flite is a very cut-down engine. Don't forget that Vocaloid — Yamaha's brilliant singing speech synthesizer — was developed in the early 2000s, so quality is all down to domain and budget … – scruss Jan 16 '18 at 15:42
  • @scruss it is flite, and you can tell by the option values encoded in the dropdown on the website linked in the question. slt, rms, awb, and kal are Festival/flite voices (I remember kal, don, and rab clearly). The Indian voices even have flitevox in the filenames :) – hobbs Jan 17 '18 at 18:33
  • I stand corrected, then. I only ever use the awb voice with flite, because it was initially the only one available. It also sounds fairly (but not really) like my voice, since the author and I are both lowlanders – scruss Jan 17 '18 at 20:36
1

The first time I heard this was when I added sounds to my computer with a Creative Labs Soundblaster.

This voice came with a program called Dr. Sbaitso

  • It sounds completely different from the one I posted. Anyways thanks. – Retrax Jan 18 '18 at 6:32

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