A SAPI5 TTS voice for the Black Country

I’m pleased to see that there’s now a West Midlands – Black Country/South Staffordshire voice for Windows. Sue is SAPI5, so will work in any TTS system and software. I’d never encountered the CereProc name before but I couldn’t resist at the price, as I got the voice for just £5.50 with a discount code – PRICEFALL18. At that price it is, of course, for Non-Commercial use only.

PayPal is accepted, but (rather annoyingly) to download your purchase you’re then told you need to set up an account with them. This failed the first time, but worked the second. Eventually I got through to a 70Mb download, installed in Windows, and pasted in the licence.

The store seemed a bit confused about if the voice was Heather or Sue, but it installed as Sue.

On loading TextAloud 4, I was a little disappointed, as the voice was definitely not as smooth and modulated as the store sample. But it was trying to read an H.P. Lovecraft essay. I then tried it with the free Web browser addon Reader View for Chrome and Opera (which does voice reading as well), on a news article, and it was much better.

The voice seems to be a little better when slowed by a fraction (0.9), and as with most TTS voices some words cause stumbles. For instance Sue needs…

genre -> jon-rer
modulated -> module ayted
sample -> sam pull
you’re -> you are
— -> [add a space either side of the dash]

…etc.

But even ‘out of the box’ it’s fairly good on simple language, flowing across the words naturally. It handles (brackets) very well indeed in Reader View. Some de-essing in Audacity would smooth off the inevitable robo-sibilance.

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One comment on “A SAPI5 TTS voice for the Black Country

  1. […] * There are no other free accented voices, such as Cornish or Brummie, so far as I can tell. But as the cost of developing a Sapi5 TTS voice comes down, via automation of the process, and as the systems that drive the voices make them sound less robotic, I foresee a future in which some distinctive British regions and cities develop and offer their own ‘voice’. (Update: there’s now a Black Country voice). […]

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