Synthetic speech in your music.

Robot Hed - photo

Have you ever used a speech synthesizer in your music? I’ve used a 1970′s Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, Apple computer’s built in MacInTalk text to speech synthesizer, Magnavox Odyssey² video game peripheral “The Voice”, AT&T’s “Natural Voices” for telephony, Commodore Amiga’s “Soft Voice” synthesizer and a handful of other talk making algorithms.Speak & Spell - image

You can hear synthetic voices in a lot of popular music. Most recently Benni Benassi’s song Satisfaction highlights Apple’s MacInTalk speech synthesizer.

In my own music I sometimes have the synthetic voice mirror the last few words in a verse acting as a robotic backup singer. In my live version of the song “One Night in NYC” I have a synthetic female voice tell her side of the dark story. I recorded a futuristic minimal track with German producer Miro Pajic titled “Gigabytes Numbers” and the last minute of the song a male synthetic voice with a British accent rambles gibberish and well large numbers. To increase the futuristic effect on his voice we put it through a TC Electroinc’s Filtrator plug-in and then automated some delay effect times using Ableton Live’s standard Ping Pong Delay plug-in. Here’s an audio sample:

Here are a few online places you can go right now and create some synthetic voices:

What’s next? Software that creates real singing vocals of course. Yamaha’s Vocaloid software takes a stab at it but the technology really is not ready for prime time. However, I could see using Vocaloid for interesting sounds. You can jump over to Sound on Sound Magazine to hear a sample.

Keep in mind we are not “talking” about vocoding in this article. Vocoding uses a carrier signal and a real human voice and will be a subject of a different post in the future. For a current stream of updated info on Text to Speech check out the Text to Speech blog!

photo credits: redomestication and inju

4 Comments

  1. Leopard, MacOSX 10.5, also has a couple of new voices, worth checking out.

    Reply

  2. Hi digitalbeatsyndrome… sorry for the delay in listening to your audio clips. Things have been crazy in Berlin. I like the songs they have been playing in the backround while I did some work here. Nice 8-bit samples and cut up vocals and I’m following your movement in the melody up and down. Never sure exactly what people are looking for when it comes to feedback. If you want you can also always email me directly. CControl Wwant. oliverchesler@wiretotheear.com

    Reply

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