I've been using/playing around with TTS since 8-bit computer, Apple II+ with SAM card + s/w, and DOS, Windows, 68K Mac, OSX, AT&T Natural Voice, online voice services.
I loved the idea computer talking back with information. I wrote some programs using TTS on various OSes for amusement.
Today's computers are more than powerful and big enough to do TTS locally. I don't like relying on online TTS service: network and external service dependencies, for offline or low network bandwidth devices, and also for privacy reason. So for this posting, it's about offline TTS (and free).
I find Mac and Windows TTS have the best voice quality for offline TTS. For my use, create a simple TTS server and output speech from various programs.
Time is good -- things got better, cheaper, easier. Voice quality is very good, it's free, and easy to use (python).
After moving to Ubuntu, I've been looking for a good s/w with high quality voice.
There are a lot of options for Linux, of course. Since TTS is just another feature I want to use, my requirements are: good enough voice quality, easy to use, python friendly and free.
Unfortunately, the s/w I tried, the voice quality was all pretty bad. Very robotic, 8-bit era voice.
I missed Mac/Windows TTS, so thought about using Mac/Windows TTS:
- Using Mac -- I have an old and no longer being used MacBook I could use it for TTS server, but that's an overkill.
- Using Wine -- I installed Windows TTS on Wine, works great -- nice voice quality. But running on Wine is not so great -- uses too much resources, and running python server+REST API on it is another big hassle. And I'm not even sure I can run Wine+PythonAPI+TTS as a Linux service. I've been reading up many postings on this, and it seems it's too much effort.
It's called "flite",
$ sudo apt-get install flite
Get more voices,
$ wget -r --no-parent --no-directories --accept flitevox http://www.festvox.org/flite/packed/flite-2.0/voices/
$ flite -t "Hello World!" -voice cmu_us_fem.flitevox
I like these voices: