Text-to-Speech Sux!

Text-to-speech is an awesome prototyping, rehearsal and accessibility tool. It’s fine for beta-type information delivery. But for hypnotic or suggestive purposes it is almost impossible to imagine worse.

The time spent trying to make a TtS recording sound sufficiently human to pass notice is better spent finding friends and family, as well as yourself, to make voice recordings. There is so much scope to edit, pitch-shift and otherwise modify a voice whilst maintaining the tempo that any dislike of one’s own voice is easily countered. I tend to use Audacity to do most audio cleanup and editing, but often leave the pitch-change to Mind Workstation, for flexibility of use of a particular sample. Be warned pitch shifting while maintaining tempo brings great computers to their knees – it’s slow on a fast machine.

My limited scope trials suggest that a “bad” voice recording will be more readily tolerated by a subject targeting alpha or theta than a good TtS recording. A somewhat familiar, trusted voice is also more highly accepted than either a stranger’s voice or TtS. Being the author of a TtS script increases it’s individual effectiveness.


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  • Dan H  On May 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

    No kidding — I’ve given up on it, mostly.

    Very nice perspective and info you have here.

    • CraigT  On May 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks. I try to be realistic about things. There’s a lot of technology that has its place, but is way premature for prime time, that just isn’t yet truly consumer accessible.

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