Text-to-speech is now officially creepy.
Apple introduced this week their new speech synthesizer in Leopard called Alex. It’s better than what they had before, and hell of a lot better than Microsoft Sam. This is what it sounds like.
Now you may be thinking that Microsoft is kind of in the dark in terms of speech synthesizers. Microsoft is introducing a new synthesizer called Anna in Windows Vista, which improved drastically over Sam, but not better than Alex.
Where the spotlight shines is on Microsoft’s partners. Oliver from the Microsoft Speech team pointed me to NextUp.com, a site dedicated to Windows TTS compatible speech synthesizer engines. Most of which were considerably better than Microsoft Sam, but one stood out so much above the rest that I just had to write about it. This is Lee, an Australian voice from the RealSpeak Solo made by Nuance, who also makes Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Compare that to Long Zheng TTS, me with my crappy microphone.
Lee almost sounded like a real newsreader besides from a few quirks at the end.
Also, my friend Andy wants some attention.