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DesktopWeb FormText   eva : name and voicesTue, 03 Feb 2009 14:50:57 GMT # 

/eva's was originally called Alice. the idea was to find a female voice with a british accent, sort of like the Red Queen from Resident Evil. but then i got sick and tired of saying Alice. of course Wall-E inspired Eva, and it stuck. but the name is configurable and also optional. when i started out with always-on omni-directional mics, having the name was necessary to avoid false positives. now that i'm using directional mics, its not as necessary, but it does help avoid false positives when using voice note and intercom functionality.

for voices, i looked at Ivona and Cepstral. they both have excellent voices, but Ivona requires you to contact them to make a purchase. you can easily download a demo voice and i like how their demo voices play seinfeld-esque type background music to mark that they are not licensed. the problem is the voices dont seem to automatically break up sentences. so it reads 'dot', instead of pausing to end a sentence. this might just be because the voice is unlicensed too?

Cepstral's online store is simple enough to purchase from. the only problem i had was not initially running the installer 'as Administrator', so the license key did not take. and i cant stand how their demo voices say 'this voice is not licensed'. that gets annoying real quick. i was also worried that i would need to buy a concurrent license to support multi zones, but that has not been an issue because my code synthesizes speech async and then plays back using DirectShow to support multi zone. if there were alot of zones, and Eva spoke large blocks of text, then a concurrent license might be needed. bought Cepstral Allison, it sounds real good most of the time, but she ends her words oddly some of the time in a way that really annoys me, so she did not beat out Microsoft Anna.

Microsoft Lili is cool too, because i have yellow fever. she will speak english with chinese phonemes, so it sounds like a native chinese speaker speaking english. the only problem is when speaking numbers or dates that have not been converted to english word form, because they get read in chinese. also, Lili isnt available on Vista home premium, which is the version of the OS on Eva's host computer.

as a man, i cannot use a male voice for synthesis. the only exception would be if it sounded like HAL. but there definitely needs to be more blatantly sexual female voices.