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Re: Speech synth's, emacspeak, and Hal 95

>that Dectalk Express is very expensive: DEC retails it for $1195.

Dec's "value added resellers" are able to offer the Dec-Talk at a slightly
lower cost.  One of the best prices that I've seen is $960 from LS&S Group
(800-468-1489).  I think that is the phone number, but, if not, it should
be available from 800 directory assistance.

>I am willing to pay the price for the dectalk express, but only if I
>know that this is my best option -- that is, if the speech quality of
>the hardware dectalk product is significantly better than the speech
>quality of any software-only product or another more economical

There is another reason to buy the hardware Dec-Talk.  The software DT
(Access32) takes over your computer's sound card.  Windows allows a device
driver (such as the one for your sound card) to be opened by only one
application at a time.  This means that your Windows box will not play any
other digitized sounds while speaking.  This is not true in all conditions,
but this solution always creates some problems.  Access32 is useful,
however, when you're using a laptop.  This allows you to avoid lugging an
external speech synthesizer around with your portable.

>Another comparison question I have is the difference in quality of the
>Dectalk Express and doubletalk speech synthesizers.  Is there anyone out
>there who have used these two and might be able to advise me?  This will
>be a decision I need to make if I decide to go ahead and purchase a
>synthesizer to use with emacspeak.

I've used a LiteTalk (which is basically a DoubleTalk-lt), and found the
speech to be similar to the Dec-Talk.  The DoubleTalk, however, is not a
Dec-Talk.  The Dec-Talk can be upgraded through software, has contextual
rules that allow it to differentiate between homophones, and several other
features which are not present in the DoubleTalk offshoots.  Also, while
the DoubleTalk's speech quality is similar to the Dec-Talk, the DoubleTalk
can not speak as fast, nor does it speak as clearly at higher speaking

>Another question I have about emacspeak is, why does emacspeak not work
>with Dectalk Access 32, which works with Intel PC's and standard sound
>cards?  The emacspeak documentation says that it will work with what it
>is calling "software dectalk", which is only for a DEC alpha.

Dec has had a software based Dec-Talk available for a while.  Recently, a
toolkit has been released under Windows which allows developers to include
Dec-Talk quality speech in their programs.  I suppose that the software
Dec-Talk which is available under Windows could be ported to Linux, but I
don't believe that this will be happening soon.  What would be the profit
for Digital in giving away a Linux version?  I'm certainly not the expert
on this subject, so I welcome further explanations or corections.


Bryan R. Smart
Email: bsmart@pobox.com

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