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I was just wondering what others thought of the software dectalk
synth? My initial feeling is that its OK, but it seems to be a bit
sluggish. When typing, it doesn't echo characters unless you type very
slowly. I also find its volume is very low. If you want to run both
auditory icons and dtk-soft, you either have to accept icons being
very loud or dtk-soft being very low - though I'm going to experiment
and see if I can find a way of adjusting this. 

I was wondeirng if anyone else had notice the sluggishness - its
possible I might be able to improve performance with some irq tweaking

Apart from that, I think it looks quite promising and cold be a viable
alternative to viavoice which is no longer being developed for
Linux. I suspect that very soon more and more people will have trouble
running viavoice as the libraries become outdated. This is a great
pity, as I personally find the quality of the voice in outloud very
good. I don't know why viavoice is able to get such good voice
synthesis compared to the software dectalk or festival and do it at a
good speed. It wold be interesting to know, but I guess thats probably
proprietary knowledge which is guarded very closely. 

I plan to look more deeply into this stuff and try my hand at creating
some voices with festvox - apparently there is a bit of an art to it
and possibly thats the main difference between these software

Anyway, for $50US, I think the software dectalk is worth the
investment. I think if you feel you can afford this investment, it
would be good to purchase the dectalk software to support its Linux
development and possibly ensure we have a resonably priced software
speech synth for linux which is of good quality and continues to be

Perhaps with more users and some good feedback, we can
work out how to improve the responsiveness of the dtk-soft driver (or
maybe the sluggishness is just down to my Debian installation and
there are still some problems which will not be present on other
distributions or in a more stable Debian one in the future?). let me
know if you find your installation responsive enough to echo letters
as you type them at a normal/acceptable rate.

One thing I was happy with is that the dtk-soft driver does not seem
to stop working as often as the outloud driver does. While the problem
of the outloud driver failing to respond does seem to be less if you
have a fast cpu and a good amount of memory, it still dies quite often
and needs to be restarted. However, in the few hours I've been using
the dtk-soft, it has not died on me once, even when doing those things
which would almost guarantee outloud would die (sending lots of data
very quickly etc). 

Today I have also had a look at both festival and eflite. I think both
offer some potential. I have not tried flite with 16k voices yet, but
will give that a try in the next few weeks. The quality of the
festival voices has certainly improved since the last time I checked
it out a few years ago and it will be interesting to see what
potential it has.


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