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Why you might want to use SpeechHub with SpeakOn MediaSuite

SpeakOn MediaSuite is a self-voicing application which enables the user to listen to all kinds of media. It is available:

SpeakOn comes 'out of the box' with internal SpeechHub modules for eSpeak, Microsoft Speech API version 5 and Microsoft Speech Platform. The SpeechHub server allow you at present to use two aditional synthesizers: MaryTTS and PicoTTS.

Experience shows that SpeechHub runs well on most modern computers. To be able to use SpeechHub you need a decent computer and an operating system in good order. What is a decent computer? SpeechHub runs well on the author's three year old, Windows 7, dual core 1.6 GHz 2Gb memory laptop. It runs well on the author's Windows 8.1 entry level quad core Tablet with 1.6 GHz 1Gb memory.
SpeechHub struggles a bit in some situations with a six year old, XP pre- netbook, very small laptop with single core 1.2 GHz 1Gb memory.

If your computer is not powerful enough or you don't have enough memory, speech might be cut off or sound intermittent. SpeechHub might tell you that you don't have enough power in which case it will insert a delay before each message to allow the synthesizer to catch up with the speech. You can try to reset this pause by changing the voice rate up and then down but if you get these problems again, try to switch to a different voice or synthesizer. If the problems persist, SpeechHub is unfortunately not suitable for your computer.

For both the internal SpeechHub drivers and the SpeechHub server, most synthesizer drivers return the audio they generate from speech to SpeechHub which then processes the audio to apply rate boost if necessary and maximize efficiency. Short messages such as single characters are stored in memory for easy retrieval so when you type a single character for the first time it goes into memory; when you type the same character again it is not synthesized at all but just pulled from memory which is very fast.

The following are notes about the additional synthesizers:


Credit is due to the MaryTTS project as these voices are probably the highest quality open source can offer especially in continuous reading. Typing quality with Echo on is however lacking. To our knowledge SpeechHub is the only system which enables practical use of MaryTTS. The official MaryTTS installation is slow and somewhat buggy. Moreover because MaryTTS is inefficient, without SpeechHub efficiency measures outlined above, MaryTTS would not be practical. MaryTTS can take up to 170 Mb of memory and can soak up CPU power on low specification computers.


PicoTTS is a fairly slow synthesizer so it benefits from the SpeechHub approach. Rate and pitch are handled by Sonic rather than using its native controls. This approach in our view gives better performance.

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