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I'm trying to figure which of the speech synthesizers is the best one for Russian. Means pronounces and emphasis.

Currently I'm successfully discover two synthesizers:

$ echo "Привет Мир!" | espeak -v russian

ESpeak is a Multi-lingual software speech synthesizer.

And Festival - General multi-lingual speech synthesis system.

$ echo '(SayText "Привет Мир!")'  | uniconv -encode Russian-Translit | festival --pipe

I have no luck with Russian language for Festival yet. But for the first sight(hearing) it sounds better with Translit than ESpeak with -v russian option.

Could somebody suggest me more modern and fashionable speech synthesizer?

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I haven't found anything remotely as good as RH Voice . It was written by Olga Yakovleva (who is blind) using several publicly available voice samples. "Irina" is currently my favourite.

Sounds a bit noizzzy, especially through headphones, but more than OK for everyday use. I wonder if Olga Yakovleva could have gotten better results with better sources and no downsampling. One article describes the experiment that have shown that downsamling the source audio any lower than 32kHz is detrimental to the speech quality and the TTS engine's similarity to the source speaker. The problem is, many people perform HMM training on voice database downsampled to 16 kHz, which was and is OK for speech recognition but no one had previously addressed the question whether it makes any sense for speech synthesis.

No TTS engine I have ever heard, commercial or not, reads questions in Russian plausibly. Of course, sometimes the synthesizers get them right but mostly — no, the questions do not sound really like questions.

  • As far as I understand Olga's explanations, She can't do this because of HMM's limitations (HMM being the engine used for training the voices). – Andre Polykanine Jul 29 '14 at 16:05
  • @MenelionElensúlë Sadly, did not have the time to look into HTS. I hope there will be more flexible tools available in the near future. I was really impressed by the examples from the article (they made a Romanian TTS bases on very good recordings in 96 kHz that were downsampled to 48, 32 and 16 kHz). Check the demos here: homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/jyamagis/Demo-html/rss.html – Shady_arc Jul 30 '14 at 0:33
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I've gone through three voices, which I installed on my computer to read me Russian. None of them were great, but they were robotic and had terrible intonations. While i was researching better Russian voices, I heard a man's voice on one of the sites - Yuri. It was spectacular: natural, great tonality, great intonation and pleasantly human. But he was quite expensive, so I didn't buy him. Then when Apple came out with the Mavericks upgrade, Yuri came with it! All you have to do in install him in preferences and he'll read anything.

If you don't have a Mac, I would recommend Tatyana, the new Russian voice that IVONA just put out: http://www.ivona.com/us/news/latest-news/ivona-introduces-new-russian-voice-tatyana/ She has the BrightVoice technology that makes her sound more human than human: http://www.ivona.com/us/for-individuals/voices-for-windows/ (just select Russian from the dropdown menu and listen to her demo).

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  • Tatyana is rather good, but her English... ohh... it's more than weird. So you either have not to read mixed texts with the TTS or use some language-switching technology (I Can't suggest you such a thing personally — I'm blind and this is provided by my screen reader). – Andre Polykanine Jul 29 '14 at 16:08
  • But she's not meant to be an English voice. I believe the OP was asking about Russian voices. – CocoPop Jul 29 '14 at 16:22
  • Yes, sure, but I'm just warning. Her English is so unpredictable you wouldn't recognize, say, a brand name in a Russian text. Sorry, maybe I consider this as such an important thing because I use a TTS as the maim information perceiving technology myself :). – Andre Polykanine Jul 29 '14 at 20:15

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