How to create audio files from text

While experimenting with the tiptoi pen from Ravensburger we needed to generate audio files for our product.

We started with installing espeak, a popular text-to-speech tool:

# apt-get install espeak

Let’s talk espeak

Say “Hello, World!” Is as easy as piping the generated audio into the command play:

$ espeak --stdout "Hello, World" | play -

Generate a Vorbis audio file with espeak

The pen mentioned above needs the audio file with Vorbis audio comression.

Small Vorbis samples can be generated directly with the command line only (use -o hello.ogg to store the sample Vorbis encoded in a file):

$ espeak --stdout "Hello" | oggenc -o hello.ogg -

Longer text may be read from a text file:

$ espeak --stdout -f speech.txt | oggenc -o speech.ogg -

In case you don’t target English as your spoken language you can list your options with —voices=<language>

$ espeak --voices=de
Pty Language Age/Gender VoiceName          File          Other Languages
 5  de             M  german               de
 6  de             M  german-mbrola-2      mb/mb-de2
 6  de             F  german-mbrola-3      mb/mb-de3
 6  de             M  german-mbrola-4      mb/mb-de4
 6  de             M  german-mbrola-6      mb/mb-de6
 7  de             F  german-mbrola-5      mb/mb-de5
 7  de             F  german-mbrola-7      mb/mb-de7

and choose the language file of your choice with -v.

espeak -v german --stdout “Guten Morgen” | oggenc -o oggs/

In combination with our Running a Docker Soundbox on Mac you can use a Docker base approach to test your sounds:

$ docker run -it -e PULSE_SERVER=docker.for.mac.localhost -v ~/.config/pulse:/home/tttool/.config/pulse -v $(pwd):/workspace --entrypoint=/bin/bash tttool -c "espeak --stdout 'Willkommen zur tiptoi Einheit - Bilanz' | play -"

For local experiments (on the host with all necessary tools installed locally) you can just run the bash command:

$ espeak -v german --stdout ‘Guten Morgen!’ | play -

It was a lot of fun playing around with the freshly discovered ventriloquist!

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