The Only Text to Speech Guide You’ll Ever Need The most comprehensive AI text to speech guide.

By Hammad Syed in TTS

January 25, 2023 11 min read
The Only Text to Speech Guide You’ll Ever Need

Generate AI Voices, Indistinguishable from Humans

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It’s your job to prepare the lecture for a company training on Monday, and you’re in a full-blown panic. While you have no problem making the presentation deck — seriously, you can do it with your eyes closed — you’re not entirely confident about how your voice sounds and would prefer it if someone else could narrate in your stead.

Unfortunately, there’s no one else. You’re responsible for the whole thing, from preparing the deck to narrating the presentation script. Thus, the panic attack. What should you do?

Here’s the solution. Use a text-to-speech generator (also known as a TTS generator), specifically one powered by artificial intelligence. Whenever you need a voice to narrate or read scripts, articles, lectures, learning materials for courses, or presentation, you can use an AI text-to-speech converter instead of using your own or the voice of a friend or a professional voiceover talent.

What Is an AI Text-to-Speech or Text-to-Voice Generator?

A text-to-speech generator is a voice synthesizing software or application that converts written words (i.e., text) into words spoken (i.e., speech) by a synthetic voice or artificial voice. Yes, it is as straightforward as its name suggests.

How about artificial intelligence text-to-speech programs? They are just like traditional text-to-speech software, except they use AI voices to synthesize speech. Thus, AI text-to-speech applications produce realistic text-to-speech outputs, producing synthetic voices that seem remarkably human-like in vocal qualities such as pitch, rate, vocal quality, and even in their use of fillers.

The Features and Benefits of AI Text-to-Speech Generators

AI text-to-speech applications are more advanced than your run-of-the-mill TTS tool because they use artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning, to generate synthetic voices.

Natural and Realistic AI Voices

Traditional TTS converters used pre-recorded speech units joined together to synthesize speech. The result is a strange, robotic-sounding voice.

Meanwhile, TTS converters that use AI voice synthesizers have been trained in databases containing tens of thousands of different human voices. During this learning phase, they assimilate the voices they “hear” and find patterns in the way humans speak, particularly in the non-lexical components of human speech or the elements of speech that do not pertain to words and their definitions.

Through rigorous training, an AI voiceover generator or speech synthesizer not only learns to say the words and dialogues it has assimilated from its learning materials. Inference engines enable them to apply learned patterns to fresh content. It is this capability to infer and analyze new information that makes them seem like thinking or intelligent beings.

Because of their advanced programming, learning mechanisms, and inference engines, AI speech synthesizers can generate voices that sound so human-like that ordinary persons (i.e., non-linguists and voice talents) may be unable to distinguish them from actual human voices. There are even AI voice generators that are so advanced they produce speech that successfully captures and conveys the intended emotions of the text.

Play.ht’s newest ultra-realistic AI Voices belong to this category. These ultra-realistic voices masterfully utilize pitch, rhythm, rate, volume, intonation, and pronunciation/enunciation to deliver meaningful information and convey the speaker’s emotion.

A Wide Selection of AI Voices and Styles

AI speech synthesizers offer multiple AI voices, with many supporting style variations. There are upbeat and solemn voices, professional and friendly voices, booming and soft voices, and all sorts of variations in between. Some voices sound like a newscaster delivering the afternoon news, a customer service representative providing customer support, a narrator giving commentary to a documentary, and a cheerful host inciting excitement at a party.

Play.ht’s online text-to-speech generator has a database of 907 AI voices, and our collection of AI voices is still growing.

Granular Control Over Speech Attributes

Humans convey meaning through the words we speak and how we say them so it is important that a speech generator can produce authentic vocal dynamics.

To this end, superior AI text-to-speech platforms do not only offer ready-made voice styles. They also provide granular control over how the AI voice delivers the speech so it can approximate human speech even more.

Play.ht allows you to emphasize specific words and even entire sentences. This lets you alter your rhythm and create more dynamic speeches. Additionally, you can modify the rate, pitch, and volume of a particular AI voice to further customize your speech output.

Multiple Voices in One Audio File

TTS conversion is used not only to read articles or narrations aloud. It is also used to create podcasts, advertising or promotional materials, and audiobooks. Advanced AI text-to-speech applications allow content creators to use multiple AI voices in a single file to create dialogues or other types of conversational outputs.

Play.ht’s online text-to-speech synthesizer has this capability. You can assign distinct AI speakers to different paragraphs. With Play.ht, you can create a full panel discussion or an entire program with active audience participation based on a single script.

Play.ht then allows you to download the individual paragraphs (each with a distinct AI speaker, if needed) as separate audio files or download the entire “conversation” as a single audio file.

Availability of AI Voices in Multiple Languages

There are AI-powered TTS tools that can convert text to speech in non-English languages. Play.ht’s text-to-speech online generator has AI voices in 142 languages and accents.

The wide range of languages available makes AI-driven TTS platforms especially useful to developers and creators of learning courses. If you have a training program you want to take global, you can do so easily with the help of a multi-language-capable TTS platform like Play.ht.

While you can continue to offer your course in English, localizing it will give your material a much broader reach. Localization will also make it more relatable to (and more effective for) your target audience.

Voice Cloning Ability

AI also makes it possible to create a digital representation of your voice, also known as a voice clone. This enables you to develop personally branded video presentations, podcasts, and narrations.

The best part is that you don’t need to spend hours recording your narrations, commentaries, and dialogues in a studio. Feed your script to your AI text to voice generator and, in minutes, get an audio recording of someone that sounds just like you.

Play.ht is one of the best AI voice generator, text-to-speech platforms around because of its voice cloning abilities. It lets you enjoy the ease and convenience of using an AI text-to-speech tool to narrate all your speaking parts while maintaining a consistent voice across all your materials. 

Integrations

There are also AI TTS converters that you can integrate with other tools for creative use cases.

For instance, you can use a Play.ht plugin on your WordPress website to make your blog “listenable” and “podcastable” instead of simply readable and shareable.

You can also integrate the Play.ht text-to-speech engine , your TTS devices and applications to extend their functions and gain granular control over your current text-to-speech conversion options with help of our Text-to-Speech API. Through the Play.ht TTS application programming interface (API), you can continue using your favorite Google, IBM, and Amazon voices but enhance your experience with Play.ht’s advanced back-end functions.

How to Use an Online AI Text-to-Speech Converter

Using an AI text-to-speech converter is easy.

Typically, all you need to do is load your TTS converter on your browser window, type your text into the designated text-input window, click “Convert,” and the program will generate a synthetic voice speech based on your content. You can then download the resulting audio file and use it in your project.

Play.ht provides a straightforward TTS conversion process to deliver the vocal performance that you’re looking for in just a few steps.

To synthesize speech from text using the Play.ht AI voice generator online, follow these steps.

Login to PlayHT

Log in to your Play.ht dashboard.

Click “Create Audio.”

This will let you begin text-to-speech synthesis.

Name your project

Use a consistent file-naming system to make it easy to find audio files.

Select your AI voice.

It defaults to Jenny, Female, English (US). However, you can click this default value to load your AI voice options. You can narrow down your list of options by using the available filters, such as:

Select a gender

Choose from Male, female, or kid.

Select voice quality

Type: premium or standard.

Select a use case

From narrative, marketing, customer support, explainer, gaming, podcast/audiobooks, or conversational.

Choose an emotion

Select from any of the following:
Regular
Angry
Assistant
Chat
Cheerful
Customer service
Excited
Friendly
Hopeful
News
Sad
Shouting
Terrified
Unfriendly
Whispering

Set your audio file type.

MP3 and WAV are the available formats.

Select a sample rate

From 8 kHz, 16 kHz, 24 kHz, to 48 kHz.

Set your speech rate

The default is 100%, but you can set it to as low as 20% and as high as 200%

Start typing your text on the text-input screen.

You may also copy-paste ready-made text into the text-input window. Alternatively, you can import the text from a web address or uniform resource locator (URL).

Adjust your content as necessary.

Hyphens and commas instruct the AI speech engine to pause. Full stops mean longer pauses.

You may add more breaks throughout your text. Options include 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, or a custom number of seconds, and you can add pauses between words, sentences, and paragraphs.
Hyphens and commas instruct the AI speech engine to pause. Full stops mean longer pauses.

You may add more breaks throughout your text. Options include 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, or a custom number of seconds, and you can add pauses between words, sentences, and paragraphs.

If your selected AI speaker supports the emphasis function, you can highlight specific words and sentences in your content and select the emphasis option. This will tell the AI speaker to vary its intonation to underscore the highlighted words or sentences.

By default, all text will be read by the AI voice you selected in step four. However, you can designate a distinct speaker for every paragraph. Just click the plus sign beside the relevant text block to choose an AI voice.

You can preview every paragraph’s audio output or click “Listen to Full Text” to preview the entire audio file.

Create Your Project and Download Your Audio File/s.

You can click “Download All Paragraphs” to download every paragraph as a separate audio file. Alternatively, you can click “Convert to Speech” to create a single audio file. You can download this output in the “Files” screen or embed it on your website using an embeddable code snippet.

If Choosing Ultra-Realistic Voices: Type your text into the text-input screen.

You may also copy-paste your ready made text into the text input screen.

Choose your preferred ultra-realistic AI voice/voices.

Every paragraph on the text-input screen is marked with an AI voice name. Click on the name of an AI voice you wish to change — e.g., Larry (1.0x) — to change it to another speaker.
Every AI voice option is tagged with specific attributes you can use as criteria or filters for choosing a suitable voice. Such characteristics include:

Gender (male, female)
Accent (British, American, Indian, Canadian, Japanese, French, Australian, South Korean )
Age (old, adult, youth)
Style (narrative, videos, training, advertising)
Tempo (slow, neutral, fast)
Loudness (low, neutral, high)
Texture (round, thick, gravelly, smooth)

You can try out every voice by clicking the green play button beside each name.

In the voice selection screen, you can set the speech rate from 0.5 to 1.5 times your chosen voice’s default speed. Additionally, you can apply your selected AI voice to all paragraphs, only to the active paragraph, or to all instances where the AI voice you’re replacing has been used.
Once your preferred settings have been selected, click “Confirm” to apply your changes.

Generate previews

This will prepare your audio file for export.

Export your project

You can export your TTS output as a single audio file or download each paragraph’s audio output separately. Save the resulting audio file or files in your computer for use in your presentation, narration, training, or advertising.

Start Using Text to Speech on Your Projects

You don’t have to narrate your presentations yourself or hire a voice talent to do it for you. Instead, use an AI text-to-speech tool that will convert your script into spoken or listenable content delivered by realistic, human-sounding AI voices.

It’s very easy to do, especially if you use the Play.ht online AI text-to-speech converter. Try it for free now.

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Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed holds a Bachelor of Engineering - BE, Electrical, Electronics and Communications and is one of the leading voices in the AI voice revolution. He is the co-founder and CEO of PlayHT, now known as PlayAI.

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