VST Speech – Text to Speech VST (Free Plugin)
Move over, Siri, there’s more than one talkin’ robot in town. Get your inner robot on with the Text to Speech VST: VST Speek. This plugin is a recreation of the Software Automatic Mouth (SAM) vocal synthesis software that was created by Softvoice Inc for the Commodore 64. It is a free vocal synthesis device that transforms text into old skewl robotic speech.
It is available for Mac OS X 10.6 – 10.8 and Windows in both 64 and 32 bit. Download here for Windows and here for OS X. Once downloaded, all you have to do is type your text in the textfield and click “speak.” You may trigger voice with MIDI notes, and the plugin is sensitive to MIDI velocity and pitch bend. You may also edit parameters such as pitch, speed, mouth, and throat.
If you’re unsure about the differences between VSTs and AudioUnits, or how to download, check this page out.
To place this VST in some context, the “robo voice” was first achieved by the vocoder, which, in it’s most rudimentary form, traces all the way back to the1930s, where it was used as a way to improve telecommunication. It was then invested in heavily by the US military during WWII when it was used a means to disguise the voices of army officials. In the 60’s, Robert Moog developed the first musical vocoder for an electronic music studio at the University of Buffalo. In the 80’s it’s usage took off in popular music, and in the 90’s it played a prominent role in rave and techno songs. So, from international espionage to straight funk-ification, the robot voice has come a long way.
Today, there are many ways to achieve a robotic sound to your voice, including: the talk box (think “California Love” by 2Pac), pitch correction (think Daft Punk and T-Pain), ring modulation, and speech synthesis. While VST Speek is not the only way to achieve a robo voice, it’s free and easy to use. Definitely worth a download if you’re tryna get funky.
Check out below for some vocal synthesis inspiration.
U96 – Das Boot
QUADROPHONIA — Quadrophonia
GENERAL BASE — Apache
KANYE WEST — The New Workout Plan
A personal favorite, and excellently sampled in J Cole’s “Workout.”