How to add new vocabulary to Talko, the easy way

Previously, I had described here: how to do compress sound using a venerable Windows 3.1 tool: Qbox Pro. The process what quite long to setup and not always producing good results.

Today I discovered BlueWizard from this post.

BlueWizard runs on Mac and allows to tweak the process in real time to optimize the output!  The author has been kind enough to make some small tweaking just for the Arduino and Talko !

Simply open your file (which has to be recorded at 8 kHz with 16-bit depth ), click on the 2 tick boxes:
– “include hex prefix (0x)” to allow direct pasting into the Arduino IDE
– and “include explicit stop frame” to avoid the library producing gibberish noise a the end of the sound

then copy the resulting the data from the “Byte Stream” windows.

Bluewizard

Open the Arduino IDE and paste the data stream into your code before uploading it to Talko.

Let’s make  a sound and process it:

say -v"alex" "We are charging our battery. And now we are full of energy. We are the robots." -r 100 -o roboter.wave

converting to 8 kHz with 16-bit depth using SoX

sox roboter.wave -r 8k -b16 roboter.wav

and the compressed version made with Talko :

the Arduino code:

LPC encoding for the Arduino’s Talkie library

Adding new sounds or vocabulary for the Talkie library is not straightforward and I needed a checklist to smoothen the process.
Here are the main steps :

Recording audio with Audacity

  • The recording has to be made at 8 kHz with 16-bit depth
  • Export to Wav signed 16-bit PCM(note that you can also use Audacity to re-sample the audio to 8000 kHz via the [track/re-sample] menu)

Converting sounds using SoX

Alternatively, you can also convert various audio format to 16 bits 8 kHz with SoX, using the following command:

sox audiodump.wav -r8000 -b16 audio-8k.wav

Coding with QBOX pro

QboxPro was made to code sounds for the venerable TMS5220 chip that Talkie library is emulating.

It runs only on an ancient system like Window XP or older

Note: it seems that QBOX doesn’t like when the audio starts immediately. In that case the compressed audio is totally inaudible, so adding a little pause before the sound starts helps a lot

Installation

Get the software here : ftp://ftp.whtech.com/pc%20utilities/qboxpro.zip

Don’t forget to install QBOX at the root of the disk : c:\QBOX and to move the QBOXPRO.ini file to c:\WINDOWS

Coding

The process of coding has already been described in detail here : http://furrtek.free.fr/index.php?a=speakandspell&ss=9&i=2

The process goes like this:

  • Create a new project using the following project parameters : Byte / 8 Khz / 5220 coding table
  • Goto Project and add the audio file
  • Choose process using : medium bit rate and pressing OK
  • Edit concatenation : insert concatenation after by adding a name; then insert phrase and press ok
  • Format it by choosing the first line in the format menu : LPC 10V, 4UV

Arduino code

Recuperate the .bin file that Qboxpro has generated This file contains the LPC stream and need to be translated into C++

I use this small Python script to convert the .bin

Simply paste the script’s outputs at their respective places into the Arduino code and upload

Here is an example I generated with the Mac’s say command (note the 0.3-second silent before the speech starts)[edit : it’s fine with 0.1 too]

say -v"Yannick" "[[slnc 300]] Wir sind die Roboter" -r 100 -o roboter.wave

then I converted to the appropriate format using SoX

sox roboter.wave -r 8k -b16 roboter.wav

After the QBOXpro coding and the Python converting, I copied these lines into the Arduino IDE

and here is how it sounds:

Talkie Eurorack Module – Part 2 : Schematic & Pcb

Schematic

Here is the schematic. Nothing really special : A simple RC filter I have used before with the Talkie library and a few pots to fiddle with the various functions. All the entries (cv and gate) are now protected with diodes to allow connections with modulars synths modules using higher voltages. A simple 7 segment to show the current playing mode. I plan to use the dot as the clock led

Talko1 0

PCB

I am ordering 8 Pcb from Beta Layout.
Here is the preview I got by uploading the file to their web site

20141228 0832 bot gold with mask with silk

Software

Added female voice used in the talking clock

New sound demo

Here is the setup : a clock with variable pulse width is triggering the sound and stepping a sequencer feeding cv to the module. A bit of reverb is sometimes added just for fun

More demo on my Soundcloud

Github

You can find all the files (hardware & software) on my Github

Next

  • To share the Mouser cart
  • Module assembly
  • Eurorack Panel design

Talkie Eurorack Module – Part 1 : Concept

Credits

This arduino based module works thanks to a clever library : Talkie from https://github.com/going-digital/Talkie 

I have already used this library to build a Talking clock

It is so simple to use that building a sound module requires only 5 pots and a button to get going.

Software

I have slightly modified the original library to allow hacking it with various pots. The code is hosted on my github I edit the code and library directly from my favorite IDE : UECIDE

Functions

Panel

Mode

For the moment I have added 4 modes or sound banks :

  • digits
  • voltmeter (reading the CV voltage)
  • frequencemeter (fake mode just saying “Hertz” instead of “Volts”)
  • alphabet
  • nato alphabet

I plan to add a 5th mode with a large vocabulary and a 6th mode with weird sounds

CV

CV signal change the words or phrase to be said

Gate

Pressing the button start the complete sound in trigger mode. (regardless of it’s length)
If the trigger switch is off, the gate will start the sound and hold it as long as the gate level stays up. Very useful to create crazy rhythms.

If the cable is plugged in, the gate is triggered via an external signal

Trigger

Choose between trigger mode or gated mode

Bend

If bend is on, the bend pot … distords the sound.

Speed

Change the speed

Pitch

Change the pitch

Sounds

First test of the differents functions. Manual gate via a button

Looping a sequence in Ableton Live to trigger gate & cv while I play with the mode /speed /pitch / bend knobs

Next

I am now working on a PCB and a panel.
I will upload these details and the schematics in a next post.

Arduino talking clock

Talkie
I’ve discovered this great library here https://github.com/going-digital/Talkie 
They have done an impressive job. The library is provided with a large vocabulary.
It is a software implementation of the Texas Instruments speech synthesis architecture (Linear Predictive Coding). It is just amazing to discover what  the atmega168 can do. By the way the library works only with 168 and 328 16MHz based Arduino.
Audio
Just for fun to hear the script counting …

And then the clock saying the time

Hardware
To build this clock you need :

  • An arduino Uno
  • A temporary switch
  • A speaker
  • A DS1307 clock
Talkie clock bb

I plan to add and infrared detector to allow the system to say the time by just waving a hand in the dark.
Code
I have mixed the example code provided in the talkie library to process and say numbers (Volmeter) and the vocabulary from the Vocab_US-Clock example.
The sketch wait for the button to be pressed and then read the clock’s time.
It first greet the listener for the moment of the day (morning,afternoon, evening) and then say the time