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.


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:

New Talko firmware : VCO mode can play semi-tones

The rev 2 of Talko’s firmware can now play notes over 2 octaves.

It may seem obvious to have a 1V/octave CV to note in a VCO mode but this was quite challenging to achieve.  (I may explain the process in another post as it  could be also applied for  another of my speech synths)


Quite easy:  just feed a pitch signal into the Pitch entry. Tune the synth up and down with the Bend pot and trigger the note with the Gate.
Set it to Bank 16 and play with the Sound pot to choose among the 26 vowels sounds.

(*) Please note that the Microbrute’s gate out can’t trigger Talko directly (it’s a Microbrute know impedance issue): use a gate buffer in between.


The VCO sound very much like an organ and it’s quite fun to pass the audio through a guitar pedal like the Zoom 505:

The Microbrute can also send notes via its sequencer: this allows instant fun for the poor keyboard player like me!

#talko in VCO mode with the #arturia #microbrute as sequencer

Une publication partagée par Jean-Luc Deladrière (@polaxis) le


The code is available here:  Talko 1.2 rev2
Right click to save it as a .hex file and use Easy uploader to install it into Talko.

User Manual

The manual has been updated to reflect  this revision :

Talko Eurorack countdown timer

Here is a little countdown timer I developed for Hataken to help in timing mini gigs.

It work like this :

  1. Choose the amount of time from 0 to 19 minutes with the BANK knob.
  2. Start the timer with a gate signal  or by pressing the rotary switch.
  3. The display will countdown and  blink once per second until the end of the timer.
  4. A the end of the timer, the BEND  signal will go high (4.5V max, if  the BEND knob is fully turned clockwise) and the alarm will ring if the bend  switch is ON

While running you can :

  • Run silently (mode switch UP),
  • Tick every second (mode switch NEUTRAL),
  • Tick  and have the minutes left spoken (mode switch DOWN).
  • Use the BEND switch to set or mute the alarm sound
  • Stop the timer by pressing the rotary switch (or using a Gate signal to do so)

Note : The SOUND and BEND pots are not used

Here is how it sounds like :


The code is available here : talko_timer_Hataken.hex

Right click to save it as a .hex file and use Easy uploader to install it into Talko.
The next iteration will have an interface with Processing to display the countdown on a big display.