[CQ-Contest] Improving voice recordings for phone contests

Pete Smith N4ZR n4zr at contesting.com
Fri Mar 8 10:30:36 EST 2013

Amen. Close to 30 years ago I had a Radio Shack speech synthesizer chip 
that I tried to use for this purpose. It made speech, all right, but 
often the only response to my machine-speak was "sorry - your audio went 
bad. again, please."

73, Pete N4ZR
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On 3/8/2013 8:57 AM, Cqtestk4xs at aol.com wrote:
> Do NOT use a different voice for the exchange!!!  It really screws up  the
> op on the other end, especially when there is QRM or you don't have a big
> signal.  The guy on the other end is expecting a voice similar to the one
> that CQed or called him.  If you don't hear that in less than optimal
> conditions you think the guy QSYed.
> As an SSB contester I've had this happen to me a few times and it is a
> Bill K4XS
> In a message dated 3/8/2013 1:35:36 P.M. Coordinated Universal Time,
> r_bakalov at yahoo.com writes:
> Have you  guys tried using AT&T Labs' text to speech site? See
> http://www2.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php  You won't be using  your own voice,
> but at the very least the voice will be consistent. I am not a  SSB fan, but
> do want to get into SSB contests and have been toying with the  idea of
> recording it all with a text-to-speech tools. For call signs, my  thought is to
> make them sound more natural by identifying the top unique  prefixes and
> recording dedicated files for them (e.g., W1, DL5, S50,  etc.).
> Rudy  N2WQ
> ________________________________
> From: Björn SM0MDG  <bjorn at sm0mdg.com>
> To: CQ Contest <cq-contest at contesting.com>
> Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013 5:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Improving  voice recordings for phone contests
> On 7 mar 2013, at 13:30, Pete Smith  N4ZR <n4zr at contesting.com> wrote:
>> Before last weekend's  contest, I had a chance to experiment a bit with
> my voice recordings.   One of the problems I have always had is that when I
> try to enunciate clearly  I always slow down, and the resulting recording
> lacks the urgency you expect  in a contest situation. I also always notice
> stations whose recorded and live  audio don't sound anything alike, and wanted
> to minimize that as much as  possible.
>> I use Audacity, excellent freeware recording  software, but this time
> around I "discovered" its "Change Tempo" function,  which speeds up speech
> without changing the pitch or timbre.  The results  are wonderful - you can
> speed up any recording 10 or 20 percent at a time, and  it sounds completely
> natural, just faster.
>> *listen and adjust  the tempo (on the same Enhance menu) for the effect I
> want.  Repeat these  4 steps for each recorded message.
> I used the same methodology for the  recordings I made for CQ160 SSB where
> I had to go "silent". I voiced in normal  speed (or slightly below normal),
> articulating clearly and used about 20-30%  tempo increase. I would be
> interested to hear others "best practice" on the  amount of speed increase.
> A sample exchange of mine is posted on the  SE0X blog, go to www.se0x.info
> in the CQ160 SSB update and listen to the audio  file.
> Another benefit of voicing all prompts is that exchanges are kept  to the
> essentials keeping the rate high. Of course this can only happen if  voice
> prompts are clear and easy to receive by the other station. The benefit  is
> probably higher in a contest with a predictable exchange leaving only the
> call to constructed on the fly by N1MM.
> 73 de  Björn,
> V21BM
> SE0X
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