Understand Your Mac Better With High Quality Voices [OS X Tips]

Understand Your Mac Better With High Quality Voices [OS X Tips]

Mention having a computer read a book to them, and most people will give you that look. You know that look, the one that says, “I hate those goofy robot voices. I want a real person to read to me.”

While there’s no current way to make a computer voice sound like an actual human voice, many of the built in voices are much better these days. In addition, there are some high quality voices you may not even know you have built right into OS X Lion. Here’s how to enable them for use.

First of all, you’ll need to launch that ever-popular app, System Preferences. Click on the Speech microphone icon, and then hit the Text To Speech tab. See where it says System Voice? Click on the drop down menu and choose Customize at the bottom of the list.

Click the checkbox next to all the voices you want to add in to your system voices. Click on the voice itself and hit the Play button a the bottom of the window to preview the voice. Once you’ve chosen the voices you want, simply click the OK button, and you’ll then need to confirm the installation.

Want some accented voices, or even different languages? Scroll to the bottom, and you’ll see a ton of them, including Moira from Ireland, Karen from Australia, Sangeeta from India. There are also voices for use with other languages, like Ellen from Dutch Belgium, Mikko from Finland, and Ting-Ting from China.

Each of these high quality voices is fairly large. Samantha, an American English female voice, is around 400 mb, so if disk space is a concern, be aware before downloading.

  • Phil Thompson

    Kinda liked the Good News voice!

  • Blackbird737

    I want a vocaloid to read to me

  • Aaron

    Vocaloid voices! What a great idea! Mikuuuuuu~!

    I like the Australian female voice, Karen.
  • Derek_Currie

    Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is going to include high quality voice upgrades.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreRob LeFebvre is an Anchorage, Alaska-based writer and editor who has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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