Chloe's set up and review of VoiceKeeper on Accent

Chloe's set up and review of VoiceKeeper on Accent

Chloe talks through her set up of Voice Keeper, a voice banking solution. Read along to see how simple it is to Voice Bank and even listen to Chloe's synthesised voice. 

This week I had the opportunity to bank my voice using The Voice Keeper.

The Voice Keeper is a voice banking program which lets you record between 30 and 500 sentences to create a synthetic version of your voice which can be used on speech-generating devices. This user-friendly system guides you through reading a number of sentences (mostly about animals) and creates a new version of your synthetic voice after approximately every 100 words. While this process was relatively easy, I did have two challenges in getting set up and ready to use voice keeper.

The first challenge I had was choosing an appropriate microphone. Voice Keeper recommends using a USB headset with a microphone from a well-known brand such as Microsoft or Sennheiser. Since I didn’t have that available, I tried three options: one set of earbuds, and two sets of gaming headphones.

When I plugged in my earbuds with an external microphone Voice Keeper told me this microphone was suboptimal. I tried recording a sample sentence and the sound quality was very noisy. I then moved on to a set of USB gaming headphones made by Razer. Whilst these headphones work well with other apps on my computer, voice keeper open in google chrome didn’t recognise these headphones and instead defaulted to using my laptops internal speakers which were not good enough.

Finally, I used a set of USB gaming headphones made by Hyper. While voice keeper still told me that the quality of the microphone was suboptimal, I spend some time on voice keeper recording sentences and listening back to my voice. The quality was clear with no noise so I chose to continue with this headset.

The second challenge I had was positioning the microphone. When I first started the microphone was positioned too close to my mouth and I was getting a lot of feedback. When I moved the microphone further away from my mouth my voice was too quiet. Finally, I ended up positioning the microphone slightly above my mouth and to the left, so it was more in line with my nose (see the picture below!). This worked fabulously and I was able to record all 500 sentences clearly.

After taking the time to solve these challenges and set myself up comfortably it took me around 2 to 3 hours to record all 500 sentences. The Voice Keeper lets you know after each 100 sentences that it is creating a new version of your voice, and as those new voices are processed you can trial them out by typing out sentences to get your synthetic voice to say. You will also receive emails with audio that compares your voice reading a sentence to the synthetic voice speaking the same sentence. Have a listen to my sample below!

My top tips for using voice keeper would be:

  1. Take your time setting up your microphone and headphones. While it feels a bit tedious when you’re doing it, the impact on quality is well worth the time it takes you to get set up.
  2. Don’t think too much about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. While it is very hard, the more you focus on your intonation and pronunciation the more uncomfortable you’ll feel. I tried to pretend that I was giving a speech to a room full of people – keeping a relatively level intonation, a slow rate, and speaking fluently.
  3. Take your time. When you speak too fast voice keeper will let you know you’re missing commas, but taking your time is really great to keep in mind. If you feel like your speech has become monotonous definitely take a break. You can even come back and finish it another day.
  4. Take the time to compare your synthetic voice after different numbers of sentences. The difference between the voices is really motivating, and especially that last change (from 400 to 500 sentences) really impacts how natural your voice sounds. If you’re becoming disheartened, take a break and listen to the difference between your voices.

This software is a fantastic way to save your own voice, or give it to someone else who identifies with your voice. I was able to transfer my Voice Keeper voice onto an Accent device and speak using my own voice with ease. While it takes some time to set up, this process is definitely worth it!

Check out the audio recording of my voice HERE

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