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Author Topic: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud. (Read 8325 times)

Online gflorez

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I have opened this thread because I am very interested on "talking computers".

First of all we need some definitions.

The user can hear some speech from a computer, but it can be one of the following three classes:

-Sound Sample, only the plain digitised form of a vocal sound wave. Probably the best to the ear but it only can change in pitch. Example: HDIGI sounds.

-Allophones, a step further, the samples are truncated on simple and short human sounds like phonemes. Once combined, a text can be translated somewhat to sound. We loss quality and the sound is like a robot speech. Example Speakeasy, Amiga narrator device.

-Read-aloud. A program based on rules automatically translate a text to a string of allophones. Intonation or pitch is added when orthographic symbols are found, so the robot sound is "humanized". It is by definition chained to a country language. Example  Amiga translator library.

This is talking about the vocal technology at the eighties... but today you can have a close to human Text-to-speech voice app on your phone reading you a book on your autoradio by bluetooth while you drive.... Example: Polish Ivona

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #1 on: 2016.June.01. 16:38:36 »
Said that, HDIGI is not near similar to Speakeasy. HDIGI is well suited for music or voice digitalization, but Speakeasy has already the sounds stored in Rom, that once combined by the user and reproduced are listened like a speech.

You can make speak the EP with beautiful HDIGI samples, but they are canned, frozen in time.

On the other side, Speakeasy has not the same quality, but your EP can chatter a lot of sentences if correctly programmed.


HDIGI has been surpassed, I think that actually is much better to digitize the sound on a PC and convert it to EP sound. On the other side the robotic speech of Speakeasy has been also surpassed.

I like more Zozo's idea of using the algorithms of the SP0256 AL2 chip combined with better allophone samples stored on a Rom, may be governed by an EXOS driver....

I am dreaming...




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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #2 on: 2016.June.01. 17:02:10 »
I never heard speakeasy, but as I know it sound quality is like those 1 bit specy text-to-speech programs (there is EP version of one, but I dont remember the name, it was a resistent module, so it can callable using :speak or something)

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #3 on: 2016.June.01. 18:27:21 »
Probably based on the same chip.

On the other side the Amiga approach was software based.

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #4 on: 2016.June.01. 18:33:06 »
this is some specy hw, but that EP util I mentioned was same quality (and it was a small program as I remember)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlARLD4vjmk

and yes, amiga is much more of course
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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #5 on: 2016.June.01. 20:28:00 »
On the other side the Amiga approach was software based.
On EP there is Mikrobi, also software based voice playback program, it's quality terrible, I think much better could be written.

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #6 on: 2016.June.01. 20:49:08 »
On EP there is Mikrobi, also software based voice playback program, it's quality terrible, I think much better could be written.

ah yes, mikrobi!
so as I know, speakeasy is same quality XD
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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #7 on: 2016.June.01. 20:59:10 »
ah yes, mikrobi!
so as I know, speakeasy is same quality XD
Then speakeasy is waste of money :D

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #8 on: 2016.June.02. 09:19:58 »
Intellivision had a module based on the same chip, so you can make an idea of how a Speakeasy can sound.
« Last Edit: 2016.June.02. 14:07:06 by gflorez »

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #9 on: 2016.June.02. 09:40:32 »
Intellivision had a module based on the same chip, so you can make a idea of how a Speakeasy can sound.

ok, this is better than mikrobi
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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #10 on: 2016.June.02. 17:27:45 »
Some Intellivision emulators offer Intellivoice emulation. May be if the source is found we don't have to reinvent the wheel.,.

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #11 on: 2016.June.02. 17:57:11 »
For example Bliss, an emulator written in Java.
http://www.zophar.net/ivision/bliss.html

Xanadu, a port of Bliss on C++
http://www.zophar.net/ivision/xanadu.html

There are others in this page:
http://www.zophar.net/ivision.html

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #12 on: 2016.June.04. 12:17:45 »
This is the Intellivoice part extracted from the source of the Jzintv emulator:

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #13 on: 2016.June.07. 12:01:38 »
I've been tempting LGB to implement Speakeasy on his superb XEP128 emulator.

He likes very much the idea, but he sees some problems.

First of all, XEP actually doesn't emulate very well the Enterprise sound, needing to re-write great parts of the code.

And secondly, there are some legal aspects that must be pondered, because the chip inside the device maintains a copyright on the internal Rom and the algorithms used.

----

Observing the works of Joseph Zbiciak(JzIntv Intellivision emulator author), he has opted for a mixed approach, he has reverse engineered the SP0256 chip, putting the engine on GNU. Then he supplies the Rom(2Kb) for personal use only.

I think that on the EP it could be done the same, making use of Joseph Zbiciak SP0256 engine code, like XEP actually do with the Z80 emulator code. Then only a link to the internal Rom is needed, so the responsibility of bad use is put on the user.

Just for doing it better, a similar permission can be requested to Microchp(actual owner) like Joseph Zbiciak actually has.

The allophones in the little Rom in reality are like recipes for the needed human sounds, much like the Thermomix cooking robot ones, so it can happen that better recipes will be found.

Then the user could have more and better sounds than the official ROM, by using a custom one.
« Last Edit: 2016.June.07. 14:53:13 by gflorez »

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Re: Speakeasy, HDIGI, digitalization, allophones and read-aloud.
« Reply #14 on: 2016.June.09. 21:11:24 »
I've been tempting LGB to implement Speakeasy on his superb XEP128 emulator.

Hemm, I always feel puzzle because of the adjectives you use with Xep128 :-P

Quote
He likes very much the idea, but he sees some problems.
First of all, XEP actually doesn't emulate very well the Enterprise sound, needing to re-write great parts of the code.
And secondly, there are some legal aspects that must be pondered, because the chip inside the device maintains a copyright on the internal Rom and the algorithms used.

Indeed. But forgetting the "boring" legal problem: Xep128's main problem is about the (non-existing ...) sound infrastructure and sync with the emulation ... Audio currently is only a hack, and I am surprised a lot, that it more or less works without major glitches (ok, it can be noticed sometimes still ...) because of not sync'ed emulation of audio buffering/output etc. As any audio part related stuff *MUST* be rewritten in the future, I feel a bit useless to include more audio related stuff before this point. The second problem with this Speakeasy: that chip is a CPU for real it turned out. The ROM does not contain audio samples but actually instructions. OK, not a fully generic CPU as Z80 is, but still. Thus a very exact emulation would require to emulate its internals. And you must do it in *parallel* of the EP-related stuffs (ie, CPU/Nick/Dave, all needs to do "parallel" even if it means just call the handlers rapidly in the main loop for these emulation handlers). Just for a speakeasy, it simply does not worth to include another performance critical stuff in the main loop of the emulator, which would slow things down for every emulation, at by every Z80 opcodes executed (since currently that is the "elementary" time what Xep128 can emulate in "one step", Nick/Dave "ticks" are calculated from the executed CPU t-cycles - well it's not the most precise way, I guess for example ep128emu has the Nick slot frequency as the "basic timing factor" or such but the theory is similar after all, just the details are different).

So, the conclusion: I guess, from the view point for Enterprise-128 emulator, it is really not important *how* that chip works *internally*. The important factor, that EP softwares can use that hardware should work with the emulator, regardless how I implement it. Ie, just outputting values to printer port, that's all. So I can even have some tables with digitalized sound samples for the allophones so I would not emulate the chip's internals to generate those. This also solves licensing/patent problems of the algorithm used by the chip, and also it wouldn't slow down the main loop ("the heart") of the emulator. Then what I need are "only" these:

* sane audio infrastructure implemented in Xep128
* having the allophone sample table (probably with some extra data eg repeating points, or such?)

I really don't see the value to emulate the chip internals ... It would make sense if EP can *modify* the internal program executed by the chip, then yes, it would be needed ... But just to play sounds, it simply does not make sense to emulate at that low level of that chip. Of course, it's still an option to make (or use, eg the sources, you mentioned!) a close emulation of the hardware used to *generate* the wave table. But only that table is used by Xep128, which is already the raw sound output, and nothing more.