Voice Recognition

14 Best Free and Open Source Speech Synthesis Tools

Speech synthesizers are text-to-speech systems used with computers. This type of software is programmed to include phonemes and the grammatical rules of a language, so that words are pronounced correctly. A text-to-speech (TTS) system converts normal language text into speech. The reverse process is speech recognition. We cover speech recognition in a separate roundup.

Some of the tools use machine learning to massively improve the quality of the speech. Neural networks used for neural text to speech process large datasets to learn the optimal pathways from input to output. This is a form of machine learning since these networks use a neural vocoder to synthesize speech waveforms without user input. With the benefit of machine learning, software can provide strong multi-voice capabilities, and highly realistic prosody and intonation.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 14 useful speech synthesis tools. Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. Only free and open source software is eligible for inclusion.

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool. We have written detailed reviews for some of the software.

Speech Tools
PiperFast, local neural text to speech system
TortoiseMulti-voice text-to-speech system trained with an emphasis on quality
Coqui TTSOffers pretrained models in more than 1,100 different languages
BarkTransformer-based text-to-audio model.
FestivalGeneral multi-lingual speech synthesis system
PraatSpeechAnalyserSoftware for speech analysis and synthesis
Speech NoteSpeech to Text, Text to Speech and Machine Translation
Mimic 3Lightweight Text to Speech engine
OrcaScreenReaderScriptable screen reader
FliteSmall, fast run time text to speech synthesis engine
RHVoiceGives the visually impaired a synthesis voice with their screen reader
eSpeak NGContinuation of the eSpeak project
eSpeakSpeech synthesizer using a formant synthesis method
GespeakerGTK-based frontend for eSpeak

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

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4 years ago

I tried using Julius and it was terrible

Trent Calder
Trent Calder
4 years ago
Reply to  Wesxdz

Probably a problem between your chair and your keyboard. Julius is, in fact, very good, with fine WebRTC-based voice activity detection.

3 years ago

How can you compare speech recognition (Julius) with Text to speech (espeak) ???????????

Glenn C
Glenn C
3 years ago
Reply to  François

Who said they are comparative ratings?