The text-to-speech applications of Voice Reader Studio are extensive, and the audio quality pleasing.

Screen reading software has been available for quite a while, of course. Even Windows has a built-in utility, Narrator, that does a fairly good job of converting text to speech. The applications of Voice Reader Studio are much greater, however.

As well as reading emails, office documents and web pages, or being able to convert printed texts into audio books, Voice Reader Studio can become a virtual assistant.

RSS streams can be converted to speech to provide a virtual radio service, and event notifications mean that in Voice Reader Studio you have quite an effective personal organiser to hand.

Voice Reader Studio allows you to export speech as audio files which can then be played on an MP3 device, which is particularly useful if you want to create your own audiobooks, for example.

Voice Reader Studio claims to provide realistic voices – so listening to an email from your boss should sound less like commands from a Dalek, even if the content retains a certain less than human quality. Voice Reader Studio's multiple avatars are better than many programs in this respect.

Voice Reader Studio offers plenty of options for editing your sound files, but you have to move through various menus to find them.

As well as providing a pleasing voice, Voice Reader Studio provides some basic audio editing features for adding such things as applause effects and more fine tuning for audio quality.

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The text-to-speech applications of Voice Reader Studio are extensive, and the audio quality pleasing.

Sound and vision

Some of the extra editing elements (such as background music) could also be a distraction rather than useful. Animated avatars are also available which read along with text – again, however, we personally found these something of a distraction rather than a really useful core feature.

Despite these criticisms, the quality of speech in Voice Recorder Studio is such that this would be a real bonus for companies or institutions that wanted to provide audio versions of a large range of documents, for example as part of an e-learning guide or computer based training (CBT).

And you are free to put a speech file on your website or use it for commercial distribution with Voice Recorder Studio. To a company this alone may well make Voice Recorder Studio worth the extra cost as against a similar product such as Expressivo (reviewed here).

The Linguatec website carries a useful range of foreign language versions (such as French and German), and these could be extremely useful when learning another language. In this regard, students would be well advised to buy one of the Voice Reader Home packages.

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Voice Reader Studio: Specs

  • 350MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor
  • Windows 2000/Me/XP/Vista
  • 128MB RAM
  • 450MB hard disk space
  • internet connection required to activate product
  • 350MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor
  • Windows 2000/Me/XP/Vista
  • 128MB RAM
  • 450MB hard disk space
  • internet connection required to activate product

OUR VERDICT

It is not entirely accurate to compare Voice Reader Studio is aimed at businesses that may wish to include text to voice for applications. If you want to learn a foreign language, go with one of the Voice Reader Home options. Should you need to offer audio files via the web then the Studio version is a must. As text-to-speech packages go, it's a belter.

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