Vocalizer

Rachel,

I said I was going to be honest, and it’s true that I have yet to compile any of the samples that come with the SDK so I don’t know what they sound like. However, I have read enough of the enclosed documentation to understand that Vocalizer is not yet ready for replacing Eloquence. Here are the reasons:

· Vocalizer is currently 32-bit, just like Eloquence, and you cannot mix 32- and 64-bit within one application. That’s the core issue that is forcing me to sunset Eloquence. The good news here is that Vocalizer is known to be compatible with at least Visual Studio 2005 so 64-bit might not be anything beyond recompilation.

· Vocalizer relies on fixed voice packages, just like your competitors. Mind you, I certainly understand the reasoning for it; I said earlier today that your customers in what you call the “accessibility” market are predominantly software houses. In turn, their predominant customers are healthcare professionals who are responsible for deciding what assistive software is installed on their clients’ machines. Those professionals want things as simplified as possible because they have no time for customization. And, the end users rarely even realize that customization was ever a possibility. However, people like me who really depend on their assistive communication software realize that our electronic voices become an integral part of our identities. Rather than just vanity, it is important to be able to distinguish ourselves from others with the same synthesizer.

There’s also an immanently practical aspect to having adjustable voice parameters. Yes, I am an Amateur Radio Operator, and yes, my own voice settings are tested for maximum intelligibility in a broad variety of conditions. Of course you needn’t be a ham to value that flexibility either, just try using a synthesizer in a noisy environment.

· I note that Vocalizer only uses the SAPI standard. Yes, that is the default standard these days, but it’s going to make tasks like switching audio output devices programmatically something of a nightmare.

I am very sorry to say that, as things appear right now, I basically have no upgrade path.

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