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Windows 7 64 Bit & Windows Server 2008 R2 TTS Voice Selection: Problems & Solutions RRS feed

  • Question

  • There are multiple problems with setting a default TTS Voice in
    Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 64 bit edition.

    The Control Panel TTS Voice option lists only properly registered
    64 bit Voices. Microsoft's Anna is the only 64 bit Voice that is
    supplied with the operating systems. Loquendo's Kate, which is
    probably the highest quality TTS Voice that is currently available,
    has both 32 and 64 bit versions. Kate is difficult to obtain in small
    quantities and is very expensive. The next best alternative is
    believed to be the Acapela-Group Voice Heather. It is only
    currently available in a 32 bit version for the Windows operating
    systems. (64 bit Heather is available for Apple's Snow Leopard).

    There is a fix that permits the display of all installed Voices and
    the selection of any as the system default Voice. This is to
    execute:

    C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Speech\SpeechUX\sapi.cpl

    rather than using the Control Panel TTS Voice selection.
    This fix works properly except for one unfortunate problem.

    The Visual C/C++ statement

        hr = m_cpVoice.CoCreateInstance( CLSID_SpVoice );

    correctly sets up a Voice object regardless of the default
    system Voice.

    The Visual Basic statement

        Voice = New SpeechLib.SpVoice

    results in a system hang or program abort if the default Voice has
    been set to anything other than a properly registered 64 bit Voice
    like Anna. "Try Catch" doesn't catch this error. Note that
    Set Voice = CreateObject("SAPI.SpVoice") also fails with the same
    error.

    There is no easy solution to this problem. It may, however, be less
    of concern as more 64 bit TTS Voices become available.

    First, Microsoft should certainly change the Control Box TTS selection
    to use the same code as "C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Speech\SpeechUX\sapi.cpl".

    Second, Microsoft should correct the problem with the way in which
    The Visual Basic statement "Voice = New SpeechLib.SpVoice" functions.
    There is no reason for this not to have the same capability as its
    Visual C/C++ counterpart.

    Third, application programs that use TTS could be written completely
    in Visual C/C++, the creation of the Voice object could be in an
    Visual C ActiveX control or a wrapper could be used to access
    CoCreateInstance.

    Fourth, it may be possible to modify the Voice registry entries so
    that 32 bit Voices work with the Control Panel TTS listing. It is
    easy to modify the registry so that the Voices are displayed. There
    is, however, a consistent error message regarding a failure of audio
    output. The TTS registry entries are generally well documented.
    Unfortunately, there are multiple entries for which there is no publicly
    available documentation. This plus a lack of technical assistance from
    either the third party vendors of TTS Voices or Microsoft makes it
    impossible to resolve the registry entry problem at this time.
    The registry issues are not a concern when you use
    "C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Speech\SpeechUX\sapi.cpl".

    Fifth, One important reason for being able to change the system
    default TTS Voice is to provide an alternate Voice choice for programs
    like MapPoint which automatically select the system default Voice.
    There is no other user option for changing MapPoint's Voice.
    There is a MapPoint registry key at
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MapPoint\17.0\USA\PreferredTTSEngine
    that looks as if the TTS Voice can be selected. Unfortunately, there
    is no documentation for this entry and changing the Voice name doesn't
    override the system default Voice.

    Sixth, the registry entries could be programmatically changed so
    that the default Voice meets the requirements of
    "Voice = New SpeechLib.SpVoice" only for this one statement. The
    original entries are then replaced prior to further usage of the
    Voice object.
    It is far from perfect, but we have chosen this approach as the
    best current compromise for our programming environment. One
    unfortunate limitation is that Windows 7 64 bit and Windows Server
    2008 R2 use different TTS registry directory paths and Values for
    DefaultTokenId.
    Incidentally, an invaluable tool for working with the registry is
    Registry Workshop for X64. It can do copy/paste in addition to
    multiple other helpful registry operations.

    The following code snippet demonstrates the methodology.


       'Created inside Form_Load and released inside Form_Unload.

        Dim WithEvents Voice As SpeechLib.SpVoice
        Dim modifyRegistryFlag As Boolean = False

        'Code snippet from Form_Load

            Dim keyName, userRoot, subkeys, defaultString, oldString As String
            Dim OSName, OSPlatform, OSVersion As String
            OSName = Trim(My.Computer.Info.OSFullName.ToString)
            OSPlatform = Trim(My.Computer.Info.OSPlatform.ToString)
            OSVersion = Trim(My.Computer.Info.OSVersion.ToString)
            If InStr(1, OSVersion, "6.1") >= 1 Then
                modifyRegistryFlag = True
                If InStr(1, OSName, "Microsoft Windows 7") >= 1 Then
                    'Registry directory path for Windows 7 64 bit
                    userRoot = "HKEY_CURRENT_USER"
                    subkeys = "Software\Microsoft\Speech\Voices"
                    'Default DefaultTokenId string for Windows 7 64 bit
                    defaultString = "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech\Voices\Tokens\MS-Anna-1033-20-DSK"
                Else
                    If InStr(1, OSName, "Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2") >= 1 Then
                        'Registry directory path for Server 2008 R2
                        userRoot = "HKEY_USERS"
                        subkeys = ".DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Speech\Voices"
                        'Default DefaultTokenId string for Server 2008 R2
                        defaultString = "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech\Voices\Tokens\MS-Anna-1033-20-DSK"
                    End If
                End If
            End If

            keyName = userRoot & "\" & subkeys

            If modifyRegistryFlag = True Then
                'Retrieve name of default Voice
                oldString = ""
                Try
                    oldString = Registry.GetValue(keyName, "DefaultTokenId", "-1")
                Catch ex As Exception
                    MessageBox.Show(ex.Message.ToString, "TTS Error:Get Current Default Voice", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error, MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button1)
                    Exit Sub
                End Try

                If oldString = "-1" Then
                    MessageBox.Show("No DefaultTokenId", "TTS Error:Get Current Default Voice", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error, MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button1)
                    Exit Sub
                End If

                'Set default name to Anna if she is not the default
                If oldString <> defaultString Then
                    'MessageBox.Show(oldString & vbCrLf & defaultString)
                    Try
                        Registry.SetValue(keyName, "DefaultTokenId", defaultString, RegistryValueKind.String)
                    Catch ex As Exception
                        MessageBox.Show(ex.Message, "TTS Error:Set Default Voice", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error, MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button1)
                        Exit Sub
                    End Try
                End If
            End If

            'Creates the voice object
            Try
                Voice = New SpeechLib.SpVoice
            Catch err As Exception
                MessageBox.Show("Error Creating SpeechLib Voice" & vbNewLine & err.Message, "TTS Error", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error, MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button1)
                Exit Sub
            End Try

            If modifyRegistryFlag = True Then
                'Restore original default Voice
                If oldString <> defaultString Then
                    Try
                        Registry.SetValue(keyName, "DefaultTokenId", oldString, RegistryValueKind.String)
                    Catch ex As Exception
                        MessageBox.Show(ex.Message, "TTS Error:Restore Default Voice", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error, MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button1)
                        Exit Sub
                    End Try
                End If
            End If

    Robbie
    Sunday, November 15, 2009 5:42 PM

Answers

All replies

  •  Since this is software development question, please discuss in our MSDN forum.

    MSDN: Microsoft Development, MSDN Subscriptions, Resources, and More 


    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 3:47 AM
    Moderator
  • I appear to have successfully installed Hazel and Zira Pro in Server 2008 R2 by:

    1) Running SpeechPlatformRuntime32.msi

    2 Installing Hazel and  and Zira voices (MSSpeech_TTS_en-US_ZiraPro.msi)

    3) Updating Registry to

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech\Voices\Tokens\TTS_MS_en-US_ZiraPro_11.0]
    @="Microsoft Server Speech Text to Speech Voice (en-US, ZiraPro)"
    "409"="Microsoft Server Speech Text to Speech Voice (en-US, ZiraPro)"
    "CLSID"="{a12bdfa1-c3a1-48ea-8e3f-27945e16cf7e}"
    "LangDataPath"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Common Files\\Microsoft Shared\\Speech\\Tokens\\TTS_MS_en-US_ZiraPro_11.0\\MSTTSLocenUS.dat"
    "VoicePath"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Common Files\\Microsoft Shared\\Speech\\Tokens\\TTS_MS_en-US_ZiraPro_11.0\\ZiraProT"

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech\Voices\Tokens\TTS_MS_en-US_ZiraPro_11.0\Attributes]
    @=""
    "Age"="Adult"
    "AudioFormats"="18"
    "Gender"="Female"
    "Language"="409"
    "Name"="Microsoft Server Speech Text to Speech Voice (en-US, ZiraPro)"
    "Vendor"="Microsoft"
    "Version"="11.0"

    4) Changing HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Speech\Voices to

    "DefaultTokenId"="HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Speech\\Voices\\Tokens\\TTS_MS_en-US_ZiraPro_11.0"

    My Excel programs talk legibly again!


    • Edited by asachs11 Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:33 PM
    • Proposed as answer by asachs11 Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:34 PM
    Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:33 PM