Superior's speech synthesizer takes up 9k of the 64's
memory and, as the advert so blatantly tells us, requires
no extra hardware for operation. The system includes
its own commands into the commodore BASIC, although
to use a command you have to put a * in front of it.
In this way you're given control over the pitch of the
speech as well as being able to enter speech directly
by using the *SAY command.
takes any string, well almost as it doesn't like any
shifted symbols or strange word structures, and converts
it into phonemes. Phonemes are basic sounds that make
up normal speech, and when strung together make a fairly
recognizable sound. Unfortunately, the processing time
taken to work out the required phonemes is abysmal at
about 5 seconds -- after which, the screen goes blank
while the sentence is said. The *LIGHT command leaves
the screen on but the quality of sound is reduced.
*PITCH command goes some way to helping the *SAY command,
by setting the speed at which the phonemes are spoken
to an optimum rate for what is being said. It works,
to a degree, but doesn't improve the quality of the
*SPEAK command is much better to use and allows direct
entry of any of the 49 phonemes so that the best sounds
can be made. This does take time, though, and good results
are not easily produced.
speech program comes with 3 other programs; the first
is a demo that tries to show you the good points but
manages to put me off.
second is an educational program, similar to speak and
spell, though it should only be used to teach the household
robot as it takes quite a while to understand some of
the words. The program does have three skill levels,
and, if you break into the program, the ability to change
the questions (ho ho).
last program is SAYFILE which recites the contents of
any file on your disk, be it a basic program, sequential
file or a user (machine code) file. Unfortunately, the
speed of execution is terrible, although I suppose it
could have uses in reading back a page of hex to check
far as I can see, this sort of utility has limited potential
and appeal. If a more realistic version was to appear
then you could also hook up an Optical Character Reader
which allows the blind to 'read' normal books. Superior's
speech is not clear enough for this, and takes far too
long to respond to an input.
you're interested in this program then you should be
able to buy it from most software shops at a price of
£9.95 on cassette and £11.95 on disk.