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Old 08-03-2017, 10:47 PM   #1
Alohamora
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Is there a good text to speech for iOS?

What is the best text to speech app for an iPhone?

I'm new to the iOS, recently picking up an iPhone SE. I'm wondering if there's a tts that can equal or beat the tts of the Fire tablets.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:20 AM   #2
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It is not exactly text-to-speech, but iOS has an Accessibility feature called Speak Screen: in the Settings app, go to General, Accessibility, Speech. If you enable Speak Screen, then when you swipe two fingers from top of screen, it will read the text on the screen. Apps vary in their support for this feature. IBooks has great support (in both 'paged' and 'scrolling' mode), Kindle is also very good (but doesn't support word/sentence highlighting but will read continuously, turning pages etc.). Apart from these two, I have not found any other reading apps that do 'continuous reading' properly using Speak Screen, and I have tried (and continue to check) many reading apps. Some don't work at all with it (Nook, Digital Editions), others just read a page at a time (Play Books, Marvin), or work poorly with it (Kobo). But Kindle and iBooks are probably the most popular reading apps on iOS.

(Also in Speech Settings panel) You can select from dozens of different voices for English, in various 'inflections'. And other languages generally have at least 2 or 3 to pick from. The higher quality voices require downloading.

There are at least a couple of reading apps that explicitly support text to speech, without Accessibility's Speak Screen. Bookari is one, with ePub and PDF support, DRM support etc., and has a relatively advanced set of reading features. Another is Natural Reader, which has a broader range of format support, but does not support DRM and has more basic reading features.

Last edited by tomsem; 08-04-2017 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:41 AM   #3
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Voice Dream Reader is the best, to my mind. It can read pretty much any DRM-free book or document, and can use Ivona and Acapella voices as well as being able to use all the Siri voices. You get one "premium" voice of your choice included in the price of the app.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:44 PM   #4
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I'll second Harry T's vote for Voice Dream.

I don't think it happens very often but there was a half price sale on Voice Dream last month. I convinced my sister to pick it up for those books that don't have an audiobook version. She was excited to get to listen to the Jefferson Bass Body Farm series which I had been reading and telling her about. Paid for itself in one series.

The reading app is what I use the most. The font adjustment for someone who needs larger fonts than many reading apps provide is invaluable to me. It's my go to reading app on my iPad mini.
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:02 PM   #5
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Angry

Most of my books are Kindle versions, so Tom's suggestion sounds good, I gave it a quick try and will download some of the other voices later.

I'll also watch for another sale on Voice dream. I don't have many epubs other than what I've converted myself, so that can wait, if Kindle app plus the accessibility reader works out.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:24 AM   #6
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One thing I find interesting with Voice Dream is that the "premium" Acapella voice I use with it (the female British English voice "Rachel") reads so much better than the built-in Siri voices. Not in the voice quality - there's nothing to choose in that - but in the actual reading. The Siri voice is a flat reading voice, whereas Rachel changes speed, volume, and pitch to match the punctuation of the text. You can clearly hear in the reading when a sentence ends in an exclamation mark or a question mark, for example, just as you would with a human reader. It seems that there's a lot more "information" stored in the Acapella voice than the Siri voices to allow them to do this, and presumably the same would also be the case with the Ivona voices.

I wouldn't claim that it's on a par with a human reader, but it's certainly the best TTS I've found so far.

Last edited by HarryT; 08-08-2017 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 06-03-2018, 10:15 PM   #7
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I'm bringing this thread up because I just received an email from Voice Dream about a sale and wanted to make those interested aware.

"Great news! To celebrate the release of version 4.5, Voice Dream Reader is now on sale for $6.99, 53% off regular price of $14.99. Writer for iOS and Reader for Android are also on sale at 50% off. With Apple's Volume Purchase Program, schools can get an additional 50% off when buying 20 copies or more.

The sale ends at 11:59 PM PST on Saturday June 9. Take this opportunity to tell your friends, colleagues, and students about Voice Dream Reader! Just copy and send them this link:

https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-s...=Sale2018&mt=8"


It looks like a new version with new features....

"Voice Dream Reader 4.5 comes with a bundle of great new features:

Automatic detection and skipping of margin text for PDF documents
Support for PDF table of content
Free scrolling and auto panning and zooming for PDF documents (Requires iOS 11.3)
Export of PDF documents with highlights and notes (Requires iOS 11.3)
Improved Rich Text presentation of eBooks and Web article"

Enjoy.
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:41 PM   #8
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I highly recommend Voice Dream as a text to speech reader. Its been my go to app since it first came out for listening to ebooks due to the features within the app. It has greatly improved since its inception. My favorite voice is still Heather, which is the free voice that comes with the app.

The only downfall is Voice Dream doesn't support Kindle ebooks. Converting the books thru Calibre into epub format usually takes care of this.
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