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tbj77
October 16th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Does anyone have an old hardware Text To Speech Synthesizer?

If so do they use it with Win XP?

I have recently bought a Votrax Type-'N-Talk.

It conects to the computer via a 25pin serial port.

I want to conect it to my laptops 9 pin serial port via an adaptor.

I also need software to be able to control it.

If anyone has any advice that would be great.



I've been all over the internet trying to find clues but because it's such an old (1981) bit of gear there's not a lot of info on how to use the Type-'N-Talk with a modern PC.

I really want to get it woking as I love the sound of this old machine

I would really appreciate your help with this

Cheers.



I saw this recently:

IBM SCREEN READER:

o Operates on all IBM Personal System/2 models and selected models of
the PC family (IBM PC/XT, IBM PC/XT-286, IBM PC/AT)

o Runs on IBM DOS 3.3 or later versions






below is some info from the manual:





An Inside Look
It all starts at your computer or terminal. Information, in the form of ASCII characters is sent through an RS-232C serial interface and into Type 'n Talk (TNT). This information is fed through very quickly - faster than the synthesizer could say the words. So a buffer has been inserted at the input to collect the information so it can be slowly dispersed as the words are spoken (your printer works in a similar fashion). From the buffer, the data is sent to a text-to-speech translator, that decides how the words you typed will be pronounced. From the translator, the information is sent to a voice synthesis chip. This chip creates a series of hissing, pocking, clicking, humming and other strange sounds that combine to form human speech. These sounds are sent through an internal amplifier and then to your speaker.


Connections
No special hardware modifications or devices are required to connect TNT to your computer system. However, you do need a standard RS-232C serial interface and cable. Up to eight TNTs can be connected to one computer system, and each can be independently addressed. This is particularly helpful in the classroom. You must make two other connections to complete your TNT set up: one for power supply cable (included) and the other for the speaker connection. You can connect TNT to any 8-ohm speaker or wire it into your hi-fi if the on-board 1-watt amp isn't strong enough for your needs (TNT does not have an internal speaker). You must also select the baud rate. A series of small switches on the back of TNT controls the rate from 75 to 9600 baud. The data buffer built into TNT is capable of holding 750 bytes, or about one minute of speech. At 9600 baud, this buffer takes less than one second to fill. So while TNT is speaking, your computer is free to do other tasks.

mbbrutman
October 16th, 2006, 04:34 PM
I would get the appropriate adapter for the serial connection, and experiment with it. Use the original DOS software (on a DOS) machine to figure out how it works. Then you can determine if it works on newer machines, or even other operating systmes.

It sounds pretty simple - just feed it words using the serial port and it speaks.

Bill_Loguidice
October 17th, 2006, 06:55 AM
I have a Votrax Type n Talk as well, but have yet to put it through its paces. I'm anxious to though, but not necessarily with a modern PC.

fxg
October 17th, 2006, 08:46 AM
My guess is that you might need to connect it to a standard COM port, and then feed it data through HyperTerminal [or another software that speaks directly to the COM port - I use Com 7.6].
In some cases, you won't be able to work with the COM port directly [depending on your system configuration] so you might need a driver called DLPortIO [you can easily find it with Google]. My system had trouble connecting to my parallel LCD and my SparcStation5 on the serial port until I installed that driver.
Other than that, experimenting is the key.

One more thing: depending on what your Votrax does internally, you may need to short a couple of pins on the serial connector, so you can fool your software into thinking that there is something actually connected [that reffers to "handshaking" and not all old devices do that properly to fool new software]. You can also find the proper details by googling for "null modem"

Good luck ;)

tbj77
October 18th, 2006, 05:55 AM
Thanks for the reply guys - I will try and take things further with your advice - However I am still looking for more people out there who use the type'Ntalk and would like very much to hear how they use it within there system.

terminator
May 31st, 2007, 04:05 PM
Is anybody interested in purchasing a Votrax Type n Talk Speech Synthesizer? I currently own one and can't figure out how he hell to use this dinosaur! It comes in the original box w/ power supply, manual, and an rs-232 adapter (DB25 to USB). "Handshaking", "dummy wire", "Baud rate" , "hyperterminal", WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN??????????!!!!!!!!

Anyway, please contact me if interested or know of anybody interested.
I'm from Connecticut, USA

MichaelJN
July 26th, 2007, 01:38 PM
I have recently worked on one of these units and got it running under XP using a USB-DB25 adapter and a little breakout box to change the pinouts. I would be happy to provide any advise or even offer one of these devices if you need it. It works smooth with Hyperterminal once you put this adapter in the line.

Michael

Mikael M
October 17th, 2007, 11:37 AM
Oh! Found an breakoutbox w jumpers. Please share how to connect the pins correctly. Read about people damaging their computers badly when trying to connect old votrax with "straight" cables.

MikeS
October 18th, 2007, 12:03 AM
Pretty unlikely that you'd cause any damage unless you plugged it into the printer port; the serial ports are designed to handle that kind of thing.

I use mine to announce the Caller ID name & number of incoming phone calls; in the old days I had one on a BBS system to announce people's names as they logged in.

tbj77
January 21st, 2008, 06:20 PM
Hi.

I noticed a few of you are using a break out box and a 25 PIN to USB adapter.

I am trying to make my own 25 pin to 9 pin Serial Cable.

I have one problem though. There is no Protective Ground on a 9 pin serial plug (PIN 1 on 25 PIN plug).

Do you think it will still work if I wire without one?

chuckcmagee
January 22nd, 2008, 01:27 AM
Yes, it will work. In fact, a lot of times you can get away with just 3 wires, send-data, receive-data, and signal-ground. I still have DB25 connectors with three wires sticking out the back in a drawer.

tbj77
January 24th, 2008, 09:15 AM
Right thanks for that. I'll give it a blast!

tbj77
March 1st, 2008, 08:57 PM
Finally got the power adapter for the Votrax working.

Can someone please help me with:

1. Setting up Hyper Terminal connection.

2. Configuring Serial port.

3. Process for sending text to the Type and Talk.

I would REALLY! appreciate it.

thanks:confused::D:confused:

MikeS
March 1st, 2008, 11:44 PM
Finally got the power adapter for the Votrax working.

Can someone please help me with:

1. Setting up Hyper Terminal connection.

2. Configuring Serial port.

3. Process for sending text to the Type and Talk.

I would REALLY! appreciate it.

thanks:confused::D:confused:
---------
Sorry 'bout that, M; got your msg off-list but didn't have a chance to look into it.

Assuming you've got the cable sorted out and the T & T speaks "System ready" when it's connected and turned on, the rest should be easy. From a little write-up I did for another occasion:

If your PC doesn't have any COM ports (only USB) you will also need a USB to Serial adapter; plug it in and install any drivers or software that it needs, if any.

1 - If your PC has a COM port, check your BIOS or configuration program to make sure that it is enabled; laptops in particular often have the serial port disabled by default to save battery power and/or have the IR port enabled as Com1. Also note the port number and, if you have more than one, make sure you are using the correct connector.

2 - Clear the desktop and open Hyperterm; if it's not on the Start menu, select All Programs/ Accessories/ Communications/ HyperTerminal. If HT hasn't been previously used, enter Country and Area Code.

3 - Create a New Connection:
- Name it whatever you like (e.g. Votrax) and pick an icon you like
- In the Connect To/Connect Using drop-down box, select Com1 or Com2 depending on your configuration (see step 1).
- In the Port Settings tab:

Bits per Second: 9600 (or whatever the T&T is set to)
Data Bits: 8
Parity: None
Stop Bits: 1
Flow Control: Hardware

Assuming everything's OK, the T&T should speak whatever you type.

Unfortunately I can't verify it myself because I have a PSS which is wired a little differently AFAIK; not only that but I can't find the PS at the moment, so I'm guessing a little bit.

Good luck!

mike

Micom 2000
March 2nd, 2008, 03:09 AM
I have a similar device for the Commodore. A Currah Voice Messenger. It works off a cartridge. They call it a speech synthesizer. Never did try it out. It's been sitting on a shelf for over 10 years. The Atari ST also had a similar program but worked thru the speakers and translated written messages. Great if you were blind or had visual problems. A simlar program is used by those with speech and hearing impediments. Communication can be done by typing in a message and the responder's answer or question is printed on the monitor.

Lawrence

MikeS
March 2nd, 2008, 02:47 PM
I have a similar device for the Commodore. A Currah Voice Messenger. It works off a cartridge. They call it a speech synthesizer. Never did try it out. It's been sitting on a shelf for over 10 years. The Atari ST also had a similar program but worked thru the speakers and translated written messages. Great if you were blind or had visual problems. A simlar program is used by those with speech and hearing impediments. Communication can be done by typing in a message and the responder's answer or question is printed on the monitor.

Lawrence
------
The Votrax is a universal RS-232 text-to-speech synthesizer and you could even hook it up to a printer port to speak the printed text, whereas many other devices just spoke the sounds and the conversion of text to speech phonemes was done in software. I still use a PC with a speech synthesizer card to announce the Caller ID information on incoming phone calls so I don't have to look at the display, and my Votrax PSS used to be connected to a Cromemco BBS and would announce the names of callers as they logged in. I also still have a little board using the GI SP0256 that I built for my PETs from the plans that R-S included with the chip; not much to it, just the two chips, a crystal and a couple of caps & resistors, but you had to assemble the spoken words yourself from phonemes.

Neat stuff, but these days you can do it all in software using the PC's sound card. Remember Creative's Dr. SBaitso?

Wonder how M is making out with his T&T.

mike

tbj77
March 2nd, 2008, 05:23 PM
Thanks very much for your reply Mike - will get back to you with an update asap.:)

tbj77
March 5th, 2008, 03:41 AM
OK. So,

As far as I am aware my serial cable is wired correctly and working.

When I turn on the Type'N Talk it says "System Ready"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my Laptop BIOS I have a choice of:

OFF
COM1 = Port is configured at 3F8h with IRQ 4.
COM2 = Port is configured at 2F8h with IRQ 3.
COM3 = Port is configured at 3E8h with IRQ 4.
COM4 = Port is configured at 2E8h with IRQ 3.

I chose COM1 as it is the factory default.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I then checked the COM1 port within the device manager:

Communications Port (COM1) [I also have COM 6,7,10,11,12,13,14,20,21]

Bits per second: 9600
Data bit 8
Parity None
Stop bit 1
Flow control Hardware

Should I need to configure anything within the [DETAILS TAB]? E.G Device instance Id is set to: ACPI PNP050 4&25E2FF18&0


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I then opened Hyper terminal and created a new connection.

Named "Votrax"

No need for: Country Area Code or Phone number as these fields get blanked out after selecting COM1

Enter [OK]


PORT SETTINGS


Bits per second: Changed from 2400 to 9600
Data bit 8
Parity None
Stop bit 1
Flow control Hardware

[APPLY]/[OK]



Ready to begin - No characters when I type...?

I looked in File menu

There is a section called "Properties"


This contains the "Connect to" TAB & another TAB "SETTINGS"

The "Connect to" TAB just displays the Country/region area code etc and the port (COM1). However, all is grayed out apart from "change icon" so there doesn't seem to be anything to do here.



Within "SETTINGS" TAB there are various fields that you can change.

Here is the list of options numbered 1-8 as I am not sure what to set these at:


1. Function, arrow, and control keys act as:

Terminal Keys or Windows Keys?


2. Back space key sends:

Ctrl+H or
Del or
Ctrl+H, Space, Ctrl+H ?

3. Emulation:

This is a drop down menu where you can select:

ANSI, ANSIW, Auto Detect, Minitel, TTY, Viewdata, VT100, VT100J, VT52

All of these selections (apart from Auto Detect) allow you access to a "Terminal Set up" button that allows you to access "Terminal Settings" which consists of:

Block or Underline + 2 tick box options Blink & use destructive backspace.


4. Telnet Terminal ID:

This is a field that defaults to whatever "Emulation" (See .3 above) you selected apart from Auto detect which defaults as ANSI.
However you can choose your own name for this field.


5. "Backscroll buffer lines" this seems to default to 500 but you can increse or decrease this amount.


6. A tick box for selecting "Play sound when connecting or disconnecting".


7. A button for selecting "Input Translation":

This opens "select Host System Encoding Method" either Shift-JIS or Standard JIS [OK] or [Cancel]


8. A button for selecting "ASCII Setup...":

ASCII Sending: 2 tick boxes Send line ends with line feeds and Echo typed characters locally
Then 2 fields Line delay and Character delay both in a value of milliseconds [default seems to be 0 milliseconds for both]

ASCII Receiving: 3 tick boxes 1. Append line feeds to incoming line ends. 2. Force incoming data to 7-bit ASCII. 3. Wrap lines that exceed terminal width.

[OK] [Cancel]


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


And that seems to be all I can configure within Hyper terminal.

So what do you think?


Also:


You say clear the desktop . What do you mean by this? does it matter?

How do you actually send text to it? do you just type and hit enter? I have also been trying:

Send - Browse for text file - then select a 'Protocol' :

1K Xmodem
Kermit
Xmodem
Ymodem
Ymodem-G
zmodem
Zmodem with crash recovery

Which of these should I use?



SORRY - lots of questions.

Look forward to hearing your answers!



If all is set up a configured correctly then I can only presume that my cable is not working in which case I might try a USB to Serial but that means getting a break out box ...... Hmmmmmm, I will get it working one of these days.

Many thanks again for all your support.

TBJ77.:confused:

MikeS
March 5th, 2008, 04:55 AM
OK. So,

As far as I am aware my serial cable is wired correctly and working.

When I turn on the Type'N Talk it says "System Ready"
---
M:
Excellent beginning!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my Laptop BIOS I have a choice of:

OFF
COM1 = Port is configured at 3F8h with IRQ 4.
COM2 = Port is configured at 2F8h with IRQ 3.
COM3 = Port is configured at 3E8h with IRQ 4.
COM4 = Port is configured at 2E8h with IRQ 3.

I chose COM1 as it is the factory default.
---
M:
Sounds good.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I then checked the COM1 port within the device manager:

Communications Port (COM1) [I also have COM 6,7,10,11,12,13,14,20,21]

Bits per second: 9600
Data bit 8
Parity None
Stop bit 1
Flow control Hardware

Should I need to configure anything within the [DETAILS TAB]? E.G Device instance Id is set to: ACPI PNP050 4&25E2FF18&0
----
M:
Shouldn't be necessary.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I then opened Hyper terminal and created a new connection.

Named "Votrax"

No need for: Country Area Code or Phone number as these fields get blanked out after selecting COM1

Enter [OK]


PORT SETTINGS


Bits per second: Changed from 2400 to 9600
Data bit 8
Parity None
Stop bit 1
Flow control Hardware

[APPLY]/[OK]

Ready to begin - No characters when I type...?
---
M:
Normal; if you want to see what you type, select Properties/Settings/ASCII Setup and click "Echo typed characters locally"
---

I looked in File menu

There is a section called "Properties"


This contains the "Connect to" TAB & another TAB "SETTINGS"

The "Connect to" TAB just displays the Country/region area code etc and the port (COM1). However, all is grayed out apart from "change icon" so there doesn't seem to be anything to do here.



Within "SETTINGS" TAB there are various fields that you can change.

Here is the list of options numbered 1-8 as I am not sure what to set these at:
<snip>
---
M:
All irrelevant; leave 'em as is.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And that seems to be all I can configure within Hyper terminal.

So what do you think?


Also:

You say clear the desktop . What do you mean by this? does it matter?
---
M:
No. Just makes it less confusing if there aren't any other open windows.
---

How do you actually send text to it? do you just type and hit enter?
---
M:
Yup.
---

I have also been trying:

Send - Browse for text file - then select a 'Protocol' :

1K Xmodem
Kermit
Xmodem
Ymodem
Ymodem-G
zmodem
Zmodem with crash recovery

Which of these should I use?
---
M:
Also not relevant; forget about 'em.
---
SORRY - lots of questions.

Look forward to hearing your answers!



If all is set up a configured correctly then I can only presume that my cable is not working in which case I might try a USB to Serial but that means getting a break out box ...... Hmmmmmm, I will get it working one of these days.
---
M:
USB<>Serial adapter probably wouldn't make any difference, just add another variable.
---

Many thanks again for all your support.

TBJ77.:confused:

---
M:
(See in-line above)

Well, the first two things would be the cable and the baud rate. Are the DIP switches on the T&T set to the same baud rate as HT (9600)?

How is the cable wired?

Any chance of measuring the voltages on the relevant lines?

m

tbj77
March 5th, 2008, 07:22 AM
Hi Mike - thanks.

Your answers were as I suspected.

I will look again at the baud rate and experiment a little - not sure about the voltages - perhaps I will go to my local electronics store and ask them to take a look.

Will get back ASAP.

Thanks again.

TBJ77

Lord Nightmare
May 19th, 2009, 04:59 PM
I know this is a major necropost but the proper way to get a votrax type n talk working is quite simple: first of all be sure you have the right power supply: a votrax personal speech system uses a power supply quite different to the one used on the votrax type n talk, despite using the same din-5 connector!
Secondly, the baud rate needs to be set properly; the type n talk uses a rather hacky way to do this: there are 8 dipswitches, and each one connects the clock input of an m6850 ACIA to a different clock rate divdied by a 4040 divider. You must have only ONE dip switch set or it will NOT work! (see the schematic at http://www.kevtris.org/Projects/votraxtnt/tnt_schematic.jpg)
Most people will probably want to set just dipswitch 8, for 9600bps.
The serial port, as far as I recall, is set to be a 'DTE' device and so requires use of a null modem cable to connect to a computer (which is another 'DTE' device). Flow control uses RTS and CTS lines. serial words are 8 bits long with no parity, and one stop bit, I believe. so the standard (with dipswitch 8 set) is 9600,N,8,1

As for data sent to the device, it is an unlimited text to speech engine using the "NRL" text-to-phoneme algorithm and a small dictionary of override words (to replace a few common ones which NRL doesn't pronounce properly).
You can also make it use votrax phonemes by starting a phoneme string with a ~, using ascii characters whose lower 6 bits control the phoneme spoken, and ending with a ?. The 64 votrax phonemes are documented here: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/geog/gessler/borland/votrax-phoneme-chart.jpg

The user manual for the type n' talk can be found here, in html-ized form:
http://members.tripod.com/werdav/txtospm1.html

LN

Lallander
September 13th, 2009, 11:42 AM
Glad I'm not the one digging this up from the before time, but I am looking for a modern way to reproduce the sound from either one of these or the earlier SC-01-A. Preferably something that will run on mac. I've been tracking down alternative text to speech voices, but each one seems to be trying to sound more human than the last. I need the authentic retro sounds from the 80s. Any help is much appreciated.

Lou - N2MIY
September 13th, 2009, 05:52 PM
Lallander,

Does it have to be a reproduction, or would you be satisfied with the real thing?

On the ground in an abandoned pile of junk at the end of the (rainy) Timmonium MD hamfest this spring I found two Micro Mint parallel "sweet talkers" that use SC-01-A chips. Are you up to the challenge of real hardware hacking?

Lou

P.S. Did you ever get the 11/23 system going?

Lallander
September 13th, 2009, 09:24 PM
The 11/23 needs some internal work that I am not quite up to. I am no hardware hacker as you put it. I need a way to record the files onto a computer (mac in my case). The easier this process the more likely I am to use it. I would love to own one of the chips, I can never pass up retro computing stuff. It doesn't have to be that specific chip, I just need a classic 80s robot sound. I found two possible leads on this. There was a Java based emulator that was on a now defunct site, and apparently there was a SC-01 emulator as part of a pinball emulator. Stripping out only the Votrax bits is going to be a royal pain tho.

Lallander
September 14th, 2009, 05:06 PM
Ok, I've studied the chip's user manual a bit, and checked out a demo of one a guy has running on his website. I've convinced myself I could get this running with the aide of my Arduino. I would need some help making sure I am supplying the right amount of power to things, resisters and all that, but the actual programming of it looks rather simple. This is not the ideal of course, but a project like this could be fun, and give me a reason to dust off the old Arduino.

Lou - N2MIY
September 14th, 2009, 05:40 PM
Lallander,

Ok then. Send me a PM with an address with where to mail these to. No gaurantees, so invest as little effort as possible with them until you get signs of life. (Don't go designing a whole project around them yet.) Data sheets are around on the internet. I know I printed some out once.

Lou

Lallander
September 14th, 2009, 09:13 PM
Alrighty then, once I get the chips that are kindly being donated, I will start a new thread specifically for it. I have done some work with the Arduino so I'm not a complete noob there, but I don't have much experience with electrical engineering. I will need people to help look over wiring arrangements to help me make sure I don't fry anything. I have the Arduino Diecimila and a prototyping shield for it. This is a good thing considering I do not know how to solder. :eek:

dougchase
September 18th, 2009, 10:11 AM
I finally just got a USB-Serial adapter in the mail and am trying to get my Votrax to connect. So far I've tried it on both the PC and the Mac with no success. It looks like I'm getting a connection but sending keystrokes has no effect.

I had the serial adapter plugged directly into the Votrax first, but I also have a breakout box that we can try.

The terminal application is set to 96008N1, and the Votrax is set to 9600 per the user's manual.

I'm attaching a picture because I have no idea how to use this box - can someone help?

carlsson
September 18th, 2009, 10:28 AM
It doesn't have to be that specific chip, I just need a classic 80s robot sound.
Have you considered vintage software speech synthesis? I am mainly thinking about programs like S.A.M, the Software Automatic Mouth for Commodore 64, Apple II and Atari 800. It does a pretty good job at speech synthesis, although it still doesn't sound very much like a real human. I am thinking you could obtain a copy of this program, enter some commands and make it say whatever you like. Then you record these sentences.

Hey, it may even be possible to do in emulation if you don't have access to the real thing. Please forgive me if I misunderstood your intention, how or for what you were going to use the synthetic sounds. I assumed you will use recordings and mix into something else.

Lallander
September 18th, 2009, 03:20 PM
The end goal for me is to have a simple way to recreate as authentically as possible the old robot sound. I then want to be able to save it to wav. On the mac I have the built in say command that I can output directly to a file. I doubt I will be able to find a mac speech compatible module, but that is the ideal. Whatever I can get to work is great, but the easier it is from the user standpoint the better. The hardware chip is not very likely to do what I need. It will however be a fun project, and might even become the basis for a prop.

I don't know how many people here are familiar with the tabletop RPG Paranoia. It is set in a dystopian underground society controlled by an insane AI. I am wanting to use this as His voice. The hardware version could very likely be used for local in person games. What a prop that would be.

barythrin
September 18th, 2009, 03:45 PM
I know this isn't vintage nor the hardware approach but have you just tried the native speech engine in XP since I see a few posters were using XP? http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306902 Get a copy of VB and embed that object and you can make a quick little sayit program (or add it to a picture of Michael Jackson and jack the pitch up a bit as my friend quickly did to my quick test app).

Lallander
September 18th, 2009, 03:56 PM
Three problems.
1. Not vintage. (this is the biggest)
2. Mac has a superior speech program.
3. It would require using windows. :crazy:

carlsson
September 19th, 2009, 01:45 PM
You may find an emulator a relatively way to go ahead, in particular if it lets you save the sound output directly to WAV. At least WinVICE (probably the Mac OSX port as well) has an option to record sound to WAV. Of course if you're dedicated you could strip selected portions of the emulator source code (e.g. CPU and SID emulation) and try to build a smaller program that runs the software speech synthesis. Or well, you may even be able to extract the phoenemes from S.A.M. and make your completely custom program that will work like the speech synthesis on modern computers, just using older algorithms and sound samples. This last task may be quite tricky, but I would assume interfacing a hardware chip is no easy task either, at least if you want to control it from the Mac and record the output.

Lallander
September 19th, 2009, 03:25 PM
I've found a few leads. I'm still looking into the hardware side of things, and will definitely try to do something semi related once I get the speech chips. On with the leads.

http://pinmame.retrogames.com/
This has a SC-01 emulator built in, the trouble is separating it out and getting it working cross platform.

http://www.nntpnews.net/f4625/no-one-can-escape-black-hol-umm-java-applet-7133495/
This site supposedly linked to a java emulator at one point, but it seems dead now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTMow2Sn67A
This guy's video as well as his site linked in the info box is interesting. It has a few limitations that will keep me from going this route. It has a massive delay before it streams you the results, it can't parse text, and you can't modulate the voice at all.

Lallander
September 29th, 2009, 05:14 PM
http://code.google.com/p/tinkerit/wiki/Cantarino

Somewhat interesting project for the Arduino. Still looking forward to trying to hack something together with the SC-01-A.

Lallander
October 1st, 2009, 11:17 AM
Alrighty then. I got the chips in today. Where would be the best place for an Arduino project thread? Vintage hardware since I am trying to integrate some old ICs?

Creideiki
October 13th, 2009, 03:42 AM
As a small side note... doesn't the Votrax Type & Talk allow one immense flexibility over the overall sound of the voice? (I heard that one Votrax synth would even let you speak using phonemes as opposed to just reading words, also said synth is capable of letting you inflect words to varying degrees as it is speaking them. (Apparently with good enough programming, one can make it sound quite exactly like a human to the casual listener.))

That's just my two cents.

Lallander
October 13th, 2009, 06:53 AM
The Type-n-talk was based on the SC-01 and later the SC-01-A. It has 64 possible phonemes and 4 different pitches if I remember correctly. It would sound an awful lot like this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8dUL9qgU1M

Lord Nightmare
October 21st, 2009, 10:32 PM
While the sc-01-a on the type and talk CAN do 4 pitches, the inflection lines are not actually hooked up to anything. see Kevin Horton's schematic of it at http://www.kevtris.org/Projects/votraxtnt/index.html

The later Votrax PSS (personal speech system) is much more dynamic and allows very fine 16 step inflection control, etc by varying the sc-01's RC clock using a chopper and handling phoneme lengths via software control (i.e. ignoring the A/R pin).

LN

Lallander
October 21st, 2009, 10:36 PM
Yes, I was talking about the chip in general and not that board specifically.

hankejh
August 2nd, 2011, 10:17 AM
Greetings Terminator -- just found your message (a bit dated, but...) and I'd love* to buy a Votrax Type'N Talk (to replace the one I've misplaced from ~1981).

Do you still have it available? I live in Manhattan.

Damion | ingk.com/d

rmelick
January 12th, 2012, 08:44 AM
Re. Personal Speech System from Votrax - power options

FYI ... I was struggleing to find an OEM power supply for a unit I picked up. The power supply of a Radio Schack Model 1 will drive the Votrax Personal Speech System. Just plug it in and go as-is. ... Sharing this in case you too are without this unusual power supply. The Radio Shack ones are more common and go for about 20-30 dollars on ebay. "Now you're talking!" -Rick

Bill_Loguidice
November 3rd, 2012, 10:23 AM
Re. Personal Speech System from Votrax - power options

FYI ... I was struggleing to find an OEM power supply for a unit I picked up. The power supply of a Radio Schack Model 1 will drive the Votrax Personal Speech System. Just plug it in and go as-is. ... Sharing this in case you too are without this unusual power supply. The Radio Shack ones are more common and go for about 20-30 dollars on ebay. "Now you're talking!" -Rick

This is super obscure, but in not finding any of my Model I power supplies (I think I don't have any because the two Model I's I have have the expansion units), I was able to try a Telegames (Bit Corporation) Personal Arcade power supply and it worked perfectly.

Laughing Otter
August 2nd, 2013, 08:01 AM
Late to the party as usual, but I just acquired a TNT myself.
It has the original power supply and a 25-pin RS-232 adapter plugged into the serial port in back, though I don't know if it's been reconfigured or not as per some of the suggestions I've found here.
It's easy enough to find an RS-232-to-USB cable, and perl has several good libraries I can use to programmatically communicate with the USB. Hope it'll be as easy as that.
I'll assume it's safe to set the baud rate switch in the back to 9600. 9600 may have been blindingly fast back in 1981, but now...

The reason I'm doing this is because I'm one of those aforementioned pinball and videogame players from way back when. Some of the Seattle Metropolitan Arcade Collectors think it would be very cool to have a working VOTRAX exhibit at the next Gameroom Show next June. Many of the 1982 Gottlieb pinball machines (Black Hole, Haunted House, Caveman) used the VOTRAX, as did Q-Bert, Wizard of Wor, and GORF. There are more, but those are the more well-known games.

So. Anyone have a modern-day VOTRAX setup?

Steve

Bill_Loguidice
August 2nd, 2013, 08:21 AM
I would love to know too, Steve. I still can't get the right combination of cable and dip switches to control it from another system (I tried a VIC-20 with the games that support it and an old IBM PC), though my TNT works just fine now.

Laughing Otter
August 2nd, 2013, 05:10 PM
Do you know of this website?

http://real-votrax.no-ip.org/
It's actually hooked up to an SC-01A. I've asked the admin how his kit is rigged up. Let's hope he's friendly!