Mac OS X Lion Adds Amazing New Text-to-Speech Voices – Listen to Samples

May 15, 2011 - 27 Comments

Mac OS X Lion Nuance Speech Voices

Mac OS X Lion is set to include a wide variety of new high quality text-to-speech voices in a multitude of languages, thanks to a long suspected partnership between Apple and Nuance, a speech technology company. The new voices are of surprisingly good quality and speak in major world languages including English, Mandarin, German, Japanese, French, Spanish, Thai, Bahasa, Portuguese, Hindi, Russian, and many more.

Want to hear some voice samples? Here’s a few different voices in WAV format, these are confirmed to be the same voices as what is in Lion DP3:

You can listen to more voices at the NextUp Nuance Sample page, but even that contains only a fraction of what is listed in Lion’s new Speech preferences. As you can hear, they are significantly improved from the current voices in Mac OS X text-to-speech, some of which are comically drone-like (Cellos anyone?).

The new voices exist as downloadable content in developer preview 3 of Lion, and were originally discovered by NetPuting and brought to light by 9to5mac (screenshot source). 9to5Mac mentions that each voice independently costs $45, suggesting Apple has reached an agreement with Nuance to license the voice technology, and they also suggest that these voices and text-to-speech technology will be a component of iOS 5.

I’ll go ahead and remind everyone that until Lion ships this summer, we don’t know for 100% certainty that these voices will be included in Mac OS X, but the evidence certainly points that way.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Robert says:

    Wooow! I needed a text to speech software, but didnt know that it works right away in mac without any extra software. Thanks Paul!

  2. paz says:

    I cannot understand “Mikko” at all. And I’m a native Finnish speaker. Hmm… come think of it, maybe that’s the problem.

    At least the umlaut-a:s seem to be simply missing from the words. hard to tell if it’s the source text or poor sound synthesis.

  3. Bas says:

    Read4Me reads Microsoft Word documents, Rich Text, HTML, Open Office, and many other types of text files. It pronounces the text in a choice of voices and you can adjust the speed, pitch and other properties. You can create a soundtrack with dialogs in multiple voices, saving to audio file or AudioBook format.

  4. TrekCaptainUSA says:

    What’s interesting is that the Tom voice in Mac OS X Lion is the same voice that’s used in NOAA’s All Hazards Weather Radio. It does make sense there. I mean NOAA also has a contract with Nuance (The owner of SpeechWorks).

  5. Scott Cruce says:

    I wonder if you can use Ivona voices on a Mac. Nuance voices are average, at best. Mac voice Alex is better than the others you download.

  6. […] and accents and are probably some of the best computer rendered voices out there. We got a sneak peak at these months ago, but now they’re accessible for everyone to add to Lion. But guess what? […]

  7. […] Improved voices and speech recognition, the improved voices are already found in Mac OS X Lion developer builds […]

  8. […] is also a brief mention of the Nuance voices in both Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5, although it is unclear to everyone how exactly they will be used in iOS. […]

  9. […] T√§h? Li n O X: sa Nuancen puh synte sointia, jo a kuulos mu ten ¬†yv√§lt√§, m ta suo i √§h√§n p√§tkii. […]

  10. […] originally appeared on TUAW on Tue, 17 May 2011 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments Tags: developer preview, […]

  11. Erkka Piirainen says:

    The Finnish sample is seriously broken. It sounds like a poor walkie talkie connection. Almost all words are missing parts of them.

  12. […] una alta aveti mai jos cateva dintre noile voci folosite in Lion. Toata lumea le lauda considerand ca reprezinta o mare […]

  13. […] Coinciden hasta los nombres elegidos y, aunque las voces todav√≠a no pueden ser utilizadas (aparece error al intentarlo), s√≠ est√°n accesibles los samples. […]

  14. […] can hear a few samples by listening to the WAV files below (courtesy of OSXDaily), pulled from the NextUp Nuance Sample page. These are conformed to be the same voices found in the […]

  15. Robert Maroon says:

    Pronunciation-wise, all languages are good (at least the ones I speak).
    The problem is that many of the languages suffers from “stuttering” and incorrect intonation (especially Italian and Japanese) at various levels.

    Anyway, being only 1MB each one cannot complain too much.

  16. David says:

    German sounds good to my non-native ear

  17. Miktia says:

    Well, Finnish is quite… Uhm… Bad as… you know.

  18. nguyen says:

    The accents are impressive, this will be a good feature

  19. James says:

    @GB’s Tech News – OSX Lion is the Mac operating system, not the iPhone. And both iPhone’s iOS and Mac’s OSX already have this feature too. These are just new voices added to 24 voices already available on OSX.

    I wonder if such nice sounding voices are available out there, why does the Emergency Broadcast System’s voice still sound like Speak ‘n Spell toy from the 1980s? Ha ha!

  20. It’s nice that they finally have this feature. But for the record, I’d like to say that Google Android phones had this feature for a while. Proof that Android doesn’t copy everything Apple iPhones do.

  21. Alex says:

    I still find them disappointing.

    What do you think of ivona?

    Do they sound slightly better?

    I still prefer SnowLeopard’s Alex…

    • Greg says:

      Agree. I really like the Ivona voices. My fav is Amy. I’ve been looking but I can’t see a way to get it for mac.

      • Isaiah says:

        Same… If anyone can find a way to get Ivona voices on osx let me know! Amy’s also my favourite Greg, I was about to get her for android and Amy’s voice is so much easier to listen to when going threw my university text books then Alex’s… Which is what I’ve been using for school since I believe 2008..

  22. Parakeet says:

    I’ll bet that these accented voices start making appearances in games on both iOS and Mac OS, what do you think?

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site