VOGONS


First post, by radiounix

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So, looks like the Covox Speech Thing came out in 1986. Am I right to guess that it was originally intended as an audio output device for speech synthesis, especially as an adaptive device for blind users? Because PCM audio wasn’t yet much of a thing on computers. Has anyone seen any of the original packaging, ad copy or software from the mid 80s? What were they originally used for?

I ask partly out of curiosity, and partly because I have a 7.16 MHz Tandy laptop that came out around the same time and I’m curious to mess around with the vintage Covox software on my Covox clones.

Reply 2 of 8, by Benedikt

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kolderman wrote on 2020-12-26, 19:25:

Does that Tandy laptop have Tandy sound? If not, one nice use of a COVOX plug is in emulating Tandy sound using TEMU.

I doubt that a 7.16MHz machine will be able to run TEMU. Doesn't it need a 386?

Reply 3 of 8, by kolderman

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Benedikt wrote on 2020-12-26, 20:02:
kolderman wrote on 2020-12-26, 19:25:

Does that Tandy laptop have Tandy sound? If not, one nice use of a COVOX plug is in emulating Tandy sound using TEMU.

I doubt that a 7.16MHz machine will be able to run TEMU. Doesn't it need a 386?

Your probably right. But I guess a Tandy laptop should have Tandy sound? Can you post a pic of it?

Reply 4 of 8, by radiounix

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The machine in question is a Tandy 1400LT. It’s a pretty standard clone with a Phoenix BIOS and an off the shelf Yamaha CGA controller. Tandy reserved their proprietary video system and square wave generator for their cheap 1000-series family computers, whereas their professional machines were offered with optional EGA and Radio Shack dealers could order the early Creative CMS.

My interest is in making the computer talk. Speech synthesis hardware was quite common on 8-bit machines, and Covox was actually one of the vendors of such products. I’m guessing the original Speech Thing adapters came with software to make them do text to speech synthesis — I’m not sure why else digital audio would have been desired? If nothing else, I would expect many early screen readers were adapted — blind users and institutions with adaptive computer labs were probably the primary target of the Speech Thing?

Reply 5 of 8, by matze79

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Yes Speech Thing is be able to make Speech 😉

https://soundcloud.com/matthias-werner-matze/ … mple-collection

All Sounds from DEMO Disc.

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 7 of 8, by matze79

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It just plays prerecorded samples I think

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 8 of 8, by Benedikt

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FreddyV wrote on 2020-12-27, 19:11:

Speech synthesis hardware was doing the calculation, here, it is a simple DAC, the CPU will need to do everything and it may be too slow.

Unless it's diphone concatenation. Then it's primitive.