Microsoft text-to-speech voices
Microsoft Sam saying, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog 1,234,567,890 times", followed by a demonstration of a glitch that occurs when the letters SOI/SOY are entered
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The Microsoft text-to-speech voices are speech synthesizers provided for use with applications that use the Microsoft Speech API (SAPI) or the Microsoft Speech Server Platform. There are client and server versions of Microsoft text-to-speech voices. Client voices are shipped with Windows operating systems; server voices are available for download for use with server applications such as Speech Server, Lync etc. for both Windows client and server platforms.
Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary are optional male and female voices respectively, available for download from the Microsoft website. Michael and Michelle are also optional male and female voices licensed by Microsoft from Lernout & Hauspie, and available through Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Office 2003 or Microsoft Reader.
There are both SAPI 4 and SAPI 5 versions of these text-to-speech voices. SAPI 5 voices are only available on Windows 2000 and later Windows NT-based operating systems. While SAPI 5 versions of Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary are downloadable only as a Merge Module, the installable versions may be installed on end users' systems by speech applications such as Microsoft Reader. SAPI 4 redistributable versions are downloadable for Windows 9x, although no longer from the Microsoft website.
Microsoft Sam, Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary do not work on Windows Vista and later unless a third-party program (like Speakonia) is installed on the machine that supports these operating systems. Microsoft Sam is the default voice for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Beginning with Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft Anna is the default English voice. Microsoft Anna is an SAPI 5-only female voice and is designed to sound more natural than Microsoft Sam. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 and later install the Microsoft Anna voice on Windows XP systems for the voice-prompt direction feature. There is no male voice shipping with Windows Vista and later. A Chinese voice called Microsoft Lili is available in Chinese versions of Windows Vista and later. It can also be obtained in non-Chinese versions of Windows 7 or Vista if the Ultimate Edition is used. This replaces the earlier male SAPI 5 voice "Microsoft Simplified Chinese". Audio samples of both these voices can be heard on MDBG's site.
In 2010, Microsoft also released the newer Speech Platform compatible voices for Speech Recognition and Text-to-Speech for use with client and server applications. These voices are available in 26 languages. and can be installed on Windows client and server operating systems. Speech Platform voices unlike SAPI 5 voices, are female-only, no male voices are released publicly yet.
In Windows 8, there are three new client (desktop) voices - Microsoft David (US male) and Hazel (UK female) and Zira (US female) which sound more natural than Microsoft Anna. Microsoft Anna is no longer included. The server versions of these voices are available via above mentioned Speech Platform for operating systems earlier than Windows 8. Unlike Windows 7 or Vista, you are unable to use any third-party program because there is no Anna Voice API for download.