How to get Festival to use better voices on Ubuntu Linux

I’ve seen so many posts all over the net about getting better voices on the Festival speech synthesizer. Many of them seem overly complicated with all sorts of download locations, broken links and things that just plain don’t work.

I’ve discovered that on Ubuntu Linux (I’m currently on 22.04.3 LTS) it’s actually incredibly¬†simple.

The voices (as well as festival) are available as apt packages… so to install festival with a high-quality US female voice, do the following:

sudo apt install festival
sudo apt-get install festival festvox-us-slt-hts
sudo vi /etc/festival.scm

(I’m pretty sure the first line isn’t needed because the second line installs festival – but I haven’t had chance to check it out yet… what’s written above definitely works so I’ll leave it like that for now!)

Add the following lines to the bottom of the config file…

;; Use CMU Arctic Voice
(set! voice_default ‘voice_cmu_us_slt_arctic_hts)

For a British male voice, the package you want is “festvox-en1” and the default voice is “voice_en1_mbrola”.

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