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Midifying a Speak-and-Spell


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#1 mmalluck

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 06:42

I always thought it would be cool to midify the old Texas Instruments Speak-and-Spell. It has a gruff sound that the speakjet just doesn't give you (I'm a softy for old nostalgia and I played with this thing a lot as a kid). I realize it's not really a synthesizer as it's just playing back recorded sounds, but I think we could really unlock what is possible through PIC control (play random sequences with varying speed control etc). I've seen others use old units for circuit-bending and fun stuff like that. I've also heard audio bits worked into an occasional song.

Over the years I've gathered up some related documents, but I've never had the chance to sit down and put anything together. If I can find them I'd be happy to share them with the community.

(I couldn't find them on this machine, but I did find all of the relevant links)
Synth data sheet: http://www.gamearchi.../TI_TMS5220.pdf
General workings: http://members.tripo...v/speakell.html



#2 yogi

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 02:44

google 'Circuit bending'; the Speak and Spell is one of the favs for bending. Just about all the bender sites have a Speak and Spell/math/what have you that has been hacked to put out wierd/bent sounds. Highly Liquid has a Midi In kit, if you want to add control to the unit.
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#3 opkod

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 16:56

and it works well on a speak & maths.

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#4 mmalluck

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 04:28

I'm actually very curious in trying out the high liquid midi mod and will probably get one at some point.

I thought it would be neat to go a step further and replace the original processor with a PIC. I see the possibility injecting your own sound data rather than just be limit to what's in the on-board ROM.

If I was feeling really enterprising it would be a simple matter to remove the rom chips, hook them up to a parallel port, cycle through all of the addresses and read out the contents into a file, which could then be used to make custom ROMs or stored on the PIC and be used directly for playback.

Maybe dump out the contents of the speak and spell, the speak and math, and the speak and read into some kind of uber speech dictionary. Just have to burn it to a eprom, throw in a PIC to interface, and liberate the original synthesizer chip and you're all set to go.

Just some musings. I wish I had time to work on all of the projects I come up with.

#5 yogi

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 02:51

General Instruments had a chip, SP0256-AL2, with a set of alphones that you could address and create unlimited speech. just noticed that http://www.speechchi...m.aspx?itemid=7 says they have them in stock @ $29. The S&S roms just contains a set of predefined words and not the basic parts of speech. I'm not sure how easy it would be to access any parts of those words.
But the old school chips do have a sound that just says "robot", the newer PIC based chips are nice but for me they don't sound 'cool'. The MS sapi voices are too good, I tend to use the  more robotic voices and effects because the Mary voice dry sounds too human.
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#6 xray303

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 16:11

Hi,

I've created a Arduino midi speak and spell shield who give me globally the same result as the Highly liquid one.
if want to take a look, just go to : http://noizeinabox.blogspot.com/
I've just released the schematics and code ..