Text-to-speech (TTS) plugins for digital audio workstations (DAWs) can be a great way to include speech elements in your music.
Whether you’re looking for a nearly natural-sounding voice, a robotic effect, or something in between, TTS plugins can help you.
This article will list and review the best TTS plugins that you can use on DAWs.
Also, I’ll discuss their features and capabilities and help you pick the right one by listing each of their pros and cons.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means that if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission from that purchase at no extra cost to you.
Best Text-to-Speech Plugins for DAWs (VST, AU, etc.)
|VST, AU, AAX
|VST, AU, AAX, Standalone
|VST, AU, AAX, Standalone
1. Emvoice One (Paid)
Emvoice One sounds almost like an authentic human voice.
With its advanced vocal engine, you can add quality vocals to your music without hiring an actual singer.
Emvoice One comes with four voices – Keela, Lucy, Jay, and Thomas. Each voice character has different vocal ranges and abilities.
For example, Keela is an excellent choice for pop songs, while the characters Jay or Thomas might fit well for an EDM song.
These voices are created from samples of real singers, with phonemes and syllables updated often to give the plugin more range and depth in speech synthesis.
It’s easy to get started with Emvoice One. Head to their website to download the plugin and add it to your DAW’s list of VSTs.
Since it’s a cloud-based plugin, you’ll need a good internet connection. It’s available for Windows and Mac Operating Systems.
Once you’ve set it up, you can access it from the plugin list of your DAW.
As shown in the picture below, I’m using FL Studio to show how the plugin works.
To create music, you need to add notes in the MIDI and then double-click to add the text.
For example, I wrote “love is a joke” as my text using Lucy’s voice and made some adjustments to the notes to make it sound interesting.
With Emvoice One, you can add various effects to the voice, such as octaves and tuning.
It also allows you to adjust the tempo and time signatures.
After making some tweaks and adding beats to the voice, I got the following output.
The Pros of Emvoice One
- Emvoice One is easy to understand and set up, making it perfect for beginners.
- It is also compatible with most DAWs and supports MIDI input.
- Create harmonies and adjust the text’s time signatures and length according to the notes.
- Well-optimized and provides recommended pitch details based on voices.
- Access to a list of phonemes that you can use for making music.
The Cons of Emvoice One
- Emvoice One only has four voices to choose from, so you may not find the variety you’re looking for.
- Some of the pronunciations need to be adjusted to sound clear. For example, you might have to write ‘eye’ instead of ‘I’ in some notes so the vocals don’t sound ambiguous.
- Lastly, this plugin does not work offline.
Emvoice One is paid software. When on sale, you can get it for a discounted price.
Each voice is priced differently, so you can choose the one that works for you and don’t have to pay for all sound banks.
You can also test the voices out for free with its demo version.
The demo version of Emvoice One only allows you to use eight notes, but you can use it in commercial projects without restrictions.
If you want a straightforward text-to-speech plugin, consider Emvoice One.
The vocals will add more depth to your tracks without recording any singing.
2. Vocaloid 6 (Paid)
Vocaloid 6 is an AI speech synthesizer developed by Yamaha.
It is a viral text-to-speech plugin among many music producers due to its extensive support and voice banks.
Each voice bank has its unique voice quality and capabilities.
Vocaloid was first released in 2004 and has been improved over the years, and now it’s even integrated with AI technology to provide better voice output by analyzing the generated voices.
The downside of using AI is it will take more of your computer’s processing power. So for its clutterless working, you’ll have to have a system with 8 GB of RAM. 4 GB is the required minimum.
The latest version of Vocaloid comes with four new voicebanks: Haruka, Akito, Allen, and Sarah.
While Haruka and Akito have Japanese singing capabilities, Allen and Sarah are focused more on English singing/rapping.
These voicebanks can be adapted to any music genre due to the optimization capabilities of the plugin.
Installing Vocaloid is easy. Download the installation file from their website and install it on your PC.
Inside your DAW, open the Vocaloid editor, where you can enter performance data and the voice bank to select the voices you want to use.
Then click the Inspector button to control the voice, effects, and presets. Test the keyboard to make sure the voice matches the keys.
Add some melody to the keyboard. Finally, add the song’s lyrics for the plugin to generate vocals.
Vocaloid is available for Windows and Mac OS, with VST and Audio Units (AU) support.
The developers frequently update the plugin’s AI engine and voice banks to stay up-to-date and help bring out your creativity in a better way.
The Pros of Vocaloid 6
- Good AI Engine that generates natural-like singing.
- Easy to use, MIDI-supported, and compatible with most DAWs.
- Good community support through forums and tutorials.
- It can add effects, vibrato, octaves, and harmonies to the singing voices.
- It supports multiple languages. Chinese will be added in the future.
- Has over 2000 editable phrases, 100 singing styles, and 11 audio effects.
- Reliable voice banks which are constantly updated.
The Cons of Vocaloid 6
- Vocaloid 6 doesn’t support the 32-bit version of Windows.
- It doesn’t support voice banks from versions lower than Vocaloid 3.
- Requires a high-performance PC compared to other text-to-speech plugins.
Vocaloid 6 is a paid text-to-speech plugin. You can check out their website’s prices and try out the free trial version for 31 days.
If you are looking for a well-constructed advanced plugin that can do good speech synthesis from text, Vocaloid 6 is a good choice.
It comes with various voice banks, updates, features, etc., and has excellent community support.
3. Chipspeech (Paid)
Chipspeech is a plugin developed by Plogue Art et Technologie, Inc. It synthesizes speech that sounds more vintage and exquisite.
It can work with DAWs running on Windows and Mac OS and is flexible, supporting audio emulations and allowing you to create unique electronic vocals.
The Chipspeech plugin has an organized interface with separate layers for words, controls, modulation, and mixing.
This makes it easy for you to experiment with and create unique vocal sounds.
All you need to do is type the words you want to synthesize, and the plugin will convert them into 12 distinct voices with different tonal qualities.
You can then use these voices to add a special touch to the song you’re creating.
You can use Chipspeech standalone or by loading the plugin into your DAW.
Connect your MIDI instrument to the plugin to make your music unique to generate interesting musical chords and sequences.
Chipspeech provides 128 text channels to input words and play them whenever you want.
The plugin’s user interface has a dedicated voice change button that includes features like Wave Rate and Phoneme Speed.
Popular voices used in Chipspeech include Otto Mozer, Dee Klatt, and Lady Parsec. The synthesis engine also has three circuit bending modes.
Regarding the control section, you can adjust the chosen voice. You can use helium, sizzle, and impulse effects.
You can also detune the voice, control the legato, and adjust the octaves. The voice modulation helps humanize and pitch up and down the track.
The mixing part of the plugin has various FX, giving you plenty of options to experiment and create the sound you’re looking for.
You can also set up your presets and loop, cut, and edit the chosen voice. Now let’s look into the pros and cons of Chipspeech.
The Pros of Chipspeech
- Easy to use, beginner-friendly, and DAW-compatible.
- Efficient mixing and circuit bending evolution, helping users make new chaotic, expressive, and quaint sounds.
- Twelve distinct voices will help achieve unique tonality for the tracks made by the users.
- Good English pronunciation due to CMU pronouncing dictionary.
- The plugin can create complex melodies and musical patterns.
- It can also work as a standalone application apart from being a plugin.
The Cons of Chipspeech
- The Text-to-Speech Synthesis might not work for some words due to either misspellings or ambiguity of the language.
- At present, Chipspeech supports only English and Japanese languages.
If you like to try Chipspeech, there’s a free trial option limited to 4 minutes with no save feature.
4. Alter/Ego (Free)
Alter/Ego is simply an extension of Chipspeech with the support of modern singing capabilities.
It is similar to Chipspeech, except it has new voices, effects, and languages.
While Chipspeech came with 12 different yet paid voices, Alter/Ego offers an entire voice bank for free.
The leading voice banks include Marie Ork 2, Alys, and Bones. Each of these voicebanks has distinct features based on their tonality.
Marie Ork 2 consists of voices you usually find in games and movies. It sounds monstrous, and they will be a quick favorite for dead metal enthusiasts.
If you need French-based music, try Alys. Alys is a virtual female singer developed by VoxWave. Alys is flexible in almost all music genres.
Bones is the latest addition to Alter/Ego, predominantly a male virtual singer that can speak in English and Japanese.
The user interface and design of Alter/Ego are similar to Chipspeech. Even setting up the plugin follows the same steps as Chipspeech.
Functions such as Modulation, Mixing, and Control also shape up for effectiveness in this plugin. It allows tweaks and time signature handling, similar to Chipspeech.
Alter/Ego will work on PCs running on both Windows and Mac OS.
As seen in the above image, initially, when you open the plugin, it shows that no voice bank is loaded.
To add a voice bank, go to their website and download one of the zip files. After extracting, drag and drop the .xml file to the plugin.
For this example, I added Marie Ork 2 voicebank to the plugin.
After pulling the .xml file from the extracted folder to the interface, I got the following screen showing it’s “Successfully Installed.”
Similarly, you can download other voicebanks and follow the same steps to get new presets for Alter/Ego.
The Pros of Alter/Ego
- Similar features as Chipspeech.
- It supports English, Japanese, and French languages, while Chipspeech doesn’t have French voices in its plugin.
- It can help in making complex patterns for pop and death metal music.
- Alter/Ego is free, unlike Chipspeech. Hence, no license is required to use Alter/Ego.
The Cons of Alter/Ego
- Faced the same issues as Chipspeech, such as language ambiguity.
- Due to limited voices, there is little variety and ideas to explore.
- The voices offered for Alter/Ego cannot be used in Chipspeech and vice-versa.
If you’re looking for a free, authentic text-to-speech plugin, Alter/Ego is your safest bet.
You can download Alter/Ego for free from their website.
5. VST Speek (Free)
Are you creating a Lofi beat but want some extra techno sounds? VST Speek is the perfect plugin for you!
It’s not as advanced as other plugins but does the job with effective text-to-speech synthesis.
VST Speek is a free audio plugin developed by Wavosaur, and it uses the C64 engine for synthesis.
Also, it uses the idea of Software Automatic Mouth(SAM) as its base.
You need to type a text, and the plugin will convert it into a robotic voice.
Like any other text-to-speech synthesizer, VST Speek is easy to set up and use.
You can install VST Speek quickly by pasting the .dll file in your DAW’s plugins folder. After a refresh, VST Speek will appear in your DAW’s plugin list, and you can use it from there.
VST Speek plugin allows you to alter pitch and use presets, and it’s even MIDI-supported.
Some of the presets include PoingBoy, Little Old Lady, and Energizer.
The Pros of VST Speek:
- Very easy to use, import, and DAW-compatible.
- MIDI supported. Use the MIDI pitch bend option for tweaking the voice.
- Change the pitch, speed, and throat signatures in one click.
The Cons of VST Speek:
- It is not extensive or advanced like other text-to-speech plugins. Hence they have limited features.
- Compared to other plugins, the speech output of VST Speek is not that great.
- Can’t perform complex melodies or adjust time signatures.
- The text-to-speech capabilities of the plugin could be of better quality.
- It mainly targeted Lofi music, useless in other genres.
VST Speek is available for 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows. It isn’t available for the Mac OS as of now.
As for pricing, VST Speek is free to use. You can download the plugin from plugin retailers like Plugin Boutique.
VST Speek can help you with its various presets if you’re looking for decent robotic voices.
Features to Look for in a Text-to-Speech Plugin
When choosing a text-to-speech plugin, it is crucial to consider some important features to ensure you get the best deal.
The first thing to consider when looking for a text-to-speech VST plugin is voice options.
It is ideal for getting a plugin that offers a variety of voices to choose from, such as male, female, and neutral.
Additionally, some plugins offer accents and dialects, which can add more authenticity to the TTS.
Having a range of voices can also help you ensure the tone and style of your project is right.
Look for a text-to-speech plugin with great customization options.
A good plugin should allow you to customize the pitch, tempo, and volume of the voice to your liking.
Also, some plugins let you modify the pronunciation of certain words or phrases.
This is particularly helpful if you are working with technical terms or jargon that the default settings may not recognize or can’t correctly put in speech.
With much customization ability, the speech will be excellent for creating a unique output and improving the overall quality of your project.
Natural-Sounding Output (Voice Quality)
When looking for a text-to-speech VST plugin, ensuring it produces an almost natural-sounding output is crucial.
To achieve this, the plugin should have advanced algorithms that create a voice with inflection and intonation.
Techniques like machine learning and advanced neural networks can help achieve this.
Be sure to listen to samples of output from the plugin before buying it to ensure it meets your requirements.
You also need to consider the quality of the voices. High-quality voices will provide a more natural and convincing speech, so check this before purchasing.
If you need to work with multiple languages, it’s crucial to pick a text-to-speech plugin that offers multilingual support.
You should look for one that supports commonly used languages like English, Spanish, French, etc.
It’s also helpful if the plugin supports less common languages such as Arabic, Mandarin, etc.
This could come in handy for international projects or reaching a bigger audience.
Make sure the plugin you choose supports the language you need for your project. The more languages it can handle, the more flexible it will be.
Compatibility with Your DAW
Make sure you choose a text-to-speech plugin compatible with your DAW. Different plugins may need specific software or an operating system.
Do your research and ensure the plugin you choose works with your setup.
Also, some plugins may work better with certain DAWs than others. Try out different options to find the one that is best for you.
You should also make sure your plugin integrates smoothly with your DAW. That way, you can use it without any compatibility issues and with ease.
Before deciding, consider the customer support the plugin’s developers offer.
Pick a plugin from a company that offers excellent customer support, such as tutorials, documentation, and reachable customer service that responds fast.
This will help you make the most of your plugin and tackle any roadblocks while learning the software.
Also, with some plugins, the developers offer a refund option. It’ll be an excellent addition to look for if you want to try out the premium version of a plugin.
Have you ever listened to a Daft Punk song and wanted to create a sound that’s both 80s and futuristic?
If you’re making music in genres like House and EDM, you need the right text-to-speech plugin.
Text-to-speech plugins are great tools for music production and sound design.
They can save you time and help you express your creativity in new ways. Also, they make your projects more accessible.
I hope this article has helped you find the perfect text-to-speech plugin for your DAW.
You can comment below if you find other great text-to-speech plugins for DAWs. I’ll test it out, and if it fits in this list, I’ll add them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What audio plugins make my voice sound better?
To make your voice sound better, you can use audio plugins like equalizers to adjust the frequency balance, compressors to control dynamics, de-essers to reduce harshness on “s” sounds, reverb to add space and depth, and saturation to add warmth and character. However, the plugins you need will depend on the effect you’re going for and your personal preferences.
How do I get text-to-speech in FL Studio?
For text-to-speech in FL Studio, you can use third-party virtual speech synthesizers like Vocaloid, Alter/Ego, or Image-Line’s stock plugin, Speech Synthesizer. These plugins can convert text into spoken words. To use them, load the plugin, enter the text you want to hear, and press play. You will hear the speech in no time!
Do VST plugins work on all DAWs?
VST plugins are a popular type of audio plugin, and they are compatible with most modern DAWs. However, not all DAWs support a VST plugin format, so it’s essential to check compatibility before you purchase or use any plugins. Some DAWs may support other plugin formats, such as AAX or AU, so double-check their compatibility.