Synthesized voice output...Ideas?


I'm a noob to this board and am building a new house. My last house had an automation system based on the old HCS-II. I had voice output capabilities which I routed through the intercom of a Panasonic phone system. It woud make announcements triggered by certain events, eg vehicle detected on driveway, etc.

For my new house I am going to start from scratch with the automation system and am still in the planning phase. I have not yet decided what route to go. Not planning an intercom system this time, but I am planning on some form of whole house audio with one or two zones using standard consumer audio receivers/amplifiers.

What approaches do people take to getting clear audible voice output, especially if music is playing? Are there ways to mix the HA voice output into a whole house audio system?


(my initials, not my state of mind!)
Hi MAD, welcome to Cocoontech.

There are probably several solutions for audio announcements from HA equipment, but this is what I do on my system.

When the Elk M1 has something to say, it generates an Audio Amp ON event. This event can be used to write a Rule in the M1 which says:

Whenever AUDIOAMP turns ON
Then TURNON Speaker Control (Output Relay 7)

another Rule turns it off:
Whenever AUDIOAMP turns OFF
Then TURNOFF Speaker Control (Output Relay 7)

I use a double pole double throw relay on output 7 which disconnects one set of speakers from my home stereo and connects them to the M1's Output 1 audio amplifier.

I hear the M1's voice announcement and when it finishes, my stereo is connected back to the speaker.

With two resistors you can reduce the audio output from the M1's Output 1 to a Line Level output. There are some applications on ELK's Website that explain how to get a Line Level Output.
In my setup, I run PowerHome which supports SAPI5 TTS. I've also finally upgraded the standard MS voices to NeoSpeech Kate. This new voice is very clear and understandable.

My system is fairly simple, with the audio being PC-driven and distrubuted via two methods: direct wire and phone-line carrier. The lower and main levels are direct wire, and my second floor gets the audio via a modulator that places the signal onto my phone lines. Demodulators upstairs extract the signal and feed it to receivers and PC-type amplified speakers, which are selectively enabled via appliance modules.

When an announcement is spoken, I pause music playback, if playing. This is done via Windows Messaging to Winamp.
Thanks to both of you. Glad to join the board. I've been lurking for a while...just now getting the courage to make a post!

I'm strongly considering an Elk...I'll check out the web site. Thanks.

Spanky--Do you get any pops or clicks when the relays switch the audio source to your amp?