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PICList Thread
'Speech for PIC??'
1995\06\07@161728 by Mike Keitz

>I belive you are refuring to the SPO256-al2 chip set that Radio Shack
>used to sell a few years back.
>One was the speech proc and the other is the interface CHIP.
>James K.
>I might have a few somwhere in my collection.

I am assuming, first of all, that Ron wanted to generate speech and not
recognize it.  That is of course, something entirely different.

In the Radio Shack set, the SPO256 chip (28 pins) actaully generated the
speech.  It could make about 50 different grunts and groans (technically
referred to as "allophones") which could be spliced together to make words.
It didn't sound very good, but theoretically it could say any word.  The
other chip in the set was a ROMmed microcontroller (TI 7000 series?) which
would convert ASCII text into commands for the SPO256, attempting to use
phonics to pronounce any word that went into it.  Considering what it was,
it worked fairly well.  I don't know if either chip is available now.

For generating only a few words, a process which stores the complete words
and plays them back will probably produce better fidelity.  I think TI and
National have chipsets to do that.  I don't know the part numbers offhand.
I have here a surplus board which I know generates speech, it has TI chips
TMS5220CNL and CM62210NL on it.  They were made in 1986 and may be obsolete
by now as well.

Another possiblity is the analog voice recorder chip currently sold by Radio
Shack.  But I think they cost $10 apiece even if you don't buy them from
Radio Shack, and also each one would have to be 'programmed' before use by
feeding analog into it.  These chips work by storing proportioned amounts of
charge on EEPROM cells (kind of like trying to crack a 16C84, right), so
each 'bit' is actually an entire sample.  I think there are versions that
integrate an audio PA as well, so that could save another chip to drive the

If you're really into do it yourself,  you could sample the words and store
them in digital memory.  About 8K bytes per second of speech would be
required, perhaps in an EPROM or Flash ROM.  Depending on how much else the
PIC has to do, it would be involved in the playback to varying degrees.


1995\06\07@175442 by Steve Robinson

         Try ISD's voice recorder and playback device from Jameco
         Electronics 415-592-8097 or Radio Shack.  My students have
         used it with pretty good success.

         Steve Robinson Lebanon High School

1995\06\08@055000 by Siegfried Grob

Ron Hackett wrote:
I am looking for a simple (one chip) solution to add basic speech
capabilities to a PIC project.  All I need is the digits 0-9 and a few other
words (seconds, minutes, hours, go, stop, time, etc.)  Years ago I remember
seeing a chip that had this and many other basic control words built in.  Is
anything like that still available??
Hi Ron and all other PICcers,

I know three companies, who offer single-chip-solutions for speech/sound repro-
OKI, NEC and UMC (if somebody knows more, please let me know!)).

Also there exist preprogrammed sound ICs with the IC-code HTnnnn (nnnn is a
number), maybe somebody can tell me the name of the manufacturer???
(Conrad electronic offers them in Germany).

back to OKI, NEC and UMC:
normally all ICs of these manufacturers are thought to be used in high
quantity production.
UMC-ICs are the simplest and cheapest one, offering 4..15 samples at 3..20
seconds sampling time (at about 6 kHz). Only in ROM-version available,
min. order 20.000 pieces :-). They seem to be the right choice for cheap
toy applications. There exist preprogrammed ICs with farm sound (horse, cow,...)
car sound (starting, braking, horn), or animals (seal, lion, ...).

NEC offer better quality ICs, an OTP-version also exists. You will need a
development system, so uninteresting for hobby interests.

OKI offers best quality chips with various features: Speech reproduction only
and Speech recording&reproduction. One family of their chips offers a
certain voice memory (4,8,16,32 seconds @ 8 kHz) but this memory can be freely
partitioned into max. 111 phrases, so you can save max. 111 samples.
You need an expensive development system (of course) but OKI also offers
preprogrammed chips for clock applications. So if you want to say only the
time and date, or numbers from 0..59 this seems to be the adequate chip for
If you need further info, please let me know.
If somebody has any experiece with OKI chips, please let me know - especially
if you know a method/programm to convert WAV-files into OKI's PCM/ADPCM-file-

If this OKI-chip will not fit your requirements, the simply user programmable
ISD-chips may be the right solution.


Siegfried Grob,                                   |
student of electrical engineering,                |
university of ulm, germany                        |
e-mail:        |
tel&fax: +49 731 25148                            |

1995\06\10@082923 by Ran Talbott

>The two-chip arrangement mentioned above is familiar to me but I
>can't remember the device numbers.

I think the other part number was CTS256:  it was a micro with a
text-to-speech algorithm in ROM,  and maybe a UART.

>Unfortunately, I haven't seen the SPO256 chip for a while. The last
>price for these before they disappeared was 2.5 pounds stirling
>(4 dollars US???). Cheap, I suppose, because of popularity; I don't
>know why they vanished.

They were made by General Instruments <doffing hat>.  Perhaps
a certain company,  well-known to members of the list,  acquired the
rights to those chips,  too?  Nah...

>I have two or three of these but I have to hang
>on to them. I'd be interested if a supplier was found.....

I've seen references to B.G. Micro (in Texas) when people
ask on Usenet about these.  I haven't bought from them in
years,  though,  so I don't have a catalog,  and can't confirm it.


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