Hiring voice over talent can get pricey, and near to impossible when limited recording studios are currently open. For years, I’ve looked for a technical way around the issue. Yes, I’m referring to using AI, as in a digitally created voice over talent. The available options sound very robotic, but that’s changed!
I recently bought a system called Synthesys. They just launched on July 20, 2020, and I listened to their pitch on the first day. This is my honest review. I am not associated with the product in any way and if you wish to try the product you’ll have to Google the company name to test it out. There are no links on this page to Synthesys.
HONEST REVIEW OF SYNTHESYS
Overall, I’m impressed that anyone has been able to deliver a human sounding voice in an artificial manner. With Synthesys you can type in what you want the “talent” to say and they say it. But it’s a new product, so it will be interesting to see how it develops over time.
Below are some bullet points of what works and what doesn’t, based on using the product for five days.
- Human-sounding voices, created from real voice-over talent.
- Nice variety of men and women voices with choices between American, British and Australian accents.
- Downloads as wav file, which is the best audio quality.
- Doesn’t lock you into a monthly service fee.
- Basic & Commercial license is currently affordable as a one-time fee, but could rise after launch.
- Can use the voice talent anywhere, so great licensing flexibility.
- Good support staff.
- Easy to use system.
- Synthesys uses a Credit System charging one cent per character of the spoken text. For short projects, it’s not a bad deal. For longer projects, like audio books or educational material, the cost could rack up. The work-around is purchasing Unlimited Credits. I have a pay-as-I-go business model for expenses, so the Unlimited Credit Option–while a better choice over time–doesn’t fit into my budget. During the launch, the Unlimited Credit cost $497. The CON for me is that they are pushing customers to buy Unlimited Credit, which means they want people to buy-in now, suggesting to me that they fear customers won’t buy-in monthly or on any reoccurring basis, which is a better business model for them to make money long-term. They are trying to either make their money upfront to defer startup costs or the product has glitches that would make them lose month-to-month customers quickly. Only time will tell which is true.
- You have to use your credits to test the audio. Each Voice Over Talent has a sample text that the company has added, so you can hear the voice. BUT, you can’t hear a sample of your text being read before paying for it. You must pay to test out a voice, which uses up credits. Once again, the company is pushing customers to purchase Unlimited Credits.
- After paying to test two of the voices with a two-sentence plug for my business, both had reading flaws that would make them impossible to use. I could put the audio clips through a program like Audacity and edit it, trying to work around the glitches, but am not assured of a solution that would make the audio usable in my business. Once again, the company is pushing customers to purchase Unlimited Credits so you have the flexibility to test, edit and adjust your sales material.
- Reading flaws had to do with pronunciation. (However, if you have a typo that would also require another download.) As for pronunciation, some words just don’t go well together and come out wrong. There is definitely a trial and error needed to produce a clean audio track.
- Some of the voices sound mechanical.
- The free training is actually to up sell other businesses to help your business. The Synthesys software is so easy to use it takes 3 minutes to demonstrate. The training I joined was about how to use voice overs in a service type of business. It was made for people selling a service like an electrician or someone needing a steady stream of new customers. It got into funnels and marketing and the use of various voices to constantly pitch and sell. It was good information, but led to an offer to outsource your marketing.
Based on my buy-in for Synthesys, which was $67 for the Commercial license and 30K credits, plus $67 for extra voices, plus $197 for an extra 150K credits, it’s far cheaper than renting a studio to record my audio and pay for the voice over talent. However, I won’t be buying the Unlimited Credits, so I have to use my credits wisely. The overall value is real and it will help me to produce some needed content at an affordable price. I will, however, expect glitches in the downloads that I’ll need to run through Audacity to fix pronunciation glitches.
Bottomline: Synthesys is a useful product that needs time to workout some glitches. It’s worth checking out but is not a solution for anyone wanting to create audio books or needs to produce lots of audio content, unless you can afford the Unlimited Credit option.
The Synthesys business model makes me worry that they will not advance beyond what is currently offered. It’s very possible that what is available now is all they’ll ever be able to deliver. I hope that doesn’t happen, but not all startups have the financial ability to improve and grow. I hope Synthesys beats the odds, as it has started with a solid foundation and a level of artificial voice over that we haven’t seen before.