Help me sound like HAL 9000/synthesize his voice.
July 26, 2008 8:37 AM   Subscribe

After searching the internet for voice changer softwares, I cant seem to find the one im looking for but was sure would exist. You see, I have been looking for a HAL 9000 (from 2001 a space odyssey) voice changer or synthesizer but cant seem to find one. Maybe my google fu is failing me. Any help is appreciated
posted by thesonofmorgoth to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
it looks like HAL had the voice of actor Douglas Rain.
posted by Baud at 8:49 AM on July 26, 2008

A synthesizer is more likely than a voice-changer.

If you want it to be /good/, I think you're out of luck. HAL was voiced by a human and a computer won't do as good of a job without some knowledge of what the words mean. IIRC, Kubrick had the HAL-voice actor record the lines out of order so he wouldn't add his own plot knowledge and emotion to the voice as the story progressed, but it's still more sentence knowledge than a computer would have.

Having said that, Festival is a free, decent speech synth, in which the voices are pluggable, but it's decades old and it's likely there's something better these days.
posted by cmiller at 8:55 AM on July 26, 2008

Do you want to do it real time? Or would recording something, changing it and playing it back fit your needs? If that will, download Audacity. Record the sound and then use the various pitch correction/bending/stretching tools to change it around.
posted by gjc at 9:00 AM on July 26, 2008

This question is hard to answer since:
"Softwares" is not a word.
HAL9000 did not have a robot voice, just a regular actor's voice, so that probably isn't what you mean.
You don't say what platform you want voice changing software for.

In terms of computer voice effects there are a few possible categories.

Use a speech synthesizer, as Stephen Hawking does. The Mac has several built-in. You can type text into TextEdit (for example) select it and then choose "Edit>Speech>Start Speaking". Use the "Speech" control panel to choose the voice.

Use audio effects.
The Dalek's voices are done with a ring modulator.
Lots of weird sci-fi voices are done with a harmonizer (ie a pitch shifter).
Another popular choice is a vocoder - a device that imprints the phonemes you are speaking on another audio source, as for example in the Daft Punk song "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger".
All these effects can be done either in hardware or software.

Just talk in a strange way, as the HAL actor did, or like Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords does on their song "The Humans Are Dead". It just takes some practice.
posted by w0mbat at 9:38 AM on July 26, 2008

No speech synthesizer or voice changer is going to make you sound like HAL. You'd be best off becoming or finding an impersonator.
posted by rhizome at 11:25 AM on July 26, 2008

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