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View Full Version : [eas] -Adding Speech Voicetags to your DICE/iPod Playlists [DIY]


tom @ eas
06-19-2007, 10:22 PM
If you have an iPod kit and a BMW, you can find yourself at times fumbling around for just the right song to listen to on your drive. Not only is this frustrating, it is also dangerous. In this DIY, we're going to change that with a feature called voicetags.

Most iPod kits on the market lack text display, with exception of the DICE kit. Once great feature of the defunct ice>Link was its Playlist directory listing on the BMW display, however trying to drive and read this on your radio or Navigation screen could be distracting at times.

One idea would be to use a "text to speech" program to create a small speech file (voicetag) that would announce the Playlists to you, without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel or eyes off the road. These files are very small (about 50kb) and add a very cool feature to your iPod listening experience.

Since the HD DICE and Standard DICE kits allow unlimited Playlists, this is a very beneficial mod to your existing system:

DICE iPod Integration Kit for BMW
http://www.europeanautosource.com/product_info.php?products_id=268

DICE High Definition Radio w/ iPod Integration
http://www.europeanautosource.com/product_info.php?&products_id=467

Of course, this can be used with other BMW-specific iPod kits on the market.

Setup

First we will need a Text to speech program. The one we will be using in this example is AT&Ts Text-to-Speech Demo, which is available to you at no charge and fully web-based so there's no software to install. You have 15 different speech patterns to choose from, in different languages and male/female voices.

At&T Labs Text-to-Speech Demo: http://www.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php#top (http://www.research.att.com/%7Ettsweb/tts/demo.php#top)

Let's begin:

1. Navigate to the page in the above link to choose your voice/language and voicetag you wish to create. In this example, we are creating a voicetag called "The Rolling Stone Collection", the name of a Playlist in our iPod nano.

http://www.europeanautosource.com/images/knowledgebase/images/dice/speech/Playlistspeech001.jpg

2. Choose the voice/language and text you wish to "label" your Playlist with. Selecting the SPEAK button will give a preview of the choice you have name, DOWNLOAD will move onto the next step. Let's select DOWNLOAD.

Note: It is possible to change the way the speech sounds by altering the input text. Liberal use of commas is the easiest way to get better phrasing, especially in long complex sentences. Overall speed can be controlled using XML-style tags from the SAPI, SSML, and JSML test markup standards, e.g.

<prosody rate="slow"> this is speaking slowly </prosody>.
<prosody rate="fast"> this is speaking fast </prosody>.
<prosody rate="-50%"> this is 50% slower </prosody>.

Precise pauses can also be inserted using the <break/> tag, e.g.

Break for 100 milliseconds <Break time="100ms"/> Okay, keep going."
Break for 3 seconds <Break time="3s"/> Okay, keep going."

Voices and languages can be intermixed using the <voice> tag, e.g.

<voice name="crystal">Crystal, 1 2 3.</voice>
<voice name="mike">Mike.
<voice name="rosa">Rosa, 1 2 3.</voice>
Back to Mike.</voice>

Most people can use the default settings, but this is to show the voices can be corrected if your tag is not pronounced properly.

3. You will be presented with a clickable link in a WAV format. Right-Click the link and name the file to whatever you choose. In this example, we name the Playlist to "!rollingstone". The exclamation mark allows the files to be first in our directory and easy to locate, but you are free to name it whatever you like.

http://www.europeanautosource.com/images/knowledgebase/images/dice/speech/Playlistspeech002.jpg

4. Open up iTunes and connect your iPod. Select the Playlist you wish to place the voicetag file into.

5. Locate the new voicetag you created and drag to the first position in your Playlist.

http://www.europeanautosource.com/images/knowledgebase/images/dice/speech/Playlistspeech003.jpg

6. When complete, right-click the Playlist you just placed the voicetag into and select "Copy To Play Order". This will ensure your play order is retained from iTunes to your iPod.

http://www.europeanautosource.com/images/knowledgebase/images/dice/speech/Playlistspeech004.jpg

7. Repeat steps for duplicate voicetags. You can have as many as you wish, although one voicetag per Playlist is recommended.

8. Eject iPod, you're complete.

Operation

Plug your iPod into your BMW and select iPod mode. Press CD2 on your Radio or NAV screen and press the UP/NEXT arrow on your steering wheel or Radio/NAV unit. You will be presented with the new voicetag you just created as an introduction to your Playlist.

Good examples would be your first Playlist containing your entire iPod library. You can use the voicetag "Entire iPod". Other Playlists and voicetags can be created depending on your preference.

For users with multiple Playlists on their iPod, this is a very useful mod making your iPod listening experience much better at no additional cost while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. :)

Technic
06-20-2007, 07:04 AM
Thanks! :thumbup:

Crystal sounds the best but Claire sounds like a bitch, though... :rofl:

Andre Yew
06-20-2007, 11:46 AM
Nice! That was the last feature that kept me from switching away from the Phatbox to an HD DICE. Now if only we knew more about that HD radio alternate antenna kit ... :angel:

Also, you could even record yourself or your favorite person's voice for this.

--Andre

tom @ eas
06-20-2007, 11:50 AM
Nice! That was the last feature that kept me from switching away from the Phatbox to an HD DICE. Now if only we knew more about that HD radio alternate antenna kit ... :angel:

Also, you could even record yourself or your favorite person's voice for this.

--Andre

Prototype PCB board is on the way - we'll know shortly and give the forums and update soon.