a woman in a white t-shirt with short dark hair thinking

AI has dramatically changed text to speech (TTS) technology in recent years. AI voices that sound like humans have opened the door to a world of possibilities for individuals and companies. The most advanced features of TTS tools are usually found in premium software versions. However, there are still options with AI text to speech free versions. 

Today, we’ll review the features you can expect to find for free and those you must pay for. Once you’ve considered what is available and compared it to your needs, you will know whether it’s worth upgrading to a paid subscription.  

What To Consider When Comparing Free AI TTS vs. Paid Tools

Whether you are looking at a TTS reader for personal or business use, you will have unique needs. We will highlight five common areas of consideration and demonstrate the benefits of free and paid software for each.

Synthetic vs. AI-Generated Human-Like Voices

Synthetic voices are those that read text out loud in the robotic, monotonous computer voice. This voice style was used in the first iterations of TTS and is still commonly used in free AI text to speech tools. A synthetic voice solution may suffice if you just want a small snippet of text read aloud quickly. If you want a full document reader, synthetic voices can become boring and hard to focus on over time.

There may be some commercial uses where a synthetic voice is what you are looking for. It is commonly used to narrate short videos on TikTok and YouTube. However, a professional voiceover will be more appropriate if you plan to make longer-form content like an explainer video. 

A paid speech tool gives you a wide range of human voices to choose from. When producing content for potential customers or your existing audience, using natural voices is a great way to build rapport and define your brand. Paid AI voice generators use deep learning through neural networks to produce realistic voices that are often indistinguishable from humans. 

Predefined Voices TTS vs. AI Voice Cloning

Even with free text to speech software, you can expect to have a choice of human-like voices. These options are heavily limited compared to a paid AI speech generator. However, you can get lucky and find voices that match your needs. Paid options not only offer a wider range of pre-defined voices, but they also have more advanced customization tools to tailor that voice to your needs.

If you still can’t find the voice you are looking for, you can use a text to voice app that allows for voice cloning. Voice cloning allows you to make a digital copy of a real voice. You can use any voice to create the clone, including your own. This level of customization is not even possible when hiring a real-life voice actor

To create a voice clone, you simply need a clear voice sample. Artificial intelligence will then train the system on not only the basic sound of the voice but also intonation and emphasis. Your AI speech generator stores this voice to be used just as you would with any pre-recorded option.

Standard vs. Emotional Speaking Styles

Predefined voices may sound human when you listen to them initially, but it will quickly become apparent that they lack the emotion of a real human voice. Free text to speech software will not include human emotion in their voice options. In fact, only the most state-of-the-art paid speech technologies will allow you to create AI-generated voices with human-like emotions.

If you are creating cartoon characters or video game characters, they must sound realistic to maintain audience engagement. This is also true if you are making marketing materials or training videos. It is difficult to grab your audience’s attention and hold it long enough to get your message across if they listen to an unrelatable, monotone voice.

With advanced paid software, you can create fully formed AI text to speech characters who possess all of the intricacies of a human speaker.

Single Language vs. Multi-Lingual Speech Synthesis

Free TTS software isn’t always limited to one language. You may find you can produce a voiceover in several languages for free. The issue is the number of voice choices you have for each language.

As we discussed earlier, your choice of predefined voices is dramatically reduced when you use a free app. While you may get lucky and find a voice you like in one language. Your odds of finding a suitable voice in multiple languages are dramatically reduced. 

If you are choosing a TTS service based on the languages that they offer, you’ll likely want to produce voiceovers in several different languages. This is a great idea and can dramatically improve a company’s global marketing reach. But if you are producing several large audio files, you will likely need a paid service that is set up to deal with your demand and does have user credit limits.

Online vs. Offline Access

If you want offline access to your voices and files, it is much safer to go with a paid option. Some free versions may offer offline access, but the trade-off is limited features in other departments. It is common for the information to be stored in the cloud. This means you’ll require an internet connection to access it through your browser.

Not all paid options offer an offline service, so it is essential to check if this is something you will need. If you find a service that ticks all the boxes except for an offline service, remember to download your audio files to a local device so you can use them offline as you wish.

Find an AI TTS Software Tailored to Your Needs

If you want to check out the features of a fully-fledged AI text to speech package, you can try LOVO for free today. Our AI voices and other marketing tools are already loved by over 2,000,000 professionals and creators, just like you.

a woman in a beige cardigan and white t-shirt sitting at a table with her laptop