PRODUCT REVIEW: SoundBits and Monte Sound – Artificial Intelligence
Company: Soundbits and Monte Sound
Product: Artificial intelligence
Our Rating: 4.6/5
A collaboration of efforts from both Soundbits and Monte Sound, Artificial Intelligence contains 2800 synthetically processed vocalisations of Sci-Fi inspired dialogue that can be used to piece together voices for robots and computers.
Opening Our Copy
On opening our copy of Artificial Intelligence, we were presented with the promotional images, as well as a PDF list of all the sounds within the pack, each sound metadata tagged and categorised appropriately. Furthermore, the product contains a “Sounds” folder which holds six subfolders, each containing a unique voice with the recordings split into 6 categories, these are: Numbers and Letters, Phrases, Single-Words-Adverbs-Adjectives, Single-Words-Nouns, Single-Words-Prepositions and finally Single-Words-Verbs. When downloading the pack from the Soundbits website, they offer the choice of having 24bit 96kHz WAV or 16bit 44.1kHz WAV audio files for greater flexibility, the license agreement also being available in the downloads section.
Plug and Play
Our first impressions of this sample library were very positive, the recordings were of a very high quality, and the frequency content of each voice is balanced well. What is particularly impressive is that the sounds are all ready to be placed into a project without much need for post processing. The phrases category allows the user to instantly place dialogue into a scene without going through the effort of recording and processing their own synthetic voices for their characters. Furthermore, the sheer number of different words recorded would allow the user to create their own lines of dialogue just by piecing together individual nouns, adjectives, prepositions, numbers and verbs.
Regarding how successful the sounds are at achieving synthetic voices, we think SoundBits and Monte Sound have done very well in establishing that the dialogue is coming from an artificial source. Even though some of the nuances of human speech are still perceived in the recordings, the post processing has been successful in giving them a robotic feel, with the speech patterns adding somewhat of a personality to each voice. This also matches with the current trend in films, which is to have Sci-Fi sounds more grounded in reality.
The performances from each 'character' included sound great. We especially liked the Anne Droid character, a perfect blend of a neutral accent and 'at your service' attitude. With multiple male and female voices here, you certainly won't be stuck for choice when building your phrases and scenes.
Another way to get more use out of this library, is to use it as a word builder. Simply load the WAV files into your sampler of choice, and play up and down the keyboard to create sentences and form scripts for your Sci-Fi voice talent. We have also been informed that additional mini packs may soon be available with extra words, to further add to the flexibility.
The Uncanny Valley
While the library has a huge amount of dialogue options, the amount of flexibility given towards processing the voices could be better. Some of the voices are heavily processed and adding more to them could cause problems, unless it is just for worldizing purposes. However, we don’t think that this is that big of an issue, as all the voices sound good and perfectly usable as-is. To be fair to the creators, offering an unprocessed alternative would have likely created a plethora of files.
The Bottom Line
Overall, we think that Artificial Intelligence is a very solid voices library, the price of $60 is justified by the number of sounds given at your disposal and the sheer number of dialogue combinations you can make here. Check out the product in the link below and listen to the demo!