Frequently Asked Questions with answers

  • Q0 : I used to find MBRPSOLA instead of Mbrola, what's the point?
  • Q1 : I am close to suicide : I want to run Mbrola on my _______ ( replace _______ by your machine brand: dragon32, Cray YMP, Zx-Spectrum, etc ), but I can't find the binaries for it in the MBROLA homepage. What should I do ?
  • Q2 : I get the message "You are probably using a version of XXX incompatible with your machine architecture" (where XXX stands for the name of my favorite Mbrola diphone database)... what does it mean ?
  • Q3 : I get the message "This program is not compatible with your database. Get the last version of Mbrola" What does it mean ?
  • Q4 : I would like to have the source file of Mbrola so that I can adapt it to my own programs. Where can I find it?
  • Q5 : I want to use Mbrola with the xxxx dialect, how can I build my own diphone database?
  • Q6 : What the hell is the algorithm used in MBROLA ?
  • Q7 : I am a very rich petroleum king, I want to thank Thierry Dutoit and Vincent Pagel for their work on the net.
  • Q8 : On Sun and on PC the speech files produced by MBROLA are different for the same command file. Is there a bug?
  • Q9 : How can I play the output of MBROLA on a SUN4 ?
  • Q10 : I get the message : "Fatal error: Unkown X-X segment\n" where X-X stands for a diphone. What does this mean ?
  • Q11 : I am trying to download a diphone database but the link is very slow. What can I do ?
  • Q12 : I hear clicks when I play the audio file on my computer
  • Q13 : I have no sound output with Mbroli, or I have a sampling rate problem with my audio soundcard (such as Genius Sound Maker 3DX)

Question 0:

I used to find MBRPSOLA instead of Mbrola on your project, what's the point?

Answer:

Well, PSOLA/TD is a Registered Trademark of France Telecom, and the names were too close, so we decided to change the name of the project into "MBROLA project".

Question 1:

I am close to suicide : I want to run Mbrola on my _______ ( replace _______ by your machine brand: dragon32, Cray YMP, Zx-Spectrum, etc ), but I can't find the binaries for it in the MBROLA homepage. What should I do ?

Answer:

Be happy, don't worry ! Contact Mbrola Team, be kind and polite, describe your machine and OS version number, and we'll try something for you. Remember it's freeware.

Question 2:

I get the message "You are probably using a version of XXX incompatible with your machine architecture" (where XXX stands for the name of my favourite Mbrola diphone database)... what does it mean ?

Answer:

You are not providing a MBROLA database to the software. Many possible causes: either you got quite an old MBROLA database, so fetch a new one here , or you gave a wrong file. A typical error is to type "mbrola fr1 bonjour.pho test.wav" instead of "mbrola fr1/fr1 bonjour.pho test.wav". Another common problem is to FTP your database across your local net, and forget to use the BINARY mode while transferring.

Question 3:

I get the message "This program is not compatible with your database. Get the last version of Mbrola" What does it mean ?

Answer:

Your Mbrola program is older than the diphone database you are using (fr1 for example). To get the best out of Mbrola, load a new version of the binary (anyway it's small) by clicking here .

Question 4:

I would like to have the source file of Mbrola so that I can adapt it to my own programs. Where can I find it?

Answer:

We have decided not to release sources, to encourage speech laboratories to lend, for free, their diphone databases to the MBROLA project without compromising possible future commercial applications of their database. The principle of the project, indeed, is that third parties find some interest to let us adapt their diphone databases to the Mbrola format and provide it for non commercial applications to internet users, while commercial rights remain their property.

Moreover we think that the functionalities provided by MBROLA are a good base for you to develop a layer on top of it and be happy with it just as it is. However we'll do our best to adapt Mbrola to your needs. In particular, if you want to compile Mbrola to a machine that is not supported yet, contact Mbrola Team.

If you really want to get the sources of MBROLA for a commercial application, then you will have to sign a license agreement with : Babel Technologies S.A. (owner of commercial rights on MBROLA), and the company or research lab which provided the diphone databases you intend to use.
Contact Babel Technologies for more information.

Question 5:

I want to use Mbrola with the xxxx dialect, how can I build my own diphone database?

Answer:

First, you should be aware that recording a diphone database is not straightforward. If it is not performed carefully, the result can be disastrous. FR1, for instance, required about one month of work, yet with the help of some efficient laboratory tools for signal recording and editing. What is more, some phonetic knowledge of the targeted language is necessary to create the initial corpus.

So if you just think of designing a new diphone database as a game, forget it.

If, on the contrary, you are willing to spend some time to provide the MBROLA community with a new language or voice (and receive in return the rights for any commercial exploitation of the Mbrola diphone database we will create for you), click here .

Question 6:

What the hell is the algorithm used in MBROLA ?

Answer:

To have an idea check this summary.

Question 7:

I am a very rich petroleum king, I want to thank Thierry Dutoit and Vincent Pagel for their work on the net.

Answer:

Send Belgian beers, diamonds or flowers to Thierry Dutoit, Faculté Polytechnique de Mons, TCTS Lab, 31 Bvd Dolez, B-7000 Belgium. He'll make a share with Vincent Pagel.

Question 8:

On Sun and on PC the speech files produced by MBROLA are different for the same command file. Is there a bug?

Answer:

Well this problem is due to the lack of precision of floating point arithmetic on PC ( or to its excess on Sun or Hp ! ). Nothing to worry about, really.

Question 9:

How can I play the output of MBROLA on a SUN4 ?

Answer:

You must convert the output so that it matches the .au format i.e. 8Khz and ulaw coding. This can be done thanks to the public domain SOX program developed by IRCAM, Fr. You can also use the RAW2SUN program provided in the utilities of MBROLA.

Question 10:

I get the message : "Fatal error: Unkown X-X segment" where X-X stands for a diphone. What does this mean ?

Answer:

Your command file contains a phoneme name not compatible with your diphone database. You must have misspelled a phoneme, or used an impossible configuration: e.g. 9-_ in French

Question 11:

I am trying to download a diphone database but the link is very slow. What can I do ?

Answer:

Try our mirror sites

Now if the transfer rate is really too low for all these sites, you can try to launch a FTP batch at night, such as :

#wait 9 hours
sleep 32400
ftp -n ftp.loria.fr<<'END'
user anonymous your_email_address
cd /pub/pc/mbrpsola/fr1
bin
get fr1.zip
quit
END

Notice that you can try the following ftp addresses :

  • tcts.fpms.ac.be/pub/mbrola
  • mambo.ucsc.edu/psl/mbrola
  • ftp.loria.fr/pub/pc/mbrpsola

Just tune the sleep time ( in seconds ) so that the FTP starts around 4A.M.

If you still have problems, you can also join us to fix it by with airmail

Question 12:

I hear clicks when I play the audio file on my computer

Answer:

On some computer, the 16Khz sampling frequency cannot be rendered. If your audio driver decides to use the nearest frequency (22.5Khz for example), there will be gaps in the signal. The only solution is to get a sound file utility (sox for example) and to convert to a supported sampling frequency.

If the clicks are localized at the end of the synthesized file, try to get the latest version of Mbrola.

Question 13:

I have no sound output with Mbroli, or I have a sampling rate problem with my audio soundcard (such as Genius Sound Maker 3DX)

Answer:

On some computer, the 16Khz sampling frequency cannot be rendered. The only solution is to set a "standard" sampling rate such as 11025,22050,44100 with the -l option on the command line, or with the "vocal tract length parameter" on MBROLI.

Last updated Jult 13th, 2000.