Can I change the voices on my DynaVox VMax?

I am often asked this question so I thought I’d put together a response for people to refer back to when needed. Our voice is important to us, and when we get a communication device it’s often a feature that people with complex communication needs have strong preferences about.Everyone will have their own personal style and preference. I know I wouldn’t want to have a robotic sounding voice – and thankfully synthesised voices have come a long way so that we have more choice!! But some people won’t mind the robot sound at all. It’s fair to say that it’s good practice to explore what is available with the person who will have that voice for a long time!

If you do want to change your voice in the Series 5 DynaVox devices and Maestro, then go into the blue triangular Menu button and choose Setup and then select the Speech settings. I have discovered that people often don’t realise that if you change the manufacturer you will get a whole new range of voices to pick from. On the DynaVox you have access to a number of different voices from Acapela, AT&T, the Scansoft Australian voices, Microsoft and Verivox. You could also try playing with speech rate as this can give the voice some character too. The instructions to change voices is here: How do I change my speaking voice?

You could also opt to record someone’s voice onto the device. The Dynavox M3 will only record digitised speech. However, the Dynavox Series 5 devices and Maestro are usually used with synthesised speech, so knowing how to record your own voice can be a little trickier to master.

It could be quite tedious to record speech onto lots of buttons, especially if the user has a lot of pages in their pagesets and significant vocabulary that they are using. But here are the instructions for making a digital recording and then programming a button to play that recording.

I’d also recommend this previous great blog post about how synthesised voices come about and listen to some samples.


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About Charlene Cullen

Charlene has worked as a speech pathologist, supporting people with complex communication needs and learning disabilities for the past 15 years. She has worked in a variety of roles within the Disability Services of Western Australia, including Senior Speech Pathologist, Rural and Remote Resource Therapist and Regional Team Manager.

Charlene is a trained Key Word Sign (formerly Makaton) presenter, certified Hanen It Takes Two to Talk presenter and a member of the Apple Consultants Network. Charlene is also an official Proloquo2Go / Proloquo4Text trainer, and TBoxApps Trainer for Therapy Box.

Charlene has developed strong skills in and a passion for, the area of AAC and assistive technologies. She enjoys presenting workshops and providing consultancy services to support and educate parents, teachers and therapists in the use and application of inclusive technologies.

Charlene is a full time member of the Professional and Consultancy Services Team at Spectronics.

AGOSCI State Representative for Victoria (2012-present); Key Word Sign Victoria committee member (2012-present).

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