Text-to-Speech Windows vs Mac

Speech Central is dependent on the voices provided by the device. As such it may be useful for potential users to be educated on differences of voices provided by the most popular desktop operating systems that Speech Central supports – Windows and macOS.

Both Windows and Mac come with built-in voices. As those voices are available with no additional costs their quality is very important. There are some notable differences among Mac and Windows regarding those:

  • Windows provides text-to-speech voices in the form of the language packs which are installed from the system Settings (or Control Panel). By default usually only one language pack is installed and you need to install more packages if you want more languages to support this function. Mac has support for all available languages installed out of box. Microsoft provides more details on how to install those voices from the system Settings.
  • Mac supports three levels of quality for most voices: Standard, Enhanced and Premium. Unlike that Windows has only one tier of the quality. It is important to note that all quality levels are not installed by default on the Mac. While all voices are installed in the standard quality, usually only one or two voices may be installed in the enhanced quality and Premium quality requires manual install by the user. Apple provides more details on how to install those voices from the system Settings. Please note that some voices/languages may not have all quality tiers.
  • The perception of quality of voices comes down to personal preferences and may be influenced by the previous experience of user. I will provide some general estimates based on the feedback provided by users of Speech Central and my personal opinion. As such it is worth to compare various levels of quality provided by Apple to Microsoft’s voices. The Standard Apple voices appear to sound significantly worse than Microsoft’s voices. The Enhanced Apple voices generally sound a bit better than Microsoft’s voices. The Premium Apple voices sound significantly better than Microsoft voices.
  • Please note that all versions of operating systems may not provide the same voices. Microsoft hasn’t updated its text-to-speech functionality for a long time (since Windows 8.1) so it is likely that all available platforms do provide the same quality. Apple did provide multiple updates in that time frame but most notable update that you should consider comes with macOS Ventura that provides a new quality tier called Premium which brings significant improvements over the Enhanced quality voices.

This analysis doesn’t stop here. Both operating system have a support for 3rd party voices. While those voices are usually not free (at least those that provide higher levels of quality) they are still just one time payment in the range of 25$ that are notably less expensive than internet voice streaming solutions and as such may be a worthy alternative. Regarding this capability you should have following in mind:

  • The choice of providers is fairly small as providers more and more opt for internet streaming – the variant where they can have much higher profits. At the moment it seems that on the Mac you can get voices only from CereProc, while on Windows there are few more providers.
  • Voices of some providers on Windows may not be compatible with all apps. Some of those voices may require administrator rights to work which would cause a possible incompatibility. Speech Central has the list of compatible providers in the app.
  • In the future there may be more voices for the Mac as Apple has released a new capability on macOS Ventura to create the new apps for the App Store that can act as voice providers.

Whichever platform you choose, Speech Central is there to help you to get the most out of text-to-speech for that platform with extensive feature set that covers more use cases than any other app. Get it on Mac or Windows.