Improve synthesis with the Audio Content Creation tool

Audio Content Creation is an easy-to-use and powerful tool that lets you build highly natural audio content for a variety of scenarios, like audiobooks, news broadcasts, video narrations, and chat bots. With Audio Content Creation, you can fine-tune text-to-speech voices and design customized audio experiences in an efficient and low-cost way.

The tool is based on Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML). It allows you to adjust text-to-speech output attributes in real time or batch synthesis, such as voice characters, voice styles, speaking speed, pronunciation, and prosody.

You can have easy access to more than 150 pre-built voices across 60+ different languages, including the state-of-the-art neural TTS voices, and your custom voice if you have built one.

See the video tutorial for Audio Content Creation.

How to Get Started?

Audio Content Creation is a free tool, but you will pay for the Azure Speech service you consume. To work with the tool, you need to log in with an Azure account and create a speech resource. For each Azure account, you have monthly free speech quotas which include 500,000 characters for Neural TTS voices (per month), 5 million characters for standard and custom voices (per month), and 1 custom voice endpoint hosting service (per month). The monthly allotted amount is usually enough for a small content team of around 3-5 people. Here are the steps for how to create an Azure account and get a speech resource.

Step 1 - Create an Azure account

To work with Audio Content Creation, you need to have a Microsoft account and an Azure account. Follow these instructions to set up the account.

Azure portal is the centralized place for you to manage your Azure account. You can create the speech resource, manage the product access, and monitor everything from simple web apps to complex cloud deployments.

Step 2 - Create a Speech resource

After signing up for the Azure account, you need to create a Speech resource under your Azure account to access Speech services. View the instructions for how to create a Speech resource.

It takes a few moments to deploy your new Speech resource. Once the deployment is complete, you can start the Audio Content Creation journey.

Note

If you plan to use neural voices, make sure that you create your resource in a region that supports neural voices.

Step 3 - Log into the Audio Content Creation with your Azure account and Speech resource

  1. After getting the Azure account and the Speech resource, you can log into Audio Content Creation by clicking Get started.
  2. The home page lists all the products under Speech Studio. Click Audio Content Creation to start.
  3. The Welcome to Speech Studio page will appear to you to set up the speech service. Select the Azure subscription and the Speech resource you want to work on. Click Use resource to complete the settings. When you log into the Audio Content Creation tool for the Next time, we will link you directly to the audio work files under the current speech resource. You can check your Azure subscriptions details and status in Azure portal. If you do not have available speech resource and you are the owner or admin of an Azure subscription, you can also create a new Speech resource in Speech Studio by clicking Create a new resource. If you are a user role for a certain Azure subscription, you may not have the permission to create a new speech resource. Please contact your admin to get the speech resource access.
  4. You can modify your Speech resource at any time with the Settings option, located in the top nav.
  5. If you want to switch directory, please go the Settings or your profile to operate.

How to use the tool?

This diagram shows the steps it takes to fine-tune text-to-speech outputs. Use the links below to learn more about each step.

A diagram of the steps it takes to fine-tune text-to-speech outputs

  1. Choose the speech resource you want to work on.

  2. Create an audio tuning file using plain text or SSML scripts. Type or upload your content in to Audio Content Creation.

  3. Choose the voice and the language for your script content. Audio Content Creation includes all of the Microsoft text-to-speech voices. You can use standard, neural, or your own custom voice.

    Note

    Gated access is available for Custom Neural Voices, which allow you to create high-definition voices similar to natural-sounding speech. For additional details, see Gating process.

  4. Select the content you want to preview and click the play icon (a triangle) to preview the default synthesis output. Please note that if you make any changes on the text, you need to click the Stop icon and then click play icon again to re-generate the audio with changed scripts.

  5. Improve the output by adjusting pronunciation, break, pitch, rate, intonation, voice style, and more. For a complete list of options, see Speech Synthesis Markup Language. Here is a video to show how to fine-tune speech output with Audio Content Creation.

  6. Save and export your tuned audio. When you save the tuning track in the system, you can continue to work and iterate on the output. When you're satisfied with the output, you can create an audio creation task with the export feature. You can observe the status of the export task and download the output for use with your apps and products.

Create an audio tuning file

There are two ways to get your content into the Audio Content Creation tool.

Option 1:

  1. Click New > file to create a new audio tuning file.
  2. Type or paste your content into the editing window. The characters for each file is up to 20,000. If your script is longer than 20,000 characters, you can use Option 2 to automatically split your content into multiple files.
  3. Don't forget to save.

Option 2:

  1. Click Upload to import one or more text files. Both plain text and SSML are supported. If your script file is more than 20,000 characters, please split the file by paragraphs, by character or by regular expressions.

  2. When you upload your text files, make sure that the file meets these requirements.

    Property Value / Notes
    File format Plain text (.txt)
    SSML text (.txt)
    Zip files aren't supported
    Encoding format UTF-8
    File name Each file must have a unique name. Duplicates aren't supported.
    Text length Character limitation of the text file is 20,000. If your files exceed the limitation, please split the files with the instructions in the tool.
    SSML restrictions Each SSML file can only contain a single piece of SSML.

Plain text example

Welcome to use Audio Content Creation to customize audio output for your products.

SSML text example

<speak xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2001/10/synthesis" xmlns:mstts="http://www.w3.org/2001/mstts" version="1.0" xml:lang="en-US">
    <voice name="Microsoft Server Speech Text to Speech Voice (en-US, AriaNeural)">
    Welcome to use Audio Content Creation <break time="10ms" />to customize audio output for your products.
    </voice>
</speak>

Export tuned audio

After you've reviewed your audio output and are satisfied with your tuning and adjustment, you can export the audio.

  1. Click Export to create an audio creation task. Export to Audio Library is recommended as it supports the long audio output and the full audio output experience. You can also download the audio to your local disk directly, but only the first 10 minutes are available.
  2. Choose the output format for your tuned audio. A list of supported formats and sample rates is available below.
  3. You can view the status of the task on the Export task tab. If the task fails, see the detailed information page for a full report.
  4. When the task is complete, your audio is available for download on the Audio Library tab.
  5. Click Download. Now you're ready to use your custom tuned audio in your apps or products.

Supported audio formats

Format 16 kHz sample rate 24 kHz sample rate
wav riff-16khz-16bit-mono-pcm riff-24khz-16bit-mono-pcm
mp3 audio-16khz-128kbitrate-mono-mp3 audio-24khz-160kbitrate-mono-mp3

How to add/remove Audio Content Creation users?

If more than one user wants to use Audio Content Creation, you can grant user access to the Azure subscription and the speech resource. If you add a user to an Azure subscription, the user can access all the resources under the Azure subscription. But if you only add a user to a speech resource, the user will only have access to the speech resource, and cannot access other resources under this Azure subscription. A user with access to the speech resource can use Audio Content Creation.

The user need to prepare a Microsoft account. If the user do not have a Microsoft account, create one with just a few minutes. The user can use the existing email and link as a Microsoft account, or creat a new outlook email as Microsoft account.

Add users to a speech resource

Follow these steps to add a user to a speech resource so they can use Audio Content Creation.

  1. Search for Cognitive services in the Azure portal, select the speech resource that you want to add users to.

  2. Click Access control (IAM). Click the Role assignments tab to view all the role assignments for this subscription. Role assignment tab

  3. Click Add > Add role assignment to open the Add role assignment pane. In the Role drop-down list, select the Cognitive Service User role. If you want to give the user ownership of this speech resource, you can select the Owner role.

  4. In the list, select a user. If you do not see the user in the list, you can type in the Select box to search the directory for display names and email addresses. If the user is not in this directory, you can input the user's Microsoft account (which is trusted by Azure active directory).

  5. Click Save to assign the role. The user will receive an email invitation. Accept the invitation by clicking Accept invitation > Accept to join Azure in the email. Then the user will be redirected to the Azure portal. The user do not need to take further action in the Azure portal.

  6. After a few moments, the user is assigned the Cognitive Service User role at the speech resource scope. User can visit or refresh the Audio Content Creation page, and choose the speech resource to get started.

    Add role dialog

Users who are in the same speech resource will see each other's work in Audio Content Creation studio. If you want each individual user to have a unique and private workplace in Audio Content Creation, please create a new speech resource for each user and give each user the unique access to the speech resource.

Remove users from a speech resource

  1. Search for Cognitive services in the Azure portal, select the speech resource that you want to remove users from.
  2. Click Access control (IAM). Click the Role assignments tab to view all the role assignments for this speech resource.
  3. Select the users you want to remove, click Remove > Ok. Remove button

Enable users to grant access

If you want one of the users to give access to other users, you need to give the user the owner role for the speech resource and set the user as the Azure directory reader.

  1. Add the user as the owner of the speech resource. See how to add users to a speech resource. Role Owner field
  2. In the Azure portal, select the collapsed menu in the upper left. Click Azure Active Directory, and then Click Users.
  3. Search the user's Microsoft account, and go to the user's detail page. Click Assigned roles.
  4. Click Add assignments -> Directory Readers.

See also

Next steps