Alternative to eSpeak?

Taking a closer look at this issue I found the F-droid repository has Flite-TTS engine available. It installed OK on my phone running 0.14-q (with warnings about being out of date) but it works OK. Click on the cog wheel to the right after selecting Flite-TTS to download and select the available voices. The languages available is fairly limited being either English or a selection of South Asian, but it sounds considerably better than e-speak. Good luck.

BTW: Pico-TTS is not on my phone. Could it be specific to Nougat?

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Thanks Lionel. I have os 0.14 updated as well but obviously not the same version, nougat free ! , only eSpeak, no pico : (

Hi Derek. I did try flite, I m not fond of it but at least it s better than eSpeak.
It Looks like Pico is indeed specefic to nougat…

Here is the discussion on Gitlab about TTS.
The issue is that LineageOS on which /e/ is based removed Pico-TTS from Android Pie. e-speak was added by the /e/ development team as a replacement.

There is not a lot of choices for TTS engines with an open source license and a variety of languages.


I see…well, quite desappointing, let’s hope that a future release of /e/Os will come with a more efficient tts !

I found a solution that I think most would find useful. Ivona TTS (Text To Speech) is one of the best sounding voices. In fact, it was good enough for Amazon to buy it, remove it from the playstore, and make it as a speech engine for businesses so they can charge a lot for it. Fortunately for us, the old apk file and some of the voices are still out on the internet to download from other places. The installation of the voice files is not simple but it isn’t too complex, probably a difficulty of a 3 out of 10. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Download the apk application (engine). I find apkpure as reliable and trustworthy for downloads. This developer stopped updating the application, and it says when I installed it that it is for an older version of Android, but I have been using it on Android P and Q without issue for a long time and I ignore the popup.

  2. Download the voice you want. UK FR DE SP US You will be downloading the APKX file for the voices and they are roughly 100MB-180MB. These are just a few of the voices available so you can look up a language you like and some of the voices have male and or female voices (English, Italian, Welch, Polish, Icelandic, Romanian and more). Look for yourself.

  3. Install the main engine and run it. Approve the permissions and then the prompt about it designed to run on an older Android OS. Now close it.

  4. Extract the APKX file to a folder, here’s how I did it. Some File Explorers have an zip extractor. Basically the .apkx file is a type of zip folder which contains the language voice app and the voice files. (I use FX Explorer which is a terrific root explorer with no ads.) I created a folder on my SD card and I used my zip extractor to extract it to that folder. (You can also use a windows computer to extract the apkx file and then move it to the phone’s SD card.)

  5. Open the newly created folder in your explorer and install the apk file. Run the application to approve the license. You will see an error downloading files, disregard this message and close the app.

  6. In that folder you will also find a subfolder called “Android”. Open it. Now open the subfolder “OBB”. Copy the next folder that starts with “com.ivona.tts…” and copy that whole folder to what the system calls the external RAM but IS NOT your removable SD Card like this Main Storage\Android\obb { AKA \storage\emulated\0\Android\obb}.

  7. Reboot the phone

  8. Go into settings and search for “Text-to-Speech output”.

  9. Select “Preferred engine” and select the voice installed if it isn’t already selected. Go back to the previous screen.

  10. You can press Play to test. It should be complete.

Good luck, if you have problems, PM me so I can help you individually. Thanks.


Thank you very much, I m gonna try it !
All the best !

Thanks for the tip @pmoody . Ivona is working great for me. I am not sure why Ivona asked for permission to access the phone, but I just denied it, and it works perfectly. Amy has a nice voice.

I am glad it worked for you. Cheers!

I played with the pre-installed version of eSpeak and adjusted the settings until I found a voice that I like. IMHO, here are the “best voice” settings that I have found:
eSpeak TTS Settings
Voice Variant: Female (Variant 2)
Speak punctuation: (default = none)
Speech rate: 150 WPM
Pitch: 72%
Pitch variation: 90%
Volume: 100% (default)
– If anyone would like to create a “Best eSpeak Voice” category, maybe we could have a little contest


That’s brilliant, thank you so much !
Works a million time better than the initial french voice !

Cheers !

Thanks :blush:

Working fine with 0.18 R, didn’t need a reboot.

Great, that worked for me, Amy is a very welcome change from Robert the Robot - however I tried to tweak him/her/it!!!

@pmoody, this solution puts you solidly in the /e/ “Hero” category- your instructions are clear, concise and direct and helped me update without any issue whatsoever. How you were able to figure this out is a wonder to me…

Thank you and cheers! :beers:


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For completeness and because I tried: Speech services by Google are also working without MicroG or GAPPS

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Addendum: Samsung Note 3 (SM-N9005), Android 9, LOS 16.0

I hope cogui-ai could offer good default TTS / STT in the near future.

Edit: English TTS sample in this video:

If time tag isn’t working sample is starting at 3 min.

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Great link, did you test it? TTS 0.4.2 documentation

Not yet, did check tough that there’s STT model for my native lsnguage, TTS are coming (time will show which languages available).

I mostly currently miss good TTS for Feeder & Organic Maps etc. Sure when “Elivia” is available STT is nice to have too. Sure if it works well and someone has special needs, why not also for speach to text. Sure there are cases it could be handy at home too, not in the public so much.