Kay has introduced a new, low-cost speech analysis product called Multi-Speech which uses standard Windows® multimedia hardware (e.g., Sound Blaster boards) to capture, analyze, and play speech samples. Multi-Speech is the latest addition to Kay’s family of acoustic analysis products which includes the Computerized Speech Lab (CSL), DSP Sona-Graph, and Visi-Pitch II. Although there is overlap in functionality, each of these serves specific needs across the wide spectrum of Kay’s customers. Multi-Speech is designed for clinics, universities, or individuals with limited budgets or for those who wish to outfit multiple computers with sophisticated speech analysis software.
Multi-Speech contains virtually all of the powerful analysis and editing features of the core CSL software. As a Windows application, the program has a different look and feel from CSL, but CSL users will quickly acclimate to features with which they are familiar. Analysis tools include spectrograms, power spectra, LPC analysis, long term average spectra, pitch, amplitude, and cepstrum. On-line Windows Help, impressive editing features, logging of extracted parameters, macros, and IPA annotation are a sampling of utilities available in this feature-rich program. An extensive tutorial is supplied to introduce new users to menu selections and program operations.
Like all programs based on multimedia hardware, Multi-Speech is somewhat limited by the performance specifications of these sound cards, notably their signal-to-noise acquisition quality (usually 50-60 dB). Unless careful attention is given to signal level during acquisition (often resulting in multiple input attempts to obtain full dynamic range or avoid peak clipping), the resolution of the acquired data may not be adequate for certain clinical, and most research, applications. However, Multi-Speech can read both .wav and .nsp file formats. As a result, it is an ideal option for CSL, Visi-Pitch II, or other systems with robust hardware platforms for data acquisition (>80 dB signal-to-noise) which can store files in .nsp or .wav file formats.
Depending on the host computer’s speed, Multi-Speech provides rapid analysis of acquired speech, but not in true real-time. As a result, it should not be considered a visual feedback tool (like Visi-Pitch II) which is required for many therapy applications.
Multi-Speech brings Kay quality to the inexpensive multimedia hardware environment for speech acquisition and analysis. It is an impressive software package with a rich array of features for the price.