A Beginner's Guide To Azure Text To Speech API: Features & Pricing

Looking to explore Azure Text to Speech API? This covers everything you need to know about its features and pricing, making it easy to understand.

senior dev using Azure Text To Speech API

Have you ever wondered about the magic behind text to speech technology? In this blog, we'll delve into the fascinating world of Azure text to speech API and explore its many facets. From its applications across industries to its integration capabilities, we'll cover everything you need to know about this groundbreaking technology. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let's dive in!

The Changing Text To Speech Narrative

tts technology workings - Azure Text To Speech API

What I found most exciting about AI is how it can detect patterns in speech that people don't even notice. I heard the AI programmers explain it this way: "The AI looks at the sounds of language, not the words themselves." As it does, the computer program can detect the patterns of how we speak. It knows how a human is supposed to sound, and it uses that information to make computer-generated speech sound more natural.

Many people can't tell the difference between computer-generated speech and the voice of a human. I think the best results come from using the Azure Cognitive Services text-to-speech feature. Developers and admins can use this feature without knowing the ins and outs of machine learning. They just need to know how to call an API method, and they are good to integrate Azure into their application.

What Is Azure Text To Speech API

female dev working outdoor - Azure Text To Speech API

Microsoft's Azure Text to Speech (TTS) API is a powerful cloud-based solution that allows developers to easily integrate text-to-speech functionality into their applications, products, or services. As part of the Azure Speech Services under the Azure Cognitive Services umbrella, the Text to Speech API leverages advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to convert written text into lifelike speech.

This service is incredibly versatile for a diverse range of speech-related tasks like transcription, speech recognition, real-time speech translation, and more. Besides offering a variety of AI voices and flexible pricing options, Azure TTS provides a fantastic solution for applications that require speech synthesis capabilities.

Advanced Technology at Your Fingertips

Microsoft Azure Text to Speech utilizes cutting-edge technologies such as deep neural networks, machine learning algorithms, and advanced speech synthesis capabilities powered by artificial intelligence models.

This technological foundation enables developers to access a broad selection of voices and languages, making the API suitable for global applications with varied linguistic requirements. By leveraging AI-driven algorithms, Azure TTS ensures that the synthesized speech is not only accurate but also natural-sounding, contributing to a more engaging user experience.

Comprehensive Azure Speech Services

In addition to Azure Text to Speech, Microsoft offers several other Azure Speech Services that cater to various aspects of speech processing and analysis. These services include:

  • Speech Recognition, which can transcribe spoken words into text
  • Speaker Recognition, which can identify speakers based on their voice characteristics
  • Language Understanding, which enables natural language processing capabilities
  • Custom Speech, which allows developers to customize speech recognition models to suit their unique requirements.

By providing a broad suite of speech-related services, Microsoft empowers developers to create highly sophisticated and interactive applications with speech capabilities.

Microsoft Azure Text to Speech API offers developers a robust and versatile cloud-based solution for integrating text-to-speech functionality into their applications. With its advanced AI-driven algorithms, wide range of voices, and support for multiple languages, it is a powerful tool for a variety of speech-related applications. Whether you are building a transcription service, a language translation app, or a voice-enabled virtual assistant, Azure Text to Speech API provides the technology you need to create compelling and engaging user experiences.

How Does The Azure Text To Speech API Work?

lines of codes - Azure Text To Speech API

The Azure Text to Speech API essentially works by enabling applications, tools, or devices to convert text into human-like synthesized speech. The API converts written text into spoken words by leveraging advanced machine learning and neural networks. These networks are trained on vast collections of data to accurately mimic human language, enabling the conversion of text to realistic-sounding speech that can be embedded in websites, applications, and beyond. This is how your computer speaks to you.

The API supports both prebuilt neural voices, which are highly natural out-of-the-box voices, and custom neural voices, which allow for the creation of unique voices tailored to specific products or brands. Users can access the Text to Speech API through the Speech SDK, REST API, and Speech CLI, making it versatile and accessible for a wide range of applications and programming languages. Developers have the ability to fine-tune the output audio files by adjusting various settings, including the voice type, speech pace, volume, and more to suit their particular requirements.

Unique Features Of Microsoft Azure Text To Speech

person sitting on sofa - Azure Text To Speech API

High-quality, natural-sounding voices with customizable parameters

I had the chance to explore the impressive functionalities of the Azure Text to Speech API, and I was struck by the high-quality, natural-sounding voices available. The customizable parameters included in this feature allowed me to achieve lifelike speech outputs by fine-tuning voice tones, speeds, and pitches to match specific requirements. I found that these customization options enhance listener engagement through the use of the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) via the Audio Content Creation tool.

Prebuilt neural voices

The Azure Text to Speech API introduced me to prebuilt neural voices that utilize deep neural networks to overcome the limits of traditional speech synthesis. I learned that these neural voices predict prosody and synthesize voice simultaneously, resulting in more fluid and natural-sounding outputs. The prebuilt neural voice models are available at 24 kHz and high-fidelity 48 kHz, providing a wide range of options for voice synthesis.

Real-time speech synthesis

I was impressed by the real-time speech synthesis capabilities of the Azure Text to Speech API. The Speech SDK or REST API allowed me to instantly convert text into spoken words using advanced neural voices. This real-time feature is incredibly useful for creating instant voice overs for various applications, enhancing the user experience and efficiency of speech synthesis processes.

Asynchronous synthesis of long audio

One of the standout features of the Azure TTS API is its ability to synthesize long audio content asynchronously. I discovered that this feature allows users to create not only short audio snippets but also extended audio content like audiobooks or lectures. The API synthesizes speech asynchronously through batch synthesis, accommodating files beyond 10 minutes without requiring real-time processing. This capability is especially valuable for users who need to create and manage long-form audio content efficiently.

Multilingual voice options

The multilingual voice options available in the Azure Text to Speech API opened up a world of possibilities for crafting content in various languages and dialects. I found support for over 139 languages and dialects, including English (en-US), Chinese, and more. This feature allows users to cater to diverse linguistic needs and reach broader audiences by leveraging the multilingual voice options to create voice-enabled applications across different regions and markets.

Custom neural voice capabilities

I delved into the world of custom neural voice capabilities offered by Azure, which allowed me to create unique voices to differentiate my brand and enhance the user experience. This feature enables users to develop highly realistic voices for more natural conversational interfaces, adding a personalized touch to their voice applications to stand out in the crowded digital landscape.


The concept of visemes and their correlation with voices and phonemes intrigued me as I explored the Azure Text to Speech API. By using viseme events in Speech SDK, users can generate facial animation data that can be used to animate faces in lip-reading communication, education, entertainment, and customer service scenarios. The ability to leverage visemes for facial animation adds another dimension to the user experience, creating more engaging and interactive voice-enabled applications.

Azure Text To Speech API Use Cases

use case of Azure Text To Speech API

Enhancing Accessibility with Azure Text to Speech API

When it comes to creating software and applications, making them accessible to everyone, including those with visual impairments, dyslexia, or other reading difficulties, is crucial. With TTS APIs like Azure Text to Speech API, I can open many creative doors.

By integrating TTS capabilities into my applications, I can give users the option to listen to the content rather than read it, making the software more inclusive and user-friendly. This not only improves accessibility but also enhances the overall user experience. Text-to-speech technology makes it possible for users to consume content in a more personalized way, which can lead to increased engagement and satisfaction.

Automating Audio Content Creation with Azure Text to Speech API

Creating audio content for podcasts, e-learning platforms, audiobooks and other multimedia productions can be time-consuming and expensive. With Azure Text to Speech API, however, I can automate voiceovers and generate high-quality audio content quickly and easily.

This opens up a world of possibilities for content creators, allowing them to produce more content in less time and reach a wider audience. Text-to-speech technology can be used to narrate articles, blog posts, and other written content, making it more accessible to people who prefer to listen rather than read. This can help content creators broaden their reach and engage with a more diverse audience.

Empowering Chatbots and Virtual Assistants with Azure Text to Speech API

Chatbots and virtual assistants are becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for new ways to engage with customers and provide better service. With Azure Text to Speech API, I can give chatbots and virtual assistants a voice, making interactions more natural and engaging. By enabling chatbots to speak, I can create a more human-like experience for users, leading to higher levels of satisfaction and engagement.

Text-to-speech technology can make it easier for chatbots to convey complex information and instructions, reducing the need for users to read long blocks of text. This can improve the overall user experience and make interactions more efficient and effective.

Transforming Everyday Appliances with Azure Text to Speech API

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the way we interact with everyday appliances and devices. With Azure Text to Speech API, I can give IoT devices a voice, making them more interactive and engaging.

For example, I could program my smart fridge to tell me when I'm running low on milk, or my smart light bulbs to wish me good morning. By integrating text-to-speech technology into IoT devices, I can create a more personalized and human-like experience for users, making interactions more natural and intuitive. This can help improve user engagement and make everyday tasks more enjoyable and convenient.

Azure Text To Speech API Pricing Models

pricing model of Azure Text To Speech API

It is essential to understand the pricing models available for Microsoft Azure Speech Services. There are two main pricing models offered for Azure Text to Speech: the Free (F0) Model and the Pay as You Go Model, each with its advantages and limitations.

Free (F0) Model Overview

The Free (F0) model allows developers to access Azure TTS for free, making it an excellent choice for those who want to explore the service or build prototypes with low-volume workloads. This model comes with some limitations, such as a cap of 0.5 million characters processed per month.

Pay as You Go Model Details

On the other hand, the Pay as You Go model is ideal for developers, businesses, or startups with varying workloads and usage patterns. This model allows users to pay only for what they use, and pricing is based on the number of characters processed or audio hours generated. This model provides access to a broader range of AI voices, including neural and custom neural voices, for high-quality speech synthesis.

Neural Voices Pricing

The Neural pricing tier grants access to AI voices generated using deep neural networks, providing exceptional naturalness and expressiveness. Pricing under the Neural tier varies based on factors like service tier and usage volume.

For instance, for real-time & batch synthesis, Neural TTS costs $15 per 1 million characters, while long audio creation costs $100 per 1 million characters. In custom neural voice training, the pricing is $52 per compute hour, up to $4,992 per training, and $24 per 1M characters for real-time and batch synthesis, with endpoint hosting at $4.04 per model per hour.

Azure Text to Speech API features a consumption-based pricing model that adapts to users' specific needs. With this model, users only pay for the characters synthesized into speech, making it a cost-effective solution that aligns with actual usage needs.

Azure Text To Speech API Pros And Cons

person working while excercising - Azure Text To Speech API

Seamless Integration with Azure Cognitive Services and Platforms

Azure Text to Speech API seamlessly integrates with other Azure cognitive services and platforms, such as Azure AI and Speech Studio. This integration makes it incredibly efficient for building complex applications.

By leveraging the power of these services and platforms, developers can create robust and feature-rich applications that provide a superior user experience. The ability to seamlessly integrate with other Azure services allows developers to leverage the unique benefits of each service in their applications, ultimately enhancing the overall functionality and performance of the application.

High-Quality Speech Synthesis

One of the standout features of Azure Text to Speech API is the high quality and natural-sounding synthesized speech it offers. This capability allows developers to communicate messages clearly and naturally with humanlike text-to-speech voices in over 139 languages.

The high-quality speech synthesis provided by the API creates a more engaging and immersive user experience, making applications more user-friendly and accessible to a wider audience. The natural-sounding speech generated by the API enhances the overall quality of the application, creating a more polished and professional end product.

Flexible Pricing Plans Based on Usage

Another advantage of using Azure Text to Speech API is its flexible pricing plans based on usage. The API offers a range of pricing options that cater to varying project sizes and budgets. This flexibility allows developers to choose a pricing plan that best suits their specific needs and requirements, ensuring that they only pay for the services they use.

The ability to select a pricing plan based on usage helps developers effectively manage costs and optimize their budget, making Azure Text to Speech API a cost-effective solution for a wide range of projects.

Comprehensive Support Resources and Documentation

Azure Text to Speech API provides developers with comprehensive support resources and documentation that make it easier to develop and troubleshoot projects. The availability of detailed documentation and support resources helps developers quickly get up to speed with the API and efficiently leverage its features and capabilities in their applications.

The support resources provided by Azure Text to Speech API include tutorials, sample code, and technical documentation that cover various aspects of the API, making it easier for developers to implement the API in their projects. The availability of support resources enables developers to troubleshoot issues and resolve technical challenges more effectively, ensuring a smoother development process.

Internet Connectivity Requirement

Despite its many benefits, one drawback of Azure Text to Speech API is the requirement for an internet connection to utilize the API. This can be a significant drawback in areas with limited or unreliable internet service, as it may affect the availability and performance of applications that rely on the API. The necessity for an internet connection can pose challenges for developers working in environments with poor connectivity or limited access to the internet, limiting the usability of the API in such scenarios.

Challenges in Implementation

Another potential downside of using Azure Text to Speech API is the challenges associated with embedding the API into applications. The process of implementing the API requires a certain level of proficiency with cloud services and APIs, which may represent a hurdle for developers who are newcomers to the world of APIs.

Developers who are not familiar with cloud services and APIs may find it challenging to integrate the API into their applications, potentially leading to delays in the development process. Overcoming the implementation challenges associated with Azure Text to Speech API requires developers to invest time and effort in learning how to effectively use the API and integrate it into their projects.

Streaming Constraints

It has been reported that, when it comes to real-time streaming needs, the Azure Text to Speech API does not hold up as well compared to other TTS APIs. Real-time streaming applications require a high level of performance and responsiveness from the text-to-speech engine, which may not be fully met by Azure Text to Speech API in some cases.

Developers working on real-time streaming projects may encounter performance limitations when using the API, potentially impacting the overall user experience of the application. While the API is suitable for many applications, it may not be the best choice for projects with demanding real-time streaming requirements.

Getting Started With Azure TTS API

dev waiting for results from Azure Text To Speech API

Getting started with Azure Text to Speech is simple. You don't even need an Azure account. The text-to-speech service comes with a free seven-day trial. After that, a free Azure account is required to continue using the service at no cost. When you sign up, you'll receive an API key. Protect your API key! This key allows you to authenticate to Azure to obtain an access token that you use throughout your session, whether you're using one of the supported language SDKs or the REST API.

The Azure Text to Speech API enables you to make REST API calls to convert text to speech, while SDKs are available for various platforms and programming languages, such as .NET, Python, JavaScript, and more. By integrating the Azure Text to Speech API or SDKs into your applications, you can leverage the power of Microsoft Azure Text to Speech without the need for local installations. Sign in here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/ai-services/text-to-speech/

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Unreal Speech offers a revolutionary text-to-speech API that is not only highly affordable but also provides superior quality in the market. The platform is designed with scalability in mind, ensuring that businesses of all sizes can leverage this service without breaking the bank.

Engaging Audio Content with Natural-sounding AI Voices

Our natural-sounding AI voices are a game-changer when it comes to creating engaging audio content. These voices mimic human speech patterns and intonations, making the listening experience more pleasant and relatable for the end user.

Cost-effective Text-to-Speech Solutions

In terms of cost savings, Unreal Speech can help users reduce their text-to-speech expenses by up to 90%. This substantial reduction can have a significant impact on a business's bottom line, especially for those who heavily rely on text-to-speech services for their operations.

Low Latency and Personalization

One of the key advantages of Unreal Speech is its low latency API. This means that users can generate audio content quickly and efficiently, without having to wait for extended periods. The platform also offers the option for per-word timestamps, adding a layer of personalization and customization to the text-to-speech process.

Seamless Integration with Unreal Speech's Easy-to-Use API

With an easy-to-use API, integrating Unreal Speech into your products is a breeze. This accessibility allows businesses to give their products a voice effortlessly, paving the way for enhanced user experiences and engagement.

Affordable and Realistic Text-to-Speech Solution

If you are looking for an affordable, scalable, and realistic text-to-speech solution, Unreal Speech is the answer. Try our API for free today and experience the power of converting text into natural-sounding speech at an unbeatable price.