Garmin Languages / Voices

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stratman2
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Garmin Languages / Voices

Postby stratman2 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:41 pm

Greetings all,

I'd like to review three prominent custom Garmin voice vendors on the Internet. I got bored with the standard English_American and English_British voices in my Nuvi 310 and decided to experiment with their products. There are several online vendors and one or two cater for the Navman GPS brand or Tom Tom.

Note that the voices provided are done by talented impression artists, not the real celebrities. These are commercial vendors and not free sites.

1. Nav-Voices (http://www.nav-voices.co.uk)

Custom voices purchased:

- KITT Car (from the 80s Knight Rider TV series) voice
- Yoda voice
- Arnold Schwarzenegger voice
- Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoon voice

The VPM files are downloaded in ZIP format and easily transferable to your Nuvi. Samples are recorded in low resolution WAV format. Lacks bass/treble, but sound quality is quite OK. Voices are loud, penetrating and you easily hear voice prompts with your car's ICE blasting at medium levels.

Voice overs are hilarious, with appropriate remarks announced when I reach a via points and destinations. The Sponge Bob will say "Hey, Squidward! We're going the wrong way!" when I detour from the prescribed route.

Yoda would praise "Make it to you destination you have, you must be a Jedi!" while KITT will announce "We've made it in one piece, Michael. May I suggest that I drive next time?". The Arnie voice comments "Hey, not bad. We've made it. Now let's go pump some iron, NOW!" :thumbsup:

Price: 4.99GBP each. Accepts major credit cards and PayPal.

Voices default to English_British, therefore you'll have to temporarily remove your standard English_British in order to use the custom voices. Voices work with any Garmin Nuvi model.

Issues:
- Some prompts will not announce, e.g. "External power loss" but "Poor Satellite Reception" is prompted. Maybe the problem lies with the Nuvi 310.
- Voice sampling quality could have been better. A bit much on the midrange frequency bands.



2. Politically Incorrect GPS (http://www.pigtones.com)

Custom voices purchased:

- Arnie GPS voice
- Habib (Indian NY Taxi driver) GPS voice

The Arnie voice is more accurately rendered than Nav-Voices UK, with really funny comments. For example, when my Nuvi is recalculating, he would go "Recalculating. Because I have more processors than you! Listen punk, if it wouldn't be for me you'd be lost. Thank goodness for GPS. Otherwise, see that pasture? You'd be there!"

The Habib voice is also a blast, and never fails to make my passengers laugh. Thick North Indian accent but perfectly understandable. On recalculating mode, he would say "You never listen to me! OK, OK, I'll recalculate!" :mrgreen:

Price: USD12.97 each. Accepts major credit cards, no PayPal.

Default language is English_American, so your existing English_American.vpm will have to make way for Pigtones voices.

Issues:
- Large file size due to higher rate of sampling (typically 3.6MB), which means high quality sound sample
- Installation is not straightforward. You need to download the free installer and then download their VUP custom voice. The VUP will not work on your Nuvi unless transferred via their installer. Then only the VUP file will be decoded to the Garmin VPM standard.
- Initial problems with the shopping cart system, resulting in network time-outs. (Already resolved).
- If you have a poor Internet connection, the VUP file may not download completely, resulting in a non-working voice file. I have sent a feedback to Pigtones' customer service and they responded quickly (within 24 hours) and apologized for the download problems. The customer service rep was kind enough to email me the VUP file in zipped format.


3. Celebrity Voices UK (http://www.celebrityvoices.co.uk/garmin_voices.htm)

Custom Voice purchased:

- Doc Brown (Back to the Future) voice (does not work)

I wanted to try out the Doc Brown custom voice, but the website says that the 3xx and 6xx series will not work. I contacted the vendor twice in a week, with no response.

I only wanted to know why other models, e.g. 2xx and 7xx models are supported. Was it a TTS issue? (My Nuvi 310 is non-TTS). I even emailed Garmin to seek their views on the voice file differences (not talking about TTS/non-TTS here as I know the difference). Garmin did not respond either.

Fed up with waiting, I proceeded with the purchase. The voice file was packaged as a zipped VPM format, but it is actually encrypted. This was not mentioned in Celebrity Voice's website. You have to email them with your GPSr unit ID and somehow they will send instructions to unlock the voice file.

Issues:
- Products will not work on Nuvi 3xx and 6xx models, Streetpilot and Zumo.
- Non-existent technical support, very unhelpful customer service. Appears that the site is run by the site owner himself, who also happens to be the voice-over artist. Requested for a refund but he maintains that since I had downloaded the product he would not entertain refunds. Lost 4.99 Pounds in this transaction. :$gone: :cry:
Seller was most uncooperative and rude. Will not buy from him again. :fire: :fire: :fire:
- Voice file is locked (something that I was not aware of) and the process may be cumbersome.
- If you own more than one Garmin GPSr, you can only use the custom voice on one unit (unlike Pigtones and Nav-Voices UK).


Hope this review provides some insight for anyone contemplating to purchase celebrity custom voices. They will be a hoot with your passengers, especially kids. :mrgreen:

Kindly PM me if you need further clarification.

:rox:
cheers,

Stratman II

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tlchuan
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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby tlchuan » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:12 am

I thing not all vpm files can be play at nuvi, even the latest Dr.Nightmare from Garmin can't even play at my nuvi, ](*,)
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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby edchuang (retired) » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:47 am

Any sweet lady voice available? :mrgreen:

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stratman2
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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby stratman2 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:27 pm

tlchuan wrote:I thing not all vpm files can be play at nuvi, even the latest Dr.Nightmare from Garmin can't even play at my nuvi, ](*,)



Yeah, I only figured this out when I read the discussion regarding the free "Dr Nightmare" voice file from Garmin. I now suspect the difference has something to do with the user interface. The 3xx and 6xx series share the same UI while the 2xx and 7xx have a different graphical UI. The issue has nothing to do with TTS capabilities.

Looks like Garmin is sidelining their hundreds of thousands of 3xx and 6xx users. As it is both series are discontinued from the market. :(
cheers,

Stratman II

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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby richmondn » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:52 pm

" interesting sounds" :thumbsup:
Warmest Regards

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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby dvpro » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:33 pm

edchuang wrote:Any sweet lady voice available? :mrgreen:

Got one sexy girl's voice, she always say "Oooo.... keep going..."
I take everything in moderation, including moderation.

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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby edchuang (retired) » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:35 pm

dvpro wrote:
edchuang wrote:Any sweet lady voice available? :mrgreen:

Got one sexy girl's voice, she always say "Oooo.... keep going..."

Yes!!! =D> Thanks. Will try it out.

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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby dvpro » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:41 pm

You're welcome.

p/s Don't use that voice when your better half is around. :mrgreen:
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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby Carz » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:53 am

dvpro wrote:
edchuang wrote:Any sweet lady voice available? :mrgreen:

Got one sexy girl's voice, she always say "Oooo.... keep going..."


Bro, :tq: for sharing.

Anymore more customised voices? :mrgreen:

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Re: Garmin Custom Voices

Postby edchuang (retired) » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:47 am

dvpro wrote:You're welcome.

p/s Don't use that voice when your better half is around. :mrgreen:

Thanks for advice.... :evil: I think the risk is still high if forget to put back to original voice. :lol:


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