85% of Men Prefer Listening to a Female Voice

January 23, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Posted in RealSpeak, text to speech, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Computerized Voice PrefencesI had a gut feeling, based on my own preferences that men prefer listening to female voices. I also assumed the opposite was true – women would prefer listening to male voices. Wrong!

To test these assumptions, I dug up some of my recent sales data for computerized voices. When you purchase Text2Go you can also choose to purchase one or more high quality RealSpeak voices. I looked at all purchases that included a single voice. I disregarded any purchase that included both male and female voices and any subsequent voice purchases. I also disregarded all sales of the Indian English female voice Sangeeta as there is no corresponding male Indian English voice.

It’s clear that men have a strong preference for the female voice and it’s what I expected. What is surprising is that women also prefer the female voice, albeit to a much lesser extent. In fact the statistics show woman don’t have a strong preference one way or the other. My wife certainly prefers the male computerized voices, so I’d expected this to be the case for the general population.

Not wanting to let hard data get in the way of assumptions and gut feelings, here are a couple of reasons that may explain the unexpected results for the women.

1. There are characteristics of the female voice that make it easier to produce a more natural sounding computerized voice.

2. We currently sell 7 female voices but only 3 male voices. This extra choice may give some bias to female voices. It may also be an indication that the developers of computerized voices have recognised the popularity of the female voice. Note that the US, UK and Australian accents have both male and female voices.

What’s your preference? Have a listen to the computerized voices on the Text2Go website and let me know.

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5 Comments

  1. Count me in your stat. I purchased NaturalReader (sorry) and also purchased the female voice, also in my CAR GPS I used the female voice.

    In the car I find the default TX2 Speech female easier to understand.

    Yet at home I use it for proof reading and I use the default MALE (not the female I purchased) but I slow it down to -1, and I find that REALLY helps

    • An intelligent point of view, well eexprsesd! Thanks!

  2. The reason for the preference for female voices in high noise environments (e.g. cars) is due to the fact that higher frequency sounds tend to be less distorted and overwhelmed by environmental interference – e.g. road and engine noise.

    Male voices, being lower pitched, have to compete more with engines and tires and other noises.

    In quiet environments, lower pitched sounds are less stressful to the human ear to listen to, so alto female and male voices are preferred then.

    • Intelligence and simplitciy – easy to understand how you think.

  3. Eric,

    Your reasoning on why female voices are preferable for high noise environments makes sense. It’s also backed up by Joseph’s experience.

    Thanks.


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