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  • Mal McCallion

You, but on a weird day: Does voice cloning work?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

I tried cutting-edge unicorn ElevenLabs' voice synthesiser, so you don't have to (yet).

ElevenLabs' new voice generator is here, wrapped up in a lot of hype - but how good is it really?

I wanted to see if it could be of help to estate agent clients, creating compelling audios of property particulars and/or blogs in their own voices - thereby helping their customers access their service quality in new ways.

(Rather more introspectively, I also wanted to see if it could be a solution to the problem of spending hours in a studio recording an audio version of my book.)

Here's what happened:

First, I signed-up for ElevenLabs' $22 per month 'Creator' platform, the cheapest where you can get your own voice synthesised. Then I loaded up snippets (each has to be below 10Mb) from the 400 daily business Growth Execution Tips, 60 weekly podcasts, occasional lockdown webinar series, and other vocal 'performances' that I've created over the years. You can put up to 25 in, though it does say that anything after about 5 mins in total doesn't markedly improve the output quality.

Finally, I copied and pasted in a blog that I did a few days ago on this very topic. I had never said these words out loud, so wanted to hear whether my synthesised voice sounded anything like I do when reading articles like this.

Here's the result. What do you think?

For me, there is one major upside - this is brand new content, in a voice that's like mine. Provided that it was clear that it's not actually me - no one wants fakes of themselves being used for any purpose, I'd suggest - there is benefit in using a not-unfamiliar voice to create audios of written text, for listening to in the car, at the gym, etc.

The major downside? It's not very authentic, at least not yet. It's better than the previous version that ElevenLabs produced, which is very 'tinny' - but is still not genuine enough for longer-form articulation of over thirty seconds or so.

That said, I do still think that having property particulars or quick summaries of locales, read in a broadly familiar local dialect, can be a good addition to an agent's product set for vendors and applicants.

And, if you have a very special property that appeals to a certain demographic, perhaps you might choose to translate the voice seamlessly into Mandarin ...

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