TTS Readers audio makes ears bleed and neck cringe


I pulled up so old audio books I use to listen to and make on a old windows Xp/ 7 laptop, using Text to Speech software. I’m now on Windows 10 and the audio has a background frequency we can’t figure out using the same software. Even tried new paid latest version. You may have to listen for about 2 minutes, until you notice. My friend said it makes the muscles around his neck and throat contract. I get a headache an a pin like pain in my back. I’ve only uploaded sample for now, but can upload longer version.
We tried free Text to speech software and paid. None seem to get rid of the background sound. I’ve tried every form of books and text possible. I’ve even tried my own writing and we can still feel the slow squeeze.

So far, tried noise removal, reverb, clipping, etc and nothing seems to work. Checked all the Window 10 sound settings, full update (before Win 11) turned off all audio enhancements etc…Removed/Uninstalled any software like Skype which might interfere. I’ve heard some of the same SAPI 5 voices used in Youtube videos just fine without any distortion. So I know its possible.
I don’t need the audio perfect. This is for personal use. We Just want to be able to listen to some books once and while and not get sick… :slight_smile:

If you can’t fix, maybe someone can tell me whats wrong with it. We contacted the software company for paid version and they said nothing is wrong with the software…

Windows 10 Pro,
Audacity 3.1.3

I didn’t hear any tonal problems, but there are some oddities.

This is a spread-out spectrum (pitch) analysis of the clip

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 7.57.09 PM.png
Three haystacks on the right could bear investigation.

The one centered around 1200 might be “essing” and respond to the DeEsser tools.

Two far right-hand ones are at 2400 and 3800 Those are two “baby screaming on a jet” tones. They can cause comfort problems

The camel humps right at the end are very quiet and pretty high in pitch, so I don’t think they cause any problems.

You might try Effect > Filter Curve Eq and design your own tool, essentially the reverse of the two humps at 2400 and 3800. You should be careful with that, or you may make him muffled with a scarf over his mouth. But if the irritation goes away, that will give you a clue where to start looking.

I’m much more bothered by the odd metre and rhythm of the words. That’s the first indication to me that a machine is doing it. I’m listening for a country or regional dialect and I’m hearing “guess the emphasis and get it wrong.”


The sample you’ve posted sounds OK to me, (just the occasional digital chirp).

Check Windows audio playback enhancements are off …
[ as Windows could be adding a nauseating pseudo-stereo effect ].

There could also be a second layer of audio enhancements that need to be turned off.

Thanks for the help.

Update, update, update. My windows 10 went through about 3 updating cycles. Realtek audio downloaded and installed about 10 different things. Net frameworks, etc… The audio enhancements where on. Unchecked all boxes. Every time windows 10 went through a update cycle, I had to reset audio control panels enhancements unchecking boxes. I thought Windows 10 was automatically up to date. Even Youtube sounds better…