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Natural Reader is regarded as one of the best text-to-speech software available right now.
Primarily used as a reader, it is available as an online application, downloadable software and there is also a commercial version which can be used to generate audio for YouTube videos, public broadcast and for any other business and commercial purposes.
Since I use Speechelo to generate voice over tracks for YouTube videos, I decided to compare Natural Reader with my text-to-speech application of choice.
Just like I did with Notevibes, I want to compare how both applications handled speech synthesis and how they compared in other areas such as pricing and available features.
What Does Natural Reader Offer?
Natural Reader offers three products that primarily cater for people who want to make learning easier by using text-to-speech software to read documents on the go or in the case of disabilities.
They offer an online reader, a downloadable software version and a commercial application for business and public use.
To compare with Speechelo (pro version), the commercial application is what we’ll need to use since the other two products don’t allow marketers and YouTubers to use the mp3s publicly without a commercial license.
The commercial version works like most other text-to-speech generators online and comes with an editor, multiple languages and voices and allows you to download the tracks in mp3 format.
The voices are natural sounding and the application uses AI technology to synthesize speech that sounds very human with pauses, emphasis and accurate pronunciation.
Natural Reader has several advanced features that give them an edge over other text-to-speech software. OCR (Optical Character Reader) can read from scanned images and also Natural Reader lets you upload documents in different formats such as PDF, .txt, epub, ppt(x) and more.
Here’s a brief overview of what to expect from the commercial version of Natural Reader.
You can try Natural Reader for free for a limited 7 days where you’ll only be able to use 2 free voices and downloading is disabled.
Commercial plan subscriptions are expensive with a single plan starting at $49 per month billed annually which comes up to $588 per year. You can also choose to be billed monthly although the cost of this option doubles starting at $99 per month ($1188 if you stay all year).
There’s also a team option for up to 4 users which starts at $79 per month billed annually. Additional users will cost $10 per month. The team option also has a monthly billing price but this is also a more expensive alternative to being annually billed.
What Does Speechelo Offer?
Speechelo doesn’t have everything that is available in Natural Reader. This is because Speechelo wasn’t made for learning or as a reader for on the go training.
The application was made specifically for video marketers by video marketers and provides one solution – generating voice-overs from text for use in videos.
Speechelo provides the same service as Natural Reader’s commercial version although they work differently in some areas.
Speechelo has a lot to offer in terms of features needed to generate natural sounding voice-overs that you can use in your videos.
Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect.
For marketers who want to sell their voice-overs and use them on YouTube, you’ll need the pro upgrade as it has more voices, background music and the commercial license.
You can see my full review of Speechelo here. It’s my text-to-speech generator of choice and I recommend it if you’re just going to use it to generate voice overs and not for reading.
Speechelo vs Natural Reader Compared
Since you can use the pro version of Speechelo or the commercial version of Natural Reader to accomplish the same task, it’s nice to compare what they both offer so you can decide which one you’re going to use.
I’ve already decided on Speechelo but from the table below, you’ll see that Natural Reader has some features that make it a more attractive offer, except that it has one key issue.
While Natural Reader wins on number of voices and languages, it loses on pricing as it will cost subscribers $588 per year while Speechelo’s pro version costs $47 quarterly. Pricing is definitely the biggest deciding factor here if the other features don’t matter.
Compare both versions side by side below.
|# of Voices||60 (pro version)||173|
|Subscription||1 time fee / Quarterly (pro)||Annual / monthly|
|Pricing||$47 every 3 months||From $588/year|
|Free Trial||No||7 days|
|Allows Uploads (PDF etc)||No||Yes|
|Optical Character Reader (OCR)||No||Yes|
I mentioned not having a way to upload files as a con for Speechelo in my review of the software but it really isn’t a big deal.
Natural Reader has this feature as well as OCR but doesn’t have the bonus training on making money with AI generated voice-overs or the background music tracks that add a bit of energy and flair to your voice-overs.
Ease of Use
Speechelo is simple and straightforward enough to use with only three major steps.
- Copy & paste your text in the editor
- Choose 1 of the available voices
- Generate and download your audio
Each step lets you do other things in order to fine-tune your audio results such as adding punctuation to and choosing between the AI and standard voice.
You’ll also be asked to break up your text into smaller more manageable blocks so you don’t have to re-edit a long audio file if there is a mistake. Natural Reader will do this automatically when you paste your text.
Natural Reader lets you upload a file or paste the text into the editor and they also have an advanced pronunciation editor so you can work on words that may not be so obvious to a robot. For example, you can add ‘1900 – nineteen hundred’ so the output will be nineteen hundred and not ‘one thousand nine hundred’.
Both software are simple enough to use. While Speechelo beats Natural Reader in simplicity, the latter wins by having more features.
Voice Over Quality
Features don’t matter though, if the quality of the voices aren’t satisfactory. People want natural sounding to mean human-like where you can’t distinguish between a human reading your text from a more robotic sound.
So how does each software fare?
I found that both sound very human enough but Speechelo in my opinion sounds more natural. The non-AI voices in Speechelo don’t sound as natural as the AI generated ones though but you’ll have to use the additional editing controls to get them to sound great.
Natural Readers voices sound great but some of the voices can also sound noticeably robotic or monotonous. You may however be able to adjust using the advanced editors.
The important thing is that both Speechelo and Natural Reader offer a variety of voices in different languages so you should be able to play around and find what works well for your needs.
This is the biggest factor that separates the two applications.
Speechelo offers a simpler product with a more affordable price with a one time fee for the standard version and a quarterly fee for use of the commercial license in the pro version.
At under $100, you can start using Speechelo without having to invest too much at once. Billed annually, $588 is the starting point for Natural Reader’s pricing for their commercial offering. Although they do offer a monthly option, it is twice the amount you’ll pay if billed annually and you’ll end up paying over $1000 by the end of the first year.
Natural Reader does offer a 7 day trial for you to try out their text-to-speech editor so you can decide if it’s worth the investment before going all in.
They also offer a team license if you’re getting it for an agency or for multiple users so this is something else to consider. There is no team license in Speechelo.
Conclusion: Natural Reader or Speechelo?
I’ve already made up my mind that I’m using Speechelo and this is what I recommend.
However, Natural Reader does offer a solid product with great voices and features not available in their competitors product.
The main factor that you’ll have to look at is pricing where one costs at least $588 per year to use and the other one lets you start for only $47.