Sunday, January 24, 2010 

Create a Custom Voice on the Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS

Garmin recently released Garmin Voice Studio, which allows you to record your own voice on your GPS. The problem is it is not compatible with my Nuvi 350. Fortunately, there is a free alternative, but unfortunately it is a lot more complicated and time consuming than Garmin's Voice Studio. Be warned, you will have to record about 110 sound clips. This took me over an hour. Also of note, this will only work with non-text to speech voices, so if you want to hear your own voice you will have to forgo hearing street names read to you. This guide assumes you are using a PC.

Plug your Nuvi 350 into your computer using a mini-usb cable. The drivers should be automatically installed. Once the drivers are successfully installed, your GPS will be mounted as a hard drive. Go to My Computer and open "Garmin nuvi." Navigate to {Drive}\Garmin\Voice folder. Copy the file, English_American_.vpm to any location on your computer. I suggest copying this file twice and keeping a second, unaltered copy somewhere safe.

Download the NonTTSVoiceEditor. Unzip the downloaded folder and open NonTTSVoiceEditor v1.40.exe. Select "Split the VPM file into WAV files and click next. Locate the VPM file you just downloaded to your computer. About 110 numbered wav files will be created in a subfolder of where the vpm file was stored.

Here's the tedious part. Download Audacity, an open source sound editor. One at a time, open each wav file in Audacity to determine what word or phrase corresponds to that file. Close the original file and record yourself repeating the word/phrase. Save the file to a new folder keeping the same file name. Some of these files will be non-voice sound effects, make sure you copy these files to the new folder as well.

When all sound clips are recorded. Fire up NonTTSVoiceEditor and select "Merege the WAV files into a VPM file." Decide whether you want to compress the audio files or not and then select the 000 numbered file of your recorded clips. A new vpm file will be created in the folder on your wav files. Rename this file English_American_.vpm and copy it to {Drive}\Garmin\Voice, replacing the original file.

To use this voice, on your Garmin unit, navigate to settings, locale and select the box next to the lips. Select American English not American English-Jack (TTS) or American English-Jill (TTS) and click OK.

That should be all.

Did this work for you? Please let me know in the comments if this guide helped you out!

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