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Microsoft Azure AI Speech Alternative

Unreal Speech is up to 2x cheaper, has more realistic voices, and a simpler API, making it the best Microsoft Azure AI Speech alternative.

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Text to speech API - Unreal Speech

Unreal Speech

Cost-effective, scalable Text-to-Speech API with realistic human-like AI voices.
Text to speech API - Microsoft Azure AI Speech

Microsoft Azure AI Speech

Enables your applications, tools, or devices to convert text into human-like synthesized speech.

Voice Quality

Mean Opinion Score
Mean Opinion Score
Mean Opinion Score (MOS) is a numerical measure that represents the perceived quality of audio samples, commonly used in evaluating text-to-speech systems. The score ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 indicating poor quality and 5 signifying excellent quality. These scores are derived from comprehensive, professionally-conducted evaluations, and are anonymized to ensure unbiased results.
  • Unreal Speech offers superior voice quality across various content types, with its fiction narrative scoring highest at 4.72.
  • In contrast, Microsoft Azure AI Speech shows lower mean opinion scores in all categories, indicating a more robotic voice quality.
  • This suggests Unreal Speech provides a more human-like listening experience.


Voice Cloning
Per-word Timestamps
Pitch Control
Speed Control
Phone Formats (e.g. pcm_mulaw)
Voice Cloning
Per-word Timestamps
Pitch Control
Speed Control
Phone Formats (e.g. pcm_mulaw)
  • Unreal Speech and Microsoft Azure AI Speech both offer essential text-to-speech features such as per-word timestamps, pitch control, speed control, and compatibility with phone formats.
  • Microsoft Azure AI Speech offers voice cloning and multi-lingual support, making it more versatile for applications requiring a wide range of voices and languages.

Pricing & Plans

250,000 characters
3M characters
Extra: $16 per 1M chars
42M characters
Extra: $12 per 1M chars
150M characters
Extra: $10 per 1M chars
625M characters
Extra: $8 per 1M chars
5 hours of audio (~225K chars)
Pay As You Go
1M characters
  • Unreal Speech offers a more cost-effective solution across its tiered plans compared to Microsoft Azure AI Speech with its Pay As You Go option.
  • At the high end, Unreal Speech's Enterprise plan provides 625M characters for $4999 per month, which translates to significantly more characters per dollar than Azure's Pay As You Go, which would cost $9375.
  • For large-scale deployments, Unreal Speech is around 2x cheaper than Microsoft Azure AI Speech, especially when considering the volume of characters offered at the top tier versus Azure's cost per million characters.


  • Unreal Speech offers higher voice quality across all types of content, but lacks voice cloning and multilingual support.
  • Microsoft Azure AI Speech, while offering voice cloning and multilingual capabilities, scores lower in voice quality assessments.
  • Unreal Speech provides more generous free character limits and scales up to larger packages for enterprise needs, offering better value for high-volume users.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How easy is it to switch from Microsoft Azure AI Speech to Unreal Speech?
  • Very easy, it only takes a few minutes. We give you 250,000 free characters per month, so you can start using our simple text-to-speech API right away.
What makes Unreal Speech stand out from Microsoft Azure AI Speech in terms of pricing?
  • Unreal Speech offers a more generous free tier with 250,000 characters per month, compared to Microsoft Azure AI Speech's 225,000 characters.
  • Moreover, Unreal Speech provides larger character limits in its paid plans, with its top-tier Enterprise plan offering 625M characters for $4999/mo, which is significantly higher than what's offered in Azure's scalable Pay As You Go model, thus catering to high-volume users more cost-effectively.
Which service offers better voice quality for fiction content?
  • Unreal Speech has a higher Mean Opinion Score (MOS) of 4.72 for fiction, indicating superior voice quality for fiction content compared to Microsoft Azure AI Speech, which has a MOS of 3.69 for the same category.
  • This suggests that Unreal Speech provides more realistic and appealing voice outputs for fiction applications.
How do the services compare in terms of support for phone formats?
  • Both services support phone formats, such as pcm_mulaw, indicating that they are well-equipped to integrate with telephony systems and provide voice services over phone lines.
  • This feature is essential for applications in IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems, customer support, and other telephony-based services.
Which service provides per-word timestamps, and why is this feature important?
  • Both Unreal Speech and Microsoft Azure AI Speech offer per-word timestamps, a critical feature for applications requiring precise synchronization between audio and text, such as closed captioning, karaoke applications, and detailed analytics for speech recognition accuracy.
  • This feature enhances the ability to match spoken words with their textual representation accurately.
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