Samantha voice quality in iOS 9

iOS and iPadOS

Hi everyone,

I just installed iOS 9 on my iPad Air and I noticed that Samantha's voice in the enhanced quality is horrible. Has anyone experienced this or not? To me, Samantha sounds that she has a horrible cold and her voice sounds very harsh. This is just my personal opinion and does not represent the opinion of the other AppleVis community members. Do you agree or not?
All the best,



Submitted by Mary Ward on Sunday, September 20, 2015

Andre: I think that there were actually some enhancements to Samantha in the intonation, what linguists used to call prosody, things like pitch change and intonation. I don't know this, I'm just going on what I hear. But the price seems to be basic phonetics as well as a weird, staticky background noise, a sound like she has a cold, and some really weird pronunciation. If you don't believe me, hit a capital B. I don't know what she's saying, but it isn't English. Or any other sound that can be made by a human. I haven't figured out what exactly the problem is, but I think it almost always has to do with the beginnings of syllables. Anyway, I've had to go to a much slower speed. My poor old 16GB 5S is not up to the job of Alex, and he also annoys me, though for completely different reasons. Anyway, Samantha sounds like she's got a combination of a large goiter and mono. I just hope it isn't contagious!

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Sunday, September 20, 2015

Perhaps during the installation of iOS 9 the enhanced version of the voice was defaulted back to the original. Checking the settings may clear it up for you. You may need to download the enhanced version again.

I actually prefer the Samantha voice over all the others because it is the most clean option. I am dismayed that the Siri voices aren't of better quality now that we can use it outside of the Siri environment itself. It seems that when I'm using Siri to do what Siri does, the voice qualities are great. But, when using either the default or enhanced version outside that, for example simple navigation of the phone or while reading a Kindle book, the Siri voices sound like they are full of static and like the voices are being shaken. This is the case with male and female voice options. Perhaps this will be cleared up with further updates, as well. Samantha enhance version is it for me.

Anyway, check your settings to verify which voice is active.

Submitted by Terry M on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I have installed & reinstalled the enhanced Samantha voice. I get the same results each time. It is horrible! Samantha, to me, is the better voice… The default version. However, the pronunciation library is bad. If they could only combine The Siri pronunciation library with the default Samantha voice… Bliss. Note-as I am dictating in this comment field, something has happened to the Samantha voice.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hi, for you guys experiencing the problems with Samantha, I'm wondering if you have the speech at a very high speed? I'm told that some voices in iOS, for whatever reason sound better at slower speeds. So if you do in fact have it cranked up to very high, try lowering the speed of the voice, and see if you still get the same results. If you notice that it improves, you should quite definitely write to the Apple accessibility team with your findings. I'm not noticing this kind of behavior, but then again I'm using an iPhone 6 which is different than an iPad.

Submitted by Louise on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

STRANGELY enough, I have never found the enhanced voices good at all. I tried Alex and the enhanced Samantha on my iphone 4 s with both ios 7 and 8, and they always sounded distorted, staticky and just plain aweful. With ios 9, I haven't even bothered because I always find the compact Samantha clear and crisp.
I have always found this a bit wierd, but there you have it.

Submitted by Melissa on Friday, December 11, 2015

Yes. I have just recently updated to iOS9.2, and still, it sounds gargled or distorted. I immediately switched back to the default. I used to love the enhanced voice better than the default.

Submitted by Speaking Email on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I noticed this same thing in our own app Speaking Email, when I upgraded the phone from iOS8 to iOS9 the voice got more scratchy and staticky. I'm trying to figure out why and how to control it better...

Submitted by Taeshim on Sunday, February 14, 2016

I miss the ios 8 voice quality... Is there any way to get that quality again?

Submitted by tunmi13 on Sunday, February 14, 2016

From my perspective, I liked the Samantha Enhanced voice in iOS 8. But now, the Samantha Enhanced voice has a lot of quality bugs and other bugs too.
I don't think anyone mentioned this bug yet, but have any of you guys been experiencing Samantha fading out? Like for example, reading a book in iBOOKS:
Andrew stared out his window as... and then it just goes silent.
Siri Male Enhanced voice is even having the exact issue. It's frustrating.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hello again,
Have you also noticed that VoiceOver sounds pretty staticky when you are on a text field? Like how it sounds is pretty weird and not cool at all. iOS 8 version of Samantha Enhanced did not do this, so why is it doing it now? This is not a question that you should definitely answer ("so why is it doing it now)", it is just a thought.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Sunday, February 14, 2016

Why don't you report these problems to apple? Or at least contact them. I updated to iOS 9.2.1 as well. To me I think the Samantha voice, whether it's the default or enhance quality sound very good. I can understand what they are saying when I use both my iPhone 5S and iPod touch (5th generation).

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Sunday, February 14, 2016

Why don't you report these problems to apple? Or at least contact them. I updated to iOS 9.2.1 as well. To me I think the Samantha voice, whether it's the default or enhance quality sound very good. I can understand what they are saying when I use both my iPhone 5S and iPod touch (5th generation).

Submitted by Taeshim on Sunday, February 14, 2016

So, after reading other forum, I found out how to switch between voices and after switching to Samantha default, the voice quality is much better! I can understand what VO is saying now~ lol

Submitted by tunmi13 on Monday, February 15, 2016

I just wish the Samantha Default voice had a better vocabulary. Before iOS 8 came out, I remembered that in iOS 7, the word library was really really terrible. The Samantha Default voice pronounced 'purchases' the wrong way, and instead said 'purcases'.
I think it still says this in iOS 8/9.

Submitted by molly on Thursday, February 25, 2016

i'm just glad we have VoiceOver at all. my iPhone has changed my life in ways i could never even have imagined.

Submitted by Mary Ward on Friday, February 26, 2016

In reply to by Fatima.Hamoud10

I play 7 little words a lot. Still can't get over that Cap Bree in place of Cap B. They're playing around with the way that sounds in spoken language influence each other going both directions. But they obviously aren't doing it the way that flesh and blood humans do it. This seems even clearer with Alex. I just got an email on my Mac from Trader Joe's, pronounced Trader Jozhe, with a sound like the one in "treasure." at the end of the word instead of the s (technically z, but I'll let that one slide). Anyway, the algorithms are still not right, which is why so many of us well-seasoned blind people use the less human-like voices so we can move faster and not have to deal with these problems.

Submitted by Toonhead on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Like I mentioned earlier in this thread I'm wondering if you guys who are having all these weird issues have your voices set at a very high rate? I usually have Samantha or Alex at somewhere around 50 to 60 percent, and I've never even heard what some of you guys are talking about. I even experimented with changing the voices, and while Samantha compact makes her sound a bit different I'm not noticing any static or other fading out or other weird stuff like that. So, try llowering the rate of the speech and see if you don't notice a difference. I mean, try it temporarily and see if that does the trick. If it does, you should report it to Apple most certainly.