Currah was a British computer peripheral manufacturer, famous mainly for the speech synthesis cartridges it designed for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and other 8-bit home computers of the 1980s.


Currah μSource for the ZX Spectrum

Currah μSource from Quadhouse. In a self-contained ROM cartridge it has a full-function-two-pass macro assembler, Forth and a debugger, all of which can interact with Basic. It is also compatible with Interface 1.

Currah Microspeech for the ZX Spectrum

The Currah Microspeech (or μSpeech) unit plugged into the expansion port on the back of the ZX Spectrum. Additional leads were provided to feed the sound and UHF signal from the computer into the unit. The TV aerial lead plugged into the unit and speech sounds were added into the UHF signal generated by computer.

By default, the unit "spoke" every key-press the user made, even the direction keys which came out as "CURSOR". This could be controlled by a reserved variable KEYS. Typing


would turn this feature off.

Programming speech

Specific words and phrases could be spoken by assigning a value to the reserved string variable S$. This was interpreted letter-by-letter unless brackets were used to denote other allophones. A simple example would be "(dth)is", (dth) representing the voiced dental fricative /ð/. Sixty-three allophones were provided. Rudimentary pitch modulation could be achieved by altering the case of the letters—upper case letters being pronounced at a slightly higher pitch.

A more complex example:

10 LET a$=" (oo)K (AA)"
20 LET b$="w(ii)z (ggg) (ii),"
30 LET c$=" (dth)is iz it"
40 LET S$=a$+b$+c$

Technical details

The unit contained a ULA which worked on a WRITE command from the microprocessor, a ROM containing the keyword speech patterns, and an SP0256-AL2 speech processor. It also contained a clock for clear speech and an audio modulator to transfer the sound to the TV lead. A small adjustment screw was provided, to allow fine tuning of the audio output.

The unit allocated itself the top 256 bytes of memory at switch-on and moved down the USR graphics and RAMTOP. This made it incompatible with some programs, particularly games, which use that space for machine code.

For cost reasons, the unit did not provide for daisy-chaining of further devices on the computer's expansion port. Sadly, most joystick interface manufacturers took the same approach, meaning that you could not have a joystick and the MicroSpeech unit plugged in at the same time.

Some game software will not run while this unit is attached to a Spectrum, notably the RoboCop arcade game port.

Booty (Firebird Software Ltd) actually detected the presence of a MicroSpeech unit and presented the user with a completely different game Alternate Game to that which would be played if the MicroSpeech unit was not present Normal Game.


Currah was acquired by dk'tronics in 1985.[1] dk'tronics continued to manufacture the MicroSpeech unit, and many of their software titles (such as Maziacs and Zig Zag) supported it.

External links


  1. ^ "Minding his own business" from Your Spectrum issue 13, April 1985

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Currah — Currah  британский производитель периферийных устройств для компьютеров, специализировавшийся в основном на устройствах синтеза речи. Выпускал подобные устройства для 8 разрядных бытовых компьютеров ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, и некоторых… …   Википедия

  • Currah — Currah, Ort am Ganges in der britisch vorderindischen Provinz Allahabad u. nordwestlich von dieser Stadt; hat Befestigungen u. in der Umgegend viele verfallene muhammedanische Gräber u. andere Erinnerungen an die Muhammedaner …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Currah Microspeech — …   Википедия

  • DK'Tronics — Infobox Defunct Company company name = dk tronics company fate = Unknown; did not publish software after 1985 successor = foundation = 1981 defunct = 1985 location = Hardware production: Great Yarmouth Administration: Saffron Walden industry =… …   Wikipedia

  • dK'Tronics — Industry Video games and computer peripherals Fate Dissolved Founded 1981 Defunct 24 May 1993 …   Wikipedia

  • Margaretbarromyces — Temporal range: Eocene …   Wikipedia

  • Gipps County — Map of all coordinates from Google Map of all coordinates from Bing Export all coordinates as KML …   Wikipedia

  • Onion — Onions redirects here. For the name and those bearing it, see Onions (surname). This article is about the plants. For other uses, see Onion (disambiguation). Onion Onions Scientific classification …   Wikipedia

  • Legal aspects of transsexualism — Transsexual people are those who establish a permanent identity with the gender opposite to that which they were assigned at birth. As most legal jurisdictions have at least some recognition of the two traditional genders at the exclusion of… …   Wikipedia

  • List of mayors of St. Thomas, Ontario — This is a list of reeves and mayors of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. St. Thomas was incorporated as a village in 1852, as a town in 1861, and as a city in 1881. Contents 1 Village reeves 2 Town reeve 3 Town …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”