In the old days (pre 2005?) you didn't have much choice.
If you wanted more than just a buzzer you had to use a sound chip, ChipCorder.
eg ISD2560 would give you a massive 60 seconds at 8khz
A bit of history here
With micros (AVR/Pics etc) now quite powerful you can synthesise speech without too much trouble.
If you need more than 8khz of fidelity, mp3 players were the only to go.
I had worked with mp3 players before by 'pushing' they buttons from a micro to get the desired result.
But this was clumsey.
I had heard of alternate firmware that would allow direct serial control of some players.
Unfortunately with the speed new hardware comes out I didn't fancy my chances there.
A bit of searching located this device.
SD Card MP3 Player Module RS232-TTL
For only us$10, perfect :)
Limited to 199 files only.
I did come across some more expensive ones as well.
So what can a $10 mp3 player do for you?
Loaded some clips onto a sd card and plugged it in.
It does what it says on the box. :)
One thing to bear in mind, there is a small delay, 250ms? haven't measured, between sending the the play command and the clip starting to play.
I am guessing this is the seek time for the sd card.
There is also a pause function.
So you could start then pause.
Restarting is instant.
But the volume seemed to be lower than when you allow the clip to play continuously.
This would be one area a ChipCorder might be useful, faster time to start.
But the convenience of using SD memory for storage far outweighs anything else.
For comparision a 45 second ChipCorder from Jaycar locally. nz$30
The IC markings have been scratched off so I don't know what's under the hood.
Only that it uses a ATMLH044 rom for it's firmware.
Will update once I have used it a bit more.
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