A Downloadable Speech Track… The Royer Track

By Pat Brown

SynAudCon provides an downloadable speech track called the Royer Track. It’s a popular recording by John Royer reading an excerpt from Sound System Engineering.

The Syn-Aud-Con Test CD for Sound Reinforcement Systems was created in 1995 for use in sound system work. It includes various noise tracks, speech tracks, tone bursts, etc. It is no longer in production, but we still have all of the original WAV files.

Technology has changed dramatically since 1995. Today many audio people use their notebook PC or a portable media player as a program source for system testing. Ipod™ and other players are cheap, widely available and superior to CD in many ways.

We thought that our members might appreciate having some of the popular content from the SAC CD for use with the media player of their choice. We will make some of them available for download in this and future Newsletters, along with some comments on their origin and purpose.

The Most Popular Track

By far the most popular track from the CD was a recording by John Royer (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and Indiana State Fairgrounds) reading an excerpt from Sound System Engineering by Don and Carolyn Davis. John is a trained talker and spent many years as a professional announcer for horse shows and other public events. In addition to using it myself, I have heard it numerous times at trade show demo booths. John has become a cult figure of sorts and is often greeted with “Hey, you’re the guy on the test CD!” It has affectionately become known as “The Royer Track.”

Download the Royer track.


Wave file of the Downloadable Speech Track


The track was recorded in the microphone test lab at Crown International in Elkhart, IN. John and I made the three hour drive from Indianapolis to Elkhart armed with a notebook computer and an outboard audio interface. After ten years I can’t recall the make or model of either. Crown engineer Bruce Bartlett helped with the setup and the recordings. The environment was semi-anechoic, with John sitting a foot or so from the microphone. After a couple of takes we had it. Some editing was done in Sound Forge to produce the finished track.

The excerpt from Sound System Engineering is a good audio history lesson in itself – a dissertation on the origins of volume indicators, feedback disc cutters, the volume unit and the decibel.

The stereo track is 3.5 minutes in length. The A/D conversion is CD quality at 44.1kHz/16bit. The left and right channels are identical, so only one channel is needed for mono playback. While not pristine by today’s standards, the noise floor is very low and there is very little reflected sound. John’s voice is superb for intelligibility testing. The Royer Track is just a really good speech track for testing sound systems, and represents the “best case” for a talker driving the system.

I have used the track countless times to troubleshoot systems, and it remains my favorite even today. I hope that you will find it as useful as I have. pb