Quiet (shhh!) Ukrainian audio
Okay, this is a recurrent complaint in free-write reports so let me clarify. There isn't unfortunately any decent Ukrainian TTS voice that could be used with the Duolingo platform. And the decision was to record a live voice. The audio for our course was not recorded in a professional studio and the equipment available would probably make an operatic tenor sound like Lil Wayne )).
As a result the files had a certain level of noise that did not meet the standards. Duolingo returned the files and then there was a noise reduction editing process (a regular laptop and free software). A clearer voice came out at the cost of volume.
What can I suggest? Use headphones rather than built-in device speakers. It sounds fine with the in-ear or full ear cushioned cups that enclose the ears. And maximum volume. One issue here is the app sounds (those happy little dings) that would sound way too loud and kill your ears. I believe you still can disable those in the settings.
We understand the inconveniences but at the moment that is the best thing we can do.
When the Ukrainian Tree 2.0 is built (I'm inclined to think it will happen) hopefully there will be more opportunities. Maybe you are an expert in voice synthesis? Maybe you have better recording equipment? Maybe you know someone who knows someone? Ukrainian Duolingo and thousands of learners will say a big ДЯКУЮ.
P.S. No offence y'all Lil Wayne fans ))
Thank you for explaining the faulty audio in this course. I can't thank you enough for working on Ukrainian and dedicating time to the course. The Ukrainian tree 2.0 will be amazing, I'm sure!
Probably, you have already done some research over TTS for Ukrainian... But just to check, have you looked through this resource https://goo.gl/ut6hmd ?
Not sure if any of them can be accepted by Duolingo standards, but:
UkrVox is not perfect but can be better than nothing. Also it is free.
VymovaPlus looks better. Demo with voice "Natalka" sound very promising! It is commercial, but we can try and contact company. Maybe they can contribute 1 Licence Key for Duolingo :) There is even section "Спонсорська допомога" for Ukrainian version of company page: http://cybermova.com/products/tts-windows.htm
Natalka Ukrainian TTS is new (it was previosly only available to Mobile phone carriers in Ukraine) and was released only in 2015 (http://cybermova.com/products/tts-windows.htm )
ps. Also, did you consider Google Ukrainian TTS? Its has amazing quality and is available freely at https://translate.google.com/ . There's also a way of modifying the URL of Google Translate translation request that produces an mp3 file made with their Ukrainian TTS.
Normal is by far way better than slow. I would say that so far, in 2016, Google's Ukrainian TTS is the best Ukrainian TTS on the market (and I've tried all semi-viable options except for CM's Natalka Ukrainian TTS)
Thanks for the post. Glad to know people are still working on the Ukrainian course. I began to think that it had been completely abandoned.
IMO the live audio is great (where it exists), and is overall better than the TTS model. The main problem however is simply that of dynamics: in most places it's too quiet (as you alluded to in your title), and impossible to hear on a mobile device in a noisy area. This is not a problem with the audio quality: I tried taking one of these quiet audios and increase the volume, and it sounded just fine. I think someone just needs to go over the quiet files and increase the volume, and re-upload them. A lot of your audio (presumably recorded with the same equipment) does not have this problem. Your recording equipment is good enough for new audio as well.
Thanks for infomation :) Actually for me existing audio files work well (I use headphones, but with normal volume), but there are some sentences that are without audio and it's one of more annoying things here. The other one is that Ukrainian hasn't got a/an/the and English has them, so I think that you should add both a/an and the version and maybe version without any of them, because they're confusing. The same with this/that and these/those, both are translated as "це" and usually only this/these version works. BTW, I'm so happy that you're finally back and you can make this course better and better, because Ukrainian language is amazing and I want to be able to speak it fluently one day :) I'm an absolute beginner (don't look at my level, I'm not really comunicative) and I want to be better and better :) Do you know any tips for learning Ukrainian or good free materials online?