ISiS Databases

ISiS singing voices are distributed via the ISiS page of the IRCAM Forum. Each voice comes as an independent dmg/tar containing all sound parameters of a single voice. Additionally, each voice arcive contains a small application that can be used to configure a voice as ISiS default voice.

Currently there are three voices available (downloads are for Forum members only):

  1. RT: a tenor male pop singer: (MacOS, Linux), and
  2. MS: a female mezzo-soprano pop singer (MacOS, Linux), and
  3. EL: a female soprano lyrical singer (MacOS, Linux).

Install a new ISiS singing voice

For the ISiS program to be able to find the singing databases all the singing voices have to be gathered in a common root directory, which we will call ISIS_CORPORA. In the following we will assume you want to use the directory /Data/ISiS_DB to collect your ISiS voices, but you are free to choose any other place that better fits your needs. To prepare the installation of the voices you should create the ISIS_CORPORA directory. You can do this either from the terminal using the command mkdir, or from your GUI (Finder on MacOS and for example KDE/Dolphin or Gnome/Nautilus on Linux. While this directory can be located anywhere, the voices require in the order of 1GB per singing voice, so please be sure that the disk that you select when creating the directory has at least 3GB of space available.

To proceed with the installation of the singing voices please download the different voices and unpack them into the ISIS_CORPORA directory. The voice database archives are compatible with Linux and Mac OS. You simply save the archive into the ISIS_CORPORA directory and unpack the tar.bz2 file you just downloaded. On MacOS you can simply double-click the file in the Finder. Under Linux the operation to be performed depends on the file manager you use, in some environments you can double-clicking the archive to open it in a dedicated application that you may then use to extract the content to the target directory, other filemanagers may allow right-clicking and selecting something like unpack here.

Finally, on MacOS and Linux you can also use the terminal to unpack the voices. For brevity we will not cover this process in detail here.

The name of the folder you create will depend on the software you use for unpacking. For ease of use it is strongly recommended to rename the unpacked voice folder using a short ideally two character long name. In the following we will assume you use the names RT, EL and MS.

Configuring ISiS voices environment

The ISiS software uses two environment variables to find its voices. These two variables can be defined manually or using an automatic script that needs to be executed in the targeted shell environment.
We will first describe the automatic configuration and in the subsequent paragraph the automatic configuration.

Automatic voice configuration

The automatic voice configuration currently supports only bash (the current default shell under MacOS) and tcsh shells. In case you use other shells please see the manual configuration instructions below and adapt those to the shell you use. Due to very restrictive security policies of Mac OS X the following instructions differ slightly for MacOS and Linux.

Under Mac OS please first double-click the folder containing the data of the specific voice you would like to use as default voice to open it in the Finder and then open a terminal window. Then back in the window containing the ISiS_Vx.y.z folder locate the file and drag it onto the terminal window. This will paste the complete path to the script into the terminal command line Once you have copied the path to the terminal please click on the terminal window and then simply hit <return>.

Under Linux please first double-click the folder containing the voice data to open it in your file and directory browser. You can then simply double-click the script which will execute the script.

The script will place an ISIS voice config file under your HOME directory. For MacOSX the exact location of the file is

~/Library/Application\ Support/Ircam/ISiS_init_voice_rc.cfg

for Linux it is located under


In the following you find the output that is generated for user vox installing the RT voice in the /Data/ISiS_DB directory as the default voice. The two lines are confirming u that you are using the /Data/ISiS_DB directory as voice root and the /Data/ISiS_DB/RT voice as your default voice.

medcomp: (~) 5001> /Data/ISiS_DB/
ISiS configuration updated to use </Data/ISiS_DB> as root dir of ISiS voices
and </Data/ISiS_DB/RT> as default voice.

Manual voice configuration

You can manually create or change the file that contains the ISiS voice specifications.

For MacOSX the exact location of the file is

~/Library/Application\ Support/Ircam/ISiS_init_voice_rc.cfg

for Linux it is located under


You can edit this file with arbirtrary text editors but need to save it in text mode. Assuming that you placed your CORPORA under the /Data/ISiS_DB directory and want to use the voice RT as your default voice then you would need to create the file with the following content

# root directory of ISiS voices
# default voice sub directory

Setting voice defaults via environment variables

YOu can temporarily overwrite the singing voice defaults using two environment variables: the variable ISIS_CORPORA defines the root directory containing all ISiS voices and the variable ISIS_VOICE defines either the full path or the sub directory under ISIS_CORPORA that contains the default voice.

If we assume as before that your voice root directory is /Data/ISiS_DB and the voice directory containing the voice you want to use as default is /Data/ISiS_DB/RT, and in case your shell is bash then you can execute the following lines in our terminal to switch the voice configuration without changing the config file.

export ISIS_CORPORA='/Data/ISiS_DB'
export ISIS_VOICE='RT'

You can set only the ISIS_VOICE variable if you want to change the default voice without changing the voice root only. These changes will are in effect for all subsequent runs of isis you perform in the terminal where you issued these settings. To reset the change use


If you don’t use bash please look into the documentation of your shell to find how you can set envrionment variables.