TTS voices: free alternative to Microsoft Anna?

Since my office upgraded to Office 2010, I haven’t been able to use my old TTS voices (Sam and Mary); the only one that’s supported now is Microsoft Anna, and I find it very subpar. I tried a one month trial of a 3rd party called ivona, and a speech package called “Kendra”, and it was the best I’ve ever heard – but it’s pretty expensive, and the trial is up.

Are there any good 3rd party speech programs out there that are free, or inexpensive at any rate?

Are your old TTS modules just gone, or are they present, but non-working? If the former, you might be able to get them back - this(now unsupported) application has links to downloads for TTS modules.

Appreciate that, but unfortunately it’s the latter. I’ve downloaded the older Microsoft speech engines (Mike, Mary and Sam) and they can’t be used with Windows XP or later, even with 3rd party TTS programs like Balabolka.

That’s weird - I’m sure I used them in XP (via Speakonia, in fact) - did they get disabled as part of a Windows Update or something?