Audio is an essential part of our life, but creating it often requires expertise and is time-consuming. Research communities have made great progress over the past year advancing the performance of large scale audio generative models for a single modality (speech, sound, or music) through adopting more powerful generative models and scaling data. However, these models lack controllability in several aspects: speech generation models cannot synthesize novel styles based on text description and are limited on domain coverage such as outdoor environments; sound generation models only provide coarse-grained control based on descriptions like "a person speaking" and would only generate mumbling human voices. This paper presents Audiobox, a unified model based on flow-matching that is capable of generating various audio modalities. We design description-based and example-based prompting to enhance controllability and unify speech and sound generation paradigms. We allow transcript, vocal, and other audio styles to be controlled independently when generating speech. To improve model generalization with limited labels, we adapt a self-supervised infilling objective to pre-train on large quantities of unlabeled audio. Audiobox sets new benchmarks on speech and sound generation (0.745 similarity on Librispeech for zero-shot TTS; 0.77 FAD on AudioCaps for text-to-sound) and unlocks new methods for generating audio with novel vocal and acoustic styles. We further integrate Bespoke Solvers, which speeds up generation by over 25 times compared to the default ODE solver for flow-matching, without loss of performance on several tasks. Our demo is available at https://audiobox.metademolab.com/
Generative models have gained more and more attention in recent years for their remarkable success in tasks that required estimating and sampling data distribution to generate high-fidelity synthetic data. In speech, text-to-speech synthesis and neural vocoder are good examples where generative models have shined. While generative models have been applied to different applications in speech, there exists no general-purpose generative model that models speech directly. In this work, we take a step toward this direction by showing a single pre-trained generative model can be adapted to different downstream tasks with strong performance. Specifically, we pre-trained a generative model, named SpeechFlow, on 60k hours of untranscribed speech with Flow Matching and masked conditions. Experiment results show the pre-trained generative model can be fine-tuned with task-specific data to match or surpass existing expert models on speech enhancement, separation, and synthesis. Our work suggested a foundational model for generation tasks in speech can be built with generative pre-training.
Neural network pruning offers an effective method for compressing a multilingual automatic speech recognition (ASR) model with minimal performance loss. However, it entails several rounds of pruning and re-training needed to be run for each language. In this work, we propose the use of an adaptive masking approach in two scenarios for pruning a multilingual ASR model efficiently, each resulting in sparse monolingual models or a sparse multilingual model (named as Dynamic ASR Pathways). Our approach dynamically adapts the sub-network, avoiding premature decisions about a fixed sub-network structure. We show that our approach outperforms existing pruning methods when targeting sparse monolingual models. Further, we illustrate that Dynamic ASR Pathways jointly discovers and trains better sub-networks (pathways) of a single multilingual model by adapting from different sub-network initializations, thereby reducing the need for language-specific pruning.
Expanding the language coverage of speech technology has the potential to improve access to information for many more people. However, current speech technology is restricted to about one hundred languages which is a small fraction of the over 7,000 languages spoken around the world. The Massively Multilingual Speech (MMS) project increases the number of supported languages by 10-40x, depending on the task. The main ingredients are a new dataset based on readings of publicly available religious texts and effectively leveraging self-supervised learning. We built pre-trained wav2vec 2.0 models covering 1,406 languages, a single multilingual automatic speech recognition model for 1,107 languages, speech synthesis models for the same number of languages, as well as a language identification model for 4,017 languages. Experiments show that our multilingual speech recognition model more than halves the word error rate of Whisper on 54 languages of the FLEURS benchmark while being trained on a small fraction of the labeled data.
This paper introduces SpeeChain, an open-source Pytorch-based toolkit designed to develop the machine speech chain for large-scale use. This first release focuses on the TTS-to-ASR chain, a core component of the machine speech chain, that refers to the TTS data augmentation by unspoken text for ASR. To build an efficient pipeline for the large-scale TTS-to-ASR chain, we implement easy-to-use multi-GPU batch-level model inference, multi-dataloader batch generation, and on-the-fly data selection techniques. In this paper, we first explain the overall procedure of the TTS-to-ASR chain and the difficulties of each step. Then, we present a detailed ablation study on different types of unlabeled data, data filtering thresholds, batch composition, and real-synthetic data ratios. Our experimental results on train_clean_460 of LibriSpeech demonstrate that our TTS-to-ASR chain can significantly improve WER in a semi-supervised setting.
Most people who have tried to learn a foreign language would have experienced difficulties understanding or speaking with a native speaker's accent. For native speakers, understanding or speaking a new accent is likewise a difficult task. An accent conversion system that changes a speaker's accent but preserves that speaker's voice identity, such as timbre and pitch, has the potential for a range of applications, such as communication, language learning, and entertainment. Existing accent conversion models tend to change the speaker identity and accent at the same time. Here, we use adversarial learning to disentangle accent dependent features while retaining other acoustic characteristics. What sets our work apart from existing accent conversion models is the capability to convert an unseen speaker's utterance to multiple accents while preserving its original voice identity. Subjective evaluations show that our model generates audio that sound closer to the target accent and like the original speaker.
End-to-end multilingual ASR has become more appealing because of several reasons such as simplifying the training and deployment process and positive performance transfer from high-resource to low-resource languages. However, scaling up the number of languages, total hours, and number of unique tokens is not a trivial task. This paper explores large-scale multilingual ASR models on 70 languages. We inspect two architectures: (1) Shared embedding and output and (2) Multiple embedding and output model. In the shared model experiments, we show the importance of tokenization strategy across different languages. Later, we use our optimal tokenization strategy to train multiple embedding and output model to further improve our result. Our multilingual ASR achieves 13.9%-15.6% average WER relative improvement compared to monolingual models. We show that our multilingual ASR generalizes well on an unseen dataset and domain, achieving 9.5% and 7.5% WER on Multilingual Librispeech (MLS) with zero-shot and finetuning, respectively.
Neural network pruning can be effectively applied to compress automatic speech recognition (ASR) models. However, in multilingual ASR, performing language-agnostic pruning may lead to severe performance degradation on some languages because language-agnostic pruning masks may not fit all languages and discard important language-specific parameters. In this work, we present ASR pathways, a sparse multilingual ASR model that activates language-specific sub-networks ("pathways"), such that the parameters for each language are learned explicitly. With the overlapping sub-networks, the shared parameters can also enable knowledge transfer for lower resource languages via joint multilingual training. We propose a novel algorithm to learn ASR pathways, and evaluate the proposed method on 4 languages with a streaming RNN-T model. Our proposed ASR pathways outperform both dense models (-5.0% average WER) and a language-agnostically pruned model (-21.4% average WER), and provide better performance on low-resource languages compared to the monolingual sparse models.
This paper presents XLS-R, a large-scale model for cross-lingual speech representation learning based on wav2vec 2.0. We train models with up to 2B parameters on nearly half a million hours of publicly available speech audio in 128 languages, an order of magnitude more public data than the largest known prior work. Our evaluation covers a wide range of tasks, domains, data regimes and languages, both high and low-resource. On the CoVoST-2 speech translation benchmark, we improve the previous state of the art by an average of 7.4 BLEU over 21 translation directions into English. For speech recognition, XLS-R improves over the best known prior work on BABEL, MLS, CommonVoice as well as VoxPopuli, lowering error rates by 14-34% relative on average. XLS-R also sets a new state of the art on VoxLingua107 language identification. Moreover, we show that with sufficient model size, cross-lingual pretraining can outperform English-only pretraining when translating English speech into other languages, a setting which favors monolingual pretraining. We hope XLS-R can help to improve speech processing tasks for many more languages of the world.