Speech codec enhancement methods are designed to remove distortions added by speech codecs. While classical methods are very low in complexity and add zero delay, their effectiveness is rather limited. Compared to that, DNN-based methods deliver higher quality but they are typically high in complexity and/or require delay. The recently proposed Linear Adaptive Coding Enhancer (LACE) addresses this problem by combining DNNs with classical long-term/short-term postfiltering resulting in a causal low-complexity model. A short-coming of the LACE model is, however, that quality quickly saturates when the model size is scaled up. To mitigate this problem, we propose a novel adatpive temporal shaping module that adds high temporal resolution to the LACE model resulting in the Non-Linear Adaptive Coding Enhancer (NoLACE). We adapt NoLACE to enhance the Opus codec and show that NoLACE significantly outperforms both the Opus baseline and an enlarged LACE model at 6, 9 and 12 kb/s. We also show that LACE and NoLACE are well-behaved when used with an ASR system.
Classical speech coding uses low-complexity postfilters with zero lookahead to enhance the quality of coded speech, but their effectiveness is limited by their simplicity. Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) can be much more effective, but require high complexity and model size, or added delay. We propose a DNN model that generates classical filter kernels on a per-frame basis with a model of just 300~K parameters and 100~MFLOPS complexity, which is a practical complexity for desktop or mobile device CPUs. The lack of added delay allows it to be integrated into the Opus codec, and we demonstrate that it enables effective wideband encoding for bitrates down to 6 kb/s.
GAN vocoders are currently one of the state-of-the-art methods for building high-quality neural waveform generative models. However, most of their architectures require dozens of billion floating-point operations per second (GFLOPS) to generate speech waveforms in samplewise manner. This makes GAN vocoders still challenging to run on normal CPUs without accelerators or parallel computers. In this work, we propose a new architecture for GAN vocoders that mainly depends on recurrent and fully-connected networks to directly generate the time domain signal in framewise manner. This results in considerable reduction of the computational cost and enables very fast generation on both GPUs and low-complexity CPUs. Experimental results show that our Framewise WaveGAN vocoder achieves significantly higher quality than auto-regressive maximum-likelihood vocoders such as LPCNet at a very low complexity of 1.2 GFLOPS. This makes GAN vocoders more practical on edge and low-power devices.
Robustness to packet loss is one of the main ongoing challenges in real-time speech communication. Deep packet loss concealment (PLC) techniques have recently demonstrated improved quality compared to traditional PLC. Despite that, all PLC techniques hit fundamental limitations when too much acoustic information is lost. To reduce losses in the first place, data is commonly sent multiple times using various redundancy mechanisms. We propose a neural speech coder specifically optimized to transmit a large amount of overlapping redundancy at a very low bitrate, up to 50x redundancy using less than 32~kb/s. Results show that the proposed redundancy is more effective than the existing Opus codec redundancy, and that the two can be combined for even greater robustness.
Recently, GAN vocoders have seen rapid progress in speech synthesis, starting to outperform autoregressive models in perceptual quality with much higher generation speed. However, autoregressive vocoders are still the common choice for neural generation of speech signals coded at very low bit rates. In this paper, we present a GAN vocoder which is able to generate wideband speech waveforms from parameters coded at 1.6 kbit/s. The proposed model is a modified version of the StyleMelGAN vocoder that can run in frame-by-frame manner, making it suitable for streaming applications. The experimental results show that the proposed model significantly outperforms prior autoregressive vocoders like LPCNet for very low bit rate speech coding, with computational complexity of about 5 GMACs, providing a new state of the art in this domain. Moreover, this streamwise adversarial vocoder delivers quality competitive to advanced speech codecs such as EVS at 5.9 kbit/s on clean speech, which motivates further usage of feed-forward fully-convolutional models for low bit rate speech coding.
* Accepted to the 2021 IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal
Processing to Audio and Acoustics (WASPAA 2021)