With the development of audio playback devices and fast data transmission, the demand for high sound quality is rising, for both entertainment and communications. In this quest for better sound quality, challenges emerge from distortions and interferences originating at the recording side or caused by an imperfect transmission pipeline. To address this problem, audio restoration methods aim to recover clean sound signals from the corrupted input data. We present here audio restoration algorithms based on diffusion models, with a focus on speech enhancement and music restoration tasks. Traditional approaches, often grounded in handcrafted rules and statistical heuristics, have shaped our understanding of audio signals. In the past decades, there has been a notable shift towards data-driven methods that exploit the modeling capabilities of deep neural networks (DNNs). Deep generative models, and among them diffusion models, have emerged as powerful techniques for learning complex data distributions. However, relying solely on DNN-based learning approaches carries the risk of reducing interpretability, particularly when employing end-to-end models. Nonetheless, data-driven approaches allow more flexibility in comparison to statistical model-based frameworks whose performance depends on distributional and statistical assumptions that can be difficult to guarantee. Here, we aim to show that diffusion models can combine the best of both worlds and offer the opportunity to design audio restoration algorithms with a good degree of interpretability and a remarkable performance in terms of sound quality.
* Full paper invited to the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Special
Issue "Model-based and Data-Driven Audio Signal Processing"
Diffusion models have shown promising results in speech enhancement, using a task-adapted diffusion process for the conditional generation of clean speech given a noisy mixture. However, at test time, the neural network used for score estimation is called multiple times to solve the iterative reverse process. This results in a slow inference process and causes discretization errors that accumulate over the sampling trajectory. In this paper, we address these limitations through a two-stage training approach. In the first stage, we train the diffusion model the usual way using the generative denoising score matching loss. In the second stage, we compute the enhanced signal by solving the reverse process and compare the resulting estimate to the clean speech target using a predictive loss. We show that using this second training stage enables achieving the same performance as the baseline model using only 5 function evaluations instead of 60 function evaluations. While the performance of usual generative diffusion algorithms drops dramatically when lowering the number of function evaluations (NFEs) to obtain single-step diffusion, we show that our proposed method keeps a steady performance and therefore largely outperforms the diffusion baseline in this setting and also generalizes better than its predictive counterpart.
In this paper we present a method for single-channel wind noise reduction using our previously proposed diffusion-based stochastic regeneration model combining predictive and generative modelling. We introduce a non-additive speech in noise model to account for the non-linear deformation of the membrane caused by the wind flow and possible clipping. We show that our stochastic regeneration model outperforms other neural-network-based wind noise reduction methods as well as purely predictive and generative models, on a dataset using simulated and real-recorded wind noise. We further show that the proposed method generalizes well by testing on an unseen dataset with real-recorded wind noise. Audio samples, data generation scripts and code for the proposed methods can be found online (https://uhh.de/inf-sp-storm-wind).
* Submitted to VDE 15th ITG conference on Speech Communication
We present in this paper an informed single-channel dereverberation method based on conditional generation with diffusion models. With knowledge of the room impulse response, the anechoic utterance is generated via reverse diffusion using a measurement consistency criterion coupled with a neural network that represents the clean speech prior. The proposed approach is largely more robust to measurement noise compared to a state-of-the-art informed single-channel dereverberation method, especially for non-stationary noise. Furthermore, we compare to other blind dereverberation methods using diffusion models and show superiority of the proposed approach for large reverberation times. We motivate the presented algorithm by introducing an extension for blind dereverberation allowing joint estimation of the room impulse response and anechoic speech. Audio samples and code can be found online (https://uhh.de/inf-sp-derev-dps).
Since its inception, the field of deep speech enhancement has been dominated by predictive (discriminative) approaches, such as spectral mapping or masking. Recently, however, novel generative approaches have been applied to speech enhancement, attaining good denoising performance with high subjective quality scores. At the same time, advances in deep learning also allowed for the creation of neural network-based metrics, which have desirable traits such as being able to work without a reference (non-intrusively). Since generatively enhanced speech tends to exhibit radically different residual distortions, its evaluation using instrumental speech metrics may behave differently compared to predictively enhanced speech. In this paper, we evaluate the performance of the same speech enhancement backbone trained under predictive and generative paradigms on a variety of metrics and show that intrusive and non-intrusive measures correlate differently for each paradigm. This analysis motivates the search for metrics that can together paint a complete and unbiased picture of speech enhancement performance, irrespective of the model's training process.
* Submitted to ITG Conference on Speech Communication
In this paper, we present a causal speech signal improvement system that is designed to handle different types of distortions. The method is based on a generative diffusion model which has been shown to work well in scenarios with missing data and non-linear corruptions. To guarantee causal processing, we modify the network architecture of our previous work and replace global normalization with causal adaptive gain control. We generate diverse training data containing a broad range of distortions. This work was performed in the context of an "ICASSP Signal Processing Grand Challenge" and submitted to the non-real-time track of the "Speech Signal Improvement Challenge 2023", where it was ranked fifth.
In this paper, we present a scheme for extending deep neural network-based multiplicative maskers to deep subband filters for speech restoration in the time-frequency domain. The resulting method can be generically applied to any deep neural network providing masks in the time-frequency domain, while requiring only few more trainable parameters and a computational overhead that is negligible for state-of-the-art neural networks. We demonstrate that the resulting deep subband filtering scheme outperforms multiplicative masking for dereverberation, while leaving the denoising performance virtually the same. We argue that this is because deep subband filtering in the time-frequency domain fits the subband approximation often assumed in the dereverberation literature, whereas multiplicative masking corresponds to the narrowband approximation generally employed in denoising.
Diffusion models have shown a great ability at bridging the performance gap between predictive and generative approaches for speech enhancement. We have shown that they may even outperform their predictive counterparts for non-additive corruption types or when they are evaluated on mismatched conditions. However, diffusion models suffer from a high computational burden, mainly as they require to run a neural network for each reverse diffusion step, whereas predictive approaches only require one pass. As diffusion models are generative approaches they may also produce vocalizing and breathing artifacts in adverse conditions. In comparison, in such difficult scenarios, predictive models typically do not produce such artifacts but tend to distort the target speech instead, thereby degrading the speech quality. In this work, we present a stochastic regeneration approach where an estimate given by a predictive model is provided as a guide for further diffusion. We show that the proposed approach uses the predictive model to remove the vocalizing and breathing artifacts while producing very high quality samples thanks to the diffusion model, even in adverse conditions. We further show that this approach enables to use lighter sampling schemes with fewer diffusion steps without sacrificing quality, thus lifting the computational burden by an order of magnitude. Source code and audio examples are available online (https://uhh.de/inf-sp-storm).
* This work has been submitted to the IEEE for publication. Copyright
may be transferred without notice
Diffusion-based generative models have had a high impact on the computer vision and speech processing communities these past years. Besides data generation tasks, they have also been employed for data restoration tasks like speech enhancement and dereverberation. While discriminative models have traditionally been argued to be more powerful e.g. for speech enhancement, generative diffusion approaches have recently been shown to narrow this performance gap considerably. In this paper, we systematically compare the performance of generative diffusion models and discriminative approaches on different speech restoration tasks. For this, we extend our prior contributions on diffusion-based speech enhancement in the complex time-frequency domain to the task of bandwith extension. We then compare it to a discriminatively trained neural network with the same network architecture on three restoration tasks, namely speech denoising, dereverberation and bandwidth extension. We observe that the generative approach performs globally better than its discriminative counterpart on all tasks, with the strongest benefit for non-additive distortion models, like in dereverberation and bandwidth extension. Code and audio examples can be found online at https://uhh.de/inf-sp-sgmsemultitask