Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free add-on: code for papers everywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

Marvin Tammen, Tsubasa Ochiai, Marc Delcroix, Tomohiro Nakatani, Shoko Araki, Simon Doclo

Recently, a mask-based beamformer with attention-based spatial covariance matrix aggregator (ASA) was proposed, which was demonstrated to track moving sources accurately. However, the deep neural network model used in this algorithm is limited to a specific channel configuration, requiring a different model in case a different channel permutation, channel count, or microphone array geometry is considered. Addressing this limitation, in this paper, we investigate three approaches to improve the robustness of the ASA-based tracking method against such variations: incorporating random channel configurations during the training process, employing the transform-average-concatenate (TAC) method to process multi-channel input features (allowing for any channel count and enabling permutation invariance), and utilizing input features that are robust against variations of the channel configuration. Our experiments, conducted using the CHiME-3 and DEMAND datasets, demonstrate improved robustness against mismatches in channel permutations, channel counts, and microphone array geometries compared to the conventional ASA-based tracking method without compromising performance in matched conditions, suggesting that the mask-based beamformer with ASA integrating the proposed approaches has the potential to track moving sources for arbitrary microphone arrays.

Via

Hanako Segawa, Tsubasa Ochiai, Marc Delcroix, Tomohiro Nakatani, Rintaro Ikeshita, Shoko Araki, Takeshi Yamada, Shoji Makino

Array processing performance depends on the number of microphones available. Virtual microphone estimation (VME) has been proposed to increase the number of microphone signals artificially. Neural network-based VME (NN-VME) trains an NN with a VM-level loss to predict a signal at a microphone location that is available during training but not at inference. However, this training objective may not be optimal for a specific array processing back-end, such as beamforming. An alternative approach is to use a training objective considering the array-processing back-end, such as a loss on the beamformer output. This approach may generate signals optimal for beamforming but not physically grounded. To combine the advantages of both approaches, this paper proposes a multi-task loss for NN-VME that combines both VM-level and beamformer-level losses. We evaluate the proposed multi-task NN-VME on multi-talker underdetermined conditions and show that it achieves a 33.1 % relative WER improvement compared to using only real microphones and 10.8 % compared to using a prior NN-VME approach.

Via

Naoyuki Kamo, Marc Delcroix, Tomohiro Nakatani

Diffusion model-based speech enhancement has received increased attention since it can generate very natural enhanced signals and generalizes well to unseen conditions. Diffusion models have been explored for several sub-tasks of speech enhancement, such as speech denoising, dereverberation, and source separation. In this paper, we investigate their use for target speech extraction (TSE), which consists of estimating the clean speech signal of a target speaker in a mixture of multi-talkers. TSE is realized by conditioning the extraction process on a clue identifying the target speaker. We show we can realize TSE using a conditional diffusion model conditioned on the clue. Besides, we introduce ensemble inference to reduce potential extraction errors caused by the diffusion process. In experiments on Libri2mix corpus, we show that the proposed diffusion model-based TSE combined with ensemble inference outperforms a comparable TSE system trained discriminatively.

Via

Ning Guo, Tomohiro Nakatani, Shoko Araki, Takehiro Moriya

This paper introduces a novel low-latency online beamforming (BF) algorithm, named Modified Parametric Multichannel Wiener Filter (Mod-PMWF), for enhancing speech mixtures with unknown and varying number of speakers. Although conventional BFs such as linearly constrained minimum variance BF (LCMV BF) can enhance a speech mixture, they typically require such attributes of the speech mixture as the number of speakers and the acoustic transfer functions (ATFs) from the speakers to the microphones. When the mixture attributes are unavailable, estimating them by low-latency processing is challenging, hindering the application of the BFs to the problem. In this paper, we overcome this problem by modifying a conventional Parametric Multichannel Wiener Filter (PMWF). The proposed Mod-PMWF can adaptively form a directivity pattern that enhances all the speakers in the mixture without explicitly estimating these attributes. Our experiments will show the proposed BF's effectiveness in interference reduction ratios and subjective listening tests.

Via

Koki Nishida, Norihiro Takamune, Rintaro Ikeshita, Daichi Kitamura, Hiroshi Saruwatari, Tomohiro Nakatani

In this paper, we address the multichannel blind source extraction (BSE) of a single source in diffuse noise environments. To solve this problem even faster than by fast multichannel nonnegative matrix factorization (FastMNMF) and its variant, we propose a BSE method called NoisyILRMA, which is a modification of independent low-rank matrix analysis (ILRMA) to account for diffuse noise. NoisyILRMA can achieve considerably fast BSE by incorporating an algorithm developed for independent vector extraction. In addition, to improve the BSE performance of NoisyILRMA, we propose a mechanism to switch the source model with ILRMA-like nonnegative matrix factorization to a more expressive source model during optimization. In the experiment, we show that NoisyILRMA runs faster than a FastMNMF algorithm while maintaining the BSE performance. We also confirm that the switching mechanism improves the BSE performance of NoisyILRMA.

Via

Marc Delcroix, Naohiro Tawara, Mireia Diez, Federico Landini, Anna Silnova, Atsunori Ogawa, Tomohiro Nakatani, Lukas Burget, Shoko Araki

Combining end-to-end neural speaker diarization (EEND) with vector clustering (VC), known as EEND-VC, has gained interest for leveraging the strengths of both methods. EEND-VC estimates activities and speaker embeddings for all speakers within an audio chunk and uses VC to associate these activities with speaker identities across different chunks. EEND-VC generates thus multiple streams of embeddings, one for each speaker in a chunk. We can cluster these embeddings using constrained agglomerative hierarchical clustering (cAHC), ensuring embeddings from the same chunk belong to different clusters. This paper introduces an alternative clustering approach, a multi-stream extension of the successful Bayesian HMM clustering of x-vectors (VBx), called MS-VBx. Experiments on three datasets demonstrate that MS-VBx outperforms cAHC in diarization and speaker counting performance.

Via

Tsubasa Ochiai, Marc Delcroix, Tomohiro Nakatani, Shoko Araki

Beamforming is a powerful tool designed to enhance speech signals from the direction of a target source. Computing the beamforming filter requires estimating spatial covariance matrices (SCMs) of the source and noise signals. Time-frequency masks are often used to compute these SCMs. Most studies of mask-based beamforming have assumed that the sources do not move. However, sources often move in practice, which causes performance degradation. In this paper, we address the problem of mask-based beamforming for moving sources. We first review classical approaches to tracking a moving source, which perform online or blockwise computation of the SCMs. We show that these approaches can be interpreted as computing a sum of instantaneous SCMs weighted by attention weights. These weights indicate which time frames of the signal to consider in the SCM computation. Online or blockwise computation assumes a heuristic and deterministic way of computing these attention weights that, although simple, may not result in optimal performance. We thus introduce a learning-based framework that computes optimal attention weights for beamforming. We achieve this using a neural network implemented with self-attention layers. We show experimentally that our proposed framework can greatly improve beamforming performance in moving source situations while maintaining high performance in non-moving situations, thus enabling the development of mask-based beamformers robust to source movements.

Via

Marc Delcroix, Keisuke Kinoshita, Tsubasa Ochiai, Katerina Zmolikova, Hiroshi Sato, Tomohiro Nakatani

Target speech extraction (TSE) extracts the speech of a target speaker in a mixture given auxiliary clues characterizing the speaker, such as an enrollment utterance. TSE addresses thus the challenging problem of simultaneously performing separation and speaker identification. There has been much progress in extraction performance following the recent development of neural networks for speech enhancement and separation. Most studies have focused on processing mixtures where the target speaker is actively speaking. However, the target speaker is sometimes silent in practice, i.e., inactive speaker (IS). A typical TSE system will tend to output a signal in IS cases, causing false alarms. This is a severe problem for the practical deployment of TSE systems. This paper aims at understanding better how well TSE systems can handle IS cases. We consider two approaches to deal with IS, (1) training a system to directly output zero signals or (2) detecting IS with an extra speaker verification module. We perform an extensive experimental comparison of these schemes in terms of extraction performance and IS detection using the LibriMix dataset and reveal their pros and cons.

Via

Ayako Yamamoto, Toshio Irino, Shoko Araki, Kenichi Arai, Atsunori Ogawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Tomohiro Nakatani

It is essential to perform speech intelligibility (SI) experiments with human listeners to evaluate the effectiveness of objective intelligibility measures. Recently crowdsourced remote testing has become popular to collect a massive amount and variety of data with relatively small cost and in short time. However, careful data screening is essential for attaining reliable SI data. We compared the results of laboratory and crowdsourced remote experiments to establish an effective data screening technique. We evaluated the SI of noisy speech sounds enhanced by a single-channel ideal ratio mask (IRM) and multi-channel mask-based beamformers. The results demonstrated that the SI scores were improved by these enhancement methods. In particular, the IRM-enhanced sounds were much better than the unprocessed and other enhanced sounds, indicating IRM enhancement may give the upper limit of speech enhancement performance. Moreover, tone pip tests, for which participants were asked to report the number of audible tone pips, reduced the variability of crowdsourced remote results so that the laboratory results became similar. Tone pip tests could be useful for future crowdsourced experiments because of their simplicity and effectiveness for data screening.

Via

Rintaro Ikeshita, Tomohiro Nakatani

A majorization-minimization (MM) algorithm for independent vector analysis optimizes a separation matrix $W = [w_1, \ldots, w_m]^h \in \mathbb{C}^{m \times m}$ by minimizing a surrogate function of the form $\mathcal{L}(W) = \sum_{i = 1}^m w_i^h V_i w_i - \log | \det W |^2$, where $m \in \mathbb{N}$ is the number of sensors and positive definite matrices $V_1,\ldots,V_m \in \mathbb{C}^{m \times m}$ are constructed in each MM iteration. For $m \geq 3$, no algorithm has been found to obtain a global minimum of $\mathcal{L}(W)$. Instead, block coordinate descent (BCD) methods with closed-form update formulas have been developed for minimizing $\mathcal{L}(W)$ and shown to be effective. One such BCD is called iterative projection (IP) that updates one or two rows of $W$ in each iteration. Another BCD is called iterative source steering (ISS) that updates one column of the mixing matrix $A = W^{-1}$ in each iteration. Although the time complexity per iteration of ISS is $m$ times smaller than that of IP, the conventional ISS converges slower than the current fastest IP (called $\text{IP}_2$) that updates two rows of $W$ in each iteration. We here extend this ISS to $\text{ISS}_2$ that can update two columns of $A$ in each iteration while maintaining its small time complexity. To this end, we provide a unified way for developing new ISS type methods from which $\text{ISS}_2$ as well as the conventional ISS can be immediately obtained in a systematic manner. Numerical experiments to separate reverberant speech mixtures show that our $\text{ISS}_2$ converges in fewer MM iterations than the conventional ISS, and is comparable to $\text{IP}_2$.

Via