For Mandarin end-to-end (E2E) automatic speech recognition (ASR) tasks, compared to character-based modeling units, pronunciation-based modeling units could improve the sharing of modeling units in model training but meet homophone problems. In this study, we propose to use a novel pronunciation-aware unique character encoding for building E2E RNN-T-based Mandarin ASR systems. The proposed encoding is a combination of pronunciation-base syllable and character index (CI). By introducing the CI, the RNN-T model can overcome the homophone problem while utilizing the pronunciation information for extracting modeling units. With the proposed encoding, the model outputs can be converted into the final recognition result through a one-to-one mapping. We conducted experiments on Aishell and MagicData datasets, and the experimental results showed the effectiveness of the proposed method.
The acoustic and linguistic features are important cues for the spoken language identification (LID) task. Recent advanced LID systems mainly use acoustic features that lack the usage of explicit linguistic feature encoding. In this paper, we propose a novel transducer-based language embedding approach for LID tasks by integrating an RNN transducer model into a language embedding framework. Benefiting from the advantages of the RNN transducer's linguistic representation capability, the proposed method can exploit both phonetically-aware acoustic features and explicit linguistic features for LID tasks. Experiments were carried out on the large-scale multilingual LibriSpeech and VoxLingua107 datasets. Experimental results showed the proposed method significantly improves the performance on LID tasks with 12% to 59% and 16% to 24% relative improvement on in-domain and cross-domain datasets, respectively.
Speech enhancement (SE) performance has improved considerably since the use of deep learning (DL) models as a base function. In this study, we propose a perceptual contrast stretching (PCS) approach to further improve SE performance. PCS is derived based on the critical band importance function and applied to modify the targets of the SE model. Specifically, PCS stretches the contract of target features according to perceptual importance, thereby improving the overall SE performance. Compared to post-processing based implementations, incorporating PCS into the training phase preserves performance and reduces online computation. It is also worth noting that PCS can be suitably combined with different SE model architectures and training criteria. Meanwhile, PCS does not affect the causality or convergence of the SE model training. Experimental results on the VoiceBank-DEMAND dataset showed that the proposed method can achieve state-of-the-art performance on both causal (PESQ=3.07) and non-causal (PESQ=3.35) SE tasks.
In order to reduce domain discrepancy to improve the performance of cross-domain spoken language identification (SLID) system, as an unsupervised domain adaptation (UDA) method, we have proposed a joint distribution alignment (JDA) model based on optimal transport (OT). A discrepancy measurement based on OT was adopted for JDA between training and test data sets. In our previous study, it was supposed that the training and test sets share the same label space. However, in real applications, the label space of the test set is only a subset of that of the training set. Fully matching training and test domains for distribution alignment may introduce negative domain transfer. In this paper, we propose an JDA model based on partial optimal transport (POT), i.e., only partial couplings of OT are allowed during JDA. Moreover, since the label of test data is unknown, in the POT, a soft weighting on the coupling based on transport cost is adaptively set during domain alignment. Experiments were carried out on a cross-domain SLID task to evaluate the proposed UDA. Results showed that our proposed UDA significantly improved the performance due to the consideration of the partial couplings in OT.
Speaker embedding is an important front-end module to explore discriminative speaker features for many speech applications where speaker information is needed. Current SOTA backbone networks for speaker embedding are designed to aggregate multi-scale features from an utterance with multi-branch network architectures for speaker representation. However, naively adding many branches of multi-scale features with the simple fully convolutional operation could not efficiently improve the performance due to the rapid increase of model parameters and computational complexity. Therefore, in the most current state-of-the-art network architectures, only a few branches corresponding to a limited number of temporal scales could be designed for speaker embeddings. To address this problem, in this paper, we propose an effective temporal multi-scale (TMS) model where multi-scale branches could be efficiently designed in a speaker embedding network almost without increasing computational costs. The new model is based on the conventional TDNN, where the network architecture is smartly separated into two modeling operators: a channel-modeling operator and a temporal multi-branch modeling operator. Adding temporal multi-scale in the temporal multi-branch operator needs only a little bit increase of the number of parameters, and thus save more computational budget for adding more branches with large temporal scales. Moreover, in the inference stage, we further developed a systemic re-parameterization method to convert the TMS-based model into a single-path-based topology in order to increase inference speed. We investigated the performance of the new TMS method for automatic speaker verification (ASV) on in-domain and out-of-domain conditions. Results show that the TMS-based model obtained a significant increase in the performance over the SOTA ASV models, meanwhile, had a faster inference speed.
In acoustic signal processing, the target signals usually carry semantic information, which is encoded in a hierarchal structure of short and long-term contexts. However, the background noise distorts these structures in a nonuniform way. The existing deep acoustic signal enhancement (ASE) architectures ignore this kind of local and global effect. To address this problem, we propose to integrate a novel temporal attentive-pooling (TAP) mechanism into a conventional convolutional recurrent neural network, termed as TAP-CRNN. The proposed approach considers both global and local attention for ASE tasks. Specifically, we first utilize a convolutional layer to extract local information of the acoustic signals and then a recurrent neural network (RNN) architecture is used to characterize temporal contextual information. Second, we exploit a novelattention mechanism to contextually process salient regions of the noisy signals. The proposed ASE system is evaluated using a benchmark infant cry dataset and compared with several well-known methods. It is shown that the TAPCRNN can more effectively reduce noise components from infant cry signals in unseen background noises at challenging signal-to-noise levels.
This paper presents a novel discriminator-constrained optimal transport network (DOTN) that performs unsupervised domain adaptation for speech enhancement (SE), which is an essential regression task in speech processing. The DOTN aims to estimate clean references of noisy speech in a target domain, by exploiting the knowledge available from the source domain. The domain shift between training and testing data has been reported to be an obstacle to learning problems in diverse fields. Although rich literature exists on unsupervised domain adaptation for classification, the methods proposed, especially in regressions, remain scarce and often depend on additional information regarding the input data. The proposed DOTN approach tactically fuses the optimal transport (OT) theory from mathematical analysis with generative adversarial frameworks, to help evaluate continuous labels in the target domain. The experimental results on two SE tasks demonstrate that by extending the classical OT formulation, our proposed DOTN outperforms previous adversarial domain adaptation frameworks in a purely unsupervised manner.
Automatic speaker verification (ASV) systems, which determine whether two speeches are from the same speaker, mainly focus on verification accuracy while ignoring inference speed. However, in real applications, both inference speed and verification accuracy are essential. This study proposes cross-sequential re-parameterization (CS-Rep), a novel topology re-parameterization strategy for multi-type networks, to increase the inference speed and verification accuracy of models. CS-Rep solves the problem that existing re-parameterization methods are unsuitable for typical ASV backbones. When a model applies CS-Rep, the training-period network utilizes a multi-branch topology to capture speaker information, whereas the inference-period model converts to a time-delay neural network (TDNN)-like plain backbone with stacked TDNN layers to achieve the fast inference speed. Based on CS-Rep, an improved TDNN with friendly test and deployment called Rep-TDNN is proposed. Compared with the state-of-the-art model ECAPA-TDNN, which is highly recognized in the industry, Rep-TDNN increases the actual inference speed by about 50% and reduces the EER by 10%. The code will be released.
The discrepancy between the cost function used for training a speech enhancement model and human auditory perception usually makes the quality of enhanced speech unsatisfactory. Objective evaluation metrics which consider human perception can hence serve as a bridge to reduce the gap. Our previously proposed MetricGAN was designed to optimize objective metrics by connecting the metric with a discriminator. Because only the scores of the target evaluation functions are needed during training, the metrics can even be non-differentiable. In this study, we propose a MetricGAN+ in which three training techniques incorporating domain-knowledge of speech processing are proposed. With these techniques, experimental results on the VoiceBank-DEMAND dataset show that MetricGAN+ can increase PESQ score by 0.3 compared to the previous MetricGAN and achieve state-of-the-art results (PESQ score = 3.15).
Generative probability models are widely used for speaker verification (SV). However, the generative models are lack of discriminative feature selection ability. As a hypothesis test, the SV can be regarded as a binary classification task which can be designed as a Siamese neural network (SiamNN) with discriminative training. However, in most of the discriminative training for SiamNN, only the distribution of pair-wised sample distances is considered, and the additional discriminative information in joint distribution of samples is ignored. In this paper, we propose a novel SiamNN with consideration of the joint distribution of samples. The joint distribution of samples is first formulated based on a joint Bayesian (JB) based generative model, then a SiamNN is designed with dense layers to approximate the factorized affine transforms as used in the JB model. By initializing the SiamNN with the learned model parameters of the JB model, we further train the model parameters with the pair-wised samples as a binary discrimination task for SV. We carried out SV experiments on data corpus of speakers in the wild (SITW) and VoxCeleb. Experimental results showed that our proposed model improved the performance with a large margin compared with state of the art models for SV.