Transformer architecture has enabled recent progress in speech enhancement. Since Transformers are position-agostic, positional encoding is the de facto standard component used to enable Transformers to distinguish the order of elements in a sequence. However, it remains unclear how positional encoding exactly impacts speech enhancement based on Transformer architectures. In this paper, we perform a comprehensive empirical study evaluating five positional encoding methods, i.e., Sinusoidal and learned absolute position embedding (APE), T5-RPE, KERPLE, as well as the Transformer without positional encoding (No-Pos), across both causal and noncausal configurations. We conduct extensive speech enhancement experiments, involving spectral mapping and masking methods. Our findings establish that positional encoding is not quite helpful for the models in a causal configuration, which indicates that causal attention may implicitly incorporate position information. In a noncausal configuration, the models significantly benefit from the use of positional encoding. In addition, we find that among the four position embeddings, relative position embeddings outperform APEs.
Text-to-audio generation (TTA) produces audio from a text description, learning from pairs of audio samples and hand-annotated text. However, commercializing audio generation is challenging as user-input prompts are often under-specified when compared to text descriptions used to train TTA models. In this work, we treat TTA models as a ``blackbox'' and address the user prompt challenge with two key insights: (1) User prompts are generally under-specified, leading to a large alignment gap between user prompts and training prompts. (2) There is a distribution of audio descriptions for which TTA models are better at generating higher quality audio, which we refer to as ``audionese''. To this end, we rewrite prompts with instruction-tuned models and propose utilizing text-audio alignment as feedback signals via margin ranking learning for audio improvements. On both objective and subjective human evaluations, we observed marked improvements in both text-audio alignment and music audio quality.
TorchAudio is an open-source audio and speech processing library built for PyTorch. It aims to accelerate the research and development of audio and speech technologies by providing well-designed, easy-to-use, and performant PyTorch components. Its contributors routinely engage with users to understand their needs and fulfill them by developing impactful features. Here, we survey TorchAudio's development principles and contents and highlight key features we include in its latest version (2.1): self-supervised learning pre-trained pipelines and training recipes, high-performance CTC decoders, speech recognition models and training recipes, advanced media I/O capabilities, and tools for performing forced alignment, multi-channel speech enhancement, and reference-less speech assessment. For a selection of these features, through empirical studies, we demonstrate their efficacy and show that they achieve competitive or state-of-the-art performance.
High-quality and intelligible speech is essential to text-to-speech (TTS) model training, however, obtaining high-quality data for low-resource languages is challenging and expensive. Applying speech enhancement on Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) corpus mitigates the issue by augmenting the training data, while how the nonlinear speech distortion brought by speech enhancement models affects TTS training still needs to be investigated. In this paper, we train a TF-GridNet speech enhancement model and apply it to low-resource datasets that were collected for the ASR task, then train a discrete unit based TTS model on the enhanced speech. We use Arabic datasets as an example and show that the proposed pipeline significantly improves the low-resource TTS system compared with other baseline methods in terms of ASR WER metric. We also run empirical analysis on the correlation between speech enhancement and TTS performances.
Recent advancements in audio generation have been spurred by the evolution of large-scale deep learning models and expansive datasets. However, the task of video-to-audio (V2A) generation continues to be a challenge, principally because of the intricate relationship between the high-dimensional visual and auditory data, and the challenges associated with temporal synchronization. In this study, we introduce FoleyGen, an open-domain V2A generation system built on a language modeling paradigm. FoleyGen leverages an off-the-shelf neural audio codec for bidirectional conversion between waveforms and discrete tokens. The generation of audio tokens is facilitated by a single Transformer model, which is conditioned on visual features extracted from a visual encoder. A prevalent problem in V2A generation is the misalignment of generated audio with the visible actions in the video. To address this, we explore three novel visual attention mechanisms. We further undertake an exhaustive evaluation of multiple visual encoders, each pretrained on either single-modal or multi-modal tasks. The experimental results on VGGSound dataset show that our proposed FoleyGen outperforms previous systems across all objective metrics and human evaluations.
In language modeling based music generation, a generated waveform is represented by a sequence of hierarchical token stacks that can be decoded either in an auto-regressive manner or in parallel, depending on the codebook patterns. In particular, flattening the codebooks represents the highest quality decoding strategy, while being notoriously slow. To this end, we propose a novel stack-and-delay style of decoding strategy to improve upon the flat pattern decoding where generation speed is four times faster as opposed to vanilla flat decoding. This brings the inference time close to that of the delay decoding strategy, and allows for faster inference on GPU for small batch sizes. For the same inference efficiency budget as the delay pattern, we show that the proposed approach performs better in objective evaluations, almost closing the gap with the flat pattern in terms of quality. The results are corroborated by subjective evaluations which show that samples generated by the new model are slightly more often preferred to samples generated by the competing model given the same text prompts.
This paper presents an innovative approach to enhance control over audio generation by emphasizing the alignment between audio and text representations during model training. In the context of language model-based audio generation, the model leverages input from both textual and audio token representations to predict subsequent audio tokens. However, the current configuration lacks explicit regularization to ensure the alignment between the chosen text representation and the language model's predictions. Our proposal involves the incorporation of audio and text representation regularization, particularly during the classifier-free guidance (CFG) phase, where the text condition is excluded from cross attention during language model training. The aim of this proposed representation regularization is to minimize discrepancies in audio and text similarity compared to other samples within the same training batch. Experimental results on both music and audio generation tasks demonstrate that our proposed methods lead to improvements in objective metrics for both audio and music generation, as well as an enhancement in the human perception for audio generation.
Self-supervised learning (SSL) has led to great strides in speech processing. However, the resources needed to train these models has become prohibitively large as they continue to scale. Currently, only a few groups with substantial resources are capable of creating SSL models, which harms reproducibility. In this work, we optimize HuBERT SSL to fit in academic constraints. We reproduce HuBERT independently from the original implementation, with no performance loss. Our code and training optimizations make SSL feasible with only 8 GPUs, instead of the 32 used in the original work. We also explore a semi-supervised route, using an ASR model to skip the first pre-training iteration. Within one iteration of pre-training, our models improve over HuBERT on several tasks. Furthermore, our HuBERT Large variant requires only 8 GPUs, achieving similar performance to the original trained on 128. As our contribution to the community, all models, configurations, and code are made open-source in ESPnet.
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.
The use of Transformer represents a recent success in speech enhancement. However, as its core component, self-attention suffers from quadratic complexity, which is computationally prohibited for long speech recordings. Moreover, it allows each time frame to attend to all time frames, neglecting the strong local correlations of speech signals. This study presents a simple yet effective sparse self-attention for speech enhancement, called ripple attention, which simultaneously performs fine- and coarse-grained modeling for local and global dependencies, respectively. Specifically, we employ local band attention to enable each frame to attend to its closest neighbor frames in a window at fine granularity, while employing dilated attention outside the window to model the global dependencies at a coarse granularity. We evaluate the efficacy of our ripple attention for speech enhancement on two commonly used training objectives. Extensive experimental results consistently confirm the superior performance of the ripple attention design over standard full self-attention, blockwise attention, and dual-path attention (Sep-Former) in terms of speech quality and intelligibility.