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"speech": models, code, and papers

ESPnet-SLU: Advancing Spoken Language Understanding through ESPnet

Nov 29, 2021
Siddhant Arora, Siddharth Dalmia, Pavel Denisov, Xuankai Chang, Yushi Ueda, Yifan Peng, Yuekai Zhang, Sujay Kumar, Karthik Ganesan, Brian Yan, Ngoc Thang Vu, Alan W Black, Shinji Watanabe

As Automatic Speech Processing (ASR) systems are getting better, there is an increasing interest of using the ASR output to do downstream Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. However, there are few open source toolkits that can be used to generate reproducible results on different Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) benchmarks. Hence, there is a need to build an open source standard that can be used to have a faster start into SLU research. We present ESPnet-SLU, which is designed for quick development of spoken language understanding in a single framework. ESPnet-SLU is a project inside end-to-end speech processing toolkit, ESPnet, which is a widely used open-source standard for various speech processing tasks like ASR, Text to Speech (TTS) and Speech Translation (ST). We enhance the toolkit to provide implementations for various SLU benchmarks that enable researchers to seamlessly mix-and-match different ASR and NLU models. We also provide pretrained models with intensively tuned hyper-parameters that can match or even outperform the current state-of-the-art performances. The toolkit is publicly available at

* Submitted to ICASSP 2022 (5 pages) 

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TENET: A Time-reversal Enhancement Network for Noise-robust ASR

Jul 08, 2021
Fu-An Chao, Shao-Wei Fan Jiang, Bi-Cheng Yan, Jeih-weih Hung, Berlin Chen

Due to the unprecedented breakthroughs brought about by deep learning, speech enhancement (SE) techniques have been developed rapidly and play an important role prior to acoustic modeling to mitigate noise effects on speech. To increase the perceptual quality of speech, current state-of-the-art in the SE field adopts adversarial training by connecting an objective metric to the discriminator. However, there is no guarantee that optimizing the perceptual quality of speech will necessarily lead to improved automatic speech recognition (ASR) performance. In this study, we present TENET, a novel Time-reversal Enhancement NETwork, which leverages the transformation of an input noisy signal itself, i.e., the time-reversed version, in conjunction with the siamese network and complex dual-path transformer to promote SE performance for noise-robust ASR. Extensive experiments conducted on the Voicebank-DEMAND dataset show that TENET can achieve state-of-the-art results compared to a few top-of-the-line methods in terms of both SE and ASR evaluation metrics. To demonstrate the model generalization ability, we further evaluate TENET on the test set of scenarios contaminated with unseen noise, and the results also confirm the superiority of this promising method.

* Submitted to ASRU 2021 

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Scaling ASR Improves Zero and Few Shot Learning

Nov 29, 2021
Alex Xiao, Weiyi Zheng, Gil Keren, Duc Le, Frank Zhang, Christian Fuegen, Ozlem Kalinli, Yatharth Saraf, Abdelrahman Mohamed

With 4.5 million hours of English speech from 10 different sources across 120 countries and models of up to 10 billion parameters, we explore the frontiers of scale for automatic speech recognition. We propose data selection techniques to efficiently scale training data to find the most valuable samples in massive datasets. To efficiently scale model sizes, we leverage various optimizations such as sparse transducer loss and model sharding. By training 1-10B parameter universal English ASR models, we push the limits of speech recognition performance across many domains. Furthermore, our models learn powerful speech representations with zero and few-shot capabilities on novel domains and styles of speech, exceeding previous results across multiple in-house and public benchmarks. For speakers with disorders due to brain damage, our best zero-shot and few-shot models achieve 22% and 60% relative improvement on the AphasiaBank test set, respectively, while realizing the best performance on public social media videos. Furthermore, the same universal model reaches equivalent performance with 500x less in-domain data on the SPGISpeech financial-domain dataset.

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PDAugment: Data Augmentation by Pitch and Duration Adjustments for Automatic Lyrics Transcription

Sep 17, 2021
Chen Zhang, Jiaxing Yu, LuChin Chang, Xu Tan, Jiawei Chen, Tao Qin, Kejun Zhang

Automatic lyrics transcription (ALT), which can be regarded as automatic speech recognition (ASR) on singing voice, is an interesting and practical topic in academia and industry. ALT has not been well developed mainly due to the dearth of paired singing voice and lyrics datasets for model training. Considering that there is a large amount of ASR training data, a straightforward method is to leverage ASR data to enhance ALT training. However, the improvement is marginal when training the ALT system directly with ASR data, because of the gap between the singing voice and standard speech data which is rooted in music-specific acoustic characteristics in singing voice. In this paper, we propose PDAugment, a data augmentation method that adjusts pitch and duration of speech at syllable level under the guidance of music scores to help ALT training. Specifically, we adjust the pitch and duration of each syllable in natural speech to those of the corresponding note extracted from music scores, so as to narrow the gap between natural speech and singing voice. Experiments on DSing30 and Dali corpus show that the ALT system equipped with our PDAugment outperforms previous state-of-the-art systems by 5.9% and 18.1% WERs respectively, demonstrating the effectiveness of PDAugment for ALT.

* 7 pages 

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SoundStream: An End-to-End Neural Audio Codec

Jul 07, 2021
Neil Zeghidour, Alejandro Luebs, Ahmed Omran, Jan Skoglund, Marco Tagliasacchi

We present SoundStream, a novel neural audio codec that can efficiently compress speech, music and general audio at bitrates normally targeted by speech-tailored codecs. SoundStream relies on a model architecture composed by a fully convolutional encoder/decoder network and a residual vector quantizer, which are trained jointly end-to-end. Training leverages recent advances in text-to-speech and speech enhancement, which combine adversarial and reconstruction losses to allow the generation of high-quality audio content from quantized embeddings. By training with structured dropout applied to quantizer layers, a single model can operate across variable bitrates from 3kbps to 18kbps, with a negligible quality loss when compared with models trained at fixed bitrates. In addition, the model is amenable to a low latency implementation, which supports streamable inference and runs in real time on a smartphone CPU. In subjective evaluations using audio at 24kHz sampling rate, SoundStream at 3kbps outperforms Opus at 12kbps and approaches EVS at 9.6kbps. Moreover, we are able to perform joint compression and enhancement either at the encoder or at the decoder side with no additional latency, which we demonstrate through background noise suppression for speech.

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A Comparative Study of Glottal Source Estimation Techniques

Dec 28, 2019
Thomas Drugman, Baris Bozkurt, Thierry Dutoit

Source-tract decomposition (or glottal flow estimation) is one of the basic problems of speech processing. For this, several techniques have been proposed in the literature. However studies comparing different approaches are almost nonexistent. Besides, experiments have been systematically performed either on synthetic speech or on sustained vowels. In this study we compare three of the main representative state-of-the-art methods of glottal flow estimation: closed-phase inverse filtering, iterative and adaptive inverse filtering, and mixed-phase decomposition. These techniques are first submitted to an objective assessment test on synthetic speech signals. Their sensitivity to various factors affecting the estimation quality, as well as their robustness to noise are studied. In a second experiment, their ability to label voice quality (tensed, modal, soft) is studied on a large corpus of real connected speech. It is shown that changes of voice quality are reflected by significant modifications in glottal feature distributions. Techniques based on the mixed-phase decomposition and on a closed-phase inverse filtering process turn out to give the best results on both clean synthetic and real speech signals. On the other hand, iterative and adaptive inverse filtering is recommended in noisy environments for its high robustness.

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Persian phonemes recognition using PPNet

Dec 17, 2018
Saber Malekzadeh, Mohammad Hossein Gholizadeh, Seyed Naser Razavi

In this paper a new approach for recognition of Persian phonemes on the PCVC speech dataset is proposed. Nowadays deep neural networks are playing main rule in classification tasks. However the best results in speech recognition are not as good as human recognition rate yet. Deep learning techniques are shown their outstanding performance over so many classification tasks like image classification, document classification, etc. Also in some tasks their performance were even better than human. So the reason why ASR (automatic speech recognition) systems are not as good as the human speech recognition system is mostly depend on features of data is fed to deep neural networks. In this research first sound samples are cut for exact extraction of phoneme sounds in 50ms samples. Then phonemes are grouped in 30 groups; Containing 23 consonants, 6 vowels and a silence phoneme. STFT (Short time Fourier transform) is applied on them and Then STFT results are given to PPNet (A new deep convolutional neural network architecture) classifier and a total average of 75.87% accuracy is reached which is the best result ever compared to other algorithms on Separated Persian phonemes (Like in PCVC speech dataset).

* Submitted to "Journal of Signal Processing Systems". arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1812.06953 

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