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"speech": models, code, and papers

Exploring Wav2vec 2.0 fine-tuning for improved speech emotion recognition

Oct 28, 2021
Li-Wei Chen, Alexander Rudnicky

While wav2vec 2.0 has been proposed for speech recognition (ASR), it can also be used for speech emotion recognition (SER); its performance can be significantly improved using different fine-tuning strategies. Two baseline methods, vanilla fine-tuning (V-FT) and task adaptive pretraining (TAPT) are first presented. We show that V-FT is able to outperform state-of-the-art models on the IEMOCAP dataset. TAPT, an existing NLP fine-tuning strategy, further improves the performance on SER. We also introduce a novel fine-tuning method termed P-TAPT, which modifies the TAPT objective to learn contextualized emotion representations. Experiments show that P-TAPT performs better than TAPT especially under low-resource settings. Compared to prior works in this literature, our top-line system achieved a 7.4% absolute improvement on unweighted accuracy (UA) over the state-of-the-art performance on IEMOCAP. Our code is publicly available.

* Submitted to ICASSP 2022 

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SCaLa: Supervised Contrastive Learning for End-to-End Automatic Speech Recognition

Oct 08, 2021
Li Fu, Xiaoxiao Li, Runyu Wang, Zhengchen Zhang, Youzheng Wu, Xiaodong He, Bowen Zhou

End-to-end Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) models are usually trained to reduce the losses of the whole token sequences, while neglecting explicit phonemic-granularity supervision. This could lead to recognition errors due to similar-phoneme confusion or phoneme reduction. To alleviate this problem, this paper proposes a novel framework of Supervised Contrastive Learning (SCaLa) to enhance phonemic information learning for end-to-end ASR systems. Specifically, we introduce the self-supervised Masked Contrastive Predictive Coding (MCPC) into the fully-supervised setting. To supervise phoneme learning explicitly, SCaLa first masks the variable-length encoder features corresponding to phonemes given phoneme forced-alignment extracted from a pre-trained acoustic model, and then predicts the masked phonemes via contrastive learning. The phoneme forced-alignment can mitigate the noise of positive-negative pairs in self-supervised MCPC. Experimental results conducted on reading and spontaneous speech datasets show that the proposed approach achieves 2.84% and 1.38% Character Error Rate (CER) reductions compared to the baseline, respectively.

* Submitted to ICASSP 2022 

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Extending Recurrent Neural Aligner for Streaming End-to-End Speech Recognition in Mandarin

Jun 17, 2018
Linhao Dong, Shiyu Zhou, Wei Chen, Bo Xu

End-to-end models have been showing superiority in Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). At the same time, the capacity of streaming recognition has become a growing requirement for end-to-end models. Following these trends, an encoder-decoder recurrent neural network called Recurrent Neural Aligner (RNA) has been freshly proposed and shown its competitiveness on two English ASR tasks. However, it is not clear if RNA can be further improved and applied to other spoken language. In this work, we explore the applicability of RNA in Mandarin Chinese and present four effective extensions: In the encoder, we redesign the temporal down-sampling and introduce a powerful convolutional structure. In the decoder, we utilize a regularizer to smooth the output distribution and conduct joint training with a language model. On two Mandarin Chinese conversational telephone speech recognition (MTS) datasets, our Extended-RNA obtains promising performance. Particularly, it achieves 27.7% character error rate (CER), which is superior to current state-of-the-art result on the popular HKUST task.

* To appear in Interspeech 2018 

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PercepNet+: A Phase and SNR Aware PercepNet for Real-Time Speech Enhancement

Mar 04, 2022
Xiaofeng Ge, Jiangyu Han, Yanhua Long, Haixin Guan

PercepNet, a recent extension of the RNNoise, an efficient, high-quality and real-time full-band speech enhancement technique, has shown promising performance in various public deep noise suppression tasks. This paper proposes a new approach, named PercepNet+, to further extend the PercepNet with four significant improvements. First, we introduce a phase-aware structure to leverage the phase information into PercepNet, by adding the complex features and complex subband gains as the deep network input and output respectively. Then, a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) estimator and an SNR switched post-processing are specially designed to alleviate the over attenuation (OA) that appears in high SNR conditions of the original PercepNet. Moreover, the GRU layer is replaced by TF-GRU to model both temporal and frequency dependencies. Finally, we propose to integrate the loss of complex subband gain, SNR, pitch filtering strength, and an OA loss in a multi-objective learning manner to further improve the speech enhancement performance. Experimental results show that, the proposed PercepNet+ outperforms the original PercepNet significantly in terms of both PESQ and STOI, without increasing the model size too much.

* This article was submitted to Interspeech 2022 

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Linguistic and Gender Variation in Speech Emotion Recognition using Spectral Features

Dec 17, 2021
Zachary Dair, Ryan Donovan, Ruairi O'Reilly

This work explores the effect of gender and linguistic-based vocal variations on the accuracy of emotive expression classification. Emotive expressions are considered from the perspective of spectral features in speech (Mel-frequency Cepstral Coefficient, Melspectrogram, Spectral Contrast). Emotions are considered from the perspective of Basic Emotion Theory. A convolutional neural network is utilised to classify emotive expressions in emotive audio datasets in English, German, and Italian. Vocal variations for spectral features assessed by (i) a comparative analysis identifying suitable spectral features, (ii) the classification performance for mono, multi and cross-lingual emotive data and (iii) an empirical evaluation of a machine learning model to assess the effects of gender and linguistic variation on classification accuracy. The results showed that spectral features provide a potential avenue for increasing emotive expression classification. Additionally, the accuracy of emotive expression classification was high within mono and cross-lingual emotive data, but poor in multi-lingual data. Similarly, there were differences in classification accuracy between gender populations. These results demonstrate the importance of accounting for population differences to enable accurate speech emotion recognition.

* Preprint for the AICS 2021 Conference - Machine Learning for Time Series Section This publication has emanated from research supported in part by a Grant from Science Foundation Ireland under Grant number 18/CRT/6222 12 Pages, 5 Figures 

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Multimodal Semi-supervised Learning Framework for Punctuation Prediction in Conversational Speech

Aug 03, 2020
Monica Sunkara, Srikanth Ronanki, Dhanush Bekal, Sravan Bodapati, Katrin Kirchhoff

In this work, we explore a multimodal semi-supervised learning approach for punctuation prediction by learning representations from large amounts of unlabelled audio and text data. Conventional approaches in speech processing typically use forced alignment to encoder per frame acoustic features to word level features and perform multimodal fusion of the resulting acoustic and lexical representations. As an alternative, we explore attention based multimodal fusion and compare its performance with forced alignment based fusion. Experiments conducted on the Fisher corpus show that our proposed approach achieves ~6-9% and ~3-4% absolute improvement (F1 score) over the baseline BLSTM model on reference transcripts and ASR outputs respectively. We further improve the model robustness to ASR errors by performing data augmentation with N-best lists which achieves up to an additional ~2-6% improvement on ASR outputs. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of semi-supervised learning approach by performing ablation study on various sizes of the corpus. When trained on 1 hour of speech and text data, the proposed model achieved ~9-18% absolute improvement over baseline model.

* Accepted for Interspeech 2020 

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Investigation on N-gram Approximated RNNLMs for Recognition of Morphologically Rich Speech

Jul 25, 2019
Balázs Tarján, György Szaszák, Tibor Fegyó, Péter Mihajlik

Recognition of Hungarian conversational telephone speech is challenging due to the informal style and morphological richness of the language. Recurrent Neural Network Language Model (RNNLM) can provide remedy for the high perplexity of the task; however, two-pass decoding introduces a considerable processing delay. In order to eliminate this delay we investigate approaches aiming at the complexity reduction of RNNLM, while preserving its accuracy. We compare the performance of conventional back-off n-gram language models (BNLM), BNLM approximation of RNNLMs (RNN-BNLM) and RNN n-grams in terms of perplexity and word error rate (WER). Morphological richness is often addressed by using statistically derived subwords - morphs - in the language models, hence our investigations are extended to morph-based models, as well. We found that using RNN-BNLMs 40% of the RNNLM perplexity reduction can be recovered, which is roughly equal to the performance of a RNN 4-gram model. Combining morph-based modeling and approximation of RNNLM, we were able to achieve 8% relative WER reduction and preserve real-time operation of our conversational telephone speech recognition system.

* 12 pages, 2 figures 

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Don't shoot butterfly with rifles: Multi-channel Continuous Speech Separation with Early Exit Transformer

Oct 23, 2020
Sanyuan Chen, Yu Wu, Zhuo Chen, Takuya Yoshioka, Shujie Liu, Jinyu Li

With its strong modeling capacity that comes from a multi-head and multi-layer structure, Transformer is a very powerful model for learning a sequential representation and has been successfully applied to speech separation recently. However, multi-channel speech separation sometimes does not necessarily need such a heavy structure for all time frames especially when the cross-talker challenge happens only occasionally. For example, in conversation scenarios, most regions contain only a single active speaker, where the separation task downgrades to a single speaker enhancement problem. It turns out that using a very deep network structure for dealing with signals with a low overlap ratio not only negatively affects the inference efficiency but also hurts the separation performance. To deal with this problem, we propose an early exit mechanism, which enables the Transformer model to handle different cases with adaptive depth. Experimental results indicate that not only does the early exit mechanism accelerate the inference, but it also improves the accuracy.

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