Spherical Microphone Array Processing for Acoustic Parameter Estimation and Signal Enhancement

In many distant speech acquisition scenarios, such as hands-free telephony or teleconferencing, the desired speech signal is corrupted by noise and reverberation. This degrades both the speech quality and intelligibility, making communication difficult or even impossible. Speech enhancement techniques seek to mitigate these effects and extract the desired speech signal. This objective is commonly achieved through the use of microphone arrays, which take advantage of the spatial properties of the sound field in order to reduce noise and reverberation. Spherical microphone arrays, where the microphones are arranged in a spherical configuration, usually mounted on a rigid baffle, are able to analyze the sound field in three dimensions; the captured sound field can then be efficiently described in the spherical harmonic domain (SHD). In this thesis, a number of novel spherical array processing algorithms are proposed, based in the SHD. In ...

Jarrett, Daniel P. — Imperial College London


Flexible Multi-Microphone Acquisition and Processing of Spatial Sound Using Parametric Sound Field Representations

This thesis deals with the efficient and flexible acquisition and processing of spatial sound using multiple microphones. In spatial sound acquisition and processing, we use multiple microphones to capture the sound of multiple sources being simultaneously active at a rever- berant recording side and process the sound depending on the application at the application side. Typical applications include source extraction, immersive spatial sound reproduction, or speech enhancement. A flexible sound acquisition and processing means that we can capture the sound with almost arbitrary microphone configurations without constraining the application at the ap- plication side. This means that we can realize and adjust the different applications indepen- dently of the microphone configuration used at the recording side. For example in spatial sound reproduction, where we aim at reproducing the sound such that the listener perceives the same impression as if he ...

Thiergart, Oliver — Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg


Informed spatial filters for speech enhancement

In modern devices which provide hands-free speech capturing functionality, such as hands-free communication kits and voice-controlled devices, the received speech signal at the microphones is corrupted by background noise, interfering speech signals, and room reverberation. In many practical situations, the microphones are not necessarily located near the desired source, and hence, the ratio of the desired speech power to the power of the background noise, the interfering speech, and the reverberation at the microphones can be very low, often around or even below 0 dB. In such situations, the comfort of human-to-human communication, as well as the accuracy of automatic speech recognisers for voice-controlled applications can be signi cantly degraded. Therefore, e ffective speech enhancement algorithms are required to process the microphone signals before transmitting them to the far-end side for communication, or before feeding them into a speech recognition ...

Taseska, Maja — Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Sparse Multi-Channel Linear Prediction for Blind Speech Dereverberation

In many speech communication applications, such as hands-free telephony and hearing aids, the microphones are located at a distance from the speaker. Therefore, in addition to the desired speech signal, the microphone signals typically contain undesired reverberation and noise, caused by acoustic reflections and undesired sound sources. Since these disturbances tend to degrade the quality of speech communication, decrease speech intelligibility and negatively affect speech recognition, efficient dereverberation and denoising methods are required. This thesis deals with blind dereverberation methods, not requiring any knowledge about the room impulse responses between the speaker and the microphones. More specifically, we propose a general framework for blind speech dereverberation based on multi-channel linear prediction (MCLP) and exploiting sparsity of the speech signal in the time-frequency domain.

Jukić, Ante — University of Oldenburg


Multi-microphone noise reduction and dereverberation techniques for speech applications

In typical speech communication applications, such as hands-free mobile telephony, voice-controlled systems and hearing aids, the recorded microphone signals are corrupted by background noise, room reverberation and far-end echo signals. This signal degradation can lead to total unintelligibility of the speech signal and decreases the performance of automatic speech recognition systems. In this thesis several multi-microphone noise reduction and dereverberation techniques are developed. In Part I we present a Generalised Singular Value Decomposition (GSVD) based optimal filtering technique for enhancing multi-microphone speech signals which are degraded by additive coloured noise. Several techniques are presented for reducing the computational complexity and we show that the GSVD-based optimal filtering technique can be integrated into a `Generalised Sidelobe Canceller' type structure. Simulations show that the GSVD-based optimal filtering technique achieves a larger signal-to-noise ratio improvement than standard fixed and adaptive beamforming techniques and ...

Doclo, Simon — Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


Dereverberation and noise reduction techniques based on acoustic multi-channel equalization

In many hands-free speech communication applications such as teleconferencing or voice-controlled applications, the recorded microphone signals do not only contain the desired speech signal, but also attenuated and delayed copies of the desired speech signal due to reverberation as well as additive background noise. Reverberation and background noise cause a signal degradation which can impair speech intelligibility and decrease the performance for many signal processing techniques. Acoustic multi-channel equalization techniques, which aim at inverting or reshaping the measured or estimated room impulse responses between the speech source and the microphone array, comprise an attractive approach to speech dereverberation since in theory perfect dereverberation can be achieved. However in practice, such techniques suffer from several drawbacks, such as uncontrolled perceptual effects, sensitivity to perturbations in the measured or estimated room impulse responses, and background noise amplification. The aim of this thesis ...

Kodrasi, Ina — University of Oldenburg


Feedback Delay Networks in Artificial Reverberation and Reverberation Enhancement

In today's audio production and reproduction as well as in music performance practices it has become common practice to alter reverberation artificially through electronics or electro-acoustics. For music productions, radio plays, and movie soundtracks, the sound is often captured in small studio spaces with little to no reverberation to save real estate and to ensure a controlled environment such that the artistically intended spatial impression can be added during post-production. Spatial sound reproduction systems require flexible adjustment of artificial reverberation to the diffuse sound portion to help the reconstruction of the spatial impression. Many modern performance spaces are multi-purpose, and the reverberation needs to be adjustable to the desired performance style. Employing electro-acoustic feedback, also known as Reverberation Enhancement Systems (RESs), it is possible to extend the physical to the desired reverberation. These examples demonstrate a wide range of applications ...

Schlecht, Sebastian Jiro — Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Spatial features of reverberant speech: estimation and application to recognition and diarization

Distant talking scenarios, such as hands-free calling or teleconference meetings, are essential for natural and comfortable human-machine interaction and they are being increasingly used in multiple contexts. The acquired speech signal in such scenarios is reverberant and affected by additive noise. This signal distortion degrades the performance of speech recognition and diarization systems creating troublesome human-machine interactions.This thesis proposes a method to non-intrusively estimate room acoustic parameters, paying special attention to a room acoustic parameter highly correlated with speech recognition degradation: clarity index. In addition, a method to provide information regarding the estimation accuracy is proposed. An analysis of the phoneme recognition performance for multiple reverberant environments is presented, from which a confusability metric for each phoneme is derived. This confusability metric is then employed to improve reverberant speech recognition performance. Additionally, room acoustic parameters can as well be used ...

Peso Parada, Pablo — Imperial College London


Integrating monaural and binaural cues for sound localization and segregation in reverberant environments

The problem of segregating a sound source of interest from an acoustic background has been extensively studied due to applications in hearing prostheses, robust speech/speaker recognition and audio information retrieval. Computational auditory scene analysis (CASA) approaches the segregation problem by utilizing grouping cues involved in the perceptual organization of sound by human listeners. Binaural processing, where input signals resemble those that enter the two ears, is of particular interest in the CASA field. The dominant approach to binaural segregation has been to derive spatially selective filters in order to enhance the signal in a direction of interest. As such, the problems of sound localization and sound segregation are closely tied. While spatial filtering has been widely utilized, substantial performance degradation is incurred in reverberant environments and more fundamentally, segregation cannot be performed without sufficient spatial separation between sources. This dissertation ...

Woodruff, John — The Ohio State University


A multimicrophone approach to speech processing in a smart-room environment

Recent advances in computer technology and speech and language processing have made possible that some new ways of person-machine communication and computer assistance to human activities start to appear feasible. Concretely, the interest on the development of new challenging applications in indoor environments equipped with multiple multimodal sensors, also known as smart-rooms, has considerably grown. In general, it is well-known that the quality of speech signals captured by microphones that can be located several meters away from the speakers is severely distorted by acoustic noise and room reverberation. In the context of the development of hands-free speech applications in smart-room environments, the use of obtrusive sensors like close-talking microphones is usually not allowed, and consequently, speech technologies must operate on the basis of distant-talking recordings. In such conditions, speech technologies that usually perform reasonably well in free of noise and ...

Abad, Alberto — Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya


Adaptive filtering techniques for noise reduction and acoustic feedback cancellation in hearing aids

Understanding speech in noise and the occurrence of acoustic feedback belong to the major problems of current hearing aid users. Hence, an urgent demand exists for efficient and well-working digital signal processing algorithms that offer a solution to these issues. In this thesis we develop adaptive filtering techniques for noise reduction and acoustic feedback cancellation. Thanks to the availability of low power digital signal processors, these algorithms can be integrated in a hearing aid. Because of the ongoing miniaturization in the hearing aid industry and the growing tendency towards multi-microphone hearing aids, robustness against imperfections such as microphone mismatch, has become a major issue in the design of a noise reduction algorithm. In this thesis we propose multimicrophone noise reduction techniques that are based on multi-channel Wiener filtering (MWF). Theoretical and experimental analysis demonstrate that these MWF-based techniques are less ...

Spriet, Ann — Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


Acoustic sensor network geometry calibration and applications

In the modern world, we are increasingly surrounded by computation devices with communication links and one or more microphones. Such devices are, for example, smartphones, tablets, laptops or hearing aids. These devices can work together as nodes in an acoustic sensor network (ASN). Such networks are a growing platform that opens the possibility for many practical applications. ASN based speech enhancement, source localization, and event detection can be applied for teleconferencing, camera control, automation, or assisted living. For this kind of applications, the awareness of auditory objects and their spatial positioning are key properties. In order to provide these two kinds of information, novel methods have been developed in this thesis. Information on the type of auditory objects is provided by a novel real-time sound classification method. Information on the position of human speakers is provided by a novel localization ...

Plinge, Axel — TU Dortmund University


Embedded Optimization Algorithms for Perceptual Enhancement of Audio Signals

This thesis investigates the design and evaluation of an embedded optimization framework for the perceptual enhancement of audio signals which are degraded by linear and/or nonlinear distortion. In general, audio signal enhancement has the goal to improve the perceived audio quality, speech intelligibility, or another desired perceptual attribute of the distorted audio signal by applying a real-time digital signal processing algorithm. In the designed embedded optimization framework, the audio signal enhancement problem under consideration is formulated and solved as a per-frame numerical optimization problem, allowing to compute the enhanced audio signal frame that is optimal according to a desired perceptual attribute. The first stage of the embedded optimization framework consists in the formulation of the per-frame optimization problem aimed at maximally enhancing the desired perceptual attribute, by explicitly incorporating a suitable model of human sound perception. The second stage of ...

Defraene, Bruno — KU Leuven


Robust Equalization of Multichannel Acoustic Systems

In most real-world acoustical scenarios, speech signals captured by distant microphones from a source are reverberated due to multipath propagation, and the reverberation may impair speech intelligibility. Speech dereverberation can be achieved by equalizing the channels from the source to microphones. Equalization systems can be computed using estimates of multichannel acoustic impulse responses. However, the estimates obtained from system identification always include errors; the fact that an equalization system is able to equalize the estimated multichannel acoustic system does not mean that it is able to equalize the true system. The objective of this thesis is to propose and investigate robust equalization methods for multichannel acoustic systems in the presence of system identification errors. Equalization systems can be computed using the multiple-input/output inverse theorem or multichannel least-squares method. However, equalization systems obtained from these methods are very sensitive to system ...

Zhang, Wancheng — Imperial College London


Inferring Room Geometries

Determining the geometry of an acoustic enclosure using microphone arrays has become an active area of research. Knowledge gained about the acoustic environment, such as the location of reflectors, can be advantageous for applications such as sound source localization, dereverberation and adaptive echo cancellation by assisting in tracking environment changes and helping the initialization of such algorithms. A methodology to blindly infer the geometry of an acoustic enclosure by estimating the location of reflective surfaces based on acoustic measurements using an arbitrary array geometry is developed and analyzed. The starting point of this work considers a geometric constraint, valid both in two and three-dimensions, that converts time-of-arrival and time-difference-of-arrival information into elliptical constraints about the location of reflectors. Multiple constraints are combined to yield the line or plane parameters of the reflectors by minimizing a specific cost function in the ...

Filos, Jason — Imperial College London

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