BinauralGrad: A Two-Stage Conditional Diffusion Probabilistic Model for Binaural Audio Synthesis

Binaural audio plays a significant role in constructing immersive augmented and virtual realities. As it is expensive to record binaural audio from the real world, synthesizing them from mono audio has attracted increasing attention. This synthesis process involves not only the basic physical warping of the mono audio, but also room reverberations and head/ear related filtrations, which, however, are difficult to accurately simulate in traditional digital signal processing. In this paper, we formulate the synthesis process from a different perspective by decomposing the binaural audio into a common part that shared by the left and right channels as well as a specific part that differs in each channel. Accordingly, we propose BinauralGrad, a novel two-stage framework equipped with diffusion models to synthesize them respectively. Specifically, in the first stage, the common information of the binaural audio is generated with a single-channel diffusion model conditioned on the mono audio, based on which the binaural audio is generated by a two-channel diffusion model in the second stage. Combining this novel perspective of two-stage synthesis with advanced generative models (i.e., the diffusion models),the proposed BinauralGrad is able to generate accurate and high-fidelity binaural audio samples. Experiment results show that on a benchmark dataset, BinauralGrad outperforms the existing baselines by a large margin in terms of both object and subject evaluation metrics (Wave L2: 0.128 vs. 0.157, MOS: 3.80 vs. 3.61). The generated audio samples are available online.

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