GEV Beamforming Supported by DOA-based Masks Generated on Pairs of Microphones

19 May 2020  ·  Francois Grondin, Jean-Samuel Lauzon, Jonathan Vincent, Francois Michaud ·

Distant speech processing is a challenging task, especially when dealing with the cocktail party effect. Sound source separation is thus often required as a preprocessing step prior to speech recognition to improve the signal to distortion ratio (SDR). Recently, a combination of beamforming and speech separation networks have been proposed to improve the target source quality in the direction of arrival of interest. However, with this type of approach, the neural network needs to be trained in advance for a specific microphone array geometry, which limits versatility when adding/removing microphones, or changing the shape of the array. The solution presented in this paper is to train a neural network on pairs of microphones with different spacing and acoustic environmental conditions, and then use this network to estimate a time-frequency mask from all the pairs of microphones forming the array with an arbitrary shape. Using this mask, the target and noise covariance matrices can be estimated, and then used to perform generalized eigenvalue (GEV) beamforming. Results show that the proposed approach improves the SDR from 4.78 dB to 7.69 dB on average, for various microphone array geometries that correspond to commercially available hardware.

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