Coding speech signals at very low rates (below 1 kb/s) with high intelligibility

Ghaemmaghami, Shahrokh (1998) Coding speech signals at very low rates (below 1 kb/s) with high intelligibility. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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This thesis presents an original approach to parametric speech coding at rates below 1 kbitsjsec, primarily for speech storage applications. Essential processes considered in this research encompass efficient characterization of evolutionary configuration of vocal tract to follow phonemic features with high fidelity, representation of speech excitation using minimal parameters with minor degradation in naturalness of synthesized speech, and finally, quantization of resulting parameters at the nominated rates. For encoding speech spectral features, a new method relying on Temporal Decomposition (TD) is developed which efficiently compresses spectral information through interpolation between most steady points over time trajectories of spectral parameters using a new basis function. The compression ratio provided by the method is independent of the updating rate of the feature vectors, hence allows high resolution in tracking significant temporal variations of speech formants with no effect on the spectral data rate. Accordingly, regardless of the quantization technique employed, the method yields a high compression ratio without sacrificing speech intelligibility. Several new techniques for improving performance of the interpolation of spectral parameters through phonetically-based analysis are proposed and implemented in this research, comprising event approximated TD, near-optimal shaping event approximating functions, efficient speech parametrization for TD on the basis of an extensive investigation originally reported in this thesis, and a hierarchical error minimization algorithm for decomposition of feature parameters which significantly reduces the complexity of the interpolation process. Speech excitation in this work is characterized based on a novel Multi-Band Excitation paradigm which accurately determines the harmonic structure in the LPC (linear predictive coding) residual spectra, within individual bands, using the concept 11 of Instantaneous Frequency (IF) estimation in frequency domain. The model yields aneffective two-band approximation to excitation and computes pitch and voicing with high accuracy as well. New methods for interpolative coding of pitch and gain contours are also developed in this thesis. For pitch, relying on the correlation between phonetic evolution and pitch variations during voiced speech segments, TD is employed to interpolate the pitch contour between critical points introduced by event centroids. This compresses pitch contour in the ratio of about 1/10 with negligible error. To approximate gain contour, a set of uniformly-distributed Gaussian event-like functions is used which reduces the amount of gain information to about 1/6 with acceptable accuracy. The thesis also addresses a new quantization method applied to spectral features on the basis of statistical properties and spectral sensitivity of spectral parameters extracted from TD-based analysis. The experimental results show that good quality speech, comparable to that of conventional coders at rates over 2 kbits/sec, can be achieved at rates 650-990 bits/sec.

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ID Code: 36065
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Presented to the Signal Processing Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Sound Recording and reproducing Digital techniques, Speech synthesis Data processing, speech coding, very low rate speech coding, temporal decomposition overlapping segment quantization, phonetically based interpolation, multi-band excitation (MBE), linear predictive coding (LPC), pitch detection, pitch interpolation, gain interpolation, voicing detection, non-uniform quantization, optimal quantization, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Shahrokh Ghaemmaghami
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:04
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 02:56

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