Cochannel speaker separation by harmonic enhancement and suppression

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This paper presents a system for separating the cochannel speech of two talkers. The proposed harmonic enhancement and suppression (HES) system is based on a frame-by-frame speaker separation algorithm that exploits the pitch estimate of the stronger talker derived from the cochannel signal. The idea behind this approach is to recover the stronger talker's speech by enhancing their harmonic frequencies and formants given a multiresolution pitch estimate. The weaker talker's speech is obtained from the residual signal created when the harmonics and formants of the stronger talker are suppressed. An automatic speaker assignment algorithm is used to place recovered frames from the target and interfering talkers in separate channels. Automatic speaker assignment performs reasonably well in most cochannel environments, including voiced-on-voiced, voiced-on-unvoiced, unvoiced-on-unvoiced, assignment after processing silence intervals, and single talker speech (no cochannel interference). The HES system has been tested at target-to-interferer ratios (TIR's) from -18 to 18 dB with widely available data bases. It has demonstrated improved performance in keyword spotting tests for TIR values of 6, 12, and 18 dB, and in human listening tests for TIR values of -6 and -18 dB. © 1997 IEEE.

Publication Title

IEEE Transactions on Speech and Audio Processing