RJ Skerry-Ryan

RJ Skerry-Ryan

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    Preview abstract We present Spectron, a novel approach to adapting pre-trained large language models (LLMs) to perform spoken question answering (QA) and speech continuation. By endowing the LLM with a pre-trained speech encoder, our model becomes able to take speech inputs and generate speech outputs. The entire system is trained endto-end and operates directly on spectrograms, simplifying our architecture. Key to our approach is a training objective that jointly supervises speech recognition, text continuation, and speech synthesis using only paired speech-text pairs, enabling a ‘cross-modal’ chain-of-thought within a single decoding pass. Our method surpasses existing spoken language models in speaker preservation and semantic coherence. Furthermore, the proposed model improves upon direct initialization in retaining the knowledge of the original LLM as demonstrated through spoken QA datasets. We release our audio samples and spoken QA dataset via our website. View details
    Preview abstract This work explores the task of synthesizing speech in human-sounding voices unseen in any training set. We call this task "speaker generation", and present TacoSpawn, a system that performs competitively at this task. TacoSpawn is a deep generative text-to-speech model that learns a distribution over a speaker embedding space, which enables sampling of novel and diverse speakers. Our method is easy to implement, and does not require transfer learning from speaker ID systems. We present objective and subjective metrics for evaluating performance on this task, and demonstrate that our proposed objective metrics correlate with human perception of speaker similarity. View details
    Preview abstract We describe a sequence-to-sequence neural network which can directly generate speech waveforms from text inputs. The architecture extends the Tacotron model by incorporating a normalizing flow in the decoder loop. Output waveforms are modeled as a sequence of non-overlapping fixed-length frames, each one containing hundreds of samples. The inter-dependencies of waveform samples within each frame are modeled using the normalizing flow, enabling parallel training and synthesis. Longer-term dependencies are handled autoregressively by conditioning each flow on its preceding frames. The model allows for straightforward optimization towards the maximum likelihood objective, without utilizing intermediate spectral features nor additional loss terms. Contemporary state-of-the-art TTS systems use a sequence of separately learned models: one (such as Tacotron) which generates intermediate features (such as spectograms) from text, followed by a vocoder model (such as WaveRNN) which generates waveform samples from the intermediate features. The proposed system, in contrast, does not use a fixed intermediate representation ,and learns all parameters end-to-end. We demonstrate (to the best of our knowledge) the first system in the literature to do so successfully. Experiments show that the quality of speech generated from the proposed model is nearly competitive with the state-of-the-art neural TTS methods, with significantly improved generation speed. View details
    Preview abstract We present a state-of-the-art non-autoregressive Text-To-Speech model. The model called Parallel Tacotron 2 learns to synthesize speech with good quality without supervised duration signals and other assumptions about the token-to-frame mapping. Specifically, we introduce a novel learned attention mechanism and an iterative reconstruction loss based on Soft Dynamic Time Warping. We show that this new unsupervised model outperforms the baselines in naturalness in several diverse multi speaker evaluations. Further, we show that the explicit duration model that the model has learned can be used to control the synthesized speech. View details
    Preview abstract We present a novel generative model that combines state-of-the-art neural text-to-speech (TTS) with semi-supervised probabilistic latent variable models. By providing partial supervision to some of the latent variables, we are able to force them to take on consistent and interpretable purposes, which previously hasn't been possible with purely unsupervised methods. We demonstrate that our model is able to reliably discover and control important but rarely labelled attributes of speech, such as affect and speaking rate, with as little as 0.5\% (15 minutes) supervision. Even at such low supervision levels we do not observe a degradation of synthesis quality compared to a state-of-the-art baseline. View details
    Preview abstract Although end-to-end text-to-speech (TTS) models such as Tacotron have shown excellent results, they typically require a sizable set of high-quality (text, audio) pairs for training, which are expensive to collect. In this paper, we propose a semi-supervised training framework to improve the data efficiency of Tacotron. The idea is to allow Tacotron to utilize textual and acoustic knowledge contained in large, publicly-available text and speech corpora. Importantly, these external data are unpaired and potentially noisy. Specifically, first we embed each word in the input text into word vectors and condition the Tacotron encoder on them. We then use an unpaired speech corpus to pre-train the Tacotron decoder in the acoustic domain. Finally, we fine-tune the model using available paired data. We demonstrate that the proposed framework enables Tacotron to generate intelligible speech using less than half an hour of paired training data. View details
    Preview abstract Despite the ability to produce human-level speech for in-domain text, attention-based end-to-end text-to-speech (TTS) systems suffer from text alignment failures that increase in frequency for out-of-domain text. We show that these failures can be addressed using simple location-relative attention mechanisms that do away with content-based query/key comparisons. We compare two families of attention mechanisms: location-relative GMM-based mechanisms and additive energy-based mechanisms. We suggest simple modifications to GMM-based attention that allow it to align quickly and consistently during training, and introduce a new location-relative attention mechanism to the additive energy-based family, called Dynamic Convolution Attention (DCA). We compare the various mechanisms in terms of alignment speed and consistency during training, naturalness, and ability to generalize to long utterances, and conclude that GMM attention and DCA can generalize to very long utterances, while preserving naturalness for shorter, in-domain utterances. View details
    Preview abstract We present a multispeaker, multilingual text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis model based on Tacotron that is able to produce high quality speech in multiple languages. Moreover, the model is able to transfer voices across languages, e.g. synthesize fluent Spanish speech using an English speaker's voice, without training on any bilingual or parallel examples. Such transfer works across distantly related languages, e.g. English and Mandarin. Critical to achieving this result are: 1. using a phonemic input representation to encourage sharing of model capacity across languages, and 2. incorporating an adversarial loss term to encourage the model to disentangle its representation of speaker identity (which is perfectly correlated with language in the training data) from the speech content. Further scaling up the model by training on multiple speakers of each language, and incorporating an autoencoding input to help stabilize attention during training, results in a model which can be used to consistently synthesize intelligible speech for training speakers in all languages seen during training, and in native or foreign accents. View details
    Preview abstract Recent work has explored sequence-to-sequence latent variable models for expressive speech synthesis (supporting control and transfer of prosody and style), but has not presented a coherent framework for understanding the trade-offs between the competing methods. In this paper, we propose embedding capacity (the amount of information the embedding contains about the data) as a unified method of analyzing the behavior of latent variable models of speech, comparing existing heuristic (non-variational) methods to variational methods that are able to explicitly constrain capacity using an upper bound on representational mutual information. In our proposed model (Capacitron), we show that by adding conditional dependencies to the variational posterior such that it matches the form of the true posterior, the same model can be used for high-precision prosody transfer, text-agnostic style transfer, and generation of natural-sounding prior samples. For multi-speaker models, Capacitron is able to preserve target speaker identity during inter-speaker prosody transfer and when drawing samples from the latent prior. Lastly, we introduce a method for decomposing embedding capacity hierarchically across two sets of latents, allowing a portion of the latent variability to be specified and the remaining variability sampled from a learned prior. Audio examples are available on the web. View details
    Preview abstract In this work, we propose “global style tokens”(GSTs), a bank of embeddings that are jointly trained within Tacotron, a state-of-the-art end-to-end speech synthesis system. The embeddings are trained in a completely unsupervised manner, and yet learn to model a large range of acoustic expressiveness. GSTs lead to a rich set of surprising results. The soft interpretable “labels” they generate can be used to control synthesis in novel ways, such as varying speed and modifying speak-ing style – independently of the text content. The labels can also be used for style transfer, replicating the speaking style of one “seed” phrase across an entire long-form text corpus. Perhaps most surprisingly, when trained on noisy, unlabelled found data, GSTs learn to factorize noise and speaker identity, providing a path towards highly scaleable but robust speech synthesis. View details
    Natural TTS Synthesis By Conditioning WaveNet On Mel Spectrogram Predictions
    Jonathan Shen
    Ruoming Pang
    Mike Schuster
    Navdeep Jaitly
    Zongheng Yang
    Yu Zhang
    Yuxuan Wang
    Yannis Agiomyrgiannakis
    ICASSP(2018)
    Preview abstract This paper describes Tacotron 2, a neural network architecture for speech synthesis directly from text. The system is composed of a recurrent sequence-to-sequence feature prediction network that maps character embeddings to mel-scale spectrograms, followed by a modified WaveNet model acting as a vocoder to synthesize timedomain waveforms from those spectrograms. Our model achieves a mean opinion score (MOS) of 4.53 comparable to a MOS of 4.58 for professionally recorded speech. To validate our design choices, we present ablation studies of key components of our system and evaluate the impact of using mel spectrograms as the input to WaveNet instead of linguistic, duration, and F0 features. We further demonstrate that using a compact acoustic intermediate representation enables significant simplification of the WaveNet architecture. View details
    Preview abstract We present an extension to the Tacotron speech synthesis architecture that learns a latent embedding space of prosody, derived from a reference acoustic representation containing the desired prosody. We show that conditioning Tacotron on this learned embedding space results in synthesized audio that matches the reference signal’s prosody with fine time detail. We define several quantitative and subjective metrics for evaluating prosody transfer, and report results and audio samples from a single-speaker and 44-speaker Tacotron model on a prosody transfer task. View details
    Preview abstract Unitary Evolution Recurrent Neural Networks (uRNNs) have three attractive properties: (a) the unitary property, (b) the complex-valued nature, and (c) their efficient linear operators [1]. The literature so far does not address - how critical is the unitary property of the model? Furthermore, uRNNs have not been evaluated on large tasks. To study these shortcomings, we propose the complex evolution Recurrent Neural Networks (ceRNNs), which is similar to uRNNs but drops the unitary property selectively. On a simple multivariate linear regression task, we illustrate that dropping the constraints improves the learning trajectory. In copy memory task, ceRNNs and uRNNs perform identically, demonstrating that their superior performance over LSTMs is due to complex-valued nature and their linear operators. In a large scale real-world speech recognition, we find that pre-pending a uRNN degrades the performance of our baseline LSTM acoustic models, while pre-pending a ceRNN improves the performance over the baseline by 0.8% absolute WER. View details
    Preview abstract A text-to-speech synthesis system typically consists of multiple stages, such as a text analysis frontend, an acoustic model and an audio synthesis module. Building these components often requires extensive domain expertise and may contain brittle design choices. In this paper, we present Tacotron, an end-to-end generative text-to-speech model that synthesizes speech directly from characters. Given (text, audio) pairs, the model can be trained completely from scratch with random initialization. We present several key techniques to make the sequence-to-sequence framework perform well for this challenging task. Tacotron achieves a 3.82 subjective 5-scale mean opinion score on US English, outperforming a production parametric system in terms of naturalness. In addition, since Tacotron generates speech at the frame level, it's substantially faster than sample-level autoregressive methods. View details
    Uncovering Latent Style Factors for Expressive Speech Synthesis
    Yuxuan Wang
    Ying Xiao
    Joel Shor
    NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning for Audio Signal Processing (ML4Audio)(2017) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Prosodic modeling is a core problem in speech synthesis. The key challenge is producing desirable prosody from textual input containing only phonetic information. In this preliminary study, we introduce the concept of "style tokens" in Tacotron, a recently proposed end-to-end neural speech synthesis model. Using style tokens, we aim to extract independent prosodic styles from training data. We show that without annotation data or an explicit supervision signal, our approach can automatically learn a variety of prosodic variations in a purely data-driven way. Importantly, each style token corresponds to a fixed style factor regardless of the given text sequence. As a result, we can control the prosodic style of synthetic speech in a somewhat predictable and globally consistent way. View details
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