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MOS vs. AB: Evaluating Text-to-Speech Systems Reliably Using Clustered Standard Errors

Lev Finkelstein
Proc. Interspeech 2023


The quality of synthetic speech is typically evaluated using subjective listening tests. An underlying assumption is that these tests are reliable, i.e., running the test multiple times gives consistent results. A common approach to study reliability is a replication study. Existing studies focus primarily on Mean Opinion Score (MOS), and few consider the error bounds from the original test. In contrast, we present a replication study of both MOS and AB preference tests to answer two questions: (1) which of the two test types is more reliable for system comparison, and (2) for both test types, how reliable are the results with respect to their estimated standard error? We find that while AB tests are more reliable for system comparison, standard errors are underestimated for both test types. We show that these underestimates are partially due to broken independence assumptions, and suggest alternate methods of standard error estimation that account for dependencies among ratings.

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