Google Research

Feature Learning with Raw-Waveform CLDNNs for Voice Activity Detection


Voice Activity Detection (VAD) is an important preprocessing step in any state-of-the-art speech recognition system. Choosing the right set of features and model architecture can be challenging and is an active area of research. In this paper we propose a novel approach to VAD to tackle both feature and model selection jointly. The proposed method is based on a CLDNN (Convolutional, Long Short-Term Memory, Deep Neural Networks) architecture fed directly with the raw waveform. We show that using the raw waveform allows the neural network to learn features directly for the task at hand, which is more powerful than using log-mel features, specially for noisy environments. In addition, using a CLDNN, which takes advantage of both frequency modeling with the CNN and temporal modeling with LSTM, is a much better model for VAD compared to the DNN. The proposed system achieves over 78% relative improvement in False Alarms (FA) at the operating point of 2% False Rejects (FR) on both clean and noisy conditions compared to a DNN of comparable size trained with log-mel features. In addition, we study the impact of the model size and the learned features to provide a better understanding of the proposed architecture

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