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A very low bit rate speech coder based on a recognition/synthesis paradigm

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2 Author(s)
Ki-Seung Lee ; Shannon Labs., AT&T Labs.-Res., Florham Park, NJ, USA ; Cox, R.V.

Previous studies have shown that a concatenative speech synthesis system with a large database produces more natural sounding speech. We apply this paradigm to the design of improved very low bit rate speech coders (sub 1000 b/s). The proposed speech coder consists of unit selection, prosody coding, prosody modification and waveform concatenation. The encoder selects the best unit sequence from a large database and compresses the prosody information. The transmitted parameters include unit indices and the prosody information. To increase naturalness as well as intelligibility, two costs are considered in the unit selection process: an acoustic target cost and a concatenation cost. A rate-distortion-based piecewise linear approximation is proposed to compress the pitch contour. The decoder concatenates the set of units, and then synthesizes the resultant sequence of speech frames using the harmonic+noise model (HNM) scheme. Before concatenating units, prosody modification which includes pitch shifting and gain modification is applied to match those of the input speech. With single speaker stimuli, a comparison category rating (CCR) test shows that the performance of the proposed coder is close to that of the 2400-b/s MELP coder at an average bit rate of about 800-b/s during talk spurts

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Speech and Audio Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 5 )