441 research outputs found

    Towards Personalized Synthesized Voices for Individuals with Vocal Disabilities: Voice Banking and Reconstruction

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    When individuals lose the ability to produce their own speech, due to degenerative diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND) or Parkinson’s, they lose not only a functional means of communication but also a display of their individual and group identity. In order to build personalized synthetic voices, attempts have been made to capture the voice before it is lost, using a process known as voice banking. But, for some patients, the speech deterioration frequently coincides or quickly follows diagnosis. Using HMM-based speech synthesis, it is now possible to build personalized synthetic voices with minimal data recordings and even disordered speech. The power of this approach is that it is possible to use the patient’s recordings to adapt existing voice models pre-trained on many speakers. When the speech has begun to deteriorate, the adapted voice model can be further modified in order to compensate for the disordered characteristics found in the patient’s speech. The University of Edinburgh has initiated a project for voice banking and reconstruction based on this speech synthesis technology. At the current stage of the project, more than fifteen patients with MND have already been recorded and five of them have been delivered a reconstructed voice. In this paper, we present an overview of the project as well as subjective assessments of the reconstructed voices and feedback from patients and their families

    Analysis of Speaker Clustering Strategies for HMM-Based Speech Synthesis

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    This paper describes a method for speaker clustering, with the application of building average voice models for speakeradaptive HMM-based speech synthesis that are a good basis for adapting to specific target speakers. Our main hypothesis is that using perceptually similar speakers to build the average voice model will be better than use unselected speakers, even if the amount of data available from perceptually similar speakers is smaller. We measure the perceived similarities among a group of 30 female speakers in a listening test and then apply multiple linear regression to automatically predict these listener judgements of speaker similarity and thus to identify similar speakers automatically. We then compare a variety of average voice models trained on either speakers who were perceptually judged to be similar to the target speaker, or speakers selected by the multiple linear regression, or a large global set of unselected speakers. We find that the average voice model trained on perceptually similar speakers provides better performance than the global model, even though the latter is trained on more data, confirming our main hypothesis. However, the average voice model using speakers selected automatically by the multiple linear regression does not reach the same level of performance. Index Terms: Statistical parametric speech synthesis, hidden Markov models, speaker adaptatio