In this work, we propose an alternative solution for parallel wave generation by WaveNet. In contrast to parallel WaveNet (Oord et al., 2018), we distill a Gaussian inverse autoregressive flow from the autoregressive WaveNet by minimizing a novel regularized KL divergence between their highly-peaked output distributions. Our method computes the KL divergence in closed-form, which simplifies the training algorithm and provides very efficient distillation. In addition, we propose the first text-to-wave neural architecture for speech synthesis, which is fully convolutional and enables fast end-to-end training from scratch. It significantly outperforms the previous pipeline that connects a text-to-spectrogram model to a separately trained WaveNet (Ping et al., 2018). We also successfully distill a parallel waveform synthesizer conditioned on the hidden representation in this end-to-end model.
Recent advances in speech synthesis suggest that limitations such as the lossy nature of the amplitude spectrum with minimum phase approximation and the over-smoothing effect in acoustic modeling can be overcome by using advanced machine learning approaches. In this paper, we build a framework in which we can fairly compare new vocoding and acoustic modeling techniques with conventional approaches by means of a large scale crowdsourced evaluation. Results on acoustic models showed that generative adversarial networks and an autoregressive (AR) model performed better than a normal recurrent network and the AR model performed best. Evaluation on vocoders by using the same AR acoustic model demonstrated that a Wavenet vocoder outperformed classical source-filter-based vocoders. Particularly, generated speech waveforms from the combination of AR acoustic model and Wavenet vocoder achieved a similar score of speech quality to vocoded speech.
We investigated the impact of noisy linguistic features on the performance of a Japanese speech synthesis system based on neural network that uses WaveNet vocoder. We compared an ideal system that uses manually corrected linguistic features including phoneme and prosodic information in training and test sets against a few other systems that use corrupted linguistic features. Both subjective and objective results demonstrate that corrupted linguistic features, especially those in the test set, affected the ideal system's performance significantly in a statistical sense due to a mismatched condition between the training and test sets. Interestingly, while an utterance-level Turing test showed that listeners had a difficult time differentiating synthetic speech from natural speech, it further indicated that adding noise to the linguistic features in the training set can partially reduce the effect of the mismatch, regularize the model, and help the system perform better when linguistic features of the test set are noisy.
Recent speech technology research has seen a growing interest in using WaveNets as statistical vocoders, i.e., generating speech waveforms from acoustic features. These models have been shown to improve the generated speech quality over classical vocoders in many tasks, such as text-to-speech synthesis and voice conversion. Furthermore, conditioning WaveNets with acoustic features allows sharing the waveform generator model across multiple speakers without additional speaker codes. However, multi-speaker WaveNet models require large amounts of training data and computation to cover the entire acoustic space. This paper proposes leveraging the source-filter model of speech production to more effectively train a speaker-independent waveform generator with limited resources. We present a multi-speaker 'GlotNet' vocoder, which utilizes a WaveNet to generate glottal excitation waveforms, which are then used to excite the corresponding vocal tract filter to produce speech. Listening tests show that the proposed model performs favourably to a direct WaveNet vocoder trained with the same model architecture and data.
Recent neural networks such as WaveNet and sampleRNN that learn directly from speech waveform samples have achieved very high-quality synthetic speech in terms of both naturalness and speaker similarity even in multi-speaker text-to-speech synthesis systems. Such neural networks are being used as an alternative to vocoders and hence they are often called neural vocoders. The neural vocoder uses acoustic features as local condition parameters, and these parameters need to be accurately predicted by another acoustic model. However, it is not yet clear how to train this acoustic model, which is problematic because the final quality of synthetic speech is significantly affected by the performance of the acoustic model. Significant degradation happens, especially when predicted acoustic features have mismatched characteristics compared to natural ones. In order to reduce the mismatched characteristics between natural and generated acoustic features, we propose frameworks that incorporate either a conditional generative adversarial network (GAN) or its variant, Wasserstein GAN with gradient penalty (WGAN-GP), into multi-speaker speech synthesis that uses the WaveNet vocoder. We also extend the GAN frameworks and use the discretized mixture logistic loss of a well-trained WaveNet in addition to mean squared error and adversarial losses as parts of objective functions. Experimental results show that acoustic models trained using the WGAN-GP framework using back-propagated discretized-mixture-of-logistics (DML) loss achieves the highest subjective evaluation scores in terms of both quality and speaker similarity.