Author(s): Nelson Morgan, Steven Greenberg
The performance of present-day automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems is seriously compromised by levels of acoustic interference (such as additive noise and room reverberation) representative of real-world speaking conditions. Studies on the perception of speech by human listeners suggest that recognizer robustness might be improved by focusing on temporal structure in the speech signal that appears as low-frequency (below 16 Hz) amplitude modulations in subband channels following critical-band frequency analysis. A speech representation that emphasizes this temporal structure, the "modulation spectrogram", has been developed. Visual displays of speech produced with the modulation spectrogram are relatively stable in the presence of high levels of background noise and reverberation. Using the modulation spectrogram as a front end for ASR provides a significant improvement in performance on highly reverberant speech. When the modulation spectrogram is used in combination with log-RASTA-PLP (log RelAtive SpecTrAl Perceptual Linear Predictive analysis) performance over a range of noisy and reverberant conditions is significantly improved, suggesting that the use of multiple representations is another promising method for improving the robustness of ASR systems.