Although end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) methods (such as Tacotron2) are proposed and achieve state-of-the-art performance, they still suffer from two problems: 1) low efficiency during training and inference; 2) hard to model long dependency using current recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Inspired by the success of Transformer network in neural machine translation (NMT), in this paper, we introduce and adapt the multi-head attention mechanism to replace the RNN structures and also the original attention mechanism in Tacotron2. With the help of multi-head self-attention, the hidden states in the encoder and decoder are constructed in parallel, which improves the training efficiency. Meanwhile, any two inputs at different times are connected directly by self-attention mechanism, which solves the long range dependency problem effectively. Using phoneme sequences as input, our Transformer TTS network generates mel spectrograms, followed by a WaveNet vocoder to output the final audio results. Experiments are conducted to test the efficiency and performance of our new network. For the efficiency, our Transformer TTS network can speed up the training about 4.25 times faster compared with Tacotron2. For the performance, rigorous human tests show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance (outperforms Tacotron2 with a gap of 0.048) and is very close to human quality (4.39 vs 4.44 in MOS).

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语音合成(Speech Synthesis),也称为文语转换(Text-to-Speech, TTS,它是将任意的输入文本转换成自然流畅的语音输出。语音合成涉及到人工智能、心理学、声学、语言学、数字信号处理、计算机科学等多个学科技术,是信息处理领域中的一项前沿技术。 随着计算机技术的不断提高,语音合成技术从早期的共振峰合成,逐步发展为波形拼接合成和统计参数语音合成,再发展到混合语音合成;合成语音的质量、自然度已经得到明显提高,基本能满足一些特定场合的应用需求。目前,语音合成技术在银行、医院等的信息播报系统、汽车导航系统、自动应答呼叫中心等都有广泛应用,取得了巨大的经济效益。 另外,随着智能手机、MP3、PDA 等与我们生活密切相关的媒介的大量涌现,语音合成的应用也在逐渐向娱乐、语音教学、康复治疗等领域深入。可以说语音合成正在影响着人们生活的方方面面。

Attention mechanism is one of the most successful techniques in deep learning based Natural Language Processing (NLP). The transformer network architecture is completely based on attention mechanisms, and it outperforms sequence-to-sequence models in neural machine translation without recurrent and convolutional layers. Grapheme-to-phoneme (G2P) conversion is a task of converting letters (grapheme sequence) to their pronunciations (phoneme sequence). It plays a significant role in text-to-speech (TTS) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems. In this paper, we investigate the application of transformer architecture to G2P conversion and compare its performance with recurrent and convolutional neural network based approaches. Phoneme and word error rates are evaluated on the CMUDict dataset for US English and the NetTalk dataset. The results show that transformer based G2P outperforms the convolutional-based approach in terms of word error rate and our results significantly exceeded previous recurrent approaches (without attention) regarding word and phoneme error rates on both datasets. Furthermore, the size of the proposed model is much smaller than the size of the previous approaches.

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Tacotron-based text-to-speech (TTS) systems directly synthesize speech from text input. Such frameworks typically consist of a feature prediction network that maps character sequences to frequency-domain acoustic features, followed by a waveform reconstruction algorithm or a neural vocoder that generates the time-domain waveform from acoustic features. As the loss function is usually calculated only for frequency-domain acoustic features, that doesn't directly control the quality of the generated time-domain waveform. To address this problem, we propose a new training scheme for Tacotron-based TTS, referred to as WaveTTS, that has 2 loss functions: 1) time-domain loss, denoted as the waveform loss, that measures the distortion between the natural and generated waveform; and 2) frequency-domain loss, that measures the Mel-scale acoustic feature loss between the natural and generated acoustic features. WaveTTS ensures both the quality of the acoustic features and the resulting speech waveform. To our best knowledge, this is the first implementation of Tacotron with joint time-frequency domain loss. Experimental results show that the proposed framework outperforms the baselines and achieves high-quality synthesized speech.

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Recently, fully recurrent neural network (RNN) based end-to-end models have been proven to be effective for multi-speaker speech recognition in both the single-channel and multi-channel scenarios. In this work, we explore the use of Transformer models for these tasks by focusing on two aspects. First, we replace the RNN-based encoder-decoder in the speech recognition model with a Transformer architecture. Second, in order to use the Transformer in the masking network of the neural beamformer in the multi-channel case, we modify the self-attention component to be restricted to a segment rather than the whole sequence in order to reduce computation. Besides the model architecture improvements, we also incorporate an external dereverberation preprocessing, the weighted prediction error (WPE), enabling our model to handle reverberated signals. Experiments on the spatialized wsj1-2mix corpus show that the Transformer-based models achieve 40.9% and 25.6% relative WER reduction, down to 12.1% and 6.4% WER, under the anechoic condition in single-channel and multi-channel tasks, respectively, while in the reverberant case, our methods achieve 41.5% and 13.8% relative WER reduction, down to 16.5% and 15.2% WER.

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We explore deep autoregressive Transformer models in language modeling for speech recognition. We focus on two aspects. First, we revisit Transformer model configurations specifically for language modeling. We show that well configured Transformer models outperform our baseline models based on the shallow stack of LSTM recurrent neural network layers. We carry out experiments on the open-source LibriSpeech 960hr task, for both 200K vocabulary word-level and 10K byte-pair encoding subword-level language modeling. We apply our word-level models to conventional hybrid speech recognition by lattice rescoring, and the subword-level models to attention based encoder-decoder models by shallow fusion. Second, we show that deep Transformer language models do not require positional encoding. The positional encoding is an essential augmentation for the self-attention mechanism which is invariant to sequence ordering. However, in autoregressive setup, as is the case for language modeling, the amount of information increases along the position dimension, which is a positional signal by its own. The analysis of attention weights shows that deep autoregressive self-attention models can automatically make use of such positional information. We find that removing the positional encoding even slightly improves the performance of these models.

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Recent works have highlighted the strengths of the Transformer architecture for dealing with sequence tasks. At the same time, neural architecture search has advanced to the point where it can outperform human-designed models. The goal of this work is to use architecture search to find a better Transformer architecture. We first construct a large search space inspired by the recent advances in feed-forward sequential models and then run evolutionary architecture search, seeding our initial population with the Transformer. To effectively run this search on the computationally expensive WMT 2014 English-German translation task, we develop the progressive dynamic hurdles method, which allows us to dynamically allocate more resources to more promising candidate models. The architecture found in our experiments - the Evolved Transformer - demonstrates consistent improvement over the Transformer on four well-established language tasks: WMT 2014 English-German, WMT 2014 English-French, WMT 2014 English-Czech and LM1B. At big model size, the Evolved Transformer is twice as efficient as the Transformer in FLOPS without loss in quality. At a much smaller - mobile-friendly - model size of ~7M parameters, the Evolved Transformer outperforms the Transformer by 0.7 BLEU on WMT'14 English-German.

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Although end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) methods (such as Tacotron2) are proposed and achieve state-of-the-art performance, they still suffer from two problems: 1) low efficiency during training and inference; 2) hard to model long dependency using current recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Inspired by the success of Transformer network in neural machine translation (NMT), in this paper, we introduce and adapt the multi-head attention mechanism to replace the RNN structures and also the original attention mechanism in Tacotron2. With the help of multi-head self-attention, the hidden states in the encoder and decoder are constructed in parallel, which improves the training efficiency. Meanwhile, any two inputs at different times are connected directly by self-attention mechanism, which solves the long range dependency problem effectively. Using phoneme sequences as input, our Transformer TTS network generates mel spectrograms, followed by a WaveNet vocoder to output the final audio results. Experiments are conducted to test the efficiency and performance of our new network. For the efficiency, our Transformer TTS network can speed up the training about 4.25 times faster compared with Tacotron2. For the performance, rigorous human tests show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance (outperforms Tacotron2 with a gap of 0.048) and is very close to human quality (4.39 vs 4.44 in MOS).

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Neural waveform models such as the WaveNet are used in many recent text-to-speech systems, but the original WaveNet is quite slow in waveform generation because of its autoregressive (AR) structure. Although faster non-AR models were recently reported, they may be prohibitively complicated due to the use of a distilling training method and the blend of other disparate training criteria. This study proposes a non-AR neural source-filter waveform model that can be directly trained using spectrum-based training criteria and the stochastic gradient descent method. Given the input acoustic features, the proposed model first uses a source module to generate a sine-based excitation signal and then uses a filter module to transform the excitation signal into the output speech waveform. Our experiments demonstrated that the proposed model generated waveforms at least 100 times faster than the AR WaveNet and the quality of its synthetic speech is close to that of speech generated by the AR WaveNet. Ablation test results showed that both the sine-wave excitation signal and the spectrum-based training criteria were essential to the performance of the proposed model.

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Although the Transformer translation model (Vaswani et al., 2017) has achieved state-of-the-art performance in a variety of translation tasks, how to use document-level context to deal with discourse phenomena problematic for Transformer still remains a challenge. In this work, we extend the Transformer model with a new context encoder to represent document-level context, which is then incorporated into the original encoder and decoder. As large-scale document-level parallel corpora are usually not available, we introduce a two-step training method to take full advantage of abundant sentence-level parallel corpora and limited document-level parallel corpora. Experiments on the NIST Chinese-English datasets and the IWSLT French-English datasets show that our approach improves over Transformer significantly.

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This paper proposes a method for generating speech from filterbank mel frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC), which are widely used in speech applications, such as ASR, but are generally considered unusable for speech synthesis. First, we predict fundamental frequency and voicing information from MFCCs with an autoregressive recurrent neural net. Second, the spectral envelope information contained in MFCCs is converted to all-pole filters, and a pitch-synchronous excitation model matched to these filters is trained. Finally, we introduce a generative adversarial network -based noise model to add a realistic high-frequency stochastic component to the modeled excitation signal. The results show that high quality speech reconstruction can be obtained, given only MFCC information at test time.

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The dominant sequence transduction models are based on complex recurrent or convolutional neural networks in an encoder-decoder configuration. The best performing models also connect the encoder and decoder through an attention mechanism. We propose a new simple network architecture, the Transformer, based solely on attention mechanisms, dispensing with recurrence and convolutions entirely. Experiments on two machine translation tasks show these models to be superior in quality while being more parallelizable and requiring significantly less time to train. Our model achieves 28.4 BLEU on the WMT 2014 English-to-German translation task, improving over the existing best results, including ensembles by over 2 BLEU. On the WMT 2014 English-to-French translation task, our model establishes a new single-model state-of-the-art BLEU score of 41.8 after training for 3.5 days on eight GPUs, a small fraction of the training costs of the best models from the literature. We show that the Transformer generalizes well to other tasks by applying it successfully to English constituency parsing both with large and limited training data.

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