Text-Independent Speaker Recognition Using Source Based Features

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Paliwal, Kuldip
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Speech signal is basically meant to carry the information about the linguistic message. But, it also contains the speaker-specific information. It is generated by acoustically exciting the cavities of the mouth and nose, and can be used to recognize (identify/verify) a person. This thesis deals with the speaker identification task; i.e., to find the identity of a person using his/her speech from a group of persons already enrolled during the training phase. Listeners use many audible cues in identifying speakers. These cues range from high level cues such as semantics and linguistics of the speech, to low level cues relating to the speaker's vocal tract and voice source characteristics. Generally, the vocal tract characteristics are modeled in modern day speaker identification systems by cepstral coefficients. Although, these coeficients are good at representing vocal tract information, they can be supplemented by using both pitch and voicing information. Pitch provides very important and useful information for identifying speakers. In the current speaker recognition systems, it is very rarely used as it cannot be reliably extracted, and is not always present in the speech signal. In this thesis, an attempt is made to utilize this pitch and voicing information for speaker identification. This thesis illustrates, through the use of a text-independent speaker identification system, the reasonable performance of the cepstral coefficients, achieving an identification error of 6%. Using pitch as a feature in a straight forward manner results in identification errors in the range of 86% to 94%, and this is not very helpful. The two main reasons why the direct use of pitch as a feature does not work for speaker recognition are listed below. First, the speech is not always periodic; only about half of the frames are voiced. Thus, pitch can not be estimated for half of the frames (i.e. for unvoiced frames). The problem is how to account for pitch information for the unvoiced frames during recognition phase. Second, the pitch estimation methods are not very reliable. They classify some of the frames unvoiced when they are really voiced. Also, they make pitch estimation errors (such as doubling or halving of pitch value depending on the method). In order to use pitch information for speaker recognition, we have to overcome these problems. We need a method which does not use the pitch value directly as feature and which should work for voiced as well as unvoiced frames in a reliable manner. We propose here a method which uses the autocorrelation function of the given frame to derive pitch-related features. We call these features the maximum autocorrelation value (MACV) features. These features can be extracted for voiced as well as unvoiced frames and do not suffer from the pitch doubling or halving type of pitch estimation errors. Using these MACV features along with the cepstral features, the speaker identification performance is improved by 45%.

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Thesis (Masters)
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Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
School of Microelectronic Engineering
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speaker recognition systems
speaker identification systems
voice recognition
voice identification
vocal recognition
vocal identification
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