Article details

Research area
Speech enhancement

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing 2013


Timo Matheja, Markus Buck, Tim Fingscheidt

A dynamic multi-channel speech enhancement system for distributed microphones in a car environment


Supporting multiple active speakers in automotive hands-free or speech dialog applications is an interesting issue not least due to comfort reasons. Therefore, a multi-channel system for enhancement of speech signals captured by distributed distant microphones in a car environment is presented. Each of the potential speakers in the car has a dedicated directional microphone close to his position that captures the corresponding speech signal. The aim of the resulting overall system is twofold: On the one hand, a combination of an arbitrary pre-defined subset of speakers’ signals can be performed, e.g., to create an output signal in a hands-free telephone conference call for a far-end communication partner. On the other hand, annoying cross-talk components from interfering sound sources occurring in multiple different mixed output signals are to be eliminated, motivated by the possibility of other hands-free applications being active in parallel. The system includes several signal processing stages. A dedicated signal processing block for interfering speaker cancellation attenuates the cross-talk components of undesired speech. Further signal enhancement comprises the reduction of residual cross-talk and background noise. Subsequently, a dynamic signal combination stage merges the processed single-microphone signals to obtain appropriate mixed signals at the system output that may be passed to applications such as telephony or a speech dialog system. Based on signal power ratios between the particular microphone signals, an appropriate speaker activity detection and therewith a robust control mechanism of the whole system is presented. The proposed system may be dynamically configured and has been evaluated for a car setup with four speakers sitting in the car cabin disturbed in various noise conditions.

Read/download now