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Weakly-supervised Audio Separation via Bi-modal Semantic Similarity

Tanvir Mahmud · Saeed Amizadeh · Kazuhito Koishida · Diana Marculescu

Halle B #109
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Tue 7 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Conditional sound separation in multi-source audio mixtures without having access to single source sound data during training is a long standing challenge. Existing mix-and-separate based methods suffer from significant performance drop with multi-source training mixtures due to the lack of supervision signal for single source separation cases during training. However, in the case of language-conditional audio separation, we do have access to corresponding text descriptions for each audio mixture in our training data, which can be seen as (rough) representations of the audio samples in the language modality. That raises the curious question of how to generate supervision signal for single-source audio extraction by leveraging the fact that single-source sounding language entities can be easily extracted from the text description. To this end, in this paper, we propose a generic bi-modal separation framework which can enhance the existing unsupervised frameworks to separate single-source signals in a target modality (i.e., audio) using the easily separable corresponding signals in the conditioning modality (i.e., language), without having access to single-source samples in the target modality during training. We empirically show that this is well within reach if we have access to a pretrained joint embedding model between the two modalities (i.e., CLAP). Furthermore, we propose to incorporate our framework into two fundamental scenarios to enhance separation performance. First, we show that our proposed methodology significantly improves the performance of purely unsupervised baselines by reducing the distribution shift between training and test samples. In particular, we show that our framework can achieve 71% boost in terms of Signal-to-Distortion Ratio (SDR) over the baseline, reaching 97.5% of the supervised learning performance. Second, we show that we can further improve the performance of the supervised learning itself by 17% if we augment it by our proposed weakly-supervised framework. Our framework achieves this by making large corpora of unsupervised data available to the supervised learning model as well as utilizing a natural, robust regularization mechanism through weak supervision from the language modality, and hence enabling a powerful semi-supervised framework for audio separation. Code is released at

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