Abstract

This paper presents a new spectral modeling method for statistical parametric speech synthesis. In the conventional methods, high-level spectral parameters, such as mel-cepstra or line spectral pairs, are adopted as the features for hidden Markov model (HMM)-based parametric speech synthesis. Our proposed method described in this paper improves the conventional method in two ways. First, distributions of low-level, un-transformed spectral envelopes (extracted by the STRAIGHT vocoder) are used as the parameters for synthesis. Second, instead of using single Gaussian distribution, we adopt the graphical models with multiple hidden variables, including restricted Boltzmann machines (RBM) and deep belief networks (DBN), to represent the distribution of the low-level spectral envelopes at each HMM state. At the synthesis time, the spectral envelopes are predicted from the RBM-HMMs or the DBN-HMMs of the input sentence following the maximum output probability parameter generation criterion with the constraints of the dynamic features. A Gaussian approximation is applied to the marginal distribution of the visible stochastic variables in the RBM or DBN at each HMM state in order to achieve a closed-form solution to the parameter generation problem. Our experimental results show that both RBM-HMM and DBN-HMM are able to generate spectral envelope parameter sequences better than the conventional Gaussian-HMM with superior generalization capabilities and that DBN-HMM and RBM-HMM perform similarly due possibly to the use of Gaussian approximation. As a result, our proposed method can significantly alleviate the over-smoothing effect and improve the naturalness of the conventional HMM-based speech synthesis system using mel-cepstra.