Low bit rate speech coding
Thesis (MScIng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
Despite enormous advances in digital communication, the voice is still the primary tool with which people exchange ideas. However, uncompressed digital speech tends to require prohibitively high data rates (upward of 64kbps), making it impractical for many applications. Speech coding is the process of reducing the data rate of digital voice to manageable levels. Parametric speech coders or vocoders utilise a-priori information about the mechanism by which speech is produced in order to achieve extremely efficient compression of speech signals (as low as 1 kbps). The greater part of this thesis comprises an investigation into parametric speech coding. This consisted of a review of the mathematical and heuristic tools used in parametric speech coding, as well as the implementation of an accepted standard algorithm for parametric voice coding. In order to examine avenues of improvement for the existing vocoders, we examined some of the mathematical structure underlying parametric speech coding. Following on from this, we developed a novel approach to parametric speech coding which obtained promising results under both objective and subjective evaluation. An additional contribution by this thesis was the comparative subjective evaluation of the effect of parametric speech coding on English and Xhosa speech. We investigated the performance of two different encoding algorithms on the two languages.