Generalized maximum a posteriori spectral amplitude estimation for speech enhancement

Yu Tsao*, Ying Hui Lai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Spectral restoration methods for speech enhancement aim to remove noise components in noisy speech signals by using a gain function in the spectral domain. How to design the gain function is one of the most important parts for obtaining enhanced speech with good quality. In most studies, the gain function is designed by optimizing a criterion based on some assumptions of the noise and speech distributions, such as minimum mean square error (MMSE), maximum likelihood (ML), and maximum a posteriori (MAP) criteria. The MAP criterion shows advantage in obtaining a more reliable gain function by incorporating a suitable prior density. However, it has a problem as several studies showed: although MAP based estimator effectively reduces noise components when the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is low, it brings large speech distortion when the SNR is high. For solving this problem, we have proposed a generalized maximum a posteriori spectral amplitude (GMAPA) algorithm in designing a gain function for speech enhancement. The proposed GMAPA algorithm dynamically specifies the weight of prior density of speech spectra according to the SNR of the testing speech signals to calculate the optimal gain function. When the SNR is high, GMAPA adopts a small weight to prevent overcompensations that may result in speech distortions. On the other hand, when the SNR is low, GMAPA uses a large weight to avoid disturbance of the restoration caused by measurement noises. In our previous study, it has been proven that the weight of the prior density plays a crucial role to the GMAPA performance, and the weight is determined based on the SNR in an utterance-level. In this paper, we propose to compute the weight with the consideration of time-frequency correlations that result in a more accurate estimation of the gain function. Experiments were carried out to evaluate the proposed algorithm on both objective tests and subjective tests. The experimental results obtained from objective tests indicate that GMAPA is promising compared to several well-known algorithms at both high and low SNRs. The results of subjective listening tests indicate that GMAPA provides significantly higher sound quality than other speech enhancement algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-126
Number of pages15
JournalSpeech Communication
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Generalized MAPA
  • Spectral restoration
  • Speech enhancement


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