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Audio Transformers:Transformer Architectures For Large Scale Audio Understanding. Adieu Convolutions

2021-05-01 19:38:30
Prateek Verma, Jonathan Berger


tract: Over the past two decades, CNN architectures have produced compelling models of sound perception and cognition, learning hierarchical organizations of features. Analogous to successes in computer vision, audio feature classification can be optimized for a particular task of interest, over a wide variety of datasets and labels. In fact similar architectures designed for image understanding have proven effective for acoustic scene analysis. Here we propose applying Transformer based architectures without convolutional layers to raw audio signals. On a standard dataset of Free Sound 50K,comprising of 200 categories, our model outperforms convolutional models to produce state of the art results. This is significant as unlike in natural language processing and computer vision, we do not perform unsupervised pre-training for outperforming convolutional architectures. On the same training set, with respect mean aver-age precision benchmarks, we show a significant improvement. We further improve the performance of Transformer architectures by using techniques such as pooling inspired from convolutional net-work designed in the past few years. In addition, we also show how multi-rate signal processing ideas inspired from wavelets, can be applied to the Transformer embeddings to improve the results. We also show how our models learns a non-linear non constant band-width filter-bank, which shows an adaptable time frequency front end representation for the task of audio understanding, different from other tasks e.g. pitch estimation.

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