nnAudio: An on-the-fly GPU Audio to Spectrogram Conversion Toolbox Using 1D Convolution Neural Networks

TitlennAudio: An on-the-fly GPU Audio to Spectrogram Conversion Toolbox Using 1D Convolution Neural Networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCheuk K.W., Anderson H., Agres K., Herremans D.
JournalIEEE Access

Converting time domain waveforms to frequency domain spectrograms is typically considered to be a prepossessing step done before model training. This approach, however, has several drawbacks. First, it takes a lot of hard disk space to store different frequency domain representations. This is especially true during the model development and tuning process, when exploring various types of spectrograms for optimal performance. Second, if another dataset is used, one must process all the audio clips again before the network can be retrained. In this paper, we integrate the time domain to frequency domain conversion as part of the model structure, and propose a neural network based toolbox, nnAudio, which leverages 1D convolutional neural networks to perform time domain to frequency domain conversion during feed-forward. It allows on-the-fly spectrogram generation without the need to store any spectrograms on the disk. This approach also allows back-propagation on the waveforms-to-spectrograms transformation layer, which implies that this transformation process can be made trainable, and hence further optimized by gradient descent. nnAudio reduces the waveforms-to-spectrograms conversion time for 1,770 waveforms (from the MAPS dataset) from 10.64 seconds with librosa to only 0.001 seconds for Short-Time Fourier Transform (STFT), 18.3 seconds to 0.015 seconds for Mel spectrogram, 103.4 seconds to 0.258 for constant-Q transform (CQT), when using GPU on our DGX work station with CPU: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2698 v4 @ 2.20GHz Tesla v100 32Gb GPUs. (Only 1 GPU is being used for all the experiments.) We also further optimize the existing CQT algorithm, so that the CQT spectrogram can be obtained without aliasing in a much faster computation time (from 0.258 seconds to only 0.001 seconds).