Universal Source Separation with Weakly Labelled Data

Published on May 11, 2023
· Submitted by akhaliq on May 15, 2023


Universal source separation (USS) is a fundamental research task for computational auditory scene analysis, which aims to separate mono recordings into individual source tracks. There are three potential challenges awaiting the solution to the audio source separation task. First, previous audio source separation systems mainly focus on separating one or a limited number of specific sources. There is a lack of research on building a unified system that can separate arbitrary sources via a single model. Second, most previous systems require clean source data to train a separator, while clean source data are scarce. Third, there is a lack of USS system that can automatically detect and separate active sound classes in a hierarchical level. To use large-scale weakly labeled/unlabeled audio data for audio source separation, we propose a universal audio source separation framework containing: 1) an audio tagging model trained on weakly labeled data as a query net; and 2) a conditional source separation model that takes query net outputs as conditions to separate arbitrary sound sources. We investigate various query nets, source separation models, and training strategies and propose a hierarchical USS strategy to automatically detect and separate sound classes from the AudioSet ontology. By solely leveraging the weakly labelled AudioSet, our USS system is successful in separating a wide variety of sound classes, including sound event separation, music source separation, and speech enhancement. The USS system achieves an average signal-to-distortion ratio improvement (SDRi) of 5.57 dB over 527 sound classes of AudioSet; 10.57 dB on the DCASE 2018 Task 2 dataset; 8.12 dB on the MUSDB18 dataset; an SDRi of 7.28 dB on the Slakh2100 dataset; and an SSNR of 9.00 dB on the voicebank-demand dataset. We release the source code at


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