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J Voice. 2003 Jun;17(2):126-39.

Acoustic analysis of pathological voices compressed with MPEG system.

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Department of Basic and Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Castellon, Spain.


The MPEG-1 Layer 3 compression schema of audio signal, commonly known as mp3, has caused a great impact in recent years as it has reached high compression rates while conserving a high sound quality. Music and speech samples compressed at high bitrates are perceptually indistinguishable from the original samples, but very little was known about how compression acoustically affects the voice signal. A previous work with normal voices showed a high fidelity at high-bitrate compressions both in voice parameters and the amplitude-frequency spectrum. In the present work, dysphonic voices were tested through two studies. In the first study, spectrograms, long-term average spectra (LTAS), and fast Fourier transform (FFT) spectra of compressed and original samples of running speech were compared. In the second study, intensities, formant frequencies, formant bandwidths, and a multidimensional set of voice parameters were tested in a set of sustained phonations. Results showed that compression at high bitrates (96 and 128 kbps) preserved the relevant acoustic properties of the pathological voices. With compressions at lower bitrates, fidelity decreases, introducing some important alterations. Results from both works, Gonzalez and Cervera and this paper, open up the possibility of using MPEG-compression at high bitrates to store or transmit high-quality speech recordings, without altering their acoustic properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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