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Binaural LCMV beamforming with partial noise estimation

Nico Gößling, Elior Hadad, Sharon Gannot, Simon Doclo

Besides reducing undesired sources, i.e., interfering sources and background noise, another important objective of a binaural beamforming algorithm is to preserve the listener's spatial impression of the acoustic scene, which is achieved by preserving the binaural cues of all sound sources. While the binaural minimum variance distortionless response (BMVDR) beamformer provides a good noise reduction performance and preserves the binaural cues of the desired source, it does not allow to control the reduction of the interfering sources and distorts the binaural cues of the interfering sources and the background noise. Hence, several extensions have been proposed. First, the binaural linearly constrained minimum variance (BLCMV) beamformer uses additional constraints, enabling to control the reduction of the interfering sources while preserving their binaural cues.
Second, the BMVDR with partial noise estimation (BMVDR-N) mixes the output signals of the BMVDR with the noisy reference microphone signals, enabling to control the binaural cues of the background noise. Aiming at merging the advantages of both extensions, in this paper we propose the BLCMV with partial noise estimation (BLCMV-N). We show that the output signals of the BLCMV-N can be interpreted as a mixture between the noisy reference microphone signals and the output signals of a BLCMV using an adjusted interference scaling parameter. We provide a theoretical comparison between the BMVDR, the BLCMV, the BMVDR-N and the proposed BLCMV-N in terms of noise and interference reduction performance and binaural cue preservation.
Experimental results using recorded signals as well as the results of a perceptual listening test show that the BLCMV-N is able to preserve the binaural cues of an interfering source (like the BLCMV), while enabling to trade off between noise reduction performance and binaural cue preservation of background noise (like the BMVDR-N).

Sound examples (listen via headphones)

Interfering source:

Unprocessed:
BMVDR Beamformer:
BLCMV Beamformer:
BMVDR-N Beamformer:
BLCMV-N Beamformer:

Background noise:

Unprocessed:
BMVDR Beamformer:
BLCMV Beamformer:
BMVDR-N Beamformer:
BLCMV-N Beamformer:

Complete acoustic scene:

Unprocessed:
BMVDR Beamformer:
BLCMV Beamformer:
BMVDR-N Beamformer:
BLCMV-N Beamformer:
Webmg3tngastqqm7per (sigpuzoroc@wkkuol.dees) (Changed: 2020-05-19)