Low-bitrate redundancy coding of speech using a rate-distortion-optimized variational autoencoder
Robustness to packet loss is one of the main ongoing challenges in real-time speech communication. Deep packet loss concealment (PLC) techniques have recently demonstrated improved quality compared to traditional PLC. Despite that, all PLC techniques hit fundamental limitations when too much acoustic information is lost. To reduce losses in the first place, data is commonly sent multiple times using various redundancy mechanisms. We propose a neural speech coder specifically optimized to transmit a large amount of overlapping redundancy at a very low bitrate, up to 50x redundancy using less than 32 kb/s. Results show that the proposed redundancy is more effective than the existing Opus codec redundancy, and that the two can be combined for even greater robustness.