Subjective Evaluation of Join Cost and Smoothing Methods for Unit Selection Speech Synthesis
In unit selection-based concatenative speech synthesis, join cost (also known as concatenation cost), which measures how well two units can be joined together, is one of the main criteria for selecting appropriate units from the inventory. Usually, some form of local parameter smoothing is also needed to disguise the remaining discontinuities. This paper presents a subjective evaluation of three join cost functions and three smoothing methods. We also describe the design and performance of a listening test. The three join cost functions were taken from our previous study, where we proposed join cost functions derived from spectral distances, which have good correlations with perceptual scores obtained for a range of concatenation discontinuities. This evaluation allows us to further validate their ability to predict concatenation discontinuities. The units for synthesis stimuli are obtained from a state-of-the-art unit selection text-to-speech system: rVoice from Rhetorical Systems Ltd. In this paper, we report listeners' preferences for each join cost in combination with each smoothing method.