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CLIPSep: Learning Text-queried Sound Separation with Noisy Unlabeled Videos

Hao-Wen Dong*

Naoya Takahashi

Yuki Mitsufuji

Julian McAuley*

Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick*

* External authors

ICLR 2023

2023

Abstract

Recent years have seen progress beyond domain-specific sound separation for speech or music towards universal sound separation for arbitrary sounds. Prior work on universal sound separation has investigated separating a target sound out of an audio mixture given a text query. Such text-queried sound separation systems provide a natural and scalable interface for specifying arbitrary target sounds. However, supervised text-queried sound separation systems require costly labeled audio-text pairs for training. Moreover, the audio provided in existing datasets is often recorded in a controlled environment, causing a considerable generalization gap to noisy audio in the wild. In this work, we aim to approach text-queried universal sound separation by using only unlabeled data. We propose to leverage the visual modality as a bridge to learn the desired audio-textual correspondence. The proposed CLIPSep model first encodes the input query into a query vector using the contrastive language-image pretraining (CLIP) model, and the query vector is then used to condition an audio separation model to separate out the target sound. While the model is trained on image-audio pairs extracted from unlabeled videos, at test time we can instead query the model with text inputs in a zero-shot setting, thanks to the joint language-image embedding learned by the CLIP model. Further, videos in the wild often contain off-screen sounds and background noise that may hinder the model from learning the desired audio-textual correspondence. To address this problem, we further propose an approach called noise invariant training for training a query-based sound separation model on noisy data. Experimental results show that the proposed models successfully learn text-queried universal sound separation using only noisy unlabeled videos, even achieving competitive performance against a supervised model in some settings.

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