An ensemble of convolutional neural networks for audio classification


Research in sound classification and recognition is rapidly advancing in the field of pattern recognition. One important area in this field is environmental sound recognition, whether it con-cerns the identification of endangered species in different habitats or the type of interfering noise in urban environments. Since environmental audio datasets are often limited in size, a robust model able to perform well across different datasets is of strong research interest. In this paper, ensembles of classifiers are combined that exploit six data augmentation techniques and four signal representations for retraining five pre-trained Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs); these ensembles are tested on three freely available environmental audio benchmark datasets: i) bird calls, ii) cat sounds, and iii) the Environmental Sound Classification (ESC-50), which is a database for identifying sources of noise in environments. To the best of our knowledge, this is the most extensive study investigating ensembles of CNNs for audio classification. The best performing ensembles are compared and shown to either outperform or perform comparatively to the best methods reported in the literature on these datasets, including on the challenging ESC-50 dataset. We obtained a 97% accuracy on the bird dataset, 90.51% on the cat dataset, and 88.65% on ESC-50, using different approaches. In addition, the same ensemble model trained on different datasets managed to reach the same results on the bird and cat datasets while losing only 0.1% on ESC-50. Thus, we have managed to create an off-the-shelf ensemble that can be trained on different da-tasets and reach performances competitive with the state of the art.

Keywords:Audio classification; Data Augmentation; Ensemble of Classifiers; Pattern Recognition.

[Full Paper]