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The use of two microphones for audio processing. Apart from the obvious aim of signal to noise ratio (SNR) improvement, stereo microphones are used to estimate the spatial source of speech using relative time delay of samples at the two microphones. In a scenario where prior knowledge of the direction of the desired source is known, this information can further be used to suppress undesired noise and speech.
Consider an acoustic signal impinging a microphone array as shown in Figure 1 below with generalized Nlatex microphones.

2 microphones with multiple impinging sources

Figure 1: Two microphones with multiple impinging sources

and suppose the desired signal at the microphone i, can be denoted as

y_i[n] = \alpha_{i} s[n-k_i]+\nu_i[n], k_1 = 0

where both the nonlinear attenuation and delay have been subsumed without any loss of generality in \alpha_i and \nu_i[n] is the noise plus interfering signals. The Z transform of the relation becomes

Y_i(z) = \alpha_{i} S(z) z^{-k_i}+\nu_i(z)latex

The cross correlation between the two microphone signals can be leveraged to get the estimate of k_2 and hence the spatial direction of each frame. An adaptive estimator to smoothen out spurious noise can be used. An example of the output of such joint beamforming and nullforming is shown in Figure 2 below.

Two microphones source separation with prior spatial information

Figure 2: Two microphones source separation with prior spatial information

The signal to noise plus interference ratio improvement is more than 50dB and no distortion in the desired signal.

VOCAL Technologies offers custom designed solutions for beamforming with a robust voice activity detector, acoustic echo cancellation and noise suppression. Our custom implementations of such systems are meant to deliver optimum performance for your specific beamforming task. Contact us today to discuss your solution!

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