The packet loss concealment module provides a synthetic fill-in signal, to minimise the audible effect of lost packets in VoIP applications. It is not tied to any particular codec, and could be used with almost any codec which does not specify its own procedure for packet loss concealment.
Where a codec specific concealment procedure exists, that algorithm is usually built around knowledge of the characteristics of the particular codec. It will, therefore, generally give better results for that particular codec than this generic concealer will.
The PLC code implements an algorithm similar to the one described in Appendix 1 of G.711. However, the G.711 algorithm is optimised for 10ms packets. Few people use such small packets. 20ms is a much more common value, and longer packets are also quite common. The algorithm has been adjusted with this in mind. Also, the G.711 approach causes an algorithmic delay, and requires significant buffer manipulation when there is no packet loss. The algorithm used here avoids this. It causes no delay, and achieves comparable quality with normal speech.
Note that both this algorithm, and the one in G.711 are optimised for speech. For most kinds of music a much slower decay on bursts of lost packets give better results.
While good packets are being received, the plc_rx()
routine keeps a record of the trailing section of the known speech signal. If a packet is missed, plc_fillin()
is called to produce a synthetic replacement for the real speech signal. The average mean difference function (AMDF) is applied to the last known good signal, to determine its effective pitch. Based on this, the last pitch period of signal is saved. Essentially, this cycle of speech will be repeated over and over until the real speech resumes. However, several refinements are needed to obtain smooth pleasant sounding results.
- The two ends of the stored cycle of speech will not always fit together smoothly. This can cause roughness, or even clicks, at the joins between cycles. To soften this, the 1/4 pitch period of real speech preceeding the cycle to be repeated is blended with the last 1/4 pitch period of the cycle to be repeated, using an overlap-add (OLA) technique (i.e. in total, the last 5/4 pitch periods of real speech are used).
- The start of the synthetic speech will not always fit together smoothly with the tail of real speech passed on before the erasure was identified. Ideally, we would like to modify the last 1/4 pitch period of the real speech, to blend it into the synthetic speech. However, it is too late for that. We could have delayed the real speech a little, but that would require more buffer manipulation, and hurt the efficiency of the no-lost-packets case (which we hope is the dominant case). Instead we use a degenerate form of OLA to modify the start of the synthetic data. The last 1/4 pitch period of real speech is time reversed, and OLA is used to blend it with the first 1/4 pitch period of synthetic speech. The result seems quite acceptable.
- As we progress into the erasure, the chances of the synthetic signal being anything like correct steadily fall. Therefore, the volume of the synthesized signal is made to decay linearly, such that after 50ms of missing audio it is reduced to silence.
- When real speech resumes, an extra 1/4 pitch period of synthetic speech is blended with the start of the real speech. If the erasure is small, this smoothes the transition. If the erasure is long, and the synthetic signal has faded to zero, the blending softens the start up of the real signal, avoiding a kind of "click" or "pop" effect that might occur with a sudden onset.
Before audio is processed, call plc_init()
to create an instance of the packet loss concealer. For each received audio packet that is acceptable (i.e. not including those being dropped for being too late) call plc_rx()
to record the content of the packet. Note this may modify the packet a little after a period of packet loss, to blend real synthetic data smoothly. When a real packet is not available in time, call plc_fillin()
to create a sythetic substitute. That's it!