Streamable Neural Audio Synthesis with Non-Causal Convolutions

Antoine Caillon; Philippe Esling
DAFx-2022 - Vienna
Deep learning models are mostly used in an offline inference fashion. However, this strongly limits the use of these models inside audio generation setups, as most creative workflows are based on real-time digital signal processing. Although approaches based on recurrent networks can be naturally adapted to this buffer-based computation, the use of convolutions still poses some serious challenges. To tackle this issue, the use of causal streaming convolutions have been proposed. However, this requires specific complexified training and can impact the resulting audio quality. In this paper, we introduce a new method allowing to produce non-causal streaming models. This allows to make any convolutional model compatible with real-time buffer-based processing. As our method is based on a post-training reconfiguration of the model, we show that it is able to transform models trained without causal constraints into streaming models. We apply our method on the recent RAVE model as a case study. This model provides high-quality real-time audio synthesis on a wide range of signals and thus is an ideal candidate to evaluate our method. It should be noted that our method is not restricted to RAVE, and can be straightforwardly applied to any convolutional network. We test our approach on multiple music and speech datasets and show that it is faster than overlap-add methods, while having no impact on the generation quality. Finally, we introduce two open-source implementation of our work as Max/MSP and PureData externals, and as a VST audio plugin. This allows to endow traditional digital audio workstations with real-time neural audio synthesis.