Perceptual Evaluation and Genre-specific Training of Deep Neural Network Models of a High-gain Guitar Amplifier

Will Cassidy; Enzo De Sena
DAFx-2023 - Copenhagen
Modelling of analogue devices via deep neural networks (DNNs) has gained popularity recently, but their performance is usually measured using accuracy measures alone. This paper aims to assess the performance of DNN models of a high-gain vacuum-tube guitar amplifier using additional subjective measures, including preference and realism. Furthermore, the paper explores how the performance changes when genre-specific training data is used. In five listening tests, subjects rated models of a popular high-gain guitar amplifier, the Peavey 6505, in terms of preference, realism and perceptual accuracy. Two DNN models were used: a long short-term memory recurrent neural network (LSTM-RNN) and a WaveNet-based convolutional neural network (CNN). The LSTMRNN model was shown to be more accurate when trained with genre-specific data, to the extent that it could not be distinguished from the real amplifier in ABX tests. Despite minor perceptual inaccuracies, subjects found all models to be as realistic as the target in MUSHRA-like experiments, and there was no evidence to suggest that the real amplifier was preferred to any of the models in a mix. Finally, it was observed that a low-gain excerpt was more difficult to emulate, and was therefore useful to reveal differences between the models.