|Saurabh Kataria, Phani Sankar Nidadavolu, Jesús Villalba, Najim Dehak
Data augmentation is conventionally used to inject robustness in Speaker Verification systems. Several recently organized challenges focused on handling novel acoustic environments. Deep learning based speech enhancement is a modern solution for this. Recently, a study proposed to optimize the enhancement network in the activation space of a pre-trained auxiliary network.This methodology, called deep feature loss, greatly improved over the state-of-the-art conventional x-vector based system on a children speech dataset called BabyTrain. This work analyzes various facets of that approach and asks few novel questions in that context. We first search for optimal number of auxiliary network activations, training data, and enhancement feature dimension. Experiments reveal the importance of Signal-to-Noise Ratio filtering that we employ to create a large, clean, and naturalistic corpus for enhancement network training. To counter the "mismatch" problem in enhancement, we find enhancing front-end (x-vector network) data helpful while harmful for the back-end (Probabilistic Linear Discriminant Analysis (PLDA)).Importantly, we find enhanced signals contain complementary information to original. Established by combining them in the front-end, this gives ~40% relative improvement over the baseline. We also do an ablation study to remove a noise class from x-vector data augmentation and, for such systems, we establish the utility of enhancement regardless of whether it has seen that noise class itself during training. Finally, we design several dereverberation schemes to conclude ineffectiveness of deep feature loss enhancement scheme for this task.