International Journal of Speech Technology

, Volume 10, Issue 2–3, pp 95–107 | Cite as

Speaker distinguishing distances: a comparative study

  • Ananth N. IyerEmail author
  • Uchechukwu O. Ofoegbu
  • Robert E. Yantorno
  • Brett Y. Smolenski


Speaker discrimination is a vital aspect of speaker recognition applications such as speaker identification, verification, clustering, indexing and change-point detection. These tasks are usually performed using distance-based approaches to compare speaker models or features from homogeneous speaker segments in order to determine whether or not they belong to the same speaker. Several distance measures and features have been examined for all the different applications, however, no single distance or feature has been reported to perform optimally for all applications in all conditions. In this paper, a thorough analysis is made to determine the behavior of some frequently used distance measures, as well as features, in distinguishing speakers for different data lengths. Measures studied include the Mahalanobis distance, Kullback-Leibler (KL) distance, T 2 statistic, Hellinger distance, Bhattacharyya distance, Generalized Likelihood Ratio (GLR), Levenne distance, L 2 and L distances. The Mel-Scale Frequency Cepstral Coefficient (MFCC), Linear Predictive Cepstral Coefficients (LPCC), Line Spectral Pairs (LSP) and the Log Area Ratios (LAR) comprise the features investigated. The usefulness of these measures is studied for different data lengths. Generally, a larger data size for each speaker results in better speaker differentiating capability, as more information can be taken into account. However, in some applications such as segmentation of telephone data, speakers change frequently, making it impossible to obtain large speaker-consistent utterances (especially when speaker change-points are unknown). A metric is defined for determining the probability of speaker discrimination error obtainable for each distance measure using each feature set, and the effect of data size on this probability is observed. Furthermore, simple distance-based speaker identification and clustering systems are developed, and the performances of each distance and feature for various data sizes are evaluated on these systems in order to illustrate the importance of choosing the appropriate distance and feature for each application. Results show that for tasks which do not involve any limitation of data length, such as speaker identification, the Kullback Leibler distance with the MFCCs yield the highest speaker differentiation performance, which is comparable to results obtained using more complex state-of-the-art speaker identification systems. Results also indicate that the Hellinger and Bhattacharyya distances with the LSPs yield the best performance for small data sizes.


Speaker discrimination Distances Speaker identification Speaker clustering 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ananth N. Iyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uchechukwu O. Ofoegbu
    • 2
  • Robert E. Yantorno
    • 3
  • Brett Y. Smolenski
    • 4
  1. 1.ConversayRedmondUSA
  2. 2.Mongomery CollegeRockvilleUSA
  3. 3.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.RADCRomeUSA

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