Audience Announces S1.0 for Windows x86by Joshua Ho on November 5, 2014 1:34 PM EST
While smartphones have always had a strong need for quality voice processing, on the PC side such concerns have generally fallen to the wayside as voice was generally ignored, with only a few niche applications. However, as tablets and other formfactors have become more common on Windows x86, there is increasing demand for voice control and other features for a similar experience to Android and iOS tablets. To enable this, in conjunction with the eS800 Audience is announcing their S1.0 voice software, which delivers eS700-series voice and audio algorithms over Windows' audio interface.
There are a few key features that this enables, namely wideband noise suppression for VOIP, omnidirectional noise cancellation, key-click removal, and improved speech recognition. In the case of wideband noise suppression, this means that rather than artificially compressing the range of frequencies received to be able to cancel out noise, the software suite makes it possible to process incoming audio over almost the entire range of hearing for higher quality VOIP.
While omnidirectional noise cancellation seems to be a bit uninteresting, the real story here is that it's possible to enable a good voice experience without beamforming, which relies on two microphones that are aligned with each other. While this allows for effective noise cancellation of anything not collinear with the microphones, this makes it hard to avoid losing voice in multiple directions. As these algorithms enable noise cancellation without beamforming, this means that there's no need to drill holes in glass for microphone holes, which can be quite expensive as the holes cause yields on the cover lens to drop dramatically. This means that microphone placement in general can be more flexible, and only a pair of microphones is needed.
Although the eS800 line has more advanced voice processing features, the S1.0 suite still utilizes some level of artificial neural network technology to enable features like key-click removal. While details are a bit sparse on how speech recognition assist works, Audience emphasized that their solution had greatly improved recognition accuracy when compared to competitors. The S1.0 software will work on Windows 7 and 8.1 with Intel's Haswell and newer CPUs.