LMCodec: A Low Bitrate Speech Codec With Causal Transformer Models
We introduce LMCodec, a causal neural speech codec that provides high quality audio at very low bitrates. The backbone of the system is a causal convolutional codec that encodes audio into a hierarchy of coarse-to-fine tokens using residual vector quantization. LMCodec trains a Transformer language model to predict the fine tokens from the coarse ones in a generative fashion, allowing for the transmission of fewer codes. A second Transformer predicts the uncertainty of the next codes given the past transmitted codes, and is used to perform conditional entropy coding. A MUSHRA subjective test was conducted and shows that the quality is comparable to reference codecs at higher bitrates.