Raking echoes in the time domain
The geometry of room acoustics is such that the reverberant signal can be seen as the same waveform emitted from multiple locations. In analogy with the rake receiver from wireless communications, we propose several beamforming strategies that exploit, rather than suppress, this additional spatio-temporal diversity. Unlike earlier work in the frequency domain, time domain designs allow to shape the impulse response of the beamformer. In particular, we can control perceptually relevant parameters, such as the amount of early echoes or the length of the beamformer response. Relying on the knowledge of the image sources positions, we derive different optimal beamformers. Leveraging perceptual cues, we show how to improve interference and noise reduction without degrading the perceptual quality. The designs are validated through simulation. Using early echoes is shown to strictly improve the signal to interference and noise ratio. Code and speech samples are available online at http://lcav.epfl.ch/Robin_Scheibler.