Optimizing Vowel Formant Measurements in Four Acoustic Analysis Systems for Diverse Speaker Groups Purpose This study systematically assessed the effects of select linear predictive coding (LPC) analysis parameter manipulations on vowel formant measurements for diverse speaker groups using 4 trademarked Speech Acoustic Analysis Software Packages (SAASPs): CSL, Praat, TF32, and WaveSurfer. Method Productions of 4 words containing the corner vowels were ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2016
Optimizing Vowel Formant Measurements in Four Acoustic Analysis Systems for Diverse Speaker Groups
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ekaterini Derdemezis
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Houri K. Vorperian
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Ray D. Kent
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Marios Fourakis
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Emily L. Reinicke
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Daniel M. Bolt
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Houri K. Vorperian: vorperian@waisman.wisc.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Jack Ryalls
    Associate Editor: Jack Ryalls×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2016
Optimizing Vowel Formant Measurements in Four Acoustic Analysis Systems for Diverse Speaker Groups
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 335-354. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-15-0020
History: Received February 25, 2015 , Revised June 23, 2015 , Accepted September 18, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 335-354. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-15-0020
History: Received February 25, 2015; Revised June 23, 2015; Accepted September 18, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This study systematically assessed the effects of select linear predictive coding (LPC) analysis parameter manipulations on vowel formant measurements for diverse speaker groups using 4 trademarked Speech Acoustic Analysis Software Packages (SAASPs): CSL, Praat, TF32, and WaveSurfer.

Method Productions of 4 words containing the corner vowels were recorded from 4 speaker groups with typical development (male and female adults and male and female children) and 4 speaker groups with Down syndrome (male and female adults and male and female children). Formant frequencies were determined from manual measurements using a consensus analysis procedure to establish formant reference values, and from the 4 SAASPs (using both the default analysis parameters and with adjustments or manipulations to select parameters). Smaller differences between values obtained from the SAASPs and the consensus analysis implied more optimal analysis parameter settings.

Results Manipulations of default analysis parameters in CSL, Praat, and TF32 yielded more accurate formant measurements, though the benefit was not uniform across speaker groups and formants. In WaveSurfer, manipulations did not improve formant measurements.

Conclusions The effects of analysis parameter manipulations on accuracy of formant-frequency measurements varied by SAASP, speaker group, and formant. The information from this study helps to guide clinical and research applications of SAASPs.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute of Health Research Grant R01 DC6282 (MRI and CT Studies of the Developing Vocal Tract) from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD) and by a core grant P-30 HD03352 to the Waisman Center from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD). We declare no financial conflict of interest with any of the software systems considered in this study. We thank Drs. Jan R. Edwards and Gary G. Weismer for their suggestions on the design and conduct of this research. We also are indebted to Peggy Rosin, Erin Douglas, Carlyn Burris, Erin Nelson, Alyssa Wild, Michael P. Kelly, and Elaine Romenesko for their help at various stages of this project and the anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier versions of this article. This research was originally submitted by the first author as a master's thesis for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Portions of this research were presented in 2013 at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Chicago, IL.
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