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With the strong growth of assistive and personal listening devices, natural sound rendering over headphones is becoming a necessity for prolonged listening in multimedia and virtual reality applications. The aim of natural sound rendering is to naturally recreate the sound scenes with the spatial and timbral quality as natural as possible, so as to achieve a truly immersive listening experience. However, rendering natural sound over headphones encounters many challenges. This tutorial article presents signal processing techniques to tackle these challenges to assist human listening.

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Audio codecs are typically transform-domain based and efficiently code stationary audio signals, but they struggle with speech and signals containing dense transient events such as applause. Specifically, with these two classes of signals as examples, we demonstrate a technique for restoring audio from coding noise based on generative adversarial networks (GAN). A primary advantage of the proposed GAN-based coded audio enhancer is that the method operates end-to-end directly on decoded audio samples, eliminating the need to design any manually-crafted frontend.

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In supervised machine learning, the assumption that training data is labelled correctly is not always satisfied. In this paper, we investigate an instance of labelling error for classification tasks in which the dataset is corrupted with out-of-distribution (OOD) instances: data that does not belong to any of the target classes, but is labelled as such. We show that detecting and relabelling certain OOD instances, rather than discarding them, can have a positive effect on learning.

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