Deep Convolutional Neural Networks and Data Augmentation for Environmental Sound Classification

Justin Salamon, Juan Pablo Bello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to learn discriminative spectro-temporal patterns makes them well suited to environmental sound classification. However, the relative scarcity of labeled data has impeded the exploitation of this family of high-capacity models. This study has two primary contributions: first, we propose a deep CNN architecture for environmental sound classification. Second, we propose the use of audio data augmentation for overcoming the problem of data scarcity and explore the influence of different augmentations on the performance of the proposed CNN architecture. Combined with data augmentation, the proposed model produces state-of-the-art results for environmental sound classification. We show that the improved performance stems from the combination of a deep, high-capacity model and an augmented training set: this combination outperforms both the proposed CNN without augmentation and a 'shallow' dictionary learning model with augmentation. Finally, we examine the influence of each augmentation on the model's classification accuracy for each class, and observe that the accuracy for each class is influenced differently by each augmentation, suggesting that the performance of the model could be improved further by applying class-conditional data augmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7829341
Pages (from-to)279-283
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Signal Processing Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs)
  • deep learning
  • environmental sound classification
  • urban sound dataset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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