Pruning Deep Neural Network Models of Guitar Distortion Effects

David Südholt, A. Wright, Cumhur Erkut, Vesa Välimäki

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

1 Citationer (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Deep neural networks have been successfully used in the task of black-box modeling of analog audio effects such as distortion. Improving the processing speed and memory requirements of the inference step is desirable to allow such models to be used on a wide range of hardware and concurrently with other software. In this paper, we propose a new application of recent advancements in neural network pruning methods to recurrent black-box models of distortion effects using a Long Short-Term Memory architecture. We compare the efficacy of the method on four different datasets; one distortion pedal and three vacuum tube amplifiers. Iterative magnitude pruning allows us to remove over 99% of parameters from some models without a loss of accuracy. We evaluate the real-time performance of the pruned models and find that a 3x-4x speedup can be achieved, compared to an unpruned baseline. We show that training a larger model and then pruning it outperforms an unpruned model of equivalent hidden size. A listening test confirms that pruning does not degrade the perceived sound quality, but may even slightly improve it. The proposed techniques can be used to design computationally efficient deep neural networks for processing the sound of the electric guitar in real time.

TidsskriftIEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing
Udgave nummer99
Sider (fra-til)256–264
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2023


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