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I would like to use MFCC analysis to distinguish between a male voice and a female voice.

Are there any particular quantifiable characteristics consistent with, and exclusive to, either gender? (E.g., energy, fundamental frequency, excitation, the presence of certain waveforms, etc.)

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That, for one is a research question. I was asked the same elsewhere and people are currently working on it. – Naresh Dec 13 '12 at 9:45
What accuracy or error level does your analysis require? – hotpaw2 Dec 13 '12 at 15:12
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Main difference is the frequency of the fundamental, which is about an octave higher for women with the split point around 160 Hz or so. A fundamental lower than 160 Hz is most likely a male and a fundamental higher is most likely a female. A good overview over a number of studies on the topic can be found at

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The following immediate question would be: "given a high-pitch male voice and a low-pitch female voice with roughly the same fundamental frequency, which OTHER features/parameters could be used to identify each voice's gender?" – heltonbiker Dec 13 '12 at 18:45
Formants position. Given that pitch is somehow captured by the MFCCs (order 1 MFCC is equivalent to a spectral centroid, and for a given phoneme will follow f0) ; and that many pitch estimators are prone to octave errors, using the f0 as a feature for gender classification is risky... – pichenettes Dec 13 '12 at 19:27

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