In this site you can find a detailed description of FSDnoisy18k with emphasis on the label noise characteristics, as well as some basic dataset stats. You can also download FSDnoisy18k.


The following people contributed to FSDnoisy18k:

Eduardo Fonseca, Mercedes Collado, Manoj Plakal, Daniel P. W. Ellis, Frederic Font, Xavier Favory, and Xavier Serra

Data curators

Eduardo Fonseca and Mercedes Collado


You are welcome to contact Eduardo Fonseca should you have any questions at eduardo.fonseca@upf.edu.


If you use this dataset or part of it, please cite the following ICASSP 2019 paper:

Eduardo Fonseca, Manoj Plakal, Daniel P. W. Ellis, Frederic Font, Xavier Favory, and Xavier Serra, “Learning Sound Event Classifiers from Web Audio with Noisy Labels”, arXiv preprint arXiv:1901.01189, 2019

You can also consider citing our ISMIR 2017 paper that describes the Freesound Annotator, which was used to gather the manual annotations included in FSDnoisy18k.

Eduardo Fonseca, Jordi Pons, Xavier Favory, Frederic Font, Dmitry Bogdanov, Andres Ferraro, Sergio Oramas, Alastair Porter, and Xavier Serra, “Freesound Datasets: A Platform for the Creation of Open Audio Datasets”, In Proceedings of the 18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, Suzhou, China, 2017

FSDnoisy18k description

The following description complements (but not entirely substitutes) the description provided in Section 2 of our ICASSP 2019 paper. More specifically, this description focuses on the label noise characterization of the dataset. Details about the annotation procedure and the dataset creation process are described in our paper. Hence, for a complete picture of FSDnoisy18k please also check the Section 2 of such paper.

FSDnoisy18k is an audio dataset collected with the aim of fostering the investigation of label noise in sound event classification. It contains 42.5 hours of audio across 20 sound classes, including a small amount of manually-labeled data and a larger quantity of real-world noisy data.

The source of audio content is Freesound—a sound sharing site created an maintained by the Music Technology Group hosting over 400,000 clips uploaded by its community of users, who additionally provide some basic metadata (e.g., tags, and title). More information about the technical aspects of Freesound can be found in [14, 15].

The 20 classes of FSDnoisy18k are drawn from the AudioSet Ontology and are selected based on data availability as well as on their suitability to allow the study of label noise. For example:

Check section Label noise characteristics for some specific examples, along with the explanation of the label noise types they pose.

They are listed in the next Table, along with the number of audio clips per class (split in different data subsets that are defined in section FSDnoisy18k basic characteristics). Every numeric entry in the next table reads: number of clips / duration in minutes (rounded). For instance, the Acoustic guitar class has 102 audio clips in the clean subset of the train set, and the total duration of these clips is roughly 11 minutes.

Class train - clean train - noisy test
1 - Acoustic guitar 102 / 11 896 / 124 42 / 4
2 - Bass guitar 106 / 11 1000 / 142 71 / 5
3 - Clapping 82 / 3 846 / 104 57 / 4
4 - Coin (dropping) 170 / 7 589 / 57 70 / 4
5 - Crash cymbal 76 / 6 1000 / 105 52 / 4
6 - Dishes, pots, and pans 83 / 4 764 / 105 56 / 3
7 - Engine 137 / 20 995 / 172 49 / 10
8 - Fart 71 / 2 687 / 43 30 / 1
9 - Fire 81 / 7 751 / 132 54 / 5
10 - Fireworks 51 / 4 331 / 55 30 / 3
11 - Glass 157 / 12 998 / 123 54 / 3
12 - Hi-hat 81 / 3 911 / 45 38 / 1
13 - Piano 96 / 12 1000 / 174 72 / 8
14 - Rain 65 / 9 443 / 117 36 / 6
15 - Slam 78 / 3 1000 / 129 53 / 2
16 - Squeak 67 / 4 931 / 116 31 / 2
17 - Tearing 62 / 4 428 / 54 30 / 3
18 - Walk, footsteps 77 / 7 1000 / 206 52 / 6
19 - Wind 64 / 7 993 / 276 40 / 5
20 - Writing 66 / 8 250 / 48 30 / 4

Part of the content of FSDnoisy18k overlaps with that of FSD, a work-in-progress, large-scale dataset built of Freesound content organized with the AudioSet Ontology. More specifically, some of the clean data in FSDnoisy18k are also being considered for FSD, whereas some of the content of FSDnoisy18k is incorrectly labeled and therefore it is not considered in FSD. For more information about FSD please check our ISMIR 2017 paper. You can also visit the Freesound Annotator, which is a platform for the collaborative creation of open audio datasets that was used for the creation of FSDnoisy18k (and is being used for the creation of FSD).

We defined a clean portion of the dataset consisting of correct and complete labels. The remaining portion is referred to as the noisy portion. Each clip in the dataset has a single ground truth label (singly-labeled data).

The clean portion of the data consists of audio clips whose labels are rated as present in the clip and predominant (almost all with full inter-annotator agreement), meaning that the label is correct and, in most cases, there is no additional acoustic material other than the labeled class. A few clips may contain some additional sound events, but they occur in the background and do not belong to any of the 20 target classes. This is more common for some classes that rarely occur alone, e.g., “Fire”, “Glass”, “Wind” or “Walk, footsteps”.

The noisy portion of the data consists of audio clips that received no human validation. In this case, they are categorized on the basis of the user-provided tags in Freesound. Hence, the noisy portion features a certain amount of label noise.


We’ve released the code for our ICASSP 2019 paper at https://github.com/edufonseca/icassp19. The framework comprises all the basic stages: feature extraction, training, inference and evaluation. After loading the FSDnoisy18k dataset, log-mel energies are computed and a CNN baseline is trained and evaluated. The code also allows to test four noise-robust loss functions. Please check our paper for more details.

Label noise characteristics

FSDnoisy18k features real label noise that is representative of audio data retrieved from the web, particularly from Freesound. We propose a taxonomy of label noise for singly-labeled data following an empirical approach. The taxonomy is shown in Fig. 1 and includes the noise types identified through manual inspection of a per-class, random, 15% of the noisy portion of FSDnoisy18k.

Its concepts are explained next with the main use cases found in FSDnoisy18k. We distinguish between additional events that are already part of our target class set (“in-vocabulary” or IV), or are not covered by those classes (“out-of-vocabulary” or OOV). Given an observed label that is incorrect or incomplete, the true or missing label can then be further classified as IV or OOV.

alt text
Fig 1. Taxonomy of label noise based on the analysis of the noisy data in FSDnoisy18k.

Some classes are prone to include incorrect labels when the clips are retrieved only on the basis of their existing user-provided tags, e.g., “Bass guitar”, “Crash cymbal”, or “Engine”; typically, the true label does not belong to the list of considered classes (incorrect/OOV). Other classes are prone to have audio clips with acoustic material that is additional to the provided (and correct) label, e.g., “Rain”, “Fireworks” or “Slam”, and, again, the missing label usually does not belong to the list of considered classes (incomplete/OOV). Finally, a few classes are related to each other. It can happen that one class contains clips that actually belong to another class in the dataset, e.g. “Wind” and “Rain” (incorrect/IV). Alternatively, two sound classes can co-occur in an audio clip, e.g. “Slam” and “Squeak”, despite only a single label is available (in-complete/IV). For completeness, correct and complete labels mean no label noise, i.e., clean data.

In addition to the aforementioned noise types, two more types arise in the context of web audio and Freesound in particular. First, determining whether a sound class is present in an audio clip can be subjective, even for an expert. This happens with human imitations or heavily processed sounds (e.g., with sound effects). We refer to these clips as ambiguous as it is unclear whether the label is correct or not. The second noise type relates to i) the variable clip lengths and ii) the weak nature of the clip-level labels. A naive but common way of processing variable-length clips is to split them into several fixed-length patches, each inheriting the clip-level label (called false strong labeling in [20]). This can generate false positives if the label is not active in a given patch. This type of label noise is conceptually similar to the label density noise of [10].

The analysis of the noisy data revealed that roughly 40% of the analyzed labels are correct and complete, whereas 60% of the labels show some type of label noise, whose distribution is listed in the next Table.

Label noise type Percentage
Overall 60%
Incorrect/OOV 38%
Incomplete/OOV 10%
Incorrect/IV 6%
Incomplete/IV 5%
Ambiguous labels 1%

The most frequent types of label noise correspond to out-of-vocabulary (OOV) problems, either in the form of incorrect labels (that generate false positives) or incomplete labels (which generate false negatives). Furthermore, we have observed that a few clips within the incorrect/OOV category are incorrectly labeled according to the semantic meaning of the class, and yet they are relatively similar (in terms of their acoustics) to the true label. For example, in “Clapping” there is a certain amount of applause sounds and claps generated by drum machines. We estimate that ≈10% of the clips analyzed shows this phenomenon, although we recognize it is highly subjective. This ≈10% is included in the 38% of incorrect/OOV labels. The degree of total label noise per-class ranges from 20% to 80% roughly.

The label density noise is only relevant in few classes, especially “Slam”, and to a lesser extent “Fireworks” and “Fire”. This type of noise was quantified by counting the audio clips that present at least one segment of 2s (or more) where the observed label is not present (2s is the patch length used for processing the variable length clips in the baseline system).

To facilitate per-class analysis, a per-class description of the label noise is included in the next Table. The Table was compiled as follows. For every class, a random 15% of the noisy portion was manually inspected. During this process, the label noise problems according to the taxonomy of Fig. 1 were identified and quantified. We show here the % of audio clips presenting each noise problem. The first six columns of the Table represent mutually exclusive concepts and therefore they should sum 100%. However, we only list the most relevant noise problems (and omit the marginal ones, marking them with a -). The seventh column (label density noise (LDN)) is an additional type of label noise that can co-exist with the previous ones. Again, it is expressed as the % of audio clips presenting this phenomenon (see our ICASSP 2019 paper for further details). Please note that the % listed are just an estimation of the actual label noise present in FSDnoisy18k (based on an analysis of only 15% of the noisy portion). Therefore, the numbers of the next Table should be taken as a rough characterization of the label noise problematic, and not as a detailed one.

Class C&C Incorrect/OOV Incomplete/OOV Incorrect/IV Incomplete/IV Ambiguous LDN
Acoustic guitar 84% 9% - - - - -
Bass guitar 20% 74%* - - 3% - -
Clapping 26% 58%* 9% - - - 4%
Coin (dropping) 32% 49%* 9% - 7% - 6%
Crash cymbal 13% 74%* - 12% - - -
Dishes, pots, and pans 44% 41%* - 9% - - 3%
Engine 30% 58% 7% - - - 3%
Fart 74% 16% 7% - - - 4%
Fire 16% 51% 24% - - - 14%
Fireworks 56% 6% 28% - - - 18%
Glass 53% 36% - 6% - - 4%
Hi-hat 74% 14% - - - 8% -
Piano 36% 53%* - 7% - - -
Rain 29% 26% 34% - 8% - -
Slam 28% 19% 27% 10% 14% - 34%
Squeak 56% 16% 4% 4% 17% - 10%
Tearing 46% 42%* 12% - - - 12%
Walk, footsteps 35% 28% 18% - 10% - 4%
Wind 20% 37%* 8% 26% 6% - 4%
Writing 61% 15% 10% - - 8% 10%


Class comments on the content of Incorrect/OOV
Bass guitar ≈ 2/3 of the clips are electronic baselines and bass drums
Clapping ≈ 2/3 of the clips are applause sounds or electronic clap sounds generated by drum machines
Coin (dropping) a bit more than half of the clips are coins not dropping, or syntethic coins dropping
Crash cymbal ≈ half of the clips are not Crash cymbals but other type of cymbals
Dishes, pots, and pans ≈ 1/4 of the clips are cutlery sounds
Piano a bit more than half of the clips are not specifically pianos but keyboards or synthesizers
Tearing almost 1/5 of the clips are velcro sounds or packing tape sounds
Wind almost 1/5 of the clips are ventilators, fans or people blowing the mic

FSDnoisy18k basic characteristics

The dataset most relevant characteristics are as follows:

alt text
Fig 2. Data split in FSDnoisy18k, including number of clips / duration in hours. Blue = noisy data. Yellow = clean data.

Figs. 3 and 4 illustrate the distribution of audio clips across the categories in the train set, and the diversity of audio clip durations across the categories in the train set, respectively.

alt text
Fig 3. Distribution of audio clips across the categories in the train set of FSDnoisy18k. Blue = noisy data. Yellow = clean data.
alt text
Fig 4. Boxplot of audio clip durations across the categories in the train set of FSDnoisy18k.


FSDnoisy18k has licenses at two different levels, as explained next.

All sounds in Freesound are released under Creative Commons (CC) licenses, and each audio clip has its own license as defined by the audio clip uploader in Freesound. In particular, all Freesound clips included in FSDnoisy18k are released under either CC-BY or CC0. For attribution purposes and to facilitate attribution of these files to third parties, we include a relation of audio clips and their corresponding license in the LICENSE-INDIVIDUAL-CLIPS file downloaded with the dataset (see Files section below).

In addition, FSDnoisy18k as a whole is the result of a curation process and it has an additional license. FSDnoisy18k is released under CC-BY. This license is specified in the LICENSE-DATASET file downloaded with the dataset (see Files section below).


The dataset is available under the mentioned open licenses and can be downloaded from Zenodo on the following link, along with the proposed data splits for reproducibility:


FSDnoisy18k can be downloaded as a series of zip files with the following directory structure:

└───FSDnoisy18k.audio_train/          Audio clips in the train set
└───FSDnoisy18k.audio_test/           Audio clips in the test set
└───FSDnoisy18k.meta/                 Files for evaluation setup
│   │            
│   └───train.csv                     Data split and ground truth for the train set
│   │            
│   └───test.csv                      Ground truth for the test set         
    └───README.md                     The dataset description file that you are reading
    └───LICENSE-DATASET               License of the FSDnoisy18k dataset as an entity   
    └───LICENSE-INDIVIDUAL-CLIPS.csv  Licenses of the individual audio clips from Freesound 

Each row (i.e. audio clip) of the train.csv file contains the following information:

Each row (i.e. audio clip) of the test.csv file contains the following information:

*For consistency, citations in this website have been kept with the same reference number as in our preprint.

[8] Benjamin Elizalde, Ankit Shah, Siddharth Dalmia, Min Hun Lee, Rohan Badlani, Anurag Kumar, Bhiksha Raj, and Ian Lane, “An approach for self-training audio event detectors using web data,” in Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO), 2017 25th European. IEEE, 2017, pp. 1863–1867.
[10] Ankit Shah, Anurag Kumar, Alexander G Hauptmann, and Bhiksha Raj, “A closer look at weak label learning for audio events,” arXiv preprint arXiv:1804.09288, 2018
[14] Frederic Font, Gerard Roma, and Xavier Serra, “Freesound technical demo,” in Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Multimedia. ACM, 2013, pp. 411–412.
[15] Eduardo Fonseca, Jordi Pons, Xavier Favory, Frederic Font, Dmitry Bogdanov, Andre ́s Ferraro, Sergio Oramas, Alastair Porter, and Xavier Serra, “Freesound datasets: a platform for the creation of open audio datasets,” in Proceedings of the 18th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Confer- ence (ISMIR 2017), Suzhou, China, 2017, pp. 486–493.
[20] Veronica Morfi and Dan Stowell, “Data-efficient weakly supervised learning for low-resource audio event detection using deep learning,” arXiv preprint arXiv:1807.06972, 2018.
[21] Andreas Veit, Neil Alldrin, Gal Chechik, Ivan Krasin, Abhinav Gupta, and Serge J Belongie, “Learning from noisy large-scale datasets with minimal supervision.,” in CVPR, 2017, pp. 6575– 6583.

Source code for our preprint: https://github.com/edufonseca/icassp19
Freesound Annotator: https://annotator.freesound.org/
Freesound: https://freesound.org
Eduardo Fonseca’s personal website: http://www.eduardofonseca.net/


This work is partially supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688382 AudioCommons. Eduardo Fonseca is also sponsored by a Google Faculty Research Award 2017. We thank everyone who contributed to FSDnoisy18k with annotations.