Sound source localization is all about cross-modal alignment
Humans can easily perceive the direction of sound sources in a visual scene, termed sound source localization. Recent studies on learning-based sound source localization have mainly explored the problem from a localization perspective. However, prior arts and existing benchmarks do not account for a more important aspect of the problem, cross-modal semantic understanding, which is essential for genuine sound source localization. Cross-modal semantic understanding is important in understanding semantically mismatched audio-visual events, e.g., silent objects, or offscreen sounds. To account for this, we propose a crossmodal alignment task as a joint task with sound source localization to better learn the interaction between audio and visual modalities. Thereby, we achieve high localization performance with strong cross-modal semantic understanding. Our method outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches in both sound source localization and cross-modal retrieval. Our work suggests that jointly tackling both tasks is necessary to conquer genuine sound source localization.