The Zeroing Sine Family of Window Functions

Cedron Dawg August 16, 20202 comments

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by introducing a class of well behaved window functions that the author believes to be previously unrecognized. The definition and some characteristics are displayed. The heavy math will come in later articles. This is an introduction to the family, and a very special member of it.

This is one of my longer articles. The bulk of the material is in the front half. The...

Design Square-Root Nyquist Filters

Neil Robertson July 13, 2020

In his book on multirate signal processing, harris presents a nifty technique for designing square-root Nyquist FIR filters with good stopband attenuation [1].  In this post, I describe the method and provide a Matlab function for designing the filters.  You can find a Matlab function by harris for designing the filters at [2].


Single-carrier modulation, such as QAM, uses filters to limit the bandwidth of the signal.  Figure 1 shows a simplified QAM system block...

Make Hardware Great Again

Jeff Brower June 29, 20205 comments

By now you're aware of the collective angst in the US about 5G. Why is the US not a leader in 5G ? Could that also happen -- indeed, is it happening -- in AI ? If we lead in other areas, why not 5G ? What makes it so hard ?

This hand-wringing has reached the highest levels in US government. Recently the Wall Street Journal reported on a DoJ promoted plan 1 to help Cisco buy Ericsson or Nokia, to give the US a leg up in 5G. This is not a new plan,...

A Fast Real-Time Trapezoidal Rule Integrator

Rick Lyons June 13, 20204 comments

This blog presents a computationally-efficient network for computing real‑time discrete integration using the Trapezoidal Rule.


While studying what is called "N-sample Romberg integration" I noticed that such an integration process requires the computation of many individual smaller‑sized integrations using the Trapezoidal Rule integration method [1]. My goal was to create a computationally‑fast real‑time Trapezoidal Rule integration network to increase the processing...

Third-Order Distortion of a Digitally-Modulated Signal

Neil Robertson June 9, 2020
Analog designers are always harping about amplifier third-order distortion.  Why?  In this article, we’ll look at why third-order distortion is important, and simulate a QAM signal with third-order distortion.

In the following analysis, we assume that signal phase at the amplifier output is not a function of amplitude.  With this assumption, the output y of a non-ideal amplifier can be written as a power series of the input signal x:


A Narrow Bandpass Filter in Octave or Matlab

Paul Lovell June 1, 20206 comments

The design of a very narrow bandpass FIR filter, coded in either Octave or Matlab, can prove challenging if a computationally-efficient  filter is required. This is especially true if the sampling rate is high relative to the filter's center frequency. The most obvious filter design methods, using either window-based or Remez ( Parks-McClellan ) functions, can easily result in filters with many thousands of taps. 

The filter to be described reduces the computational effort (and thus...

Second Order Discrete-Time System Demonstration

Neil Robertson April 1, 20202 comments

Discrete-time systems are remarkable:  the time response can be computed from mere difference equations, and the coefficients ai, bi of these equations are also the coefficients of H(z).  Here, I try to illustrate this remarkableness by converting a continuous-time second-order system to an approximately equivalent discrete-time system.  With a discrete-time model, we can then easily compute the time response to any input.  But note that the goal here is as much to...

A Beginner's Guide To Cascaded Integrator-Comb (CIC) Filters

Rick Lyons March 26, 202053 comments

This blog discusses the behavior, mathematics, and implementation of cascaded integrator-comb filters.

Cascaded integrator-comb (CIC) digital filters are computationally-efficient implementations of narrowband lowpass filters, and are often embedded in hardware implementations of decimation, interpolation, and delta-sigma converter filtering.

After describing a few applications of CIC filters, this blog introduces their structure and behavior, presents the frequency-domain...

Are DSPs Dead ?

Jeff Brower March 25, 20208 comments
Are DSPs Dead ?

Former Texas Instruments Sr. Fellow Gene Frantz and former TI Fellow Alan Gatherer wrote a 2017 IEEE article about the "death and rebirth" of DSP as a discipline, explaining that now signal processing provides indispensable building blocks in widely popular and lucrative areas such as data science and machine learning. The article implies that DSP will now be taught in university engineering programs as its linear systems and electromagnetics...

Digging into an Audio Signal and the DSP Process Pipeline

Stephen Morris March 9, 20206 comments
In this post, I'll look at the benefits of using multiple perspectives when handling signals.A Pre-existing Audio File

Let's say we have an audio file of interest. Let's load it into Audacity and zoom in a little (using View → Zoom → Zoom In, multiple times). The figure illustrates the audio signal: just a basic single-tone signal.

By continuing to zoom into the signal, we eventually get to the point of seeing individual samples as illustrated below. Notice that I've marked one...

Generating pink noise

Allen Downey January 20, 20161 comment

In one of his most famous columns for Scientific American, Martin Gardner wrote about pink noise and its relation to fractal music.  The article was based on a 1978 paper by Voss and Clarke, which presents, among other things, a simple algorithm for generating pink noise, also known as 1/f noise.

The fundamental idea of the algorithm is to add up several sequences of uniform random numbers that get updated at different rates. The first source gets updated at...

Round Round Get Around: Why Fixed-Point Right-Shifts Are Just Fine

Jason Sachs November 22, 20163 comments

Today’s topic is rounding in embedded systems, or more specifically, why you don’t need to worry about it in many cases.

One of the issues faced in computer arithmetic is that exact arithmetic requires an ever-increasing bit length to avoid overflow. Adding or subtracting two 16-bit integers produces a 17-bit result; multiplying two 16-bit integers produces a 32-bit result. In fixed-point arithmetic we typically multiply and shift right; for example, if we wanted to multiply some...

Frequency Dependence in Free Space Propagation

Eric Jacobsen May 14, 20088 comments


It seems to be fairly common knowledge, even among practicing professionals, that the efficiency of propagation of wireless signals is frequency dependent. Generally it is believed that lower frequencies are desirable since pathloss effects will be less than they would be at higher frequencies. As evidence of this, the Friis Transmission Equation[i] is often cited, the general form of which is usually written as:

Pr = Pt Gt Gr ( λ / 4πd )2 (1)

where the...

Embedded Toolbox: Programmer's Calculator

Miro Samek June 27, 20178 comments

Like any craftsman, I have accumulated quite a few tools during my embedded software development career. Some of them proved to me more useful than others. And these generally useful tools ended up in my Embedded Toolbox. In this blog, I'd like to share some of my tools with you. Today, I'd like to start with my cross-platform Programmer's Calculator called QCalc.

I'm sure that you already have your favorite calculator online or on your smartphone. But can your calculator accept...

Interpolation Basics

Neil Robertson August 20, 201915 comments

This article covers interpolation basics, and provides a numerical example of interpolation of a time signal.  Figure 1 illustrates what we mean by interpolation.  The top plot shows a continuous time signal, and the middle plot shows a sampled version with sample time Ts.  The goal of interpolation is to increase the sample rate such that the new (interpolated) sample values are close to the values of the continuous signal at the sample times [1].  For example, if...

Linear-phase DC Removal Filter

Rick Lyons March 30, 200825 comments

This blog describes several DC removal networks that might be of interest to the dsprelated.com readers.

Back in August 2007 there was a thread on the comp.dsp newsgroup concerning the process of removing the DC (zero Hz) component from a time-domain sequence [1]. Discussed in that thread was the notion of removing a signal's DC bias by subtracting the signal's moving average from that signal, as shown in Figure 1(a).

Figure 1.

At first I thought...

An s-Plane to z-Plane Mapping Example

Rick Lyons September 24, 20169 comments

While surfing around the Internet recently I encountered the 's-plane to z-plane mapping' diagram shown in Figure 1. At first I thought the diagram was neat because it's a good example of the old English idiom: "A picture is worth a thousand words." However, as I continued to look at Figure 1 I began to detect what I believe are errors in the diagram.

Reader, please take a few moments to see if you detect any errors in Figure 1.


The Number 9, Not So Magic After All

Rick Lyons October 1, 20146 comments

This blog is not about signal processing. Rather, it discusses an interesting topic in number theory, the magic of the number 9. As such, this blog is for people who are charmed by the behavior and properties of numbers.

For decades I've thought the number 9 had tricky, almost magical, qualities. Many people feel the same way. I have a book on number theory, whose chapter 8 is titled "Digits — and the Magic of 9", that discusses all sorts of interesting mathematical characteristics of the...

Optimizing the Half-band Filters in Multistage Decimation and Interpolation

Rick Lyons January 4, 201616 comments

This blog discusses a not so well-known rule regarding the filtering in multistage decimation and interpolation by an integer power of two. I'm referring to sample rate change systems using half-band lowpass filters (LPFs) as shown in Figure 1. Here's the story.

Figure 1: Multistage decimation and interpolation using half-band filters.

Multistage Decimation – A Very Brief Review

Figure 2(a) depicts the process of decimation by an integer factor D. That...

A Differentiator With a Difference

Rick Lyons November 3, 200713 comments

Some time ago I was studying various digital differentiating networks, i.e., networks that approximate the process of taking the derivative of a discrete time-domain sequence. By "studying" I mean that I was experimenting with various differentiating filter coefficients, and I discovered a computationally-efficient digital differentiator. A differentiator that, for low fequency signals, has the power of George Foreman's right hand! Before I describe this differentiator, let's review a few...