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DAC Zero-Order Hold Models

Neil Robertson January 21, 20242 comments

This article provides two simple time-domain models of a DAC’s zero-order hold. These models will allow us to find time and frequency domain approximations of DAC outputs, and simulate analog filtering of those outputs. Developing the models is also a good way to learn about the DAC ZOH function.


Frequency Formula for a Pure Complex Tone in a DTFT

Cedron Dawg November 12, 2023

The analytic formula for calculating the frequency of a pure complex tone from the bin values of a rectangularly windowed Discrete Time Fourier Transform (DTFT) is derived. Unlike the corresponding Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) case, there is no extra degree of freedom and only one solution is possible.


Pentagon Construction Using Complex Numbers

Cedron Dawg October 13, 2023

A method for constructing a pentagon using a straight edge and a compass is deduced from the complex values of the Fifth Roots of Unity. Analytic values for the points are also derived.


Interpolator Design: Get the Stopbands Right

Neil Robertson July 6, 20236 comments

In this article, I present a simple approach for designing interpolators that takes the guesswork out of determining the stopbands.


The Discrete Fourier Transform as a Frequency Response

Neil Robertson February 4, 20236 comments

The discrete frequency response H(k) of a Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filter is the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) of its impulse response h(n) [1].  So, if we can find H(k) by whatever method, it should be identical to the DFT of h(n).  In this article, we’ll find H(k) by using complex exponentials, and we’ll see that it is indeed identical to the DFT of h(n).

Consider the four-tap FIR filter in Figure 1, where each block labeled Ts represents a delay of one...


Add the Hilbert Transformer to Your DSP Toolkit, Part 2

Neil Robertson December 4, 20225 comments

In this part, I’ll show how to design a Hilbert Transformer using the coefficients of a half-band filter as a starting point, which turns out to be remarkably simple.  I’ll also show how a half-band filter can be synthesized using the Matlab function firpm, which employs the Parks-McClellan algorithm.

A half-band filter is a type of lowpass, even-symmetric FIR filter having an odd number of taps, with the even-numbered taps (except for the main tap) equal to zero.  This...


Add the Hilbert Transformer to Your DSP Toolkit, Part 1

Neil Robertson November 22, 20224 comments

In some previous articles, I made use of the Hilbert transformer, but did not explain its theory in any detail.  In this article, I’ll dig a little deeper into how the Hilbert Transformer works.  Understanding the Hilbert Transformer involves a modest amount of mathematics, but the payoff in useful applications is worth it.

As we’ll learn, a Hilbert Transformer is just a particular type of Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filter.  In Part 1 of this article, I’ll...


Candan's Tweaks of Jacobsen's Frequency Approximation

Cedron Dawg November 11, 2022
Introduction

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by explaining how a tweak to a well known frequency approximation formula makes it better, and another tweak makes it exact. The first tweak is shown to be the first of a pattern and a novel approximation formula is made from the second. It only requires a few extra calculations beyond the original approximation to come up with an approximation suitable for most...


A Recipe for a Basic Trigonometry Table

Cedron Dawg October 4, 2022
Introduction

This is an article that is give a better understanding to the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by showing how to build a Sine and Cosine table from scratch. Along the way a recursive method is developed as a tone generator for a pure tone complex signal with an amplitude of one. Then a simpler multiplicative one. Each with drift correction factors. By setting the initial values to zero and one degrees and letting it run to build 45 values, the entire set of values needed...


Learn About Transmission Lines Using a Discrete-Time Model

Neil Robertson January 12, 2022

We don’t often think about signal transmission lines, but we use them every day.  Familiar examples are coaxial cable, Ethernet cable, and Universal Serial Bus (USB).  Like it or not, high-speed clock and signal traces on printed-circuit boards are also transmission lines.

While modeling transmission lines is in general a complex undertaking, it is surprisingly simple to model a lossless, uniform line with resistive terminations by using a discrete-time approach.  A...


A Fixed-Point Introduction by Example

Christopher Felton April 25, 201122 comments
Introduction

The finite-word representation of fractional numbers is known as fixed-point.  Fixed-point is an interpretation of a 2's compliment number usually signed but not limited to sign representation.  It extends our finite-word length from a finite set of integers to a finite set of rational real numbers [1].  A fixed-point representation of a number consists of integer and fractional components.  The bit length is defined...


A Quadrature Signals Tutorial: Complex, But Not Complicated

Rick Lyons April 12, 201365 comments

Introduction Quadrature signals are based on the notion of complex numbers and perhaps no other topic causes more heartache for newcomers to DSP than these numbers and their strange terminology of j operator, complex, imaginary, real, and orthogonal. If you're a little unsure of the physical meaning of complex numbers and the j = √-1 operator, don't feel bad because you're in good company. Why even Karl Gauss, one the world's greatest mathematicians, called the j-operator the "shadow of...


Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) - A Tutorial

Qasim Chaudhari January 25, 201717 comments

Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) is one of the most spectrally efficient modulation schemes available. Due to its constant envelope, it is resilient to non-linear distortion and was therefore chosen as the modulation technique for the GSM cell phone standard.

MSK is a special case of Continuous-Phase Frequency Shift Keying (CPFSK) which is a special case of a general class of modulation schemes known as Continuous-Phase Modulation (CPM). It is worth noting that CPM (and hence CPFSK) is a...


Digital Envelope Detection: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Rick Lyons April 3, 201622 comments

Recently I've been thinking about the process of envelope detection. Tutorial information on this topic is readily available but that information is spread out over a number of DSP textbooks and many Internet web sites. The purpose of this blog is to summarize various digital envelope detection methods in one place.

Here I focus on envelope detection as it is applied to an amplitude-fluctuating sinusoidal signal where the positive-amplitude fluctuations (the sinusoid's envelope)...


Design IIR Butterworth Filters Using 12 Lines of Code

Neil Robertson December 10, 201712 comments

While there are plenty of canned functions to design Butterworth IIR filters [1], it’s instructive and not that complicated to design them from scratch.  You can do it in 12 lines of Matlab code.  In this article, we’ll create a Matlab function butter_synth.m to design lowpass Butterworth filters of any order.  Here is an example function call for a 5th order filter:

N= 5 % Filter order fc= 10; % Hz cutoff freq fs= 100; % Hz sample freq [b,a]=...

Use Matlab Function pwelch to Find Power Spectral Density – or Do It Yourself

Neil Robertson January 13, 201938 comments

In my last post, we saw that finding the spectrum of a signal requires several steps beyond computing the discrete Fourier transform (DFT)[1].  These include windowing the signal, taking the magnitude-squared of the DFT, and computing the vector of frequencies.  The Matlab function pwelch [2] performs all these steps, and it also has the option to use DFT averaging to compute the so-called Welch power spectral density estimate [3,4].

In this article, I’ll present some...


The Exponential Nature of the Complex Unit Circle

Cedron Dawg March 10, 20155 comments
Introduction

This is an article to hopefully give an understanding to Euler's magnificent equation:

$$ e^{i\theta} = cos( \theta ) + i \cdot sin( \theta ) $$

This equation is usually proved using the Taylor series expansion for the given functions, but this approach fails to give an understanding to the equation and the ramification for the behavior of complex numbers. Instead an intuitive approach is taken that culminates in a graphical understanding of the equation.

Complex...

How to Find a Fast Floating-Point atan2 Approximation

Nic Taylor May 26, 201715 comments
Context Over a short period of time, I came across nearly identical approximations of the two parameter arctangent function, atan2, developed by different companies, in different countries, and even in different decades. Fascinated with how the coefficients used in these approximations were derived, I set out to find them. This atan2 implementation is based around a rational approximation of arctangent on the domain -1 to 1:

$$ atan(z) \approx \dfrac{z}{1.0 +...


Design IIR Bandpass Filters

Neil Robertson January 6, 201812 comments

In this post, I present a method to design Butterworth IIR bandpass filters.  My previous post [1] covered lowpass IIR filter design, and provided a Matlab function to design them.  Here, we’ll do the same thing for IIR bandpass filters, with a Matlab function bp_synth.m.  Here is an example function call for a bandpass filter based on a 3rd order lowpass prototype:

N= 3; % order of prototype LPF fcenter= 22.5; % Hz center frequency, Hz bw= 5; ...

Design IIR Filters Using Cascaded Biquads

Neil Robertson February 11, 201832 comments

This article shows how to implement a Butterworth IIR lowpass filter as a cascade of second-order IIR filters, or biquads.  We’ll derive how to calculate the coefficients of the biquads and do some examples using a Matlab function biquad_synth provided in the Appendix.  Although we’ll be designing Butterworth filters, the approach applies to any all-pole lowpass filter (Chebyshev, Bessel, etc).  As we’ll see, the cascaded-biquad design is less sensitive to coefficient...