### Neil Robertson (@neirober)

## DAC Zero-Order Hold Models

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.

## Decimators Using Cascaded Multiplierless Half-band Filters

In my last post, I provided coefficients for several multiplierless half-band FIR filters. In the comment section, Rick Lyons mentioned that such filters would be useful in a multi-stage decimator. For such an application, any subsequent multipliers save on resources, since they operate at a fraction of the maximum sample frequency. We’ll examine the frequency response and aliasing of a multiplierless decimate-by-8 cascade in this article, and we’ll also discuss an interpolator cascade using the same half-band filters.

## Multiplierless Half-band Filters and Hilbert Transformers

This article provides coefficients of multiplierless Finite Impulse Response 7-tap, 11-tap, and 15-tap half-band filters and Hilbert Transformers. Since Hilbert transformer coefficients are simply related to half-band coefficients, multiplierless Hilbert transformers are easily derived from multiplierless half-bands.

## Interpolator Design: Get the Stopbands Right

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

## Simple Discrete-Time Modeling of Lossy LC Filters

There are many software applications that allow modeling LC filters in the frequency domain. But sometimes it is useful to have a time domain model, such as when you need to analyze a mixed analog and DSP system. For example, the system in Figure 1 includes an LC filter as well as a DSP portion. The LC filter could be an anti-alias filter, a channel filter, or some other LC network. For a design using undersampling, the filter would be bandpass [1]. By modeling...

## The Discrete Fourier Transform as a Frequency Response

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

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

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...

## Book Recommendation "What is Mathematics?"

What is Mathematics is a classic, lucidly written survey of mathematics by Courant and Robbins. The first edition was published in 1941! I have only read a portion of it, mainly the chapter on calculus. One page of Courant is worth about five pages of my old college calculus textbook, and it’s a lot more fun to read.

The reader of this book should already be familiar with algebra and trigonometry. For engineers, some worthwhile sections of the book are:

## Evaluate Noise Performance of Discrete-Time Differentiators

When it comes to noise, all differentiators are not created equal. Figure 1 shows the magnitude response of two differentiators. They both have a useful bandwidth of a little less than π/8 radians (based on maximum magnitude response error of 2%). Suppose we apply a signal with Gaussian noise to each of these differentiators. The sinusoidal signal with noise is shown in the top of Figure 2. Signal frequency is π/12.5 radians. The output of the so-called...

## Learn About Transmission Lines Using a Discrete-Time Model

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...

## The Discrete Fourier Transform and the Need for Window Functions

The Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) is used to find the frequency spectrum of a discrete-time signal. A computationally efficient version called the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) is normally used to calculate the DFT. But, as many have found to their dismay, the FFT, when used alone, usually does not provide an accurate spectrum. The reason is a phenomenon called spectral leakage.

Spectral leakage can be reduced drastically by using a window function in conjunction...

## Modeling Anti-Alias Filters

Digitizing a signal using an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) usually requires an anti-alias filter, as shown in Figure 1a. In this post, we’ll develop models of lowpass Butterworth and Chebyshev anti-alias filters, and compute the time domain and frequency domain output of the ADC for an example input signal. We’ll also model aliasing of Gaussian noise. I hope the examples make the textbook explanations of aliasing seem a little more real. Of course, modeling of...

## Digital Filter Instructions from IKEA?

Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play. Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play.

Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play. Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play.

Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play. Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play.

Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play. Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play.

Swedish “Bygglek” = build and play. Swedish “Bygglek” = build and...

## Setting Carrier to Noise Ratio in Simulations

When simulating digital receivers, we often want to check performance with added Gaussian noise. In this article, I’ll derive the simple equations for the rms noise level needed to produce a desired carrier to noise ratio (CNR or C/N). I also provide a short Matlab function to generate a noise vector of the desired level for a given signal vector.

Definition of C/NThe Carrier to noise ratio is defined as the ratio of average signal power to noise power for a modulated...

## Add a Power Marker to a Power Spectral Density (PSD) Plot

Perhaps we should call most Power Spectral Density (PSD) calculations relative PSD, because usually we don’t have to worry about absolute power levels. However, for cases (e.g., measurements or simulations) where we are concerned with absolute power, it would be nice to be able to display it on a PSD plot. Unfortunately, you can’t read the power directly from the plot. For example, the plotted spectral peak of a narrowband signal, such as a sinewave, is lower than the...

## Find Aliased ADC or DAC Harmonics (with animation)

When a sinewave is applied to a data converter (ADC or DAC), device nonlinearities produce harmonics. If a harmonic frequency is greater than the Nyquist frequency, the harmonic appears as an alias. In this case, it is not at once obvious if a given spur is a harmonic, and if so, its order. In this article, we’ll present Matlab code to simulate the data converter nonlinearities and find the harmonic alias frequencies. Note that Analog Devices has an online tool for...

## Compute Images/Aliases of CIC Interpolators/Decimators

Cascade-Integrator-Comb (CIC) filters are efficient fixed-point interpolators or decimators. For these filters, all coefficients are equal to 1, and there are no multipliers. They are typically used when a large change in sample rate is needed. This article provides two very simple Matlab functions that can be used to compute the spectral images of CIC interpolators and the aliases of CIC decimators.

1. CIC InterpolatorsFigure 1 shows three interpolate-by-M...

## Design Square-Root Nyquist Filters

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].

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

## Third-Order Distortion of a Digitally-Modulated Signal

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:

$$y=...

## Second Order Discrete-Time System Demonstration

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 Simplified Matlab Function for Power Spectral Density

In an earlier post [1], I showed how to compute power spectral density (PSD) of a discrete-time signal using the Matlab function pwelch [2]. Pwelch is a useful function because it gives the correct output, and it has the option to average multiple Discrete Fourier Transforms (DFTs). However, a typical function call has five arguments, and it can be hard to remember how to set them all and how they default.

In this post, I create a simplified PSD function by putting a...

## Fractional Delay FIR Filters

Consider the following Finite Impulse Response (FIR) coefficients:

b = [b0 b1 b2 b1 b0]

These coefficients form a 5-tap symmetrical FIR filter having constant group delay [1,2] over 0 to fs/2 of:

D = (ntaps – 1)/2 = 2 samples

For a symmetrical filter with an odd number of taps, the group delay is always an integer number of samples, while for one with an even number of taps, the group delay is always an integer + 0.5 samples. Can we design a filter...

## Model Signal Impairments at Complex Baseband

In this article, we develop complex-baseband models for several signal impairments: interfering carrier, multipath, phase noise, and Gaussian noise. To provide concrete examples, we’ll apply the impairments to a QAM system. The impairment models are Matlab functions that each use at most seven lines of code. Although our example system is QAM, the models can be used for any complex-baseband signal.

I used a very simple complex-baseband model of a QAM system in my last

## Compute Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for QAM

This post defines the Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for QAM signals, and shows how to compute it. As we’ll see, in the absence of impairments other than noise, the MER tracks the signal’s Carrier-to-Noise Ratio (over a limited range). A Matlab script at the end of the PDF version of this post computes MER for a simplified QAM-64 system.

Figure 1 is a simplified block diagram of a QAM system. The transmitter includes a source of QAM symbols, a root-Nyquist...

## Plotting Discrete-Time Signals

A discrete-time sinusoid can have frequency up to just shy of half the sample frequency. But if you try to plot the sinusoid, the result is not always recognizable. For example, if you plot a 9 Hz sinusoid sampled at 100 Hz, you get the result shown in the top of Figure 1, which looks like a sine. But if you plot a 35 Hz sinusoid sampled at 100 Hz, you get the bottom graph, which does not look like a sine when you connect the dots. We typically want the plot of a...

## Interpolation Basics

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...

## A Direct Digital Synthesizer with Arbitrary Modulus

Suppose you have a system with a 10 MHz sample clock, and you want to generate a sampled sinewave at any frequency below 5 MHz on 500 kHz spacing; i.e., 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, … MHz. In other words, f = k*fs/20, where k is an integer and fs is sample frequency. This article shows how to do this using a simple Direct Digital Synthesizer (DDS) with a look-up table that is at most 20 entries long. We’ll also demonstrate a Quadrature-output DDS. A note on...

## IIR Bandpass Filters Using Cascaded Biquads

In an earlier post [1], we implemented lowpass IIR filters using a cascade of second-order IIR filters, or biquads.

This post provides a Matlab function to do the same for Butterworth bandpass IIR filters. Compared to conventional implementations, bandpass filters based on biquads are less sensitive to coefficient quantization [2]. This becomes important when designing narrowband filters.

A biquad section block diagram using the Direct Form II structure [3,4] is...

## Demonstrating the Periodic Spectrum of a Sampled Signal Using the DFT

One of the basic DSP principles states that a sampled time signal has a periodic spectrum with period equal to the sample rate. The derivation of can be found in textbooks [1,2]. You can also demonstrate this principle numerically using the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT).

The DFT of the sampled signal x(n) is defined as:

$$X(k)=\sum_{n=0}^{N-1}x(n)e^{-j2\pi kn/N} \qquad (1)$$

Where

X(k) = discrete frequency spectrum of time sequence x(n)

## Compute the Frequency Response of a Multistage Decimator

Figure 1a shows the block diagram of a decimation-by-8 filter, consisting of a low-pass finite impulse response (FIR) filter followed by downsampling by 8 [1]. A more efficient version is shown in Figure 1b, which uses three cascaded decimate-by-two filters. This implementation has the advantages that only FIR 1 is sampled at the highest sample rate, and the total number of filter taps is lower.

The frequency response of the single-stage decimator before downsampling is just...

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

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...

## Evaluate Window Functions for the Discrete Fourier Transform

The Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) operates on a finite length time sequence to compute its spectrum. For a continuous signal like a sinewave, you need to capture a segment of the signal in order to perform the DFT. Usually, you also need to apply a window function to the captured signal before taking the DFT [1 - 3]. There are many different window functions and each produces a different approximation of the spectrum. In this post, we’ll present Matlab code that...

## Design a DAC sinx/x Corrector

This post provides a Matlab function that designs linear-phase FIR sinx/x correctors. It includes a table of fixed-point sinx/x corrector coefficients for different DAC frequency ranges.

A sinx/x corrector is a digital (or analog) filter used to compensate for the sinx/x roll-off inherent in the digital to analog conversion process. In DSP math, we treat the digital signal applied to the DAC is a sequence of impulses. These are converted by the DAC into contiguous pulses...

## Digital PLL’s, Part 3 – Phase Lock an NCO to an External Clock

Sometimes you may need to phase-lock a numerically controlled oscillator (NCO) to an external clock that is not related to the system clocks of your ASIC or FPGA. This situation is shown in Figure 1. Assuming your system has an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) available, you can sync to the external clock using the scheme shown in Figure 2. This time-domain PLL model is similar to the one presented in Part 1 of this series on digital PLL’s [1]. In that PLL, we...

## ADC Clock Jitter Model, Part 2 – Random Jitter

In Part 1, I presented a Matlab function to model an ADC with jitter on the sample clock, and applied it to examples with deterministic jitter. Now we’ll investigate an ADC with random clock jitter, by using a filtered or unfiltered Gaussian sequence as the jitter source. What we are calling jitter can also be called time jitter, phase jitter, or phase noise. It’s all the same phenomenon. Typically, we call it jitter when we have a time-domain representation,...

## ADC Clock Jitter Model, Part 1 – Deterministic Jitter

Analog to digital converters (ADC’s) have several imperfections that affect communications signals, including thermal noise, differential nonlinearity, and sample clock jitter [1, 2]. As shown in Figure 1, the ADC has a sample/hold function that is clocked by a sample clock. Jitter on the sample clock causes the sampling instants to vary from the ideal sample time. This transfers the jitter from the sample clock to the input signal.

In this article, I present a Matlab...

## Phase or Frequency Shifter Using a Hilbert Transformer

In this article, we’ll describe how to use a Hilbert transformer to make a phase shifter or frequency shifter. In either case, the input is a real signal and the output is a real signal. We’ll use some simple Matlab code to simulate these systems. After that, we’ll go into a little more detail on Hilbert transformer theory and design.

Phase ShifterA conceptual diagram of a phase shifter is shown in Figure 1, where the bold lines indicate complex...

## Coefficients of Cascaded Discrete-Time Systems

In this article, we’ll show how to compute the coefficients that result when you cascade discrete-time systems. With the coefficients in hand, it’s then easy to compute the time or frequency response. The computation presented here can also be used to find coefficients of mixed discrete-time and continuous-time systems, by using a discrete time model of the continuous-time portion [1].

This article is available in PDF format for...

## Design IIR Filters Using Cascaded Biquads

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...

## Design IIR Highpass Filters

This post is the fourth in a series of tutorials on IIR Butterworth filter design. So far we covered lowpass [1], bandpass [2], and band-reject [3] filters; now we’ll design highpass filters. The general approach, as before, has six steps:

Find the poles of a lowpass analog prototype filter with Ωc = 1 rad/s. Given the -3 dB frequency of the digital highpass filter, find the corresponding frequency of the analog highpass filter (pre-warping). Transform the...## Design IIR Band-Reject Filters

In this post, I show how to design IIR Butterworth band-reject filters, and provide two Matlab functions for band-reject filter synthesis. Earlier posts covered IIR Butterworth lowpass [1] and bandpass [2] filters. Here, the function br_synth1.m designs band-reject filters based on null frequency and upper -3 dB frequency, while br_synth2.m designs them based on lower and upper -3 dB frequencies. I’ll discuss the differences between the two approaches later in this...

## Design IIR Bandpass Filters

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 Butterworth Filters Using 12 Lines of Code

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]=...## Simplest Calculation of Half-band Filter Coefficients

Half-band filters are lowpass FIR filters with cut-off frequency of one-quarter of sampling frequency fs and odd symmetry about fs/4 [1]*. And it so happens that almost half of the coefficients are zero. The passband and stopband bandwiths are equal, making these filters useful for decimation-by-2 and interpolation-by-2. Since the zero coefficients make them computationally efficient, these filters are ubiquitous in DSP systems.

Here we will compute half-band...

## There's No End to It -- Matlab Code Plots Frequency Response above the Unit Circle

Reference [1] has some 3D plots of frequency response magnitude above the unit circle in the Z-plane. I liked them enough that I wrote a Matlab function to plot the response of any digital filter this way. I’m not sure how useful these plots are, but they’re fun to look at. The Matlab code is listed in the Appendix.This post is available in PDF format for easy...

## Modeling a Continuous-Time System with Matlab

Many of us are familiar with modeling a continuous-time system in the frequency domain using its transfer function H(s) or H(jω). However, finding the time response can be challenging, and traditionally involves finding the inverse Laplace transform of H(s). An alternative way to get both time and frequency responses is to transform H(s) to a discrete-time system H(z) using the impulse-invariant transform [1,2]. This method provides an exact match to the continuous-time...

## Canonic Signed Digit (CSD) Representation of Integers

In my last post I presented Matlab code to synthesize multiplierless FIR filters using Canonic Signed Digit (CSD) coefficients. I included a function dec2csd1.m (repeated here in Appendix A) to convert decimal integers to binary CSD values. Here I want to use that function to illustrate a few properties of CSD numbers.

In a binary signed-digit number system, we allow each binary digit to have one of the three values {0, 1, -1}. Thus, for example, the binary value 1 1...

## Matlab Code to Synthesize Multiplierless FIR Filters

This article presents Matlab code to synthesize multiplierless Finite Impulse Response (FIR) lowpass filters.

A filter coefficient can be represented as a sum of powers of 2. For example, if a coefficient = decimal 5 multiplies input x, the output is $y= 2^2*x + 2^0*x$. The factor of $2^2$ is then implemented with a shift of 2 bits. This method is not efficient for coefficients having a lot of 1’s, e.g. decimal 31 = 11111. To reduce the number of non-zero...

## The Power Spectrum

Often, when calculating the spectrum of a sampled signal, we are interested in relative powers, and we don’t care about the absolute accuracy of the y axis. However, when the sampled signal represents an analog signal, we sometimes need an accurate picture of the analog signal’s power in the frequency domain. This post shows how to calculate an accurate power spectrum.

Parseval’s theorem [1,2] is a property of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) that...

## Digital PLL's -- Part 2

In Part 1, we found the time response of a 2nd order PLL with a proportional + integral (lead-lag) loop filter. Now let’s look at this PLL in the Z-domain [1, 2]. We will find that the response is characterized by a loop natural frequency ωn and damping coefficient ζ.

Having a Z-domain model of the DPLL will allow us to do three things:

Compute the values of loop filter proportional gain KL and integrator gain KI that give the desired loop natural...## Digital PLL's -- Part 1

1. IntroductionFigure 1.1 is a block diagram of a digital PLL (DPLL). The purpose of the DPLL is to lock the phase of a numerically controlled oscillator (NCO) to a reference signal. The loop includes a phase detector to compute phase error and a loop filter to set loop dynamic performance. The output of the loop filter controls the frequency and phase of the NCO, driving the phase error to zero.

One application of the DPLL is to recover the timing in a digital...

## Peak to Average Power Ratio and CCDF

Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR) is often used to characterize digitally modulated signals. One example application is setting the level of the signal in a digital modulator. Knowing PAPR allows setting the average power to a level that is just low enough to minimize clipping.

However, for a random signal, PAPR is a statistical quantity. We have to ask, what is the probability of a given peak power? Then we can decide where to set the average...

## Filter a Rectangular Pulse with no Ringing

To filter a rectangular pulse without any ringing, there is only one requirement on the filter coefficients: they must all be positive. However, if we want the leading and trailing edge of the pulse to be symmetrical, then the coefficients must be symmetrical. What we are describing is basically a window function.

Consider a rectangular pulse 32 samples long with fs = 1 kHz. Here is the Matlab code to generate the pulse:

N= 64; fs= 1000; % Hz sample...Use this form to contact **neirober**

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