Somewhat Off Topic: Deciphering Transistor Terminology

Rick Lyons May 28, 20193 comments

I recently learned something mildly interesting about transistors, so I thought I'd share my new knowledge with you folks. Figure 1 shows a p-n-p transistor comprising a small block of n-type semiconductor sandwiched between two blocks of p-type semiconductor.

The terminology of "emitter" and "collector" seems appropriate, but did you ever wonder why the semiconductor block in the center is called the "base"? The word base seems inappropriate because the definition of the word base is:...


Reducing IIR Filter Computational Workload

Rick Lyons May 24, 20195 comments

This blog describes a straightforward method to significantly reduce the number of necessary multiplies per input sample of traditional IIR lowpass and highpass digital filters.

Reducing IIR Filter Computations Using Dual-Path Allpass Filters

We can improve the computational speed of a lowpass or highpass IIR filter by converting that filter into a dual-path filter consisting of allpass filters as shown in Figure 1.

...

A Lesson In Engineering Humility

Rick Lyons May 20, 20199 comments

Let's assume you were given the task to design and build the 12-channel telephone transmission system shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

At a rate of 8000 samples/second, each telephone's audio signal is sampled and converted to a 7-bit binary sequence of pulses. The analog signals at Figure 1's nodes A, B, and C are presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2

I'm convinced that some of you subscribers to this dsprelated.com web site could accomplish such a design & build task....

Controlling a DSP Network's Gain: A Note For DSP Beginners

Rick Lyons March 29, 201922 comments

This blog briefly discusses a topic well-known to experienced DSP practitioners but may not be so well-known to DSP beginners. The topic is the proper way to control a digital network's gain. Digital Network Gain Control Figure 1 shows a collection of networks I've seen, in the literature of DSP, where strict gain control is implemented.

              FIGURE 1. Examples of digital networks whose initial operations are input signal...


Stereophonic Amplitude-Panning: A Derivation of the 'Tangent Law'

Rick Lyons February 20, 20199 comments

In a recent Forum post here on dsprelated.com the audio signal processing subject of stereophonic amplitude-panning was discussed. And in that Forum thread the so-called "Tangent Law", the fundamental principle of stereophonic amplitude-panning, was discussed. However, none of the Forum thread participants had ever seen a derivation of the Tangent Law. This blog presents such a derivation and if this topic interests you, then please read on.

The notion of stereophonic amplitude-panning is...


A Brief Introduction To Romberg Integration

Rick Lyons January 16, 201911 comments

This blog briefly describes a remarkable integration algorithm, called "Romberg integration." The algorithm is used in the field of numerical analysis but it's not so well-known in the world of DSP.

To show the power of Romberg integration, and to convince you to continue reading, consider the notion of estimating the area under the continuous x(t) = sin(t) curve based on the five x(n) samples represented by the dots in Figure 1.

The results of performing a Trapezoidal Rule, a...


Microprocessor Family Tree

Rick Lyons January 10, 20195 comments

Below is a little microprocessor history. Perhaps some of the ol' timers here will recognize a few of these integrated circuits. I have a special place in my heart for the Intel 8080 chip.

Image copied, without permission, from the now defunct Creative Computing magazine, Vol. 11, No. 6, June 1985.


Two Easy Ways To Test Multistage CIC Decimation Filters

Rick Lyons May 22, 20182 comments

This blog presents two very easy ways to test the performance of multistage cascaded integrator-comb (CIC) decimation filters [1]. Anyone implementing CIC filters should take note of the following proposed CIC filter test methods.

Introduction

Figure 1 presents a multistage decimate by D CIC filter where the number of stages is S = 3. The '↓D' operation represents downsampling by integer D (discard all but every Dth sample), and n is the time index.

If the Figure 3 filter's...


FFT Interpolation Based on FFT Samples: A Detective Story With a Surprise Ending

Rick Lyons April 16, 201837 comments

This blog presents several interesting things I recently learned regarding the estimation of a spectral value located at a frequency lying between previously computed FFT spectral samples. My curiosity about this FFT interpolation process was triggered by reading a spectrum analysis paper written by three astronomers [1].

My fixation on one equation in that paper led to the creation of this blog.

Background

The notion of FFT interpolation is straightforward to describe. That is, for example,...


An Efficient Linear Interpolation Scheme

Rick Lyons December 27, 201725 comments

This blog presents a computationally-efficient linear interpolation trick that requires at most one multiply per output sample.

Background: Linear Interpolation

Looking at Figure 1(a) let's assume we have two points, [x(0),y(0)] and [x(1),y(1)], and we want to compute the value y, on the line joining those two points, associated with the value x. 

       Figure 1: Linear interpolation: given x, x(0), x(1), y(0), and y(1), compute the value of y. ...


FFT Interpolation Based on FFT Samples: A Detective Story With a Surprise Ending

Rick Lyons April 16, 201837 comments

This blog presents several interesting things I recently learned regarding the estimation of a spectral value located at a frequency lying between previously computed FFT spectral samples. My curiosity about this FFT interpolation process was triggered by reading a spectrum analysis paper written by three astronomers [1].

My fixation on one equation in that paper led to the creation of this blog.

Background

The notion of FFT interpolation is straightforward to describe. That is, for example,...


A Differentiator With a Difference

Rick Lyons November 3, 200710 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...


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...


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.

...

Accurate Measurement of a Sinusoid's Peak Amplitude Based on FFT Data

Rick Lyons December 14, 201112 comments

There are two code snippets associated with this blog post:

Flat-Top Windowing Function for the Accurate Measurement of a Sinusoid's Peak Amplitude Based on FFT Data

and

Testing the Flat-Top Windowing Function

This blog discusses an accurate method of estimating time-domain sinewave peak amplitudes based on fast Fourier transform (FFT) data. Such an operation sounds simple, but the scalloping loss characteristic of FFTs complicates the process. We eliminate that complication by...


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...


The Most Interesting FIR Filter Equation in the World: Why FIR Filters Can Be Linear Phase

Rick Lyons August 18, 201517 comments

This blog discusses a little-known filter characteristic that enables real- and complex-coefficient tapped-delay line FIR filters to exhibit linear phase behavior. That is, this blog answers the question:

What is the constraint on real- and complex-valued FIR filters that guarantee linear phase behavior in the frequency domain?

I'll declare two things to convince you to continue reading.

Declaration# 1: "That the coefficients must be symmetrical" is not a correct


Computing the Group Delay of a Filter

Rick Lyons November 19, 200817 comments

I just learned a new method (new to me at least) for computing the group delay of digital filters. In the event this process turns out to be interesting to my readers, this blog describes the method. Let's start with a bit of algebra so that you'll know I'm not making all of this up.

Assume we have the N-sample h(n) impulse response of a digital filter, with n being our time-domain index, and that we represent the filter's discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT), H(ω), in polar form...


Computing Large DFTs Using Small FFTs

Rick Lyons June 23, 200821 comments

It is possible to compute N-point discrete Fourier transforms (DFTs) using radix-2 fast Fourier transforms (FFTs) whose sizes are less than N. For example, let's say the largest size FFT software routine you have available is a 1024-point FFT. With the following trick you can combine the results of multiple 1024-point FFTs to compute DFTs whose sizes are greater than 1024.

The simplest form of this idea is computing an N-point DFT using two N/2-point FFT operations. Here's how the trick...


How Discrete Signal Interpolation Improves D/A Conversion

Rick Lyons May 28, 20121 comment
This blog post is also available in pdf format. Download here.

Earlier this year, for the Linear Audio magazine, published in the Netherlands whose subscribers are technically-skilled hi-fi audio enthusiasts, I wrote an article on the fundamentals of interpolation as it's used to improve the performance of analog-to-digital conversion. Perhaps that article will be of some value to the subscribers of dsprelated.com. Here's what I wrote:

We encounter the process of digital-to-analog...