## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...## 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...

## 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...