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

Rick Lyons April 3, 20168 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)...

A Useful Source of Signal Processing Information

Rick Lyons March 23, 20168 comments

I just discovered a useful web-based source of signal processing information that was new to me. I thought I'd share what I learned with the subscribers here on

The Home page of the web site that I found doesn't look at all like it would be useful to us DSP fanatics. But if you enter some signal processing topic of interest, say, "FM demodulation" (without the quotation marks) into the 'Search' box at the top of the web page

and click the red 'SEARCH...

Optimizing the Half-band Filters in Multistage Decimation and Interpolation

Rick Lyons January 4, 201615 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...

Implementing Simultaneous Digital Differentiation, Hilbert Transformation, and Half-Band Filtering

Rick Lyons November 24, 20152 comments

Recently I've been thinking about digital differentiator and Hilbert transformer implementations and I've developed a processing scheme that may be of interest to the readers here on

This blog presents a novel method for simultaneously implementing a digital differentiator (DD), a Hilbert transformer (HT), and a half-band lowpass filter (HBF) using a single tapped-delay line and a single set of coefficients. The method is based on the similarities of the three N =...

A New Contender in the Digital Differentiator Race

Rick Lyons September 30, 20152 comments

This blog proposes a novel differentiator worth your consideration. Although simple, the differentiator provides a fairly wide 'frequency range of linear operation' and can be implemented, if need be, without performing numerical multiplications.


In reference [1] I presented a computationally-efficient tapped-delay line digital differentiator whose $h_{ref}(k)$ impulse response is:

$$ h_{ref}(k) = {-1/16}, \ 0, \ 1, \ 0, \ {-1}, \ 0, \ 1/16 \tag{1} $$


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

Rick Lyons August 18, 201516 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

Four Ways to Compute an Inverse FFT Using the Forward FFT Algorithm

Rick Lyons July 7, 20151 comment

If you need to compute inverse fast Fourier transforms (inverse FFTs) but you only have forward FFT software (or forward FFT FPGA cores) available to you, below are four ways to solve your problem.

Preliminaries To define what we're thinking about here, an N-point forward FFT and an N-point inverse FFT are described by:

$$ Forward \ FFT \rightarrow X(m) = \sum_{n=0}^{N-1} x(n)e^{-j2\pi nm/N} \tag{1} $$ $$ Inverse \ FFT \rightarrow x(n) = {1 \over N} \sum_{m=0}^{N-1}...

Correcting an Important Goertzel Filter Misconception

Rick Lyons July 6, 201512 comments

Recently I was on the Signal Processing Stack Exchange web site (a question and answer site for DSP people) and I read a posted question regarding Goertzel filters [1]. One of the subscribers posted a reply to the question by pointing interested readers to a Wikipedia web page discussing Goertzel filters [2]. I noticed the Wiki web site stated that a Goertzel filter:

" marginally stable and vulnerable tonumerical error accumulation when computed usinglow-precision arithmetic and...

Handy Online Simulation Tool Models Aliasing With Lowpass and Bandpass Sampling

Rick Lyons May 4, 20151 comment

Analog Devices Inc. has posted a neat software simulation tool on their corporate web site that graphically shows the aliasing effects of both lowpass and bandpass periodic sampling. This is a nice tutorial tool for beginners in DSP.

The tool shows four important characteristics of periodic sampling:

  Characteristic# 1: All input analog spectral components, regardless of their center frequencies, show up (appear) below half the sample rate in the digitized...

Why Time-Domain Zero Stuffing Produces Multiple Frequency-Domain Spectral Images

Rick Lyons March 23, 2015

This blog explains why, in the process of time-domain interpolation (sample rate increase), zero stuffing a time sequence with zero-valued samples produces an increased-length time sequence whose spectrum contains replications of the original time sequence's spectrum.


The traditional way to interpolate (sample rate increase) an x(n) time domain sequence is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

The '↑ L' operation in Figure 1 means to...

Linear-phase DC Removal Filter

Rick Lyons March 30, 200820 comments

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

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...

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 Here's what I wrote:

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

The History of CIC Filters: The Untold Story

Rick Lyons February 20, 20124 comments

If you have ever studied or designed a cascaded integrator-comb (CIC) lowpass filter then surely you've read Eugene Hogenauer's seminal 1981 IEEE paper where he first introduced the CIC filter to the signal processing world [1]. As it turns out, Hogenauer's famous paper was not the first formal document describing and proposing CIC filters. Here's the story.

In the Fall of 1979 Eugene Hogenauer was finalizing his development of the CIC filter, the filter now used in so many multirate signal...

Spectral Flipping Around Signal Center Frequency

Rick Lyons November 8, 20074 comments

Most of us are familiar with the process of flipping the spectrum (spectral inversion) of a real signal by multiplying that signal's time samples by (-1)n. In that process the center of spectral rotation is fs/4, where fs is the signal's sample rate in Hz. In this blog we discuss a different kind of spectral flipping process.

Consider the situation where we need to flip the X(f) spectrum in Figure 1(a) to obtain the desired Y(f) spectrum shown in Figure 1(b). Notice that the center of...

The Swiss Army Knife of Digital Networks

Rick Lyons June 13, 20163 comments

This blog describes a general discrete-signal network that appears, in various forms, inside so many DSP applications. 

Figure 1 shows how the network's structure has the distinct look of a digital filter—a comb filter followed by a 2nd-order recursive network. However, I do not call this useful network a filter because its capabilities extend far beyond simple filtering. Through a series of examples I've illustrated the fundamental strength of this Swiss Army Knife of digital networks...

Generating Complex Baseband and Analytic Bandpass Signals

Rick Lyons November 2, 20112 comments

There are so many different time- and frequency-domain methods for generating complex baseband and analytic bandpass signals that I had trouble keeping those techniques straight in my mind. Thus, for my own benefit, I created a kind of reference table showing those methods. I present that table for your viewing pleasure in this blog.

For clarity, I define a complex baseband signal as follows: derived from an input analog xbp(t)bandpass signal whose spectrum is shown in Figure 1(a), or...

Computing Large DFTs Using Small FFTs

Rick Lyons June 24, 200815 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...

A Simple Complex Down-conversion Scheme

Rick Lyons January 21, 20085 comments
Recently I was experimenting with complex down-conversion schemes. That is, generating an analytic (complex) version, centered at zero Hz, of a real bandpass signal that was originally centered at ±fs/4 (one fourth the sample rate). I managed to obtain one such scheme that is computationally efficient, and it might be of some mild interest to you guys. The simple complex down-conversion scheme is shown in Figure 1(a).

It works like this: say we have a real xR(n) input bandpass...

Goertzel Algorithm for a Non-integer Frequency Index

Rick Lyons October 7, 2013

If you've read about the Goertzel algorithm, you know it's typically presented as an efficient way to compute an individual kth bin result of an N-point discrete Fourier transform (DFT). The integer-valued frequency index k is in the range of zero to N-1 and the standard block diagram for the Goertzel algorithm is shown in Figure 1. For example, if you want to efficiently compute just the 17th DFT bin result (output sample X17) of a 64-point DFT you set integer frequency index k = 17 and N =...