## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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.

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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 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...

## 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...

## 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...

## 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,...

## 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 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 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...