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...

Complex Down-Conversion Amplitude Loss

Rick Lyons March 3, 20152 comments

This blog illustrates the signal amplitude loss inherent in a traditional complex down-conversion system. (In the literature of signal processing, complex down-conversion is also called "quadrature demodulation.")

The general idea behind complex down-conversion is shown in Figure 1(a). And the traditional hardware block diagram of a complex down-converter is shown in Figure 1(b).

Let's assume the input to our down-conversion system is an analog radio frequency (RF) signal,...

A Complex Variable Detective Story – A Disconnect Between Theory and Implementation

Rick Lyons October 14, 2014

Recently I was in the middle of a pencil-and-paper analysis of a digital 5-tap FIR filter having complex-valued coefficients and I encountered a surprising and thought-provoking problem. So that you can avoid the algebra difficulty I encountered, please read on.

A Surprising Algebra Puzzle

I wanted to derive the H(ω) equation for the frequency response of my FIR digital filter whose complex coefficients were h0, h1, h2, h3, and h4. I could then test the validity of my H(ω)...

The Number 9, Not So Magic After All

Rick Lyons October 2, 20144 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...

Sum of Two Equal-Frequency Sinusoids

Rick Lyons September 4, 20142 comments

Some time ago I reviewed the manuscript of a book being considered by the IEEE Press publisher for possible publication. In that manuscript the author presented the following equation:

Being unfamiliar with Eq. (1), and being my paranoid self, I wondered if that equation is indeed correct. Not finding a stock trigonometric identity in my favorite math reference book to verify Eq. (1), I modeled both sides of the equation using software. Sure enough, Eq. (1) is not correct. So then I...

The DFT Magnitude of a Real-valued Cosine Sequence

Rick Lyons June 17, 20148 comments

This blog may seem a bit trivial to some readers here but, then again, it might be of some value to DSP beginners. It presents a mathematical proof of what is the magnitude of an N-point discrete Fourier transform (DFT) when the DFT's input is a real-valued sinusoidal sequence.

To be specific, if we perform an N-point DFT on N real-valued time-domain samples of a discrete cosine wave, having exactly integer k cycles over N time samples, the peak magnitude of the cosine wave's...

Specifying the Maximum Amplifier Noise When Driving an ADC

Rick Lyons June 9, 20145 comments

I recently learned an interesting rule of thumb regarding the use of an amplifier to drive the input of an analog to digital converter (ADC). The rule of thumb describes how to specify the maximum allowable noise power of the amplifier [1].

The Problem Here's the situation for an ADC whose maximum analog input voltage range is –VRef to +VRef. If we drive an ADC's analog input with an sine wave whose peak amplitude is VP = VRef, the ADC's output signal to noise ratio is maximized. We'll...

A Remarkable Bit of DFT Trivia

Rick Lyons December 26, 20133 comments

I recently noticed a rather peculiar example of discrete Fourier transform (DFT) trivia; an unexpected coincidence regarding the scalloping loss of the DFT. Here's the story.

DFT SCALLOPING LOSS As you know, if we perform an N-point DFT on N real-valued time-domain samples of a discrete sine wave, whose frequency is an integer multiple of fs/N (fs is the sample rate in Hz), the peak magnitude of the sine wave's positive-frequency spectral component will be

where A is the peak amplitude...

Computing Translated Frequencies in Digitizing and Downsampling Analog Bandpass Signals

Rick Lyons October 31, 20131 comment

In digital signal processing (DSP) we're all familiar with the processes of bandpass sampling an analog bandpass signal and downsampling a digital bandpass signal. The overall spectral behavior of those operations are well-documented. However, mathematical expressions for computing the translated frequency of individual spectral components, after bandpass sampling or downsampling, are not available in the standard DSP textbooks. The following three sections explain how to compute the...

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 =...

Setting the 3-dB Cutoff Frequency of an Exponential Averager

Rick Lyons October 22, 20126 comments

This blog discusses two ways to determine an exponential averager's weighting factor so that the averager has a given 3-dB cutoff frequency. Here we assume the reader is familiar with exponential averaging lowpass filters, also called a "leaky integrators", to reduce noise fluctuations that contaminate constant-amplitude signal measurements. Exponential averagers are useful because they allow us to implement lowpass filtering at a low computational workload per output sample.

Figure 1 shows...

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

Using Mason's Rule to Analyze DSP Networks

Rick Lyons August 31, 20096 comments

There have been times when I wanted to determine the z-domain transfer function of some discrete network, but my algebra skills failed me. Some time ago I learned Mason's Rule, which helped me solve my problems. If you're willing to learn the steps in using Mason's Rule, it has the power of George Foreman's right hand in solving network analysis problems.

This blog discusses a valuable analysis method (well known to our analog control system engineering brethren) to obtain the z-domain...

An s-Plane to z-Plane Mapping Example

Rick Lyons September 24, 20166 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.


Multiplying Two Binary Numbers

Rick Lyons March 16, 20117 comments

I just encountered what I think is an interesting technique for multiplying two integer numbers. Perhaps some of the readers here will also find it interesting.

Here's the technique: assume we want to multiply 18 times 17. We start by writing 18 and 17, side-by-side in column A and column B, as shown at the top of Figure 1. Next we divide the 18 at the top of column A by two, retaining only the integer part of the division, and double the 17 at the top of column B. The results of those two...

The Little Fruit Market

Rick Lyons January 14, 20135 comments

There used to be a fruit market located at 391 San Antonio Road in Mountain View, California. In the 1990's I worked part time in Mountain View and drove past this market's building, shown in Figure 1, many times, unaware of its history. What happened at that fruit market has changed the lives of almost everyone on our planet. Here's the story.

William Shockley In 1948 the brilliant physicist William Shockley, along with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, co-invented the transistor at Bell...

How Not to Reduce DFT Leakage

Rick Lyons May 23, 201211 comments

This blog describes a technique to reduce the effects of spectral leakage when using the discrete Fourier transform (DFT).

In late April 2012 there was a thread on the comp.dsp newsgroup discussing ways to reduce the spectral leakage problem encountered when using the DFT. One post in that thread caught my eye [1]. That post referred to a website presenting a paper describing a DFT leakage method that I'd never heard of before [2]. (Of course, not that I've heard...

Using the DFT as a Filter: Correcting a Misconception

Rick Lyons February 18, 201314 comments

I have read, in some of the literature of DSP, that when the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) is used as a filter the process of performing a DFT causes an input signal's spectrum to be frequency translated down to zero Hz (DC). I can understand why someone might say that, but I challenge that statement as being incorrect. Here are my thoughts.

Using the DFT as a Filter It may seem strange to think of the DFT as being used as a filter but there are a number of applications where this is...