The DFT Magnitude of a Real-valued Cosine Sequence

Rick Lyons June 17, 20144 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...


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 =...


Is It True That j is Equal to the Square Root of -1 ?

Rick Lyons September 16, 20135 comments

A few days ago, on the YouTube.com web site, I watched an interesting video concerning complex numbers and the j operator. The video's author claimed that the statement "j is equal to the square root of negative one" is incorrect. What he said was:

He justified his claim by going through the following exercise, starting with:

Based on the algebraic identity:

the author rewrites Eq. (1) as:

If we assume

Eq. (3) can be rewritten...


A Table of Digital Frequency Notation

Rick Lyons August 5, 2013

When we read the literature of digital signal processing (DSP) we encounter a number of different, and equally valid, ways to algebraically represent the notion of frequency for discrete-time signals. (By frequency I mean a measure of angular repetitions per unit of time.)

The various mathematical expressions for sinusoidal signals use a number of different forms of a frequency variable and the units of measure (dimensions) of those variables are different. It's sometimes a nuisance to keep...


A Quadrature Signals Tutorial: Complex, But Not Complicated

Rick Lyons April 12, 201313 comments

Introduction Quadrature signals are based on the notion of complex numbers and perhaps no other topic causes more heartache for newcomers to DSP than these numbers and their strange terminology of j operator, complex, imaginary, real, and orthogonal. If you're a little unsure of the physical meaning of complex numbers and the j = √-1 operator, don't feel bad because you're in good company. Why even Karl Gauss, one the world's greatest mathematicians, called the j operator the "shadow of...


Beat Notes: An Interesting Observation

Rick Lyons March 13, 20137 comments

Some weeks ago a friend of mine, a long time radio engineer as well as a piano player, called and asked me,

"When I travel in a DC-9 aircraft, and I sit back near the engines, I hear this fairly loud unpleasant whump whump whump whump sound. The frequency of that sound is, maybe, two cycles per second. I think that sound is a beat frequency because the DC-9's engines are turning at a slightly different number of revolutions per second. My question is, what sort of mechanism in the airplane...


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...


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...


Using Mason's Rule to Analyze DSP Networks

Rick Lyons August 31, 20095 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...


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...


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...


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...


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 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...


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...


Coupled-Form 2nd-Order IIR Resonators: A Contradiction Resolved

Rick Lyons November 23, 20122 comments

This blog clarifies how to obtain and interpret the z-domain transfer function of the coupled-form 2nd-order IIR resonator. The coupled-form 2nd-order IIR resonator was developed to overcome a shortcoming in the standard 2nd-order IIR resonator. With that thought in mind, let's take a brief look at a standard 2nd-order IIR resonator.

Standard 2nd-Order IIR Resonator A block diagram of the standard 2nd-order IIR resonator is shown in Figure 1(a). You've probably seen that block diagram many...


Is It True That j is Equal to the Square Root of -1 ?

Rick Lyons September 16, 20135 comments

A few days ago, on the YouTube.com web site, I watched an interesting video concerning complex numbers and the j operator. The video's author claimed that the statement "j is equal to the square root of negative one" is incorrect. What he said was:

He justified his claim by going through the following exercise, starting with:

Based on the algebraic identity:

the author rewrites Eq. (1) as:

If we assume

Eq. (3) can be rewritten...