Generating pink noise

Allen January 20, 20161 comment

In one of his most famous columns for Scientific American, Martin Gardner wrote about pink noise and its relation to fractal music.  The article was based on a 1978 paper by Voss and Clarke, which presents, among other things, a simple algorithm for generating pink noise, also known as 1/f noise.

The fundamental idea of the algorithm is to add up several sequences of uniform random numbers that get updated at different rates. The first source gets updated at...

Ancient History

Mike January 18, 201612 comments

The other day I was downloading an IDE for a new (to me) OS.  When I went to compile some sample code, it failed.  I went onto a forum, where I was told "if you read the release notes you'd know that the peripheral libraries are in a legacy download".  Well damn!  Looking back at my previous versions I realized I must have done that and forgotten about it.  Everything changes, and keeping up with it takes time and effort.

When I first started with microprocessors we...

Dealing With Fixed Point Fractions

Mike January 5, 20163 comments

Fixed point fractional representation always gives me a headache because I screw it up the first time I try to implement an algorithm. The difference between integer operations and fractional operations is in the overflow.  If the representation fits in the fixed point result, you can not tell the difference between fixed point integer and fixed point fractions.  When integers overflow, they lose data off the most significant bits.  When fractions overflow, they lose data off...

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...

The DFT Output and Its Dimensions

Leonid Ovanesyan December 29, 20155 comments

The Discrete Fourier Transform, or DFT, converts a signal from discrete time to discrete frequency. It is commonly implemented as and used as the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). This article will attempt to clarify the format of the DFT output and how it is produced.

Living in the real world, we deal with real signals. The data we typically sample does not have an imaginary component. For example, the voltage sampled by a receiver is a real value at a particular point in time. Let’s...

Amplitude modulation and the sampling theorem

Allen December 18, 20156 comments

I am working on the 11th and probably final chapter of Think DSP, which follows material my colleague Siddhartan Govindasamy developed for a class at Olin College.  He introduces amplitude modulation as a clever way to sneak up on the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.

Most of the code for the chapter is done: you can check it out in this IPython notebook.  I haven't written the text yet, but I'll outline it here, and paste in the key figures.


Exponential Smoothing with a Wrinkle

Cedron Dawg December 17, 2015

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding to the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by providing a set of preprocessing filters to improve the resolution of the DFT. Because of the exponential nature of sinusoidal functions, they have special mathematical properties when exponential smoothing is applied to them. These properties are derived and explained in this blog article.

Basic Exponential Smoothing

Exponential smoothing is also known as...

Differentiating and integrating discrete signals

Allen December 14, 20152 comments

I am back at work on Think DSP, adding a new chapter on differentiation and integration.  In the previous chapter (which you can read here) I present Gaussian smoothing, show how smoothing in the time domain corresponds to a low-pass filter in the frequency domain, and present the Convolution Theorem.

In the current chapter, I start with the first difference operation (diff in Numpy) and show that it corresponds to a high-pass filter in the frequency domain.  I use historical stock...

Discrete-Time PLLs, Part 1: Basics

Reza Ameli December 1, 20153 comments

Design Files: Part1.slx

Hi everyone,

In this series of tutorials on discrete-time PLLs we will be focusing on Phase-Locked Loops that can be implemented in discrete-time signal proessors such as FPGAs, DSPs and of course, MATLAB.

In the first part of the series, we will be reviewing the basics of continuous-time baseband PLLs and we will see some useful mathematics that will give us insight into the inners working of PLLs. In the second part, we will focus on...

60 numbers

Mahadevan Srinivasan November 30, 20152 comments

This blog title is inspired from the Peabody award-winning Radiolab episode 60 words. Radiolab is well known for its insightful stories on Science with an amazing sound design. Today's blog is about decoding Radiolab's theme music (actually, just a small "Mmm Newewe" part of it hereafter called the Radiolab sound). I have been taking this online course on Audio Signal Processing where we are taught how to analyze sounds...

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...

Waveforms that are their own Fourier Transform

Steve Smith January 16, 200811 comments

Mea Culpa 

There are many scary things about writing a technical book. Can I make the concepts clear? It is worth the effort? Will it sell? But all of these pale compared to the biggest fear: What if I'm just plain wrong? Not being able to help someone is one thing, but leading them astray is far worse.

My book on DSP has now been published for almost ten years. I've found lots of typos, a few misstatements, and many places where the explanations confuse even me. But I have been lucky;...

Some Observations on Comparing Efficiency in Communication Systems

Eric Jacobsen March 17, 2011

Engineering is usually about managing efficiencies of one sort or another. One of my favorite working definitions of an engineer says, "An engineer is somebody who can do for a nickel what any damn fool can do for a dollar." In that case, the implication is that the cost is one of the characteristics being optimized. But cost isn't always the main efficiency metric, or at least the only one. Consider how a common transportation appliance, the automobile, is optimized...

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...

DSP Related Math: Nice Animated GIFs

Stephane Boucher April 24, 20143 comments

I was browsing the ECE subreddit lately and found that some of the most popular posts over the last few months have been animated GIFs helping understand some mathematical concepts.  I thought there would be some value in aggregating the DSP related gifs on one page.  

The relationship between sin, cos, and right triangles: Constructing a square wave with infinite series (see this...

Computing Large DFTs Using Small FFTs

Rick Lyons June 24, 200814 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...

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...

Design of an anti-aliasing filter for a DAC

Markus Nentwig August 18, 2012
  • Octaveforge / Matlab design script. Download: here
  • weighted numerical optimization of Laplace-domain transfer function
  • linear-phase design, optimizes vector error (magnitude and phase)
  • design process calculates and corrects group delay internally
  • includes sinc() response of the sample-and-hold stage in the ADC
  • optionally includes multiplierless FIR filter
Problem Figure 1: Typical FIR-DAC-analog lowpass line-up

Digital-to-analog conversion connects digital...

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 =...