Reducing IIR Filter Computational Workload

Rick Lyons May 24, 20195 comments

This blog describes a straightforward method to significantly reduce the number of necessary multiplies per input sample of traditional IIR lowpass and highpass digital filters.

Reducing IIR Filter Computations Using Dual-Path Allpass Filters

We can improve the computational speed of a lowpass or highpass IIR filter by converting that filter into a dual-path filter consisting of allpass filters as shown in Figure 1.


A Lesson In Engineering Humility

Rick Lyons May 20, 20199 comments

Let's assume you were given the task to design and build the 12-channel telephone transmission system shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

At a rate of 8000 samples/second, each telephone's audio signal is sampled and converted to a 7-bit binary sequence of pulses. The analog signals at Figure 1's nodes A, B, and C are presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2

I'm convinced that some of you subscribers to this web site could accomplish such a design & build task....

IIR Bandpass Filters Using Cascaded Biquads

Neil Robertson April 20, 201911 comments

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...

Controlling a DSP Network's Gain: A Note For DSP Beginners

Rick Lyons March 29, 201922 comments

This blog briefly discusses a topic well-known to experienced DSP practitioners but may not be so well-known to DSP beginners. The topic is the proper way to control a digital network's gain. Digital Network Gain Control Figure 1 shows a collection of networks I've seen, in the literature of DSP, where strict gain control is implemented.

              FIGURE 1. Examples of digital networks whose initial operations are input signal...

Generating Partially Correlated Random Variables

Harry Commin March 23, 201910 comments
IntroductionIt is often useful to be able to generate two or more signals with specific cross-correlations. Or, more generally, we would like to specify an $\left(N \times N\right)$ covariance matrix, $\mathbf{R}_{xx}$, and generate $N$ signals which will produce this covariance matrix.

There are many applications in which this technique is useful. I discovered a version of this method while analysing radar systems, but the same approach can be used in a very wide range of...

Free Goodies from Embedded World - Full Inventory and Upcoming Draw Live-Streaming Date

Stephane Boucher March 22, 20191 comment

Chances are that you already know that I went to Embedded World a few weeks ago and came back with a bag full of "goodies".  Initially, my vision was to do a single draw for one person to win it all, but I didn't expect to come back with so much stuff and so many development kits.   Based on your feedback, it seems like you guys agree that It wouldn't make sense for one person to win everything as no-one could make good use of all the boards and there would be lots of...

Angle Addition Formulas from Euler's Formula

Cedron Dawg March 16, 20198 comments

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT), but only indirectly. The main intent is to get someone who is uncomfortable with complex numbers a little more used to them and relate them back to already known Trigonometric relationships done in Real values. It is essentially a followup to my first blog article "The Exponential Nature of the Complex Unit Circle".

Polar Coordinates

The more common way of...

Demonstrating the Periodic Spectrum of a Sampled Signal Using the DFT

Neil Robertson March 9, 201920 comments

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:

$$X(k)=\sum_{n=0}^{N-1}x(n)e^{-j2\pi kn/N} \qquad (1)$$


X(k) = discrete frequency spectrum of time sequence x(n)

Free Goodies from Embedded World - What to Do Next?

Stephane Boucher March 6, 20193 comments

I told you I would go on a hunt for free stuff at Embedded World in order to build a bundle for someone to win.

Back from Embedded World 2019 - Funny Stories and Live-Streaming Woes

Stephane Boucher March 1, 20191 comment

When the idea of live-streaming parts of Embedded World came to me,  I got so excited that I knew I had to make it happen.  I perceived the opportunity as a win-win-win-win.  

  • win #1 - Engineers who could not make it to Embedded World would be able to sample the huge event, 
  • win #2 - The organisation behind EW would benefit from the extra exposure
  • win #3 - Lecturers and vendors who would be live-streamed would reach a (much) larger audience
  • win #4 - I would get...

A Differentiator With a Difference

Rick Lyons November 3, 200710 comments

Some time ago I was studying various digital differentiating networks, i.e., networks that approximate the process of taking the derivative of a discrete time-domain sequence. By "studying" I mean that I was experimenting with various differentiating filter coefficients, and I discovered a computationally-efficient digital differentiator. A differentiator that, for low fequency signals, has the power of George Foreman's right hand! Before I describe this differentiator, let's review a few...

Time Machine, Anyone?

Andor Bariska March 7, 20086 comments

Abstract: Dispersive linear systems with negative group delay have caused much confusion in the past. Some claim that they violate causality, others that they are the cause of superluminal tunneling. Can we really receive messages before they are sent? This article aims at pouring oil in the fire and causing yet more confusion :-).

PDF version of this article.


In this article we reproduce the results of a physical experiment...

Simplest Calculation of Half-band Filter Coefficients

Neil Robertson November 20, 20179 comments

Half-band filters are lowpass FIR filters with cut-off frequency of one-quarter of sampling frequency fs and odd symmetry about fs/4  [1]*.  And it so happens that almost half of the coefficients are zero.  The passband and stopband bandwiths are equal, making these filters useful for decimation-by-2 and interpolation-by-2.  Since the zero coefficients make them computationally efficient, these filters are ubiquitous in DSP systems.

Here we will compute half-band...

FFT Interpolation Based on FFT Samples: A Detective Story With a Surprise Ending

Rick Lyons April 16, 201837 comments

This blog presents several interesting things I recently learned regarding the estimation of a spectral value located at a frequency lying between previously computed FFT spectral samples. My curiosity about this FFT interpolation process was triggered by reading a spectrum analysis paper written by three astronomers [1].

My fixation on one equation in that paper led to the creation of this blog.


The notion of FFT interpolation is straightforward to describe. That is, for example,...

Optimizing the Half-band Filters in Multistage Decimation and Interpolation

Rick Lyons January 4, 201616 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...

Accurate Measurement of a Sinusoid's Peak Amplitude Based on FFT Data

Rick Lyons December 14, 201111 comments

There are two code snippets associated with this blog post:

Flat-Top Windowing Function for the Accurate Measurement of a Sinusoid's Peak Amplitude Based on FFT Data


Testing the Flat-Top Windowing Function

This blog discusses an accurate method of estimating time-domain sinewave peak amplitudes based on fast Fourier transform (FFT) data. Such an operation sounds simple, but the scalloping loss characteristic of FFTs complicates the process. We eliminate that complication by...

An s-Plane to z-Plane Mapping Example

Rick Lyons September 24, 20169 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.


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...

The Number 9, Not So Magic After All

Rick Lyons October 1, 20146 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...

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

50,000th Member Announced!

Stephane Boucher January 11, 2010

In my last post, I wrote that was about to reach the 50,000 members mark.  Well, I am very happy to announce that it happened during the holidays, and the lucky person is Charlie Tsai from Taiwan.  Charlie is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Central University in Taiwan where he teaches the "Biomedical Signal Processing" class.  He is also the advisor of the

Almost 50,000 Members!

Stephane Boucher November 26, 20091 comment

I am very happy to announce that will reach the 50,000 registered members mark before the end of 2009. To celebrate this milestone, I will buy a BMW 5 to the 50,000th person to register (please make sure to confirm you email address to activate your registration).  Please read the fine prints after the picture.

I am just having fun here and it's not even April's fool day.  The 50,000th member won't get a BMW (I wish I could offer it!),...

DSPRelated faster than ever!

Stephane Boucher March 2, 20094 comments

if you are visiting on a regular basis, you should observe that the site loads significantly faster in your browser than it used to, especially if you are in Europe or in Asia.  The main reason for this is that I am now using Amazon's CloudFront service for the delivery of most static content on (images, javascripts, css).   The cloudFront service automatically detects the location of a visitor and will deliver the static content from the server...

New Papers / Theses Section

Stephane Boucher March 21, 20081 comment

The new 'Papers & Theses' section is now online: idea is to list and organize in one place as many DSP related dissertations (PhD & Masters) and papers/articles as possible.If you are the author of a thesis or paper and would like to have it listed on, please follow these steps:- Make sure that you are allowed to share the document online (copyright).- If you don't already have one, make a 'pdf' copy of your document. ...

New Blog Section!

Stephane Boucher September 19, 20072 comments

By now, chances are you have noticed the new blogs section (you are actually in it right now!).

Following an email I sent to the members of the site, a few weeks ago, asking for dsp engineers willing to blog here, I received around 50 propositions. I have selected an initial set of 10 bloggers (that I will soon introduce into a seperate post) and I am currently in the process of creating their accounts. Markus and Parth have already...

New Discussion Group: DSP & FPGA

Stephane Boucher September 11, 20078 comments

I have just created a new discussion group for engineers implementing DSP functions on FPGAs. The creation of this group has been on my todo list for a long time. If you want to join the group, send a blank email to:

As usual, it should take a few weeks before there are enough members for interesting discussions to get started.