The Risk In Using Frequency Domain Curves To Evaluate Digital Integrator Performance

Rick Lyons September 24, 201933 comments

This blog shows the danger in evaluating the performance of a digital integration network based solely on its frequency response curve. If you plan on implementing a digital integrator in your signal processing work I recommend you continue reading this blog.


Typically when DSP practitioners want to predict the accuracy performance of a digital integrator they compare how closely that integrator's frequency response matches the frequency response of an ideal integrator [1,2]....

Plotting Discrete-Time Signals

Neil Robertson September 15, 20195 comments

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...

5G NR QC-LDPC Encoding Algorithm

Lyons Zhang September 10, 20192 comments

3GPP 5G has been focused on structured LDPC codes known as quasi-cyclic low-density parity-check (QC-LDPC) codes, which exhibit advantages over other types of LDPC codes with respect to the hardware implementations of encoding and decoding using simple shift registers and logic circuits.  

5G NR QC-LDPC  Circulant Permutation Matrix

A circular permutation matrix ${\bf I}(P_{i,j})$ of size $Z_c \times Z_c$ is obtained by circularly shifting the identity matrix $\bf I$ of...

Interpolation Basics

Neil Robertson August 20, 201915 comments

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 Two Bin Solution

Cedron Dawg July 12, 2019

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by showing an implementation of how the parameters of a real pure tone can be calculated from just two DFT bin values. The equations from previous articles are used in tandem to first calculate the frequency, and then calculate the amplitude and phase of the tone. The approach works best when the tone is between the two DFT bins in terms of frequency.

The Coding...

Reduced-Delay IIR Filters

Rick Lyons July 4, 201919 comments

This blog gives the results of a preliminary investigation of reduced-delay (reduced group delay) IIR filters based on my understanding of the concepts presented in a recent interesting blog by Steve Maslen [1].

Development of a Reduced-Delay 2nd-Order IIR Filter

Maslen's development of a reduced-delay 2nd-order IIR filter begins with a traditional prototype filter, HTrad, shown in Figure 1(a). The first modification to the prototype filter is to extract the b0 feedforward coefficient...

Part 11. Using -ve Latency DSP to Cancel Unwanted Delays in Sampled-Data Filters/Controllers

Steve Maslen June 18, 201917 comments
This final article in the series will look at -ve latency DSP and how it can be used to cancel the unwanted delays in sampled-data systems due to such factors as Nyquist filtering, ADC acquisition, DSP/FPGA algorithm computation time, DAC reconstruction and circuit propagation delays.

Some applications demand zero-latency or zero unwanted latency signal processing. Negative latency DSP may sound like the stuff of science fiction or broken physics but the arrangement as...

A Direct Digital Synthesizer with Arbitrary Modulus

Neil Robertson June 3, 20195 comments

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...

Somewhat Off Topic: Deciphering Transistor Terminology

Rick Lyons May 28, 20194 comments

I recently learned something mildly interesting about transistors, so I thought I'd share my new knowledge with you folks. Figure 1 shows a p-n-p transistor comprising a small block of n-type semiconductor sandwiched between two blocks of p-type semiconductor.

The terminology of "emitter" and "collector" seems appropriate, but did you ever wonder why the semiconductor block in the center is called the "base"? The word base seems inappropriate because the definition of the word base is:...

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.


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...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 10. DSP/FPGAs Behaving Irrationally

Steve Maslen November 22, 2018

This article will look at a design approach for feedback controllers featuring  low-latency "irrational" characteristics to enable the creation of physical components such as transmission lines. Some thought will also be given as to the capabilities of the currently utilized Intel Cyclone V, the new Cyclone 10 GX and the upcoming Xilinx Versal floating-point FPGAs/ACAPs.    

Fig 1. Making a Transmission Line, with the Circuit Emulator



Evaluate Window Functions for the Discrete Fourier Transform

Neil Robertson December 18, 2018

The Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) operates on a finite length time sequence to compute its spectrum.  For a continuous signal like a sinewave, you need to capture a segment of the signal in order to perform the DFT.  Usually, you also need to apply a window function to the captured signal before taking the DFT [1 - 3].  There are many different window functions and each produces a different approximation of the spectrum.  In this post, we’ll present Matlab code that...

The Most Interesting FIR Filter Equation in the World: Why FIR Filters Can Be Linear Phase

Rick Lyons August 18, 201517 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

Phase or Frequency Shifter Using a Hilbert Transformer

Neil Robertson March 25, 201821 comments

In this article, we’ll describe how to use a Hilbert transformer to make a phase shifter or frequency shifter.  In either case, the input is a real signal and the output is a real signal.  We’ll use some simple Matlab code to simulate these systems.  After that, we’ll go into a little more detail on Hilbert transformer theory and design. 

Phase Shifter

A conceptual diagram of a phase shifter is shown in Figure 1, where the bold lines indicate complex...

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

Rick Lyons December 14, 201112 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...

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...

Noise shaping

Markus Nentwig December 9, 20123 comments

eywords: Quantization noise; noise shaping

A brief introduction to noise shaping, with firm resolve not to miss the forest for the trees. We may still stumble over some assorted roots. Matlab example code is included.


Fig. 1 shows a digital signal that is reduced to a lower bit width, for example a 16 bit signal being sent to a 12 bit digital-to-analog converter. Rounding to the nearest output value is obviously the best that can be done to minimize the error of each...

Computing Large DFTs Using Small FFTs

Rick Lyons June 23, 200821 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...

Oscilloscope Dreams

Jason Sachs January 14, 20125 comments

My coworkers and I recently needed a new oscilloscope. I thought I would share some of the features I look for when purchasing one.

When I was in college in the early 1990's, our oscilloscopes looked like this:

Now the cathode ray tubes have almost all been replaced by digital storage scopes with color LCD screens, and they look like these:

Oscilloscopes are basically just fancy expensive boxes for graphing voltage vs. time. They span a wide range of features and prices:...