### Group Delay

A more commonly encountered representation of filter phase response is
called the *group delay*, defined by

*i.e.*, for some constant , the group delay and the phase delay are identical, and each may be interpreted as time delay (equal to samples when ). If the phase response is nonlinear, then the relative phases of the sinusoidal signal components are generally altered by the filter. A nonlinear phase response normally causes a ``smearing'' of attack transients such as in percussive sounds. Another term for this type of phase distortion is

*phase dispersion*. This can be seen below in §7.6.5.

An example of a linear phase response is that of the simplest lowpass filter, . Thus, both the phase delay and the group delay of the simplest lowpass filter are equal to half a sample at every frequency.

For any reasonably smooth phase function, the group delay
may be interpreted as the *time delay of the amplitude envelope*
of a sinusoid at frequency [63]. The bandwidth of
the amplitude envelope in this interpretation must be restricted to a
frequency interval over which the phase response is approximately
linear. We derive this result in the next subsection.

Thus, the name ``group delay'' for refers to the fact that it specifies the delay experienced by a narrow-band ``group'' of sinusoidal components which have frequencies within a narrow frequency interval about . The width of this interval is limited to that over which is approximately constant.

#### Derivation of Group Delay as Modulation Delay

Suppose we write a narrowband signal centered at frequency as

where is defined as the

*carrier frequency*(in radians per sample), and is some ``lowpass''

*amplitude modulation*signal. The modulation can be complex-valued to represent either phase or amplitude modulation or both. By ``lowpass,'' we mean that the spectrum of is concentrated near dc,

*i.e.*,

Using the above frequency-domain expansion of , can be written as

Assuming the phase response is approximately linear over the narrow frequency interval , we can write

where we also used the definition of phase delay,
, in the last step. In this expression we
can already see that the carrier sinusoid is delayed by the phase
delay, while the amplitude-envelope frequency-component is delayed by
the group delay. Integrating over to recombine the
sinusoidal components (*i.e.*, using a Fourier superposition integral for
) gives

where denotes a zero-phase filtering of the amplitude envelope by . We see that the amplitude modulation is delayed by while the carrier wave is delayed by .

We have shown that, for narrowband signals expressed as in Eq.(7.6) as a modulation envelope times a sinusoidal carrier, the carrier wave is delayed by the filter phase delay, while the modulation is delayed by the filter group delay, provided that the filter phase response is approximately linear over the narrowband frequency interval.

**Next Section:**

Group Delay Examples in Matlab

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Phase Unwrapping