Is Linear Phase Really Ideal for Audio?It is generally accepted that zero or linear phase filters are ideal for audio applications. This is because such filters delay all frequencies by the same amount, thereby maximally preserving waveshape. Mathematically, all Fourier-components passed by the filter remain time-synchronized exactly as they were in the original signal. However, this section will argue that a phase response somewhere between linear- and minimum-phase may be even better in some cases. We show this by means of a Matlab experiment comparing minimum-phase and zero-phase impulse responses.
The matlab code is shown in Fig.11.1. An order elliptic-function lowpass filter  is designed with a cut-off frequency at 2 kHz. We choose an elliptic-function filter because it has a highly nonlinear phase response near its cut-off frequency, resulting in extra delay there which can be perceived as ``ringing'' at that frequency. The cut-off is chosen at 2kHz because this is a highly audible frequency. We want to clearly hear the ringing in this experiment in order to compare the zero-phase and minimum-phase cases.
% ellipt.m - Compare minimum-phase and zero-phase % lowpass impulse responses. dosounds = 1; N = 8; % filter order Rp = 0.5; % passband ripple (dB) Rs = 60; % stopband ripple (-dB) Fs = 8192; % default sampling rate (Windows Matlab) Fp = 2000; % passband end Fc = 2200; % stopband begins [gives order 8] Ns = 4096; % number of samples in impulse responses [B,A] = nellip(Rp, Rs, Fp/(0.5*Fs), Fc/(0.5*Fs)); % Octave % [B,A] = ellip(N, Rp, Rs, Fp/(0.5*Fs)); % Matlab % Minimum phase case: imp = [1,zeros(1,Ns/2-1)]; % or 'h1=impz(B,A,Ns/2-1)' h1 = filter(B,A,imp); % min-phase impulse response hmp = filter(B,A,[h1,zeros(1,Ns/2)]); % apply twice % Zero phase case: h1r = fliplr(h1); % maximum-phase impulse response hzp = filter(B,A,[h1r,zeros(1,Ns/2)]); % min*max=zp % hzp = fliplr(hzp); % not needed here since symmetric elliptplots; % plot impulse- and amplitude-responses % Let's hear them! while(dosounds) sound(hmp,Fs); pause(0.5); sound(hzp,Fs); pause(1); end
FLIPwhich is zero phase, as discussed in §10.6. In both cases, the magnitude spectrum is
Creating Minimum Phase Filters and Signals