Design IIR Filters Using Cascaded Biquads

Neil Robertson

This article shows how to implement a Butterworth IIR lowpass filter as a cascade of second-order IIR filters, or biquads. We'll derive how to calculate the coefficients of the biquads and do some examples using a Matlab function biquad_synth provided in the Appendix. Although we'll be designing Butterworth filters, the approach applies to any all-pole lowpass filter (Chebyshev, Bessel, etc). As we'll see, the cascaded-biquad design is less sensitive to coefficient quantization than a single high-order IIR, particularly for lower cut-off frequencies.