Audio Signal Processing

Essential Audio Knowledge: Spectral Masking

Background noise is an unavoidable nuisance. Whether it's produced by roaring excavators or hurried crowds at a train station, and whether it’s obscuring a voice message from your boss or a listening session with a Tchaikovsky waltz, it's always annoying. Given urbanization trends, our environments will likely only get noisier—with more people living closer together, and the proliferation of mobile sound systems providing a whole new palette of noises and disturbances which were not present in the listening scenarios of yesteryear.

The Need for a Squeeze: Making Big Music Fit into Small Devices

As the listening habits of consumers shift towards ever smaller and more compact playback devices, the sole application of linear and time-invariant processing methods (such as sophisticated equalization technologies) is not necessarily sufficient for reaching the desired and often conflicting requirements of audibility, low distortion, tonal balance, bass response, loudness, etc. DSP system design for small loudspeakers is inherently a compromise, but by using cutting-edge digital technologies we can achieve results which invariably take any micro-speaker to the next level of performance. 

Digital Headroom: The Boundaries of the 16 Bits

When it comes to digital signal processing, there’s one puzzle that remains even once processing is complete.  How do you fit the processed signal back inside the permissible limits of the digital number format?  This post describes the “why” and the “how” of two different approaches you can take to get around this obstacle and finish the operation. 

Equalization and Digital Filters: Going Beyond the Standard Toolbox

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” This well known quote is attributed to psychologist Abraham Maslow, who observed that the accessibility of a given tool tends to influence the type of approach humans take when solving a problem. As engineers and researchers, we are not spared from the phenomenon of Maslow’s hammer, although many of us might like to think otherwise...