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Analog vs Digital Filter

Analog vs Digital Filter

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Published by Pavan Kumar
Filters as used in Data Acquisition
Filters as used in Data Acquisition

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Published by: Pavan Kumar on Sep 27, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/07/2013

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343
CHAPTER
21
Filter Comparison
Decisions, decisions, decisions! With all these filters to choose from, how do you know whichto use? This chapter is a head-to-head competition between filters; we'll select champions fromeach side and let them fight it out. In the first match,
digital
filters are pitted against
analog
filters to see which technology is best. In the second round, the windowed-sinc is matchedagainst the Chebyshev to find the king of the
 frequency domain
filters. In the final battle, themoving average fights the single pole filter for the
time domain
championship. Enough talk; letthe competition begin!
Match #1: Analog vs. Digital Filters
Most digital signals originate in analog electronics. If the signal needs to befiltered, is it better to use an analog filter before digitization, or a digital filterafter? We will answer this question by letting two of the best contendersdeliver their blows.The goal will be to provide a low-pass filter at 1 kHz. Fighting for the analogside is a six pole Chebyshev filter with 0.5 dB (6%) ripple. As described inChapter 3, this can be constructed with 3 op amps, 12 resistors, and 6capacitors. In the digital corner, the windowed-sinc is warming up and readyto fight. The analog signal is digitized at a 10 kHz sampling rate, making thecutoff frequency 0.1 on the digital frequency scale. The length of thewindowed-sinc will be chosen to be 129 points, providing the same 90% to10% roll-off as the analog filter. Fair is fair. Figure 21-1 shows the frequencyand step responses for these two filters.Let's compare the two filters blow-by-blow. As shown in (a) and (b), theanalog filter has a 6% ripple in the passband, while the digital filter isperfectly flat (within 0.02%). The analog designer might argue that the ripplecan be
selected 
in the design; however, this misses the point. The flatnessachievable with analog filters is limited by the accuracy of their resistors and
 
The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing
344
capacitors. Even if a Butterworth response is designed (i.e., 0% ripple), filtersof this complexity will have a residue ripple of, perhaps, 1%. On the otherhand, the flatness of digital filters is primarily limited by round-off error,making them
hundreds
of times flatter than their analog counterparts. Scoreone point for the digital filter.Next, look at the frequency response on a log scale, as shown in (c) and (d).Again, the digital filter is clearly the victor in both
roll-off 
and
stopband attenuation
. Even if the analog performance is improved by adding additionalstages, it still can't compare to the digital filter. For instance, imagine that youneed to improve these two parameters by a factor of 100. This can be donewith simple modifications to the windowed-sinc, but is virtually impossible forthe analog circuit. Score two more for the digital filter.The step response of the two filters is shown in (e) and (f). The digital filter'sstep response is symmetrical between the lower and upper portions of thestep, i.e., it has a linear phase. The analog filter's step response is
no
symmetrical, i.e., it has a nonlinear phase. One more point for the digitalfilter. Lastly, the analog filter overshoots about 20% on one side of the step.The digital filter overshoots about 10%, but on both sides of the step. Sinceboth are bad, no points are awarded.In spite of this beating, there are still many applications where analog filtersshould, or must, be used. This is not related to the actual performance of thefilter (i.e., what goes in and what comes out), but to the general advantages thatanalog circuits have over digital techniques. The first advantage is
speed 
:digital is slow; analog is fast. For example, a personal computer can only filterdata at about 10,000 samples per second, using FFT convolution. Even simpleop amps can operate at 100 kHz to 1 MHz, 10 to 100 times as fast as thedigital system!The second inherent advantage of analog over digital is
dynamic range
. Thiscomes in two flavors. A
mplitude dynamic range
is the ratio between thelargest signal that can be passed through a system, and the inherent noise of thesystem. For instance, a 12 bit ADC has a saturation level of 4095, and an rmsquantization noise of 0.29 digital numbers, for a dynamic range of about14000. In comparison, a standard op amp has a saturation voltage of about20 volts and an internal noise of about 2 microvolts, for a dynamic rangeof about
ten million
. Just as before, a simple op amp devastates the digitalsystem.The other flavor is
frequency dynamic range
. For example, it is easy todesign an op amp circuit to simultaneously handle frequencies between 0.01Hz and 100 kHz (seven decades). When this is tried with a digital system,the computer becomes swamped with data. For instance, sampling at 200kHz, it takes 20 million points to capture one complete cycle at 0.01 Hz. Youmay have noticed that the frequency response of digital filters is almostalways plotted on a
linear 
frequency scale, while analog filters are usuallydisplayed with a
logarithmic
frequency. This is because digital filters need
 
Chapter 21- Filter Comparison
345
Frequency
00.10.20.30.40.50.000.250.500.751.001.251.50
b. Frequency responseFrequency (hertz)
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000-100-80-60-40-2002040
 
c. Frequency response (dB)
Frequency
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5-100-80-60-40-2002040
d. Frequency response (dB)
Time (milliseconds)
-4 -2 0 2 4 6 8-0.50.00.51.01.52.0
e. Step response
Sample number
-40 -20 0 20 40 60 80-0.50.00.51.01.52.0
f. Step response
Analog Filter
(6 pole 0.5dB Chebyshev)
Digital Filter
(129 point windowed-sinc)
Frequency (hertz)
0100020003000400050000.000.250.500.751.001.251.50
a. Frequency response
FIGURE 21-1Comparison of analog and digital filters. Digital filters have better performance in many areas, such as:passband ripple, (a) vs. (b), roll-off and stopband attenuation, (c) vs. (d), and step response symmetry,(e) vs. (f). The digital filter in this example has a cutoff frequency of 0.1 of the 10 kHz sampling rate.This provides a fair comparison to the 1 kHz cutoff frequency of the analog filter.
   A  m  p   l   i   t  u   d  e   A  m  p   l   i   t  u   d  e   A  m  p   l   i   t  u   d  e   (   d   B   )
 
   A  m  p   l   i   t  u   d  e   A  m  p   l   i   t  u   d  e   (   d   B   )   A  m  p   l   i   t  u   d  e
a linear scale to show their exceptional filter performance, while analog filtersneed the logarithmic scale to show their huge dynamic range.

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