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Time Windows

by S. Gade, N. Thrane, H. Konstantin-Hansen & J. Wismer, Brel & Kjr, Denmark

Brel&Kjr Signal Analyzer families

Type 3550 and Type 2140 (with FFT

options) process finite blocks of digital

information. The analyzer extracts, or

cuts out, these blocks from the complete time record using time weighting

functions, or time windows. Unless

we can understand the basic concepts

of time limited data, we cant be sure

that our interpretation of FFT analysis

is correct. Neither can we be sure of

the accuracy of our results.

Time domain

Frequency domain

Time signal

s(t)

Signal spectrum

S(f) =

(s(t))

Time window

w(t)

sw(t) = s(t) x w(t) x: multiplication

- fo

fo

Window spectrum

W(f) =

(w(t))

Sw(f) = S(f) * W(f) *: convolution

functions do?

t

and frequency are simply two alternative ways of observing a signal. By

changing the nature of a signal in the

time domain, we implicitly change

the nature of the spectrum in the frequency domain. This is exactly what

we do when we apply a weighting

function, or time window, to a signal. In the case of continuous signals,

the time window slices the data into

sections which are then analysed. In

the case of transient data, the time

window edits the time record so that

the analyzer only works on the transient, and not the portions of data

before and after the transient that

only contain noise. However, by taking such slices of the original time

domain data we have changed, or filtered, the corresponding spectrum of

our data in the frequency domain.

Normally the effect of the time window in the frequency domain is understood as the convolution of the

signal spectrum and the spectrum of

the time window, as indicated on the

top figure. Another approach to the

effect in the frequency domain is to

consider each FFT line as the output

from a filter with the shape of the

spectrum of the time window and

- fo

fo

f

941652/2e

FFT analyzers view time signals through windows which affect the frequency spectrum

last approach is harder to visualise

in brief. Refer to [1] for the full explanation.

There are many types of windows,

and which to choose depends on the

type of signal being analysed and,

therefore, on the application.

window properties?

The simplest way is to use the filter

approach and quantify the window

properties using well known filter

terminology (see Fig. 1):

Effective Noise Bandwidth is

the width of an ideal filter with the

same transmission level, and which

transmits the same power from a

white noise source.

3 dB Bandwidth is the distance in

Hertz between the half-power ( 3 dB)

points on the amplitude axis.

us how well a filter can separate frequency components of similar level.

Selectivity tells us how well a filter can separate components of very

different levels. The Shape Factor

is the most basic measure of selectivity, and is defined as the ratio of a

filters width at 60 dB to its 3 dB

bandwidth. The steeper the filter

flanks are, the smaller the shape factor and the better the filter can separate components at widely different

levels.

Ripple appears in the pass band

of a filter. We measure, in dBs, the

height of the ripple within f/2

around the centre frequency where f

is the resolution of the FFT spectrum.

Bandwidth and Selectivity tell us

how well a filter determines the frequency content of a signal, whereas

the ripple determines the accuracy of

the amplitude of the signal.

A choice of weighting

functions

The Brel&Kjr FFT analyzers have

up to 7 weighting functions. Four of

these windows, i.e. Hanning, Rectangular, Kaiser Bessel and Flat Top, have

fixed characteristics. See Fig. 2. The

other three, i.e. Transient, Exponential and User-defined, have properties

that can be controlled by the user.

The type of measurement we make

determines the window we use.

Effective

Noise Bandwidth

dB

0

B3dB

Pass Band Ripple

15

Ideal Filter

30

Practical

Filter

45

Fixed windows

Shape Factor =

Rectangular window

This window, otherwise known as the

Flat window or BoxCar window,

is not really a weighting at all. It

simply has a unity value within the

record length, T, of the analyzer and

zero value outside.

This window simply cuts the data

when the record length of the analyzer is reached. In the case of, for example, a sine wave with a noninteger number of cycles, discontinuities at the start and end of the timelimited data cause leakage of energy

from the main frequency of the sine

wave into adjacent frequencies.

The Fourier Transform of the rectangular window gives the filter

shape shown in Fig. 3.

The filter exhibits a main lobe followed by a series of smaller side

lobes. The main lobe has a width

equal to twice the line spacing f.

The first side lobes are attenuated

13 dB relative to the main lobe and

the side lobe fall-off rate is 20 dB per

decade. Consequently, the selectivity

of the filter is very poor and there is

a large amount of ripple in the passband.

Let us apply this window to a sinusoidal signal. Take the case where

the frequency of the sine wave lies

exactly between two lines on the frequency axis. The spectrum is sampled twice in the main lobe and close

to every peak in the smaller side

lobes. Using the maximum amplitude

reading as an estimate for the sines

real amplitude causes an underestimation of 3.9 dB.

When the frequency of the sine

wave coincides exactly with an analysis line, i.e. there is an integer

number of cycles, the spectrum is

sampled in the centre of the main

lobe and only at zero crossings of the

2

60

B60dB

B3dB

B60dB

75

Frequency

862009/1e

5

Time Domain

The Flat Top

Window

3

The Kaiser-Bessel

Window

2

The Hanning

Window

1

0

The Rectangular

Window

1

0

T

941960e

Fig. 2 Rectangular, Hanning, Kaiser-Bessel and Flat Top weighting functions found in

Type 3550

is zero. This is a best case situation.

The Effective Noise Bandwidth of the

filter is equal to the line spacing f.

This type of window is a poor one

to use on continuous signals. However, if the signal is synchronized to the

record length we can achieve the

best case situation above. We do

this in mobility measurements using

pseudo-random excitation.

This window may also be used in

order tracking analysis, if only order

the signal.

Hanning window

The smoother cutting of the time

record by this type of window eliminates the discontinuities associated

with the rectangular window. Leakage is reduced. The main lobe is 4 f

wide, so there will always be at least

3 FFT lines (3 adjacent filters) excited by a single frequency sinusoid.

The first of the side lobes is 31 dB

rate is 60 dB per decade. For any sinusoid, there can never be more than

13 lines in the upper 60 dB of the

spectrum. The ripple in the passband is 1.4 dB. The Noise Bandwidth

is 1.5 times the line spacing.

For most applications, the Hanning

window is a better window to use

compared to the rectangular window.

Leakage and ripple are both reduced

and selectivity is improved. We use a

Hanning window in frequency response measurements using true random excitation. See Fig. 4.

Kaiser Bessel window

Because the first side lobe of this window is 63 dB down from the main

lobe, selectivity is excellent with only

6 or 7 lines in the upper 60 dB range

of the spectrum of any sinusoid. Compared to the Hanning window, the Effective Noise Bandwidth is wider,

1.8 f, and the ripple smaller, 1.0 dB.

Because of its very good selectivity,

the Kaiser Bessel window is good for

detection of closely spaced frequency

components with very different amplitudes. See Fig. 5.

0

Frequency Domain

dB

20

40

60

80

10 f

5 f

+ 5 f

f0

+ 10 f

941794/1e

Fig. 3

0

dB

Frequency Domain

20

The name comes from the very low

ripple (0.01dB) in the pass band of

f/2 of its centre frequency.

Low ripple gives only small errors

in amplitude measurements. The

window is often used for calibration

purposes. The Noise Bandwidth is

3.8 f. See Fig. 6.

40

60

80

10 f

5 f

+ 5 f

f0

+ 10 f

941795/1e

Non-fixed windows

Fig.4

User-defined window

There are a number of other windows, which can be implemented using this feature.

By using the User-defined windows, Hamming, Blackman-Harris

and other windows can be constructed. Default in Type 3550 is the Blackman-Harris window, a window very

similar to the Kaiser Bessel window.

Transient window

This window is used to improve the

signal-to-noise ratio of the measurement of transients. The window is

rectangular, and the user can define

the start and length of the window.

The user can also add a leading as

well as a trailing half-cosine taper.

All samples outside the window are

set to zero.

used when performing a frequency response measurement with an impact

hammer. The force signal of interest is

only the signal generated on impact,

whatever else is present must be removed as it does not in any way influence the response of the system.

the length of the window. The 3 dB

bandwidth is 1/ ( ) and the Effective

Noise Bandwidth is 1/ (2 ). The user

can also add a leading half-cosine taper as well as a delay from the end

of the taper to the beginning of the

exponential decay.

Exponential window

When the exponential decay of a transient signal is longer than the analyzers record length, we can apply an

exponential window. The amplitude of

the decay at the end of the record is

then made sufficiently small. Leakage

is therefore reduced, and the correction

can be accounted for.

Summary

For Transient Signals

The rectangular window is the general purpose window. By using a

Transient weighting function on

short transients we can improve the

signal-to-noise ratio. We use the exponential window on decaying sig3

analyzers record length.

For Continuous Signals

We only use the rectangular window

for system analysis using pseudorandom excitation.

The Hanning

window is the most commonly used

window for continuous signals and is

regarded as a general purpose window. For system analysis using random excitation, use of the Hanning

window is recommended due to the

good frequency resolution associated

with the window. Because of its good

selectivity, we often use the Kaiser

Bessel window for two-tone separation of signals of widely different levels. We mainly use the Flat Top

window for calibration. Table 1 summarizes the specifications of the four

fixed windows.

Frequency Domain Windows

The time domain windows were introduced to remedy the effects of

transforming only a slice of the signal, or to edit the signal prior to the

Fourier transformation.

When we transform frequency

functions back to the time domain to

obtain for example the correlation

functions or the impulse response

function, we encounter the same

problems of transforming only a

slice of the total spectrum, or we

may have the wish to edit the spectrum prior to the transformation. For

these purposes the analyzers also offer a full set of windows in the frequency domain.

0

dB

Frequency Domain

20

40

60

80

10 f

5 f

+ 5 f

f0

+ 10 f

941796/1e

Fig. 5

0

dB

Frequency Domain

20

40

60

80

10 f

Fig.6

5 f

+ 5 f

f0

+ 10 f

941797/1e

References

[1]: Technical Review No. 3 and 4 1987,

Brel&Kjr, BV 0031 & BV 0032

Window

4.3.2, Brel&Kjr, BT 0007

[3]: Application Note, Practical use of

the Hilbert transform, Brel&Kjr,

B0 0437

Ripple

Highest

Side Lobe

Side lobe

Fall-Off

Rate

per Decade

Number of

lines at

60 dB

1.0 f

3.9 dB

13 dB

20 dB

1 800

1.5 f

1.4 dB

31 dB

60 dB

3 14

Noise

Bandwidth

Rectangular

Hanning

WORLD HEADQUARTERS:

DK-2850 Naerum Denmark Telephone: +45 45 80 05 00 Fax: +45 45 80 14 05 Internet: http://www.bk.dk e-mail: info@bk.dk

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United Kingdom and Ireland (0181) 954-236 6 USA 1 - 800 - 332 - 2040

Local representatives and service organisations worldwide

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