The Fundamentals of Digital Signal Processing

We take a look at some of the fundamentals of Digital Signal Processing.

What is DSP?

Digital Signal Processors (DSP) take real-world signals like audio, video, voice, temperature, position or pressures that are digitized and then accurately manoeuvre them. It is designed for performing mathematical functions like subtract, add, divide and multiply very quickly.

How they work

Signals from real world sources are converted by Digital Signal Processing into digital data that can then be analyzed. The signals will be usually in analog form. Study is performed in digital form because when we reduce a signal to numbers its mechanism can be manipulated in more detail than when they are from real world sources.

The digital data can be converted into an analog signal with enhanced quality when the DSP has completed its work. A DSP can intensify frequencies, sort noise from a signal, and hold back others.

Types of Audio Signal Processors

Signal processors can be single- or multi-functional, digital or analog, or incorporated with other components in a sound system. Most were unconnected devices, but became multi-functional over time with digital signal processors integrating a wide range of functions at a fraction of the cost of individual processors.

The problem-solving features in DSPs today are Gain Control and Volume, Equalization, Filters, Compressors, Dynamics Processor, Expanders and Noise Gates, Limiters, Delay, Speech Leveller, Gated Automatic Mixers, Automatic Microphone Mixers, and Feedback Reducers.

Although you can find it everywhere it is an extremely refined chip technology. DSP chips are used in fax machines, sound cards, modems, high-capacity hard disks, cellular phones, and digital TVs. In 65% of the world’s digital cellular phones, DSPs are used as the engine. This number will only increase with the increase in wireless applications. Digital signal processing is used in many fields including music processing, sonar, biomedicine, radar, speech, and seismology, communications and imaging.

What DSP Can Do

You need to consider some of the most common problems you face in sound reinforcement to determine whether DSP can help your sound system. The DSP tools can remedy many problems if you have reasonably good room acoustics. If you have poor tone quality by using graphic equalizer, a DSP tool, you can rectify the problem. Similarly, DSP tools like Downward Expander, Delay, Compressor, and Automatic Mixer can rectify problems like unwanted noise, frequency response problems, sound source too loud, and feedback, respectively.