Think DSP

Jul. 21st, 2016 02:15 am
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A few months ago, Professor Allen Downey of Olin College wrote to me about a DSP textbook he's working on at He sent me links to his chapter about the sampling theorem, plus a blog post with an iPython notebook for playing with sampling a bit.

[I've been meaning to write back ever since, but I royally suck at email. So let me blog about it first, then perhaps extend the minimal courtesy of actually writing back.]

As he puts it, his approach is computational. Where many books on sampling and DSP in general throw a lot of dry equations at you without explaining much practical context (and I take the opposite approach, providing intuition and context, leaving the math out almost completely), he explores the practical arithmetic that gets us from point A to point B. "What happens if I do this..."

It's a slightly sneaky approach that builds up toward sampling through AM modulation (yes, as in AM radio), but this works toward a great illustration of how the Nyquist rate, the sampling theorem, and time-frequency duality aren't just sideshow theory, or a bag of cute tricks. They're practical truth that underlies nearly everything we do with signals and audio, even when we're neither sampling, nor working digitally.

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We did it. We finally finished Xiph's second big video: Episode 2: Digital Show & Tell

"The second video from Xiph.Org explores multiple facets of digital audio signals and how they really behave in the real world. Sampling, quantization, dither, band-limiting, and vintage bench equipment all in one video!" Go see it!

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At long, long last, the big video project is done! At least, the first episode, of what I hope to be many episodes over the next few years, is done.

I present Xiph.Org's first self-produced educational documentary: "A Digital Media Primer for Geeks"

It also comes with it's own wiki discussion and 'further reading" site!



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