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Digital Filters. x(t). A/D. x[n]. Computer. y[n]. D/A. y(t). Example:.

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To get the current output y[n], which is sent to the D/A, we get the previous output y[n-1] (sent the last time to the D/A) and add to it the current input from the A/D. In a programming language like C++, the code would look something like this:

yp = 0; // set “previous” y to zero

while (true)


x = inp(ad); // get new sample

y = yp+x; // perform filtering operation

outp(y, da); // send filtered sample to D/A

yp = y; // set “current” to “previous”

// for next iteration



Now what does this operation do to an input signal?

Example: find the impulse and step responses to the previous filter.

Solution: we could use z-transforms or convolution to find the output when the input is an impulse or a step, but instead, let us see how the output “evolves.” A table will be created with three columns: n, x[n] and y[n]. Each column will correspond to an instance in discrete-time. For the impulse input x[n]=d[n] we have


Example: Find the impulse response and the step response for the following transfer function:

Solution: From the definition of the transfer function we have


Cross-multiplying and converting back to discrete-time domain we have

In other words, the current output is equal to one-half times the previous output plus the current input.


The step and impulse functions for this transfer function look like those for an RC low-pass filter.

Suppose that we wished to construct a digital filter corresponding to an RC low-pass filter?

Can we convert an analog filter to a digital filter?

the matched z transform
The Matched z-Transform

In the matched z-transform digital filter design method we try to “match” the impulse response of the analog filter with that of the digital filter being designed.

To match the impulse responses, we take the inverse Laplace transform of the analog filter H(s)h(t), then sample the impulse response h(t)h[n], then take the z-transform of the sampled impulse response to get the z-transform transfer function h[n]H(z).


Analog Prototype

Digital Filter




Once we have our z-transform transfer function H(z), we apply the definition of the transfer function to write our digital filter equations:


Example: Use the matched filter design method to design the digital equivalent of an integrator.

Solution: The analog transfer function is

The inverse Laplace transform is


We then sample the impulse response to get h[n]:

Finally, we take the z-transform of the impulse response to get the digital filter transfer function.


Finally, we apply the definition of the z-transform transfer function to get the relationship between the input of the digital filter x[n] and the output of the digital filter y[n].


We see that the output is the summationof the input. Thus the digital filter accurately represents the analog filter.

The digital filter does not always accurately represent the analog filter as will be seen in the next example.


Example: Use the matched filter design method to design the following transfer function:

where Wc = Ws/4, and Ws is the sampling frequency.

Solution: First, we find the impulse response


Then we sample the impulse response:

Then we take the z-transform of the (discrete-time) impulse response: