Skip to main content

Topic: Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.) (Read 3084 times) previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
  • IgorC
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
THD is measured on one single frequency (tone) at once, IMD with two tones.
So these measurements are made with synthetic signals while music and speech aren’t just pure tones but rather complex sounds.   

For example IMD is calculated on two tones 19 kHz and 20 kHz like here.  http://nwavguy.blogspot.com.ar/2012/04/odac-released.html
Just one example of possible many. IMD between 20 kHz and 19 kHz tones ends with 1 kHz tone (20-19 kHz) in audible band.  But at the same time there can be 20.1, 20.11 … and 19.1, 19.11… kHz tones those will also cause the same 1 kHz tone in audible band.  A classic IMD measurement is calculated only for one pair of tones and not for all other.  Wouldn’t be it a huge oversimplification? I’m afraid a testing of audio equipment will be very hard on a real life signals (music, speech).
  • Last Edit: 13 January, 2013, 03:55:22 PM by IgorC

  • saratoga
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #1
THD is measured on one single frequency (tone) at once, IMD with two tones.


Thats one way you can do it, but not the only way. RMAA for instance will do an IMD sweep.  The link you posted measures THD as a function of frequency.  So you can look at just a few frequencies, or you can look at lots.

A classic IMD measurement is calculated only for one pair of tones and not for all other.  Wouldn’t be it a huge oversimplification? I’m afraid a testing of audio equipment will be very hard on a real life signals (music, speech).


Its only an oversimplification if you expect non-linearity to be strongly frequency dependent.  Generally if a device is linear at a couple frequencies, its linear at all the ones in between as well, so just testing a subset of combinations gives you a very good idea of the overall performance.

  • IgorC
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #2
Its only an oversimplification if you expect non-linearity to be strongly frequency dependent.

Let's suppose if IMD for 19-20 kHz is the same as for 19.1-20.1 kHz. However  the  measurement of IMD with 4 tones 19, 19.1, 20 and 20.1 will be as twice as worse comparing to IMD with 2 tones (?).

IMD 19-20 kHz, spurious tone at 1 kHz -100 dB.
IMD 19.1-20.1 kHz, spurious tone at 1 kHz too - 100dB.
IMD with 4 mentioned tones would be  twice. -97 dB (?)

Edit: math
  • Last Edit: 13 January, 2013, 04:34:02 PM by IgorC

  • greynol
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #3
Have you considered the math?
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

  • IgorC
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #4
-97 dB. 
  • Last Edit: 13 January, 2013, 04:33:46 PM by IgorC

  • saratoga
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #5
IMD 19-20 kHz, spurious tone at 1 kHz -100 dB.
IMD 19.1-20.1 kHz, spurious tone at 1 kHz too - 100dB.
IMD with 4 mentioned tones would be  twice. -94 dB (?)


Usually tests like this are done at full scale amplitude, so if you want to do 2x as many tones, each has to have half the intensity.  Nonlinear terms are obviously not linear, so the IMD intensity does not necessarily scale in proportion, but probably using 4 tones will result in lower peak intensity since you will now have cross terms (eg. f1+f2-f3) that will land out of the audible spectrum.

  • IgorC
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #6
I see, will need to read about  measurements and their standards more.

Thank You for your answers.

  • Mach-X
  • [*][*][*][*]
Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #7
Unfortunately the "standards" are far too loose and allow for inferior equipment makers to make dubious claims. For example I feel that amplifier makers should be forced to run full 20-20k white noise before publishing power handling/thd levels rather than "100 watts x 6......"  (but only if you run one channel at once at 1khz)

Limitations of a synthetic tests (THD, IMD etc.)
Reply #8
Unfortunately the "standards" are far too loose and allow for inferior equipment makers to make dubious claims. For example I feel that amplifier makers should be forced to run full 20-20k white noise before publishing power handling/thd levels rather than "100 watts x 6......"  (but only if you run one channel at once at 1khz)


Despite all that, most audio gear with high fidelity pretensions is sonically transparent as used.  It really doesn't take a lot of technology by 21st century standards to fool the ear.

Compared to electronics, speakers are major POS with orders of magnitude more distortion of just about every kind.