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Total harmonic distortion

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Member level 5
Oct 9, 2006
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what is total harmonic distortion what is its significance?

Total harmonic distortion : the sum of powers of harmonics of a signal divided by the power of the fundamental

Significance : It tells information about the linearity of the system : The less Total Harmonic Distortion , the more linear .

when u represent a signal, u normally does that in sine and they bein infinitely long in duration causin u to have some residue in the ur signal wat u call, the total harmonic distortion gives u the idea ab the affect these harmonics have on ur actual desired signal.....

An interesting aspect of THD when dealing with audio is that it doesn't tell the whole story unless the spectrum of the distortion components is known. While low even order harmonics of an audio signal might actually contribute to the sound (as they are the same tone in higher octaves, they will sound musical), high odd order harmonics will sound very bad (they bear no relation to the original tone from an audio perspective) thus decreasing the listening pleasure as the ear/brain perceives it as noise. This is why tube amplifiers still are popular amongst audio enthusiasts; they produce most of their distortion as low order harmonics contrary to modern silicon, so the sound produced is more "pleasing" to the ear even though tube gear have inferior THD specs when compared to modern devices. So in audio gear, you cannot judge quality by THD specs alone without knowing the spectrum.

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