Digital Signal Processors

Digital signal processors (DSPs) take signals like voice, audio or video and then manipulate them. They capture the signals as digital information, process it and then feed the information back for use. They do this either digitally or in an analogue format by going through an Audio Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC). All of this happens at very high speeds.

What are digital signal processors used for?

Digital signal processors are used for processing audio, video and graphics. They can make sound clearer, data faster and images sharper. For example, when used in Hi-Fi equipment, DSPs can create the illusion of three dimensional sound. 

Because they're programmable, DSPs can be used in a wide variety of applications, from mobile phones to computers and toys. They're compact in size and don't use a lot of power. 

Choosing the right digital signal processor

When you're looking for the right DSP there are various features to consider: 

  • Frequency – the number of data points per second, which you can think of as the speed. 
  • RAM size – usually the greater the size, the better the performance. 
  • Program memory – to customise a DSP for a specific purpose.

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