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Measure Total Harmonic Distortion

This example shows how to measure the total harmonic distortion (THD) of a sinusoidal signal. The example uses the following scenario: A manufacturer of audio speakers claims the model A speaker produces less than 0.09% harmonic distortion at 1 kHz with a 1 volt input. The harmonic distortion is measured with respect to the fundamental (THD-F).

Assume you record the following data obtained by driving the speaker with a 1 kHz tone at 1 volt. The data is sampled at 44.1 kHz for analysis.

 Fs = 44.1e3;
 t = 0:1/Fs:1;
 x = cos(2*pi*1000*t)+8e-4*sin(2*pi*2000*t)+2e-5*cos(2*pi*3000*t-pi/4)+...

Obtain the total harmonic distortion of the input signal in dB. Specify that six harmonics are used in calculating the THD. This includes the fundamental frequency of 1 kHz. Input the sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz. Determine the frequencies of the harmonics and their power estimates.

 NumHarmonics = 6;
 [thd_db,harmpow,harmfreq] = thd(x,Fs,6);

thd outputs the total harmonic distortion in dB. Convert the measurement from dB to a percentage to compare the value against the manufacturer's claims.

 percent_thd = 100*(10^(thd_db/20))
percent_thd =


The value you obtain indicates that the manufacturer's claims about the THD for speaker model A are correct.

You can obtain further insight by examining the power (dB) of the individual harmonics.

 T = table(harmfreq,harmpow,'VariableNames',{'Frequency','Power'})
T = 

    Frequency     Power 
    _________    _______

      1000       -3.0103
      2000       -64.949
      3000        -96.99
      4000       -104.95
    4997.9       -306.11
    5998.9       -310.56

The total harmonic distortion is approximately -62 dB. If you examine the power of the individual harmonics, you see that the major contribution comes from the harmonic at 2 kHz. The power at 2 kHz is approximately 62 dB below the power of the fundamental. The remaining harmonics do not contribute significantly to the total harmonic distortion. Additionally, the synthesized signal contains only 4 harmonics (including the fundamental). This is confirmed by the table, which shows a large power reduction after 4 kHz. Therefore, repeating the calculation with only four harmonics does not change the total harmonic distortion significantly.

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