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A delta modulation (DM or Δ-modulation) is an analog-to-digital and digital-to-

analog signal conversion technique used for transmission of voice information where quality
is not of primary importance. DM is the simplest form of differential pulse-code
modulation (DPCM) where the difference between successive samples are encoded into n-bit
data streams. In delta modulation, the transmitted data are reduced to a 1-bit data stream.
principle of operation:-
Delta modulation was introduced in the 1940s as a simplified form of pulse code
modulation (PCM), which required a difficult-to-implement analog-to-digital
(A/D) converter.
The output of a delta modulator is a bit stream of samples, at a relatively high rate
(eg, 100 kbit/s or more for a speech bandwidth of 4 kHz) the value of each bit
being determined according as to whether the input message sample amplitude has
increased or decreased relative to the previous sample. It is an example of
differential pulse code modulation (DPCM).

Its main features are:

 The analog signal is approximated with a series of segments.
 Each segment of the approximated signal is compared of successive bits is
determined by this comparison.
 Only the change of information is sent, that is, only an increase or decrease of
the signal amplitude from the previous sample is sent whereas a no-change
condition causes the modulated signal to remain at the same 0 or 1 state of
the previous sample.

 To achieve high signal-to-noise ratio, delta modulation must

use oversampling techniques, that is, the analog signal is sampled at a rate
several times higher than the Nyquist rate.
 Derived forms of delta modulation are continuously variable slope delta
modulation, delta-sigma modulation, and differential modulation. Differential
pulse-code modulation is the superset of DM.
Principle of the delta PWM. The output signal (blue) is compared with the limits (green). The limits
(green) correspond to the reference signal (red), offset by a given value. Every time the output signal
reaches one of the limits, the PWM signal changes state.

Block Diagram :-
Rather than quantizing the absolute value of the input analog waveform, delta modulation
quantizes the difference between the current and the previous step, as shown in the block
diagram in Figure.
The modulator is made by a quantizer which converts the difference between the
input signal and the average of the previous steps. In its simplest form, the
quantizer can be realized with a comparator referenced to 0 (two levels
quantizer), whose output is 1 or 0 if the input signal is positive or negative. It is
also a bit-quantizer as it quantizes only a bit at a time. The demodulator is simply
an integrator (like the one in the feedback loop) whose output rises or falls with
each 1 or 0 received. The integrator itself constitutes a low-pass filter.

step size calculation:-

In the delta modulator of Figure 1 the output of the integrator is a sawtooth-like

approximation to the input message. The teeth of the saw must be able to rise (or
fall) fast enough to follow the message. Thus the integrator time constant is an
important parameter.
For a given sampling (clock) rate the step slope (volt/s) determines the size (volts)
of the step within the sampling interval.
Suppose the amplitude of the rectangular wave from the sampler is ±V volt. For a
change of input sample to the integrator from (say) negative to positive, the
change of integrator output will be, after a clock period T:
output kVT
RC2 volt
where k is the gain of the amplifier preceding the integrator (as in Figure 1).
Answer Tutorial Questions 1 and 2 before attempting the experiment. You can
later check your answer by measurement.

slope overload and granularity

The binary waveform illustrated in Figure 2 is the signal transmitted. This is the
delta modulated signal.
The integral of the binary waveform is the sawtooth approximation to the message.
In the experiment entitled Delta demodulation (in this Volume) you will see that
this sawtooth wave is the primary output from the demodulator at the receiver.
Lowpass filtering of the sawtooth (from the demodulator) gives a better
approximation to the message. But there will be accompanying noise and
distortion, products of the approximation process at the modulator.
The unwanted products of the modulation process, observed at the receiver, are of
two kinds. These are due to ‘slope overload’, and ‘granularity’.
slope overload :-

This occurs when the sawtooth approximation cannot keep up with the rate-ofchange
of the input signal in the regions of greatest slope.
The step size is reasonable for those sections of the sampled waveform of small
slope, but the approximation is poor elsewhere. This is ‘slope overload’, due to too small a
granular noise
Refer back to Figure 3. The sawtooth follows the message being
sampled quite
well in the regions of small slope. To reduce the slope overload the
step size is
increased, and now (Figure 4) the match over the regions of small
slope has been
The degradation shows up, at the demodulator, as increased
quantizing noise, or

noise and distortion minimization

There is a conflict between the requirements for minimization
of slope overload
and the granular noise. The one requires an increased step size,
the other a
reduced step size. You should refer to your text book for more
discussion of ways
and means of reaching a compromise. You will meet an
example in the
experiment entitled Adaptive delta modulation (in this
An optimum step can be determined by minimizing the
quantizing error at the
summer output, or the distortion at the demodulator output.
The Advantages of Delta Modulation:-
The delta analog-to-digital modulation technique is widely used in voice
transmission applications such
as telephone and radio communications, which use the principles of modulation
to transmit voice signal frequencies over carrier signals. Delta modulation is
specifically applied where timely data delivery at the receiver's end is more
important than data quality. It enjoys particular advantages over other analog-to-
digital modulation techniques, including lower noise -- or disruption -- in
transmitted data, lower bandwidth consumption, cost-effective operations and
data delivery acknowledgment.

1-High SNR Benefit

Delta modulation offers higher signal-to-noise ratio than other conventional
modulation techniques. SNR is the strength ratio between data and noise within a
transmitted signal, and is calculated in the units of decibels. In data
communications, signal power is always inversely proportional to noise power,
which means that higher signal power results in higher SNR. Other common
modulation techniques such as pulse code modulation and differential pulse code
modulation have lower SNR compared to delta modulation.

2-Lower Bandwidth Consumption

Delta modulation offers a significant benefit of lower channel bandwidth

consumption. The bandwidth of a channel is the range of frequencies allowed for
a signal to transmit data. This feature is crucial in data communications, because
increasing bandwidth directly hikes the cost and management of a transmission
network. Delta modulation provides the benefit of lower bandwidth consumption,
which makes the process of data communications more cost effective.
3-Cost Effective Systems

The cost effectiveness of delta modulation is down to the transmission

technique, which employs sending one binary bit as a carrier pulse with
one sample of digitized data. This technique lowers the bandwidth of
the transmission channel, which eases the burden on the network
engineers, managers and architects who design and implement the
modulation system.

4-Feedback Mechanism :-
Unlike PCM and DPCM, delta modulation gives the additional benefit of
data delivery feedback to the transmitters. This indicates that systems
designed over delta modulation consider delivery of data bits as the
most important task rather than checking for quality and robustness.
For this reason, delta modulation is only used in voice communications
rather than networks that require quality-intensive images, video and
text data.
1- SBS Application 24 kbps delta modulation

Delta Modulation was used by Satellite Business Systems or SBS for its
voice ports to provide long distance phone service to large domestic
corporations with a significant inter-corporation communications need
(such as IBM). This system was in service throughout the 1980s.

2- Probably the most common application is the variant, delta-sigma

modulation used in high resolution A/D and D/A converters.

3-The large volume of digital data and the demanding

processing task involved in electroencephalogram (EEG)
analysis place stringent requirements on computer resources
in terms of data transfer, computation speed, and temporary
or permanent storage. The reduction of the database to a
manageable size is therefore necessary for economical use
of transmission channels and the storage media. The two
criteria, waveform reproducibility and processing applications,
must be analyzed and optimized in terms of signal-to-noise
ratio (SNR) using the various factors affecting the coding.
This analysis and optimization can become cumbersome,
and a specialized workstation has been developed
specifically for analysis of digital coding. Our interest in data
compression stems from the study of the feasibility of
predicting pilots' acceleration (Gz) tolerance during flight by
processing both their uncoded and coded EEG.